Day 1 Sunday: Santa Cruz - Dragon Hill
Your guide will pick you up at Baltra Airport (GPS), where you arrive with your flight from mainland Ecuador. (Domestic flights included) He will escort you aboard the Bonita, where you will have lunch. In the afternoon you will go to Dragon Hill in the northwest of Santa Cruz island. There you will find a 1600m long trail running through 3 different environments. Here live land iguanas and also flamingos, which feed on the vast shrimp populations living in the lagoons.
In the evening, you will have dinner on the boat and also a briefing for next day's activities, which will be held daily. For the rest of your first evening in the Galapagos islands you can enjoy the sunset on deck.
Day 2 Monday: Santiago - Playa Espumilla - Egas Port
Today, you sail further north to Isla Santiago and it’s beach Playa Espumilla, where giant tortoises nest once a year. There’s Palo Santo (‘holy stick’) trees, famous for their wood being used for incense. The landscape is stunning!
After lunch you continue your trip to Egas Port and its beach made out of black sand, which comes from the volcano Pan de Azucar slightly south.
The caldera of the volcano contains a salt water lake which dries out during the hottest season of the year. In the late 1920’s, explorations to develop a salt mine here were carried out, but luckily it was decided that a mine would not be feasible. You will be back on the boat just in time for dinner.
Day 3 Tuesday: Isabela Island - Vicente Roca Point - Fernandina - Espinoza Point
Your next destination will be Isabela island. The north, to be exact, where only cruise ships can go and therefore very few people ever get the chance to see this isolated part of the island. Here, at Vicente Roca Point, comprising two separate coves, the marine wildlife is more than spectacular. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the huge and fascinating Mola-mola (sunfish), one of the heaviest bony fishes in the world.
In the afternoon you continue to Fernandina island, where you anchor near Espinoza Point, the only visiting site of this island, famous for the large colonies of marine iguanas and the home of the flightless cormorant, the Galapagos penguin and snakes. La Cumbre, the volcano on Fernandina, which erupted last in 2005, does the rest to create a beautiful scenery. It is the only island that doesn’t have mammals and the open areas are extremely fragile. In the first half of each year, marine iguanas can be found nesting here.
Day 4 Wednesday: Isabela - Urbina Bay - Tagus Cove
Prepare for a hike! Today you will return to Isabela island, where you land at Urbina Bay, at the base of Alcedo Volcano, in the morning. The trail is about 3.2kms long. During this walk, you can observe land iguanas, hawks, and tortoises. It is also possible to see red and blue lobsters.
After lunch, Tagus Cove is on the agenda. While exploring the area you will find inscriptions made by pirates who roamed the island in the 1800s. From here, you can see lake Darwin.
Day 5 Thursday: Isabela - Moreno Point - Elizabeth Bay
Today is a day for bird watchers!
You will disembark the Bonita for a dinghy ride along the rocky shores of Moreno Point and a hike along a path through lava rock leading to tide pools and mangroves is just a delight. In the tide pools, green sea turtles or whitetip sharks can be spotted.
Elizabeth Bay is your afternoon adventure. This is one of the island's breeding sites for penguins, brown pelicans, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays and sea lions are also often seen.
Day 6 Friday: Isabela - Tintoreras - Los Humedales
The south of Isabela island is today's destination. Tintoreras, a tiny islet, right off the coast, has a huge population of marine iguanas sun-bathing most of the day on the rocks, as well as lava lizards, herons, gulls and sea lions. In the coves, it is easy to find Sea Turtles, rays and even penguins.
The whitetip reef sharks, sometimes seen in the waters here, are called Tintoreras in spanish, which is the namesake of the islet.
In the afternoon you will visit Los Humedales, one of Isabela’s hidden gems. Humedales translates to ‘wetlands’, characterized by sandy beaches and rocky shores, but especially the mangroves, important for its role as a nursery for marine animals and as a nesting place for all kinds of birds.
The list is long: pink flamingos and migratory birds including black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, whimbrel, osprey, greater and lesser yellowlegs, wilson’s phalarope, short-billed dowitcher, common tern, blue-winged teal, among others.
In the Isabela Breeding Center you can also observe young giant tortoises.
Tonight, you might want to enjoy your last evening of this amazing trip onboard the Bonito with a cocktail in hand and let your thoughts wander at sunset.
Day 7 Saturday: Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Station
After breakfast, your last big activity is on the agenda: a visit to the famous Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz’s main town of Puerto Ayora. A private bus will bring you to the entrance, where you will join a guided tour through the station and its breeding center. Here is where Lonesome George lived, the famous last individual of the giant tortoises from Pinta island.
Unfortunately, George died in 2012, but the station remains an important place for other near extinct species, being nurtured and bred before being released back to the wild of their original islands.
Here is where your trip ends, and you take a shuttle back to Baltra Airport, where you will catch your flight out of the Galapagos and maybe you take a look back on the amazing trip you had when looking out of the window.