Southern Islands on the Isabela II
DAY 1 - Friday
Baltra Airport (Santa Cruz Island)
Arrive at Baltra Airport and transfer to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes you to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora. (NB: please dress with comfortable shoes and clothes, bring a small backpack with any medicine you might be taken, sunblock, insect repellent and anything you need during the excursion as you will go onboard the Isabela II until the end of the day).
Charles Darwin Research Station
After driving down from the highlands, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens, within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest, home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Late afternoon stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on the Isabela II. In the evening there is the Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
DAY 2 - Saturday
Baroness Cove and Post Office Bay (Floreana Island)
After breakfast land at Post Office Bay to visit the historic barrel that has been serving as a post office in the archipelago for over two centuries. Panga rides along the maze of channels on Floreana’s north shore can be enjoyed. Continue to Baroness Cove with its breathtaking views of Floreana, with the chance of a swim.
Cormorant Point (Floreana Island)
The visit to Punta Cormorant takes in an olivine-crystal beach for an easy walk by a brackish water lagoon where bird species like greater flamingos may be observed. On the other side of the island, you will come to a white-sand beach where sea turtles come out at night to nest. You can usually snorkel from the beach or at “The Devil’s Crown” site, or ride in the Isabela's glass-bottom boat.
DAY 3 - Sunday
Punta Suárez (Española (Hood) Island)
The morning outing at Punta Suarez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including waved albatrosses (April - December), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole”. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay (Española Island)
In the afternoon, set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkelling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat.
DAY 4 - Monday
Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal Island)
Morning disembarkation (wet landing) on the eastern tip of the island. Punta Pitt is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach or, for more advanced snorkellers or kayakers, off the nearby islets. Lunch on board.
Cerro Brujo (San Cristóbal Island)
A dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes guests to Cerro Brujo's white coralline beach (wet landing). The beach is a large expanse, great for walking, with rewarding bird watching with good views of seabirds like blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, herons, frigate birds, and more shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. Highlights ashore include the Chatham (San Cristóbal) mockingbird, Chatham lava lizard; both species are endemic to this island and seen nowhere else in the Galápagos. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835, as San Cristóbal was the first island where he set foot in the Galápagos. Farewell cocktail, departure briefing and dinner.
DAY 5 - Tuesday
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal Island)
Your Galápagos journey ends at San Cristóbal Island where you transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.