• Dolphin - Photo courtesy of Mr Hardman

Galapagos

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Galapagos

There are many early reports of the ‘discovery’ of these remarkable islands, but the voyage of the Beagle, carrying Charles Darwin is probably the most famous and it was his discoveries that set the tone for our fascination with these islands.  Cruising is a popular way to explore these islands (although there are land based options as well) and it is advisable to decide on the duration, itinerary and date of your cruise before planning the rest of your holiday.  Most cruises explore the main highlights – here is an example of a shorter itinerary:

Day 1: Baltra Island
Day 2: Bartolomé Island
Day 3: Rabida Island (Jervis)
Day 4: Highlands of Santa Cruz Island
Day 5: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island)
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[wptabtitle] Description [/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Description

This is a typical program for a 5 day/4 night Galápagos Expedition. The route and program may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety reasons and wildlife encounters. If you have more time available then you may consider a more extensive 8 day/7 night expedition.

Day 1: Baltra Island
Arrive by plane to Baltra Island where you will be met and transferred to the dock to board the expedition vessel. After cabin assignment and an introductory welcome talk your will have lunch before practising the ship’s safety drill.
Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) (Santa Cruz Island)
The north shore of Santa Cruz hosts Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill). Dry landing and a walk that includes a brackish water lagoon frequented by lagoon birds, including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings, and more. Further inland, the trail offers a beautiful view of the bay and the western area of the archipelago. This area, a natural nesting site for land iguanas, is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station. The arid-zone vegetation can be a rewarding location for bird watching, where Darwin’s finches, Galápagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galápagos flycatcher, and yellow warblers are regular sightings. Each evening your expedition guides will reveal the plan for the next day. Welcome cocktail and dinner.

Day 2: Bartolomé Island
Disembark at Bartolomé Island for a hike to the summit, a great way to start the day. This is a steep climb aided by a wooden staircase; the view from the top is worth the effort. Dinghy ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock before time to enjoy the beach and snorkelling, with the chance to snorkel alongside Galápagos Penguins. Alternatively, ride on the glass bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.
Puerto Egas, Santiago (James) Island
Afternoon outing at Puerto Egas. This is a great location to see in particular shore birds, whilst land birds can be observed further inland. The pitch black shores are great places for watching sea birds and their foraging habits. The trail brings us to a colony of the endemic Galápagos fur seals. At low tide, marine iguanas graze upon emerald green algae beds. Outstanding snorkelling and swimming from the beach before the walk. Weather permitting, stargazing on deck.

Day 3: Rabida Island (Jervis)
Disembark at Rabida Island on a red-coloured beach, due to the unusually high content of iron in the volcanic material. A stroll along the beach of this small island allows the observation of a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas, mockingbirds, yellow warblers and several species of Darwin’s Finches. Very close to the beach, hidden behind a strip of green saltbush, is a salt pond where at times Greater Flamingos migrate to. This is a great place to snorkel from the beach, both for beginners as well as for experienced snorkellers, due to the unique combination of underwater species and submarine landscapes. During navigation to our next island, we will keep our eyes open for dolphins.
North Seymour Island
Today’s afternoon starts with a dry landing for a view of the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, one of the few uplifted islands in Galápagos Archipelago. The trail leads guests to explore colonies of blue footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, and swallow-tail gulls. The sandy shore teems with Galápagos sea lions and marine iguanas. Vegetation is made up of cacti, Palo Santo trees and Salt Bushes.

Day 4: Highlands of Santa Cruz Island
A morning bus ride will take guests to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island for a special opportunity to view the islands’ most famous reptile, the giant tortoises, in their wild habitat. What a privilege to see an endangered species roving in this lush environment. The vegetation of the area includes the Scalesia Forest (an endemic giant daisy tree) and birds such as the vermilion flycatcher will delight everyone with its scarlet feathers against an emerald green forest. Look for Darwin’s finches (most of them from the tree-finch group), particularly the famous Woodpecker Finch. Lunch at the Finch Bay Eco Hotel in Puerto Ayora.
Charles Darwin Research Station
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the rearing in captivity program for the giant tortoises. Here we witness the efforts and results of all the field work done in the name of science. Impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest and many land birds can be also seen. Then, a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora will allow you to see how Galapagueños live in this magical paradise. Browse in the many handcraft shops. Return aboard the expedition vessel

Day 5: Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island)
Disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This small attractive port, the provincial capital of the Galápagos Islands (population 4,000), is located along a crescent-shaped bay. It was this very same island that Charles Darwin first visited, back in September 1835. Visit the San Cristóbal Interpretation Centre, located in a natural setting; it allows visitors to obtain information that will help them understand more the natural history of the Galápagos, with a great emphasis on human history and conservation. Afterwards, stroll through Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where souvenir shops and internet cafés welcome world travellers. Transfer to the airport for the flight back to the mainland.

crabs

Photo credit Metropolitan Touring


MTE1898

Photo credit Metropolitan Touring


MTE0389

Photo credit Metropolitan Touring       


Galapagos landscape

Photo credit Metropolitan Touring


MTE0309

Photo credit Metropolitan Touring


MTE1752

Photo credit Metropolitan Touring

            

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[wptabtitle] Little Gems[/wptabtitle] [wptabcontent]

Little Gems

If cruising is not for you and you prefer to sleep at least on terra firma, consider a stay at Finch Bay Resort.  The property offers multi-night packages to include yacht excursions to surrounding islands, or can be booked on a nightly basis as an addition to a cruise.
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