Activity Level: Moderated
Ship: Sea Star Journey
An adventurous circuit featuring the Western islands of the Archipelago where you can spot untamed endemic wildlife like Flightless Cormorant, Penguins, Marine Iguanas and incredible marine life when snorkeling around strategic sites of Isabela and Fernandina.
Sea Star Journey C itinerary: Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, as well as to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid). A representative of our M/Y Galápagos Sea Star Journey will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a bus ride to the Itabaca Channel and then transfer to Puerto Ayora.
Although the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, they also learn how people is working to protect and conserve the islands. In fact, the main attractions are the National Park information center, the Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Center for young tortoises and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.
A delightful place reached by a nice zodiac ride. “Tintoreras” are small islands in front of Puerto Villamil coast. There is Heron lava on the lookout on mangrove branch, and Galapagos Penguin and sea lion often pop out on shore. White-tipped reef sharks are fairly common in the archipelago. Their name in Spanish is Tintorera, as well as the name of this site, it is because you can always find them here resting in the shallow waters.
Isabela Island is the largest and one of the youngest islands in the Galapagos archipelago. We land in Puerto Villamil, which has the second smallest population in Galapagos with approximately 3000 hab. We head up to the highlands from Puerto Villamil to Sierra Negra slope, and later we will do some hiking on uneven terrain until we arrive to the Sierra Negra volcano rim. Sierra Negra is the second widest crater in the world. From this viewpoint, you have fantastic sights to the 6 x 5 -mile-wide crater, the rest of the volcanoes, and Perry Isthmus, a 12 Km wide lava field. In fact, from here we can hike to Chico Volcano to watch the striking lava formations, examples of the geological occurrences that have created the Galapagos Islands.
Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. The trail runs along a lava flow Pahohoe (solidified lava in the form of corrugated or an accordion) into a complex of coastal lagoons, its main attraction are several species of birds which can be found around this lakes and mangroves
This is a marine visitor site, so, the excursion is carried out in a zodiac and so there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets because there is the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos Islands. The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leafs. It is here that you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions. Frequently visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead whilst schools of Pompano as well as Dorado fish swim below.
Fernandina is the third largest island in the archipelago and it has a single visitor site: Punta Espinoza located at the northeastern tip of the island. However, just across Tagus Cove, you can see some of the unique species of Galapagos. Marine iguanas conglomerate in larger groups than in any other island. They bask around in the sand, swim near the shore and some time block the way at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the Flightless Cormorant. A bird that due to the lack of predators had to adjust their way of survival and improve their skills of finding food in the ocean. Their wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. In fact, to see these birds, is to witness evolution happening right in front of you. Stay within 2m of the cormorants and penguins.
Tagus Cove, a tour along the cliffs in a zodiac will give the visitors a good chance to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant as well as other sea birds. From the landing dock it is about a 30 minute hike along the trail up to the top of the cliff. Here you can see Darwin Lake, an uplifted ultra saline lake saltier than the sea. You can also see several volcanoes from this location. Look carefully at the graffiti on the surrounding cliffs of the cove, it has been written by pirates, whalers and buccaneers in past centuries.
Espumilla beach is located in northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. During the last presence the El Niño phenomenon, one of the two lagoons in this site, underwent a process of sedimentation. Thus causing the disappearance of a representative colony of flamingos. The main attractions are the Palo Santo forest and the marvelous landscape. The beach is an important site for nesting marine turtles.
Its black beach is located at the west side of the island and is the main attraction of the island. Their volcanic tuff deposits have favored the formation of this special black sand beach.
This site is called Puerto Egas, because there was an attempt of company of Hector Egas, to start the exploitation of salt, which failed because the price of salt in the continent was very cheap, and did not justify its exploitation in Galapagos. Although, they abandoned the project and left the infrastructure.
This little island is reach at approx 1 hour by panga from Port Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Island. The trail will lead across a dry vegetation zone, substrate of volcanic rocks and sandy areas. There is a small population of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, which nest in this site. At the beach you will see a large colony of sea lions. It is common to see shorebirds.
After your visit to Isla Lobos, transfer to the airport in San Cristobal and Flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.