Galapagos Holidays - Sea lions at Gardiner Bay


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Travel Trust Association

Southern/Central islands on Eric, Flamingo and Letty

Southern/Central islands on Eric, Flamingo and Letty

DAY 1 - Sunday

San Cristóbal Island

Upon arrival at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno Airport on San Cristóbal Island, the crew will be waiting to escort you to your anchored yacht.  After a welcome briefing, safety drill and buffet lunch, travel by bus to Cerro Tijeretas or 'Frigatebird Hill', situated just outside town, one of two sites where you can spot nesting colonies of both species of frigatebirds (Great and Magnificent).  Return to the yacht and depart in the late afternoon for a cruise around Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), a vertical tuff cone formation that abruptly juts up almost 500 feet out of the ocean. On the cliffs, you should spot blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and Magnificent frigatebirds.  In the evening enjoy the Captain's welcome cocktail party before dinner.

 DAY 2 - Monday

Cerro Brujo

This morning visit the breathtaking white power-sand beach of Cerro Brujo, one of the most spectacular beaches in the Galápagos, where you have an opportunity to snorkel or kayak right from the beach.

Punta Pitt 

This afternoon visit Punta Pitt, a tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds including Blue footed, Nazca and red-footed boobies, Magnificent frigatebirds (left - picture credit: Mark Downey), swallow-tailed gulls and storm petrels.

DAY 3 - Tuesday

Punta Suarez - Española (Hood) Island

A dry landing this morning at Punta Suarez, where you will witness the highest rate of endemic species in the Galápagos. sea lions noisily greet you on their beach; curious Hood mockingbirds peck at your shoelaces; waved albatross, found only on Española (between April and December only) perform their wild mating ritual; colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in 'sky-pointing' to show off to potential mates; Nazca boobies busily care for their young.  You may also see stunning swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulls in the world.  Red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. You will also find Darwin’s finches, Galápagos doves and Galápagos hawks, whilst colourful Sally Lightfoot crabs crawl along the shoreline near to the famous 'blow hole'.

Gardner Bay - Española (Hood) Island

A wet at Gardner Bay.  Walk along the seemingly endless stretch of white sand beach where you’ll find large colonies of sea lions. There is no trail to follow so this is a chance to explore and you may find a Galápagos hawk, Darwin’s finches or Hood mockingbird. Swim with sea lions right from the beach, explore by kayak or just relax. There’s excellent snorkeling off Gardner Islet with a colourful diversity of sea life near Tortuga Rock.

 DAY 4 -Wednesday

Punta Cormorant - Floreana (Charles) Island

This morning step ashore at Punta Cormorant, Floreana. one of the few populated islands in the Galápagos. Floreana presents a rich history with mystery and intrigue. Set foot on a green-sand beach alive with the sounds of sea lions. Follow a trail to a brackish lagoon, home of the pintail ducks, common stilts, and flamingos (left). Wind your way past a rich variety of plants including Morning Glory, Cut Leaf Daisies, Palo Verdes and Scalesia leading to a beach with powder soft sand. Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand dunes and rays swim in the shallow water. After the walk, you have an opportunity to snorkel.

Post Office Bay

This afternoon visit Post Office Bay, not the most scenic but probably the most famous site in the Galápagos. Here is where a post barrel was put into use in the late 18th Century by English whaling vessels. You are invited to leave a post card and to pick up any mail from your home area.

DAY 5 - Thursday

Santa Cruz Island

Travel by bus to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. The scenery gradually changes as the bus winds its way through all seven vegetation zones found in the Galápagos. Here, you will visit the tortoise reserve at one of the private farms in the highlands where you encounter giant tortoises in their natural habitat.  Visit 'Los Gemelos' (Twins), a pair of large pit craters where you should see the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. 

Charles Darwin Research Station

This afternoon visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, including all three tortoise corrals and the breeding centre with new hatchlings and miniature tortoises not yet ready to be repatriated.  Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology.  Puerto Ayora is the social heart of the islands with the largest population of 24,000. This evening you have the option to return to your yacht for a buffet dinner or remain in town on your own account.  Those who return to the yacht will be provided with zodiacs to return to town to shop for souvenirs or stop in at an internet café. Zodiacs will be provided for your return to your yacht. 

DAY 6 - Friday

Bartolomé Island. Pinnacle Rock

This morning visit Bartolomé Island, where it seems like you are walking on the moon!  This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals.  After a dry landing, climb for 30 minutes up wooden steps leading to the summit of a once-active volcano. Along the way, pause to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top of the steps, you can gaze out across the island for a panoramic view of the island and the famous Pinnacle Rock (pictured), an eroded tuff cone. Crystal clear water is an invitation to snorkel from the beach or travel in the zodiac, surrounded by schools of tropical fish and Galápagos Penguins.

Santa Cruz Island.  Santiago Island

This afternoon arrive at Las Bachas, on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island.  There is a long stretch of a soft white sand beach and interior lagoons where you should see Greater Flamingo. There is also a wonderful chance to snorkel here from the beach. Located off the Southern tip of Santiago is Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat), which owes its name to its shape. After a wet beach landing amongst sea lion colonies, you will walk through a primeval landscape of volcanic rubble including cracked lava formations and lava tubes. Youwill see marine iguanas and pairs of oystercatchers. You can choose to snorkel at a site that is frequented by Galápagos penguins. 

 DAY 7 - Saturday

South Plaza Island

A dry landing at South Plaza, a small geological uplift with tall cliffs offering spectacular views.  Walk on the trails through prickly pear cactus and sesuvium. Here you can find the Galápagos Land Iguana feeding on the cactus leaves. Toward the end of the walk you should encounter a colony of bachelor sea lions. The dominant bulls are in various stages of recovery from battles lost over prime beach territory. You should also find Swallow tailed gulls, Shearwaters and Red-billed tropicbirds who build their nests along the cliffs. 

North Seymour

A dry landing this afternoon at North Seymour, a small geological uplift where you will follow a trail to view swallow-tailed gulls, blue-footed boobies and endemic land iguanas. Visit the largest colony of Magnificent frigatebirds found in the Galápagos. As you stroll along the beach you will see marine iguanas and sea lions body surfing the northern swells.  Tonight enjoy the Captain's farewell cocktail party.

DAY 8 - Sunday

San Cristóbal Island

Visit the Interpretation Centre, where you will gain a more complete understanding of the natural and human history of the islands.  Afterwards, spend some time in the port before heading to the airport the flight back to the mainland.