Following our morning arrival at Baltra Airport, we transfer to the Itabaca Channel, taking a small ferry across the Channel to the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. We board our bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where we’ll learn about the unique montane ecosystems and biodiversity. Lunch is served at a local restaurant.
Note: please dress with comfortable shoes and clothes, bring a small backpack with any medicine you might be require, sunblock, insect repellent and anything you need during the excursion as you won't board the Yacht La Pinta until the end of the day.
Highlands (Santa Cruz Island)
After lunch, we travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz, one of the best places in the archipelago to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. The tortoises are easy to spot, lumbering around, eating grass and leaves and wallowing in the small pools. There are several lava tunnels in the reserve, too. A short bus ride takes us down to Puerto Ayora to board Yacht La Pinta.
Eden Islet (Santa Cruz Island)
After breakfast, a panga ride takes us to Eden Islet, located off the coast of Santa Cruz, where we can observe blue footed boobies diving into the water, reef sharks and frigates. There’s a chance to snorkel and, weather conditions permitting, take a ride in the glass-bottom boat.
Sombrero Chino Islet
The tiny island of Sombrero Chino gets its name from its appearance: a Chinese hat. This islet, which only formed fairly recently, makes for a beautiful visit as one explores the wildlife along its 400-metre long trail, beginning at a crescent-shaped white sandy beach. The cove offers excellent swimming and snorkeling opportunities with white-tipped reef sharks and Galápagos penguins.
This morning, a Galápagos icon awaits: Bartolomé Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: but be assured, the view from the top is well worth the effort! Following the walk, we take to the dinghies for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, followed by time to enjoy the beach and some snorkelling. We can also ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Sullivan Bay (James Island)
After lunch, we board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, which is home to a white coral sand beach great for swimming and snorkelling, and with a trail over a lava field that flowed here less than 100 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galápagos while observing its wildlife.
Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)
In the morning, we begin our exploration of this island with an easy stroll to observe marine and land birds. There is an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else we can return to the beach to enjoy swimming and snorkelling at this beautiful natural harbour. The more adventurous can snorkel along the cliffs or paddle sea kayaks.
Prince Philip's Steps (Genovesa Island)
The afternoon starts with a very interesting panga ride along the cliffs before we disembark for a steep climb up some stairs. Once at the top of the stairs, the land is flat, allowing for a captivating walk of about a mile to the other side of this small island, observing large colonies of Nazca boobies, frigate birds and storm petrels, as well as the elusive short-eared owl.
Our journey ends at Baltra Island where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
• Please remember that the exact route and programme may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife we encounter. It's also subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations.
-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 around 20 cm (8 inches) of water and wade ashore.