5 days / 4 nights
Yacht Isabela II offers the perfect, intimate space for exploring Darwin’s islands in comfort. Traditionalists will enjoy feeling at home with a crew that has remained almost unchanged for years, leading to seamless attention to detail that will make your stay extra special.
We arrive at Baltra airport and then we take you to the Itabaca Channel to take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30 minute bus ride takes us to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora. Depending on local weather conditions up in the highlands, we may include a short hike which will be a great introduction to some Galapagos wildlife. Our Expedition Team will advise accordingly.
bote: 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 on board Yacht Isabela II and the end of the day.Puerto Ayora and the Charles Darwin Research Station
After driving down from the highlands, we 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 we stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before embarking on Yacht Isabela II. We review the expeditions plan for next day, and enjoy the Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner.
A stunning anchorage provides our jumping-off point for our visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling from our skiffs, kayaking or a ride in our glass-bottom boat rounds off the rewarding experience.South Plaza
The turquoise waters here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by Galapagos land iguanas. Keep an eye open for the remarkable beaks of cactus finches. Along the coastline one finds sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.
The morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, a favourite of many visitors, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkelling and coastal exploration with chances of spotting fur seals along the rocky coastline. This uplifted island is also home to a nesting colony of frigatebirds, and provides great views of the surrounding islands due to its central location in the archipelago.Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island)
After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the “barges” beach, a name that morphed to “bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. We can swim and/or snorkel from the beach. In the evening, Thursday’s expedition plan briefing and dinner.
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits for us: Bartolome Island. A great way to start the day, with a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, we take the dinghies for a ride around colossal Pinnacle Rock, followed by time to enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling. Explore the shores and look for Galapagos penguins too. We can also ride in the glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world.Sullivan Bay (Santiago Island)
After lunch, we get on board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming with a trail over a lava field that flowed here a little over 120 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos while observing its wildlife. Many label this location as an open textbook of geologic wonders.
After breakfast, we leave for the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.
* The itinerary can vary depending on the day you wish to start the trip
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