See both the Galapagos sea lions and fur seals at Santiago island, can you tell the difference?
Observe the twin volcanic sink holes on Santa Cruz as you are surrounded by tropical cloud forest
Visit the Charles Darwin station and learn about the tortoise breeding programs, spot the gentle giants as they remain undisturbed.
Keep an eye out for hawks hunting amongst thousands of sea birds at the cliff (El Barranco) on Genovesa island
Baltra & Charles Darwin Research Station
AM: Baltra Airport
Arrival to Baltra airport and transfer to the vessel.
PM: Charles Darwin Research Station
The Charles Darwin Research Station provides an unmissable opportunity to find out about the vital work that is being carried out to preserve the archipelago’s ecosystems.
One element of this is a significant breeding programme for Galapagos tortoises, whose numbers have been in decline since the 1970’s.
These captivating enormous reptiles are very accustomed to humans, so be sure to bring your camera for some close-ups.
Genovesa - Prince Philip's Steps / El Barranco/ Darwin Bay
AM: Genovesa - Prince Philip's Steps / El Barranco
El Barranco, also known as Prince Philip’s Steps, is a rocky stairway that will lead you past a colony of nazca and red-footed boobies leads up to a plateau of dried lava. Continuing through the thin Palo Santo forest and looking out over the plain, visitors are often treated to sites of storm petrels launching out over the ocean.
A panga ride or kayaking/paddle boarding along the edge of the cliffs provides a good chance to see the elusive Galapagos fur seals nestled on the rocks, and snorkeling is a great activity if you fancy a dip with a variety of shark species.
PM: Genovesa - Darwin Bay
Darwin Bay has a small sand and coral beach that provides the perfect spot for snorkeling, kayaking or paddle boarding in calm, sheltered waters in the company of hammerhead sharks, rays and a plethora of colourful reef fish. Onshore, a short trail leads along a tidal lagoon and mangroves, home to a variety of land bird species, including Nazca and red-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls.
The trail culminates at a viewpoint that offers a stunning view overlooking the cliffs and the bay below.
Santiago - Espumilla Beach / Buccaneer Cove /Egas Port
AM: Santiago - Espumilla Beach / Buccaneer Cove
Espumilla beach, located on the northern coast of Santiago island, is an exquisite white sand beach, whose name refers to the meringue-like trails of foam left by the lapping of the waves. Sally Lightfoot crabs are in abundance here and as a result, it is common to see predatory birds such as hawks, herons and pelicans.
This idyllic location is perfect for snorkeling or kayaking/paddle boarding amongst a raft of marine life, including species of octopus, eels and sharks. Buccaneer Cove has an interesting history as it is where sailors, buccaneers and whalers frequently anchored their vessels in search for food and water. In more recent times it has become an important nesting site for turtles and is also popular with sea lions.
A panga ride along the eroded shoreline provides views of intriguing rock formations that provide excellent ledges for boobies, pelicans and gulls.
PM: Egas Port
Egas Port was once the site of a salt mine, but now this impressive black sand beach is an excellent location for snorkeling and observing shorebirds, Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas.
A stroll along the wide trails inland leads you past tidal pools and rocky volcanic formations known as grottoes where it is possible to spot fur seals enjoying a spot of shade.
Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach & Twin craters
AM: Santa Cruz - Bachas Beach
Bachas Beach is a glorious white sand beach on which the remnants of a rusted barge, thought to have been abandoned by the Americans during WWI, can be seen. It is a popular nesting site for turtles, so if you go for a snorkel, you might find yourself sharing the water with these wonderful creatures.
The beach is also full of vibrant Sally Lightfoot and hermit crabs and elegant pink flamingos that frequent the salt water lagoon behind.
PM: Twin craters and the Highlands of Santa Cruz
The best way to appreciate these remarkable, almost identical crater-like holes, caused by the collapse of empty lava chambers, is to take the trail that leads up and around the rims.
From this vantage point, one can revel in the beauty of the surrounding highlands, lush with ferns and an abundance of Scalesia trees.
Here, Bird enthusiasts can also enjoy spotting the distinct red feathers of Vermilion Flycatchers, Darwin’s finches, Galapagos doves and, with a bit of luck, an endemic short-ear owl.
San Cristobal - Kicker Rock & San Cristobal Airport
AM: San Cristobal - Kicker Rock
Kicker Rock, is an iconic feature of the Galapagos that has been formed over time by the erosion of the cone of an extinct volcano.
The channel that runs between two imposing shards of rock is often described as one of the most thrilling sites for snorkeling and diving where it is common to see spotted eagle rays, sea turtles, marine iguanas, Galapagos sharks and even hammerhead sharks.
In addition, on the rock formation itself, blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds and sea lions can often be seen perched on the ledges above.