See giant tortoises & fur seals on Santa Cruz Island, snorkel with sea turtles, and spot the unique red-footed boobies and land iguanas. This journey includes visits to Santa Cruz, Genovesa and Santa Fe Galapagos Islands
About the vessel:
This magnificent vessel, with a capacity for 100 guests, has the charm of The Enchanted Islands; it is still small enough for a more intimate experience with friends and family. With her three different decks, the Galapagos Legend offers a great variety of comfortable and spacious social areas without losing its sense of intimacy. Its fantastic open decks allow you to admire the islands’ flora and fauna, enjoy a BBQ at night, or take some sun at the pool and bar areas. Standard Plus cabins are exterior cabins with porthole windows, located on the Sea Deck.
Your Galapagos Cruise includes: Accommodation in selected cabin, all meals, Island sightseeing, naturalist guides and lecture services in English, snorkelling gear, shared transfers in the islands and from main hotels in Quito and Guayaquil.
Please remember that the exact route and program may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter.
There are two types of landings throughout your Galapagos tour:
Dry landing: guests step from the dinghy onto rocks or a dock.
Wet landing: as the dinghy edges onto a sandy beach, guests step into knee-deep water and wade ashore.
Morning arrival to Baltra Island by plane and immediate transfer to the dock to board your cruise. Welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
PM: Highlands Tortoise Reserve & Black turtle Cove
Dry landing. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different kinds of birds, such as tree and ground Finches, Vermillion Flycatchers, Paint-billed Crakes, Yellow Warblers, and Cattle Egrets (usually standing on the tortoises’ shell). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, Galapagos Giant Tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is a bird watchers’ haven since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
On the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, accessible only by sea, four species of mangrove crowd and form an internal lagoon, turtles visit the calm waters, peaking their heads above the surface while fish, rays circle below. White-tipped reef sharks can be seen beneath the boat, plus sea birds, including pelicans, herons and egrets. This cove has been declared as a “turtle sanctuary”.
AM: El Barranco, Prince Philip’s Steps
Be marveled at the variety of sea life that uses the crevices of the lava cliffs for shelter. Red-billed Tropicbirds fly overhead, switching between their nests and the bay, and a small colony of fur seals may be found near the landing site. You will be dropped off at a steep stairway that begins on rocks at the foot of a path that leads through a seabird colony full of Nazca and Red-footed Boobies. At the plateau, the trail continues inland allowing you to see more nesting booby colonies in the thin Palo Santo forest. Near the end of the trail, over a rocky lava plain, Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels can be observed flying in all directions. If you are lucky, you may catch a glimpse of a Short-eared Owl.
PM: Darwin Bay
Disembark onto a small sand and coral beach. A short trail heads west along a tidal lagoon and then up a rocky hill that leads to a point overlooking the cliffs and Darwin Bay. Along the trail near the tidal lagoon, visitors will see pairs of Swallow-tailed Gulls, Lava Gulls, Yellow-crowned and Lava Herons. The trail continues through Palo Santo trees, Opuntia cacti, and Saltbushes inhabited by Great Frigate birds and Red-footed Boobies. This is one of the few places in the islands where visitors are guaranteed to see Red-footed Boobies. It is estimated that more than 200,000 Red-footed Boobies live in the trees and bushes of Genovesa.
AM: Dragon Hill
Dry landing. Walk by a brackish lagoon to see flamingos. The trail leads across typical dry zone vegetation. Keeping up until Dragon Hill, see an important nesting ground for endemic land iguanas, offering lovely views of the anchored boats and neighbouring islands. The forest is home to mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches, yellow warblers, and Galapagos doves.
PM: Santa Fe Island
Wet landing. Santa Fe shows white sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path, an endemic cactus forest is passed, home the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
AM: Bachas Beach
Wet landing. On the north side of Santa Cruz; behind the beach lies two small flamingo ponds were iguanas sunbathe, see coastal birds, Darwin finches, mockingbirds, and gulls, as well as interesting native vegetation like red and black mangrove, salt bushes. This beach is one of the main sea turtles nesting sites in the Galapagos. A turtle can lay eggs 3 or 4 times per season with an average of 70 eggs each time. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank a long time ago, when the United States Navy operated a base during World War II on Baltra Island. Local people modified the word barges to “Bachas”.
After the visit, you will be transferred to the airport for their return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.