We have put together another adventure for birders and nature lovers combining the best of the top island of the Galapagos, more accessible and spending more time in the field exploring the most famous islands in the archipelago and the first steps of Charles Darwin, providing a huge bird and wildlife diversity of the Galapagos plus great hiking and snorkeling (optional with no charge) activities. This can be taken as a main tour or be combined with our adventure to Darwin and Wolf previous to this trip.
This classic southeastern Islands route cruises the Galapagos’ oldest islands, where evolution had enough time to create unique species and subspecies, which became emblematic figureheads that differ from island to island. The nutrient-rich Humboldt Current that flows past these coasts allows life to reach unusually high levels of abundance, which you will witness first-hand during your hiking, birding, snorkeling adventures. At Pitt Point, you will disembark at the same green-sand bay that Charles Darwin did in 1835, enabling you to share his same ineffable source of inspiration.
LOGISTICS:– Group size 8 people including 1 tour leader. A minimum of 5 people are required to run the trip. – Tour starts October 4th 2023, when you must arrive in Quito and spend one night close to the airport. – October 5th, we travel by plane in the morning from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands (a $20 dollars Galapagos Transit Control Card must be paid in Quito at departure to Galapagos), this flight has a cost of $600 pp (We can book in advance if you want us to do that job too. Upon arrival a National Park fee must be paid on the island for the whole trip ($100 pp). -October 9th we fly from San Cristóbal to Quito for your flight home. – Our vessel is the Catamaran Archipel I . The vessel accommodates 16 passengers in 8 rooms all of which have private bath and shower facilities. Sun deck: Solarium with loungers and stunning views. Amenities: Private bathroom with a hot shower, toilet and washbasin, biodegradable soap, shampoo and conditioner; Air conditioning; Closet and Towels.
Birding Hotspots to be visited:
Baltra airport – Baltra Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L6046749
Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre – Santa Cruz Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L878467
Fisherman’s dock – Puerto Ayora – Santa Cruz https://ebird.org/hotspot/L10077963
Cormorant Point Floreana Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L471680
Post Office Bay Floreana Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L798189
Baroness Lookout Floreana Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L9013201
Gardner Bay Española Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L471682
Suarez Point Española Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L471681
Pitt Point San Cristóbal Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1629213
Witch Hill San Cristóbal Island https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2313890
Lobos Islet San Cristóbal https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2486797
DAY 1 – WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 4th 2023
Flight from your country to the City of Quito, and stay in a city hotel near the airport. the day before the flight to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. This day is covered by every traveler. We can recommend flights and lodging recommendations if required.
DAY 2 – THURSDAY OCTOBER 5 2023
Quito to Baltra & Santa Cruz (Galapagos Islands)
Upon arrival at Baltra airport (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L6046749), you will pass through an airport inspection point to ensure 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 guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbour.
Our birding and natural history adventure starts here, birds to be spotted around the terminal includes Small and Medium Ground Finches, Common Cactus Finch, Galapagos Warbler and Galapagos Dove. In the afternoon we move to Santa Cruz Island, we will visit the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre (Santa Cruz) in Puerto Ayora, at this site, you can observe tortoises that come from various islands of the archipelago. They comply with the captive breeding program and then return to repopulate the areas where their population has been affected. The land iguanas of Santa Cruz, Isabela and North Seymour are also in a captive breeding program, as the populations in these areas suffered from feral dogs. One of the main attractions is the famous embalmed Lonesome George. Estimated to have died between 93 and 109 years of age, it is recognized as the last of its kind and a symbol of the efforts invested to conserve endangered species. The captive tortoises are used to the presence of visitors, so it’s a great place to take photos with them.
The Breeding Centre is located next to the Charles Darwin Station Facilities (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L878467), this area includes lowland scrub and woodlands, this area is great to get close views to Darwin Finches and the best for the Vegetarian Finch and the Large Ground-finch.
This is also a great spot for Galapagos Flycatcher, Galapagos Mockingbird, as well Galapagos Dove.
If the time allows we will visit the Fisherman’s dock (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L10077963) (pelican Bay) to have closer views of Lava Gull, Brown Pelican and Great-Blue Heron. Overnight at Archipel I. (D)
DAY 3 – FRIDAY OCTOBER 6th 2023
Cormorant Point and Devil’s Crown, Post Office Bay and Baroness Lookout (Floreana)
This morning we will explore The peninsula of Cormorant Point (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L471680) forms the extreme north cape of Floreana Island, which exists out of smaller volcanic cones, covered by a tropical dry forest of palo santo. At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals which have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The “flour sand” beach on the southern side of the peninsula is made up of even finer white coral sand which feels very smooth on the feet. Parrotfish have pulverized it, grinding the calcareous skeletons of living coral.
You can spot schools of stingrays who love the sandy bottom to hide. Devil’s Crown offers one of the best snorkeling spots in the Galapagos due to the coral reef in its centre (Yes we can snorkel), which attracts a lot of marine life. Target species include waders, also Black-necked Stilt, American Flamingo, Galapagos Pintail, Galapagos Penguins plus Galapagos Shearwater and Red-billed Tropicbird, and if we are lucky the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Darwin Finches here includes Medium and Small Tree Finches, Small Ground-Finch, Common Cactus Finch and Medium Ground Finch. Here you can also spot sea lions, sea turtles, many different colorful fish and even some dolphins.
In the afternoon we are visiting Post Office Bay (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L798189) and Baroness Lookout (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L9013201) (Floreana) Historically, this site is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed there in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Letters found inside the barrel were collected and delivered by sailors returning home. There was no postage fee and, surprisingly, this mailbox and its honour system are still in use today. Although letters are no longer important messages from sailors to their loved ones, tourists leave thousands of them today and many still reach their destination. You can also relax on the beach, where in addition to Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles and golden rays, you may see Galapagos penguins.
This is the only place in the southeastern archipelago where penguins reside. You can also climb the small basaltic cone of the Baroness Lookout and enjoy the coastline’s paradisiacal views. This viewpoint was the favourite spot of one of Floreana’s first settlers, the eccentric baroness and self-proclaimed “Empress of Galapagos” Eloisa von Wagner, who even built her house a few metres further back. Target birds at Post Office Bay and Baroness Lookout Are Swallow-tailed Gull, Galapagos Penguin, Nazca and Blue Footed Boobies, Frigatebirds and Galapagos Flycatcher. Overnight at Archipel I. (BLD)
DAY 4 – SATURDAY OCTOBER 7th 2023
Osborn Islet and Gardner Bay, Suarez Point (Española)
The striking white beach at Gardner Bay is our destination for the morning at Española Island, (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L471682) this is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. However, without a doubt, its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year-round in this nursery, suckling their pups until they are three years old, although they start to fish at five months. During the breeding and mating season, the colony becomes even bigger.
Target birds at the Gardner Bay and Osborn Islet include the island endemics Española Mockingbird, Española Ground-Finch, Small Ground-Finch, Gray Warbler-Finch (subespecies), Galapagos Hawk, Storm Petrels and more.
In the afternoon we are visiting Suarez Point (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L471681). Huge ocean waves crash onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays metres high into the air (depending on the season, the tide and how strongly the sea breeze pushes the waves).
Take your time for a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint and keep your eyes peeled since this is the site we visit a nesting colony of Waved Albatross, plus the Albatross, the endemic Española Mockingbird and Española Cactus-Finch are usually easy along the trail, here we will also have close views of nesting Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbird and Swallow-tailed Gulls. The Galapagos Oystercatcher can be spotted at the landing site. Overnight at Archipel I. (BLD)
DAY 5 – SUNDAY OCTOBER 8th
Pitt Point, Witch Hill (San Cristóbal)
This morning we are visiting Pitt Point (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L1629213). Two wind-sculptured tuff cones at Pitt Point make up the extreme eastern end of San Cristobal, thus the archipelago. These cliffs were the first sight of land when HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin arrived on the 15th of September, 1835, we will disembark at the same green-sand bay that Charles Darwin did.
On the small green sand beach, you will be welcomed by a group of barking Galapagos sea lions. This is a bachelor colony, where males usually relax and prepare themselves for fighting and mating. Birds along the trail include Red-footed Boobies, Blue-footed Boobies, here we can also find a colony of Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrels, the arid scrub is also the place to spot the endemic San Cristobal Mockingbird plus more Galapagos Flycatchers.
In the afternoon we will visit Witch Hill (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2313890). This site’s primary attraction is the coral sand beach, an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Witch Hill is the remains of a tuff cone and one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. It has an impressive landscape, where it is often possible to see coastal and migratory birds, including Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies and Swallow-tailed Gulls; as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. At times, the lagoon is completely dry and deposits of salt can be found at the bottom. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine. Here we will look for better views of San Cristobal Mockingbird and more. Overnight at Archipel I. (BLD)
DAY 6 – MONDAY October 9th
Lobos Islet (San Cristóbal) and departure
The Lobos Islet’s beach harbours a colony of Galapagos sea lions (https://ebird.org/hotspot/L2486797). As in other colonies in the archipelago, you can approach nurturing females within a few metres. In the breeding season, this colony is also visited by territorial males, defending and mating the harem on their part of
the beach. This low islet is home to more than just Galapagos sea lions. Two other emblematic species breed here: male Blue-footed Boobies and Great Frigatebirds who try to impress the females (and tourists) with clumsy dances, heaving their striking blue feet or blowing up their balloon-sized scarlet pouches. During the breeding season, the fluffy and hungry chicks cry for food, and when their wings get strong enough, they will learn to fly. Other top birds here include Lava Gull, Elliot’s Storm-Petrel and Brown Noddy.
After this, assisted by the naturalist guide and some crew members, you will be taken to San Cristobal airport for your flight to Quito and connections home. Take into account that we fly from a different island and airport than the arrival one (We can book flights if arranged in advance). (B)
BIRDING – NATURAL HISTORY CRUISE (October 5-9 2023)
Price for the Trip $ 3 500.00 USD, pp. You can book and confirm your spot with $1000 pp.
- Lodging on board in a cabin with private facilities.
- All meals, water, coffee and tea.
- Full time bilingual nature-bird guide.
- All excursions as mentioned in the itinerary with an English speaking naturalist guide.
- All transfers in Galapagos (airport-yacht-airport transfers are only guaranteed if the flight has been booked through us).
- Snorkeling gear (masks, flippers and snorkel).
- International Flights to Quito. Wel can recommend flights.
- Roundtrip flight to Galapagos Islands ($600 pp) We can book that in advance.
- First night in Quito (we can recommend and provide assistance if requested in advance).
- Galapagos National Park entrance fee (USD 100 pp, subject to change)
- Transit Control Card (USD 20pp, subject to change)
- Airport transfers in Galapagos (only included if the Galapagos flight has been booked through us on the scheduled cruise dates. * If your arrival/departure is different than our scheduled cruise flights, the shuttle service is not included)
- Wetsuit rental.
- Soft and alcoholic drinks
- Travel insurance and other items of personal nature.
More information and details drop us a line email@example.com or by WhatsApp +506 83589938. Flock with us to Galapagos.