Day 1 Baltra - Bartolome (1L,1D)
Baltra at the northern point of Santa Cruz. Sailing after lunch we begin our cruise on the Estrella Del Mar.
Arriving at Bartolomé Island in the mid afternoon we will hike to the summit of the island provides a clearer perspective of the islands' not-too-distant volcanic origins, and the panoramic view is one of the best among the islands. From here are visible the double-sided beach of Bartolomé directly below, the volcanic tower rising out of the water next to it, and Santiago in the distance. After the summit hike, stop at the beach to relax in semi-tropical tranquility. There is great snorkelling among the submerged volcanic rock and around the base of the tower. A short hike to the beach on the opposite side is worth the minimal effort. It is not unusual to see sharks in these shallow waters, and marine turtles nest here from January through March.
Day 2 Genovesa (1B,1L,1D)
Land at Genovesa Island, an old imploded volcano, to observe the massive colonies of Frigate Birds, Boobies and other seabirds as well as striking volcanic cliffs rising from the ocean.
Well to the north of the main Galapagos Island group, Genovesa Island itself is the shape of a horseshoe given it's volcanic history. The first landing is at a place called Darwin Bay for some fantastic snorkelling opportunities within the a partially eroded crater on the south side of the island.
In the afternoon we will explore a place called "El Barranco," otherwise known as Prince Phillip's Steps, on the southern tip of the island. This site is a major breeding ground for red footed boobies and masked boobies can also be seen. Other birds like various species of finches can be seen as well as the Galapagos Mockingbird.
Day 3 Santa Cruz & Santa Fe (1B,1L,1D)
Spend the morning on the north cost of Santa Cruz on the sandy Bachas Beach. Many bird specific feed on the shore lines and flamingos can usually be found in the pond behind the beach. Take a swim in the calm surf or go snorkelling off the beach keeping a looked out for the Galapagos Green Turtle that is known to nest here.
In the afternoon we arrive at Santa Fé, a fairly small and dry island. Santa Fé Island is well-known as a great place for watching (and swimming with) sea lions as well as finding land iguanas in the wild. Along the island's northern shore you can view the forest of giant Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia). Santa Fé is also home to a number of endemic species which have bounced back from various threats to their survival. You may get a chance to see the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snake, a variety of finches and the Galapagos mockingbird.
Day 4 Santa Cruz & Baltra Island (1B)
In the morning we arrive in Puerta Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island where we Explore the Fasto Illerena Breeding Centre on Santa Cruz. A corral houses adult Galapagos Tortoises, and a nursery cares for young tortoises until they are about eight years old, when their shells have hardened enough.
Flights from Baltra to Quito depart between 10:00am and 1:00pm depending on the day of the week. These will arrive into Quito between 2:30pm and 5:30pm with a refuelling stop in Guayaquil (you will not disembark the plane).
Santa Cruz is the second largest in the island group, and has the largest population, with Puerto Ayora as its main town. It also boasts the most varied of the islands’ vegetation zones: coastal, transition, scalesia, miconia and pampa. The Charles Darwin Foundation is a 10 minute walk from the centre of the town. Here, an exhibition centre displays photos of recent volcanic eruptions, charts outlining geological formations and drawings of the evolutionary development of endemic species.
Following this we transfer to the airport on Baltra Island for our flight to Quito.