M/V SANTA CRUZ
Northern Islands Galápagos Itinerary
Monday to Friday – 5 days/4 nights
We land at Baltra Island by plane in the morning and transfer to the dock to board the Santa Cruz, where we receive a welcome introductory briefing and lunch.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
This beautiful visitor site is located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, a glorious white beach with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. This is a great opportunity to get acquainted with snorkelling gear and techniques. Welcome cocktail, expedition plan for Tuesday and dinner.
Buccaneer Cove (Santiago Island)
After breakfast, we explore the coastline along the impressive cliffs of Buccaneer Cove, learning about the area’s distant and recent history. The cove is home to a large number of marine birds, sea lions, and inter-tidal organisms. Enjoy fantastic natural formations such as the “Elephant Rock”, “The Bishop” and an impressive natural cave. This is a great site for snorkeling or panga ride.
Puerto Egas (Santiago Island)
Once we disembark at the beach, we can enjoy a swim or snorkel amid a rocky shoreline, usually in the company of marine turtles. From here, we head off to our walk, a great opportunity to see land and marine birds amid landscape of tuff-stone layers and lava flows. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon the algae beds and we can also observe a colony of fur-sea lions. Non-snorkelers can enjoy a longer walk.
After breakfast, we land on Rábida Island’s red-coloured beach, caused by the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. Our walk brings us close to a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s finches. Very close to the beach, a salt pond hosts migrating greater flamingos at certain times of year. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkelers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. Non-snorkelers will enjoy a ride on the glass bottom boat or a panga ride. During navigation to our next island, dolphins are often spotted!
We land at Bartolomé for a hike to the summit of this diminutive island that boasts fantastic views of the archipelago. This is a moderately steep climb aided by a wooden staircase, resting platforms and handrails – the view from the top is worth the effort! Following our walk, we take to the pangas and the glass bottom boat for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, and then land at the beach to enjoy some swimming, snorkelling or just relaxing (possibly with Galápagos penguins in attendance).
Prince Philip Steps (Genovesa Island)
The morning starts with a panga ride along the cliffs of this dramatic island, followed by landing with a steep climb (90 feet) up some stairs to reach a flat plateau. Along our walk, we can observe large colonies of Nazca boobies, red footed boobies, great frigate birds and storm petrels. Those not wishing to disembark can enjoy a longer panga ride along the cliffs (depending on weather conditions). After the walk, we can snorkel along the dramatic cliffs where there are chances of spotting lots of fish, including hammerhead sharks.
Darwin Bay (Genovesa Island)
In the afternoon, we land at this beautiful beach to enjoy some swimming and/or snorkelling. Following our dip, we take an easy stroll to observe hundreds of birds, mainly frigate birds, red footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, herons, finches and mockingbirds. There’s an optional walk over sharp lava and uneven terrain for dramatic views, or else we can return to the beach or enjoy a panga ride.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno & Tortoise Breeding Centre (San Cristóbal Island)
After breakfast, there’s optional departure to see the breeding programme of giant tortoises at Cerro Colorado. Here, we learn about this endangered species and its promising recovery. Following the visit, we return to town and transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
- 1 Small backpack
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sneakers with rubber soles
- Long pants
- Long and Short sleeved shirts
- Wind breaker
- Bathing suit -wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months
- Hat or cap
- Toilette kit (biodegradable shampoo please)
- Sun block
- Camera & camcorder
- Any medicine you may be taking
- Book/ Notebook
The itineraries and programme are subject to change without prior notice, due mainly to adjustments in the policies and regulations of the Galápagos National Park, weather conditions, seasonal changes and safety reasons.
- 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