ANAHI ITINERARY B1
DAY 1 (Friday): Baltra Airport & Santa Cruz Island: Twin Craters, Highlands
AM: Flight to Galapagos from Quito Airport.
Upon arrival at San Cristobal travelers pass through an airport inspection point to ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless prepaid), and $10 for the required INGALA transit control card. Guides will meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called “pangas,” will transport you to the M/C Anahi and the crew will welcome you onboard. After departure and lunch, the first island visit is made.
PM: Twin Craters
The Gemelos (twins) are two deep craters located to the side of the road that leads to Puerto Ayora. These huge holes were likely created in a volcanic explosion or by magma chambers underneath the island´s surface.
This is also a good place to see the Galapagos hawk and barn owl of this island, and the surrounding forests are filled of birds such as the Vermilion flycatcher or the yellow warbler. You’ll notice a great contrast between the vegetation of the highlands with the arid coastal zones.
PM: Santa Cruz Highlands
Santa Cruz possesses many of the different ecosystems present in the archipelago. As you travel through these zones, a birdwatcher’s dream could come true of seeing the bright red feathers of a Vermillion flycatcher or one of Darwin’s Finch; almost every bird present in the islands can be found here.
Santa Cruz also offers excellent opportunities for viewing the native Galapagos tortoise in its natural habitat. There are also plenty of other attractions such as lava tubes, sinkholes and craters. Theses eerie formations offer a fascinating walk into the inner, volcanic structure of the island. (Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 2 (Saturday): Isabela Island: Tintoreras & Sierra Negra Volcano
A beautiful place reached by a nice panga ride, the “Tintoreras” are small islands in front of the coast of Puerto Villamil. Here, you find lava herons on the mangrove branches and Galapagos penguins and sea lions frequently popping out on shore. White-tipped reef sharks (called tintoreras in Spanish) are also fairly common in this spot, hence the name.
Wall of Tears
The Wall of Tears is an important historic site on Isabela. Between 1946 and 1959, Isabela Island was a penal colony, where prisoners here were forced to build a wall with huge blocks of lava as a punishment. The wall is 100 meters long and 7 meters high. Because of the arduous labor and harsh conditions in which the prisoners lived and had to work, this site is known as the Wall of Tears. A set of stairs provides a good viewpoint of the wall and the surrounding landscape. It´s still possible to see the cement foundations of the U.S. military base that dates to WWII.
PM: Sierra Negra Volcano
Isabela Island is one of the youngest and largest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. You will have a dry landing in Puerto Villamil, the second smallest town of the Galapagos, with approximately 3,000 residents. You will head to the highlands, to Sierra Negra slopes, to then do some hiking on uneven terrain to reach Sierra Negra volcano´s rim.
Sierra Negra volcano has the second widest crater in the world. From this natural viewpoint, you will have fantastic sights of the truly gigantic crater, the surrounding volcanoes, and Perry Isthmus, a 12-kilometer wide lava field. From here you can hike to Volcano Chico to view the outstanding lava formations, all examples of the geological events that have crafted the Galapagos Islands. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 3 (Sunday): Isabela Island: Punta Moreno & Elizabeth Bay
AM: Punta Moreno
Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes. The trail runs along a pahohoe lava (solidified lava in corrugated or accordion shapes) that flows into a complex of coastal lagoons, where you find several species of birds in the mangroves.
PM: Elizabeth Bay
Because Elizabeth Bay is a marine visitor site there is no landing point. The panga ride begins with a visit to Marielas islets to see the largest and most important penguin colony of the Galapagos. The ride continues into the cove, which is surrounded by Magnificent red mangroves, resplendent with red roots and green leafs. Here it is possible to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans, and sea lions. Occasionally, Galapagos hawks soaring overhead while schools of Pompano and Dorado fish swim below. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 4 (Monday): Isabela Island: Urbina Bay & Tagus Cove
AM: Urbina Bay
South from Tagus Cove but still on the west coast of Isabela is Urbina Bay. An easy wet landing on a mild sloping beach will take you to an interesting area that it is a perfect example of the geological activity of the islands. The waters are a good place to see turtles and rays, and a short hike leads to a coral reef and evidence of an uplift from the sea floor that occurred in 1954.
From here it’s easy to reach the Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. You will see large and colorful land iguanas and have excellent possibilities of seeing giant Galapagos turtles, flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, pelicans and marine iguanas.
PM: Tagus Cove
A panga ride along the cliffs will give you a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant and other sea birds. From the landing dock you will walk for a trail for about 30 minutes to reach the top of the cliff, from where you will have a great view of Darwin Lake, an uplifted ultra-saline lake saltier than the sea and several other volcanoes. The inscriptions on the surrounding cliffs of the cove were written or carved by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 5 (Tuesday): Fernandina Island: Punta Espinoza & Isabela Island: Vicente Roca Point
AM: Punta Espinoza
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and has just one visitor site: Punta Espinoza. This site is located at the northeastern point of the island, just across Tagus Cove, and is a perfect place to see some of the unique species of Galapagos. Marine iguanas join in larger groups than on any other island. They bask in the sand, swim near the shore, and on occasion are known to block the way at the dock. Among the unique species found here is the flightless cormorant, a bird that evolved as an incredible swimmer while losing its ability to fly.
PM: Vicente Roca Point
At Punta Vicente Roca you find the remnants of an ancient volcano that form two turquoise coves with a bay well-protected from the ocean swells. A popular anchorage area, from here you will take a panga ride along the cliff or explore a partially sunken cave. Nazca and blue-footed boobies commonly perch along the cliffs, while flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline. The upwelling of cold-water currents in this area give rise to an abundance of marine life, making of Punta Vicente Roca one of the archipelago’s favorite dive spots. One cove is accessible only from the sea through an underwater passage. The passage opens to the calm waters of the hidden cove, where sea lions lie lazily on the beach after swimming the underwater route. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 6 (Wednesday): Santiago Island: Puerto Egas & Rabida Island
AM: Puerto Egas
The excursion in Puerto Egas, with its black sand beaches, is considered one of the more rewarding visits of the Galapagos. In the 1960s, this island was the site of a small salt mining industry (one of several unsuccessful attempts to create a profitable industry in Galapagos). A hike to the salt crater presents a good opportunity to observe land birds such as finches, doves, and hawks.
A walk along the rugged shoreline during low will provide opportunity to see many marine species, such as iguanas basking on the rocks or sea lions lazing in the tide pools. At the end of the trail you will find a series of grottoes (sea caves carved on the lava by the waves), where fur seals and night herons commonly rest on the ledges, protected from the sun. For many visitors, this is the only opportunity to see the Galapagos fur seals, once thought to be nearly extinct.
PM: Rábida Island
Rábida is a unique place, unless compared to Mars! The red color of its rocks and sand is caused by the ferrous contents of the minerals, which have been oxidized by external factors such as rain, salt water, and sea breeze. A short trail walk will take you to a coastal lagoon, just behind the beach, filled with land birds such as finches, doves, yellow warblers and mocking birds. This lagoon also hosts a colony of flamingos. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 7 (Thursday): Chinese Hat & Bartolome Island
AM: Chinese Hat
This small islet is located just off the southeastern shores of Santiago Island. A recent volcanic cone, it has a shape that resembles a Chinese hat when viewed from the north. On the west side you will see lava formations, which were formed under the sea and then raised above the surface exposing coral heads. This is an excellent opportunity to gain understanding of the geological features of the islands, such as lava tubes and flows. The landscape is completed by a sea lion colony, many marine iguanas, and Galapagos penguins.
PM: Bartolomé Island
Bartolomé is a small, barren island located just across from Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island). The first of two visitor sites offers the possibility of climbing to the summit of the island, where you can enjoy a superb view which includes a variety of volcanic formations: lava bombs, splatter, cinder cones, and lava flows and tubes. The lunar landscape provides one of the most scenic panoramas of the archipelago. The second site provides the opportunity to relax on a beautiful beach with great snorkeling opportunities. Snorkeling, multicolor fish, penguins and sea turtles can usually be seen at the base of the tall pinnacle rock, which dominates Bartolome’s landscape. A short walk to Bartolome´s second beach, in which swimming is strictly forbidden, will grant a good chance to see white-tipped reef sharks swimming along the shoreline. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 8 (Friday): North Seymour Island & Baltra Airport
AM: North Seymour
This is an uplifted island with a flat landscape strewn with boulders. Here, you also find a large population of magnificent frigate birds and blue-footed boobies nesting and performing courtship rituals. Despite the tremendous surf that frequently pounds the outer shore, you can find sea lions hauling out onto the beach and bodysurfing.
After the morning excursion you will head back to the airport for the flight to the mainland. (Breakfast)