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DAY 1 Monday
Baltra Airport (Santa Cruz Island): We arrive at Baltra Airport and then we take you to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora.
Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island): After driving down from the highlands, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise. The campus houses the islands’ headquarters of scientific investigation and conservation. Late afternoon we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking. Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
DAY 2 Tuesday
Santa Fe Island: A stunning anchorage provides our jumping-off point for our visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling and swimming from the beach, kayaking or a ride in our glass-bottom boat.
South Plaza Island: The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-gray land iguanas.
DAY 3 Wednesday
North Seymour Island: The morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkelling, coastal exploration or glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island): After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is 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. We can swim and/or snorkel from the beach.
DAY 4 Thursday
Bartolome Island: This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits for us: Bartolome Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, we take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock.
Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island): After lunch, we get on board the inflatable dinghies to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming, 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 Galapagos.
DAY 5 Friday
Baltra Island: After breakfast, we leave for the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.