Wild GalapagosJune 8, 2015 - June 16, 2015
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
June 8 Depart USA / Guayaquíl, Ecuador
Depart on your flight to Guayaquíl. Transfer to our hotel for the night.
June 9 Guayaquíl / San Cristóbal Island / Embark Isabela II
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. On arrival, transfer to the Isabela II for check in and an introductory briefing. San Cristóbal was the first island Charles Darwin visited when he arrived in the Galápagos. First known as Chatham Island, it was later named in honor of Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón).
June 10 Genovesa (Tower) Island
Cross the equator overnight, arriving at Genovesa Island. Enter Darwin Bay, formed by the caldera of a partially eroded volcano, for a short Zodiac tour along the coastline to Prince Philip’s Steps, where you may find red-footed boobies nesting in palo santo trees. Nazca boobies nest on the ground, along with wedge-rumped storm petrels and short-eared owls. Afterward, swim and snorkel along the cliffs of this colossal harbor. Later, land on a sandy beach and pass swallow-tailed gulls as you walk by a forest of salt bush and mangrove where colonies of great frigatebirds and red-footed boobies nest.
June 11 Santiago (James) Island
This morning arrive at Espumilla Beach, a large coffee-colored sand beach located at the north end of the island. A short walk inland takes you through a mangrove forest to a brackish lagoon where flocks of pink flamingos and white-cheeked pintails can be seen. Once back on the beach you have another chance to swim or snorkel. After a short lunch cruise, arrive at Puerto Egas and hike along a coastal trail to a nearby fur seal grotto. Along the shore you may spot great blue and striated herons, oystercatchers, and yellow-crowned night herons as they feed. At low tide it is possible to see colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas grazing on sea lettuce.
June 12 Fernandina Island / Isabela Island
The cool waters of the Cromwell Current upwell around Isabela and Fernandina and these nutrient-rich waters provide great feeding sources for whales and dolphins. In the morning explore Punta Espinoza on Fernandina, the youngest island of the Galápagos. Observe the largest colony of marine iguanas in the archipelago, flightless cormorants, and moonscape-like lava fields. This is one of the largest, most pristine islands in the world with no introduced species to date. On the western shore of Isabela, stop at secluded Tagus Cove, which was once a favorite anchorage for pirates and whalers. An uphill hike through the forest takes you to Darwin Lake, a crater filled with salt water.
June 13 Isabela Island
Step ashore on a gentle sloping beach on Urbina Bay. A short trail leads to a coral reef, evidence of uplift from the sea which occurred in 1954. Here you may find land and marine iguanas, giant Galápagos tortoises, flightless cormorants, and Galápagos penguins. Then cruise north along the Bolívar Channel, accompanied by impressive views of Isabela’s rugged coast, to Punta Vicente Roca. Be on the lookout here for more cormorants, penguins, blue-footed boobies, turtles, and perhaps, the amazing mola mola.
June 14 Rábida Island / Santa Cruz Island
Though small, Rábida contains a great variety of rock and lava types. Wildlife found here includes Galápagos hawks, pelicans, and sea lions. Your next stop is Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) on the northwest side of Santa Cruz Island. Aptly named, this site is one of the best places to see land iguanas. The trail continues through palo santo trees and cacti forests and ends at a saltwater lagoon, where you may see various species of birds.
June 15 Baltra Island / Disembark / Guayaquíl
This morning enjoy time at leisure before disembarking the Isabela II for your flight back to Guayaquíl. On arrival transfer to our hotel. This afternoon, there is free time to relax before a farewell dinner and overnight.
June 16 Guayaquíl / USA
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your independent flights homeward.