|Santa Cruz Description|
Altitude: max. 864 meters
Region: Galapagos Islands
Like many visitors, you will most likely start your journey in the Galápagos at Santa Cruz Island. After landing at Baltra Island airport, you will have to take the bus and afterwards pass the Ithaca Channel by ferry and reach, through the highlands, Puerto Ayora, the capital of the island. Santa Cruz is the second largest island of the archipelago, but it is the real economical heart of the tourism industry here. Puerto Ayora is where you will find many restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops and nice little hangouts. It is also the departure point for many day tours, home to some visitor’s highlights, such as the highlands and its wild Galapagos giant tortoises, and a transit hub for daily boat services to Isabela and San Cristobal Island. In the Charles Darwin Research Center, you can also admire sea turtles and tropical fishes in the water or marine iguanas and different types of birds on the shore.
- – Public bus Baltra – Canal Itabaca
- – Ferry Canal Itabaca
- – Transfer Baltra Aiport – Highlands – Santa Cruz hotel private / spanish speaking driver
- – Visit highlands & lunch rancho El Chato
Duration: Depending on arrival time of your flight
Location: Santa Cruz
How to get there: Pick up at Baltra Airport
Ranch El Chato
This 12 hectar ranch is part of a much former livestock farm that is not in use anymore. The Arias Family who own the ranch have been promoting tourism in this area of Santa Cruz for over 20 years now. They built trails, remodeled the area, received tortoises that were brought back to their natural habitat and implemented a new way of ecotourism. At the ranch you have time to walk between the trees and search for the giant tortoises that prefer to stay close to the small lagoons. Afterwards you will also visit the lava tubes. These impressive underground tunnels were formed when the outside skin of a molten-lava flow solidified. When the lava flow ceased, the molten lava inside the flow kept going like a river, emptying out of the solidified skin and thus leaving tunnels.
Arrival of giant tortoises on the Galapagos
The giant tortoises of Galapagos are among the most famous of the unique fauna of the Islands. The Galapagos Islands were named for their giant tortoises; the old Spanish word galapago meant saddle, a term early explorers used for the tortoises due to the shape of their shells. Scientists believe the first tortoises arrived to Galapagos 2–3 million years ago by drifting 600 miles from the South American coast on vegetation rafts or on their own. They were already large animals before arriving in Galapagos. Colonizing the eastern-most islands of Española and San Cristóbal first, they then dispersed throughout the archipelago, eventually establishing at least 14 separate populations on ten of the largest Galapagos Islands, including Santa Cruz.
The life of a giant tortoise
Compared to humans, giant tortoises might deserve to be called “lazy,” spending an average of 16 hours a day resting. Their activity level is driven by ambient temperature and food availability. Galapagos tortoises are herbivorous, feeding primarily on cactus pads, grasses, and native fruit. They drink large quantities of water when available that they can store in their bladders for long periods of time. Giant tortoises are among the world’s longest-living animals, with a life expectancy between 80 and 120 years.
What to bring:
- – Comfortable walking shoes
- – Sun protection
- – Water bottle, reusable
|Day 2 |
Tour uninhabited Island
Including light lunch on board
Please note that the options on this day are subject to availability due to weather conditions, operational decisions, and Galapagos National Park regulations.
Go on a full-day tour to one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Your destination can be reached by boat at a few hours from Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. The trip takes the majority of the day and is an interesting way to get to know the divers wildlife of the islands. You might spot some sea lions, sea turtles, giant rays, tropical fish, crabs, marine iguanas, mockingbirds and many others.
Difficulty: Easy – Moderate
North Seymour is an island that belongs to the archipelago of the Galapagos Islands, and is located near Baltra Island. It is named after an English noble, named Lord Hugh Seymour. It has an area of 1.9 km² and a maximum altitude of 28 meters. It was formed by the elevation of submarine lava. The entire island is covered with low, dense vegetation and has a trail for visitors of approximately 2 km in length that crosses the island and allows you to explore the rocky coast. There is a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls in this island. There is also a large population of land iguanas (Conolophus subcristatus), which are native to Baltra Island but migrated to Seymour. It is also possible to find numerous frigate birds and sea lions.
Bartolomé is an uninhabited island, located just off the east coast of Santiago Island. From all the Santa Cruz based day tours, it is the destination which is furthest away from Santa Cruz island. Bartolomé is one of the “younger” islands of the archipelago. This island offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the archipelago and consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and glistening black volcanic formations. Bartolomé has a volcanic cone that is easy to climb and provides great views of the other islands. The island is famous for its Pinnacle Rock, which is the distinctive characteristic of this island, and the most representative landmark of the Galápagos islands.
Santa Fe island
Santa Fe is located in the middle of the Galapagos and has an area of 24 km² with a maximum altitude of 259 m. Geologically it is one of the oldest islands of the Galapagos archipelago, with volcanic rocks older than four million years. The beauty of this island is best appreciated from the path that climbs the cliff with a view over the southern half of the bay. This plateau is also the best place to find giant land iguanas (Conolophus Pallidus), endemic to Santa Fe Island. The land iguana of Santa Fe does not live anywhere else in the world nor on any other island in the Galapagos. A sub-species of the famous Galápagos endemic land iguana, the Santa Fe variety, is yellow and green and can grow to more than one meter in length. On the beach of Santa Fe, you can see a colony of sea lions and in the bay, you will find stingrays, shark dyers and sea turtles. In the rocky part of the bay you have the opportunity to snorkel with colourful fish.
Duration: Full day
South Plazas Island
The Galapagos consist of 13 major islands and 6 smaller islands. There are actually two islands called Plazas: Plaza Norte and Plaza Sur. Only Plaza Sur, the southern bigger island located at the east coast of Santa Cruz, is visited by tourists. It has a total area of 11.9 hectares (0.119 km²) and a maximum altitude of 23 meters. The island is named in honour of an Ecuadorian president, General Leonidas Plaza and was formed by a current of lava from the bottom of the ocean. Despite its small size it is home to many animal species and it is famous for its extraordinary flora. On the steep banks, it is possible to see a large number of birds like swallow-tailed gulls. On the island you will also find beautiful cacti and the fascinating marine iguanas of Galapagos. Depending on the season, the vegetation changes its colour from intense green in the rainy season, to orange and purple in the dry season. This island has a lot to offer and the flora and fauna will astonish you!
You will have the morning free to explore the beautiful Santa Cruz island on your own.
- – Transfer Santa Cruz hotel – Santa Cruz dock. Private / Spanish speaking driver.
- – Speedboat Santa Cruz – San Cristobal shared
|Altitude: 85 meters|
Region: Galapagos Islands
You are about to follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who step ashore in 1835 to visit the wonderful San Cristóbal Island. Although the island is not the largest (it’s the fifth largest in the archipelago), it has the second largest population. The island is named after the patron of seafarers, Saint Christopher or in Spanish San Cristóbal. You will most likely visit or stay at the island’s main city, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, also the capital of Galapagos, located on the southwest point. The pier is small and situated on the cozy main boulevard. There is a grand variety of wildlife found all over San Cristóbal Island like blue-footed boobies, sea lions, sea turtles, frigate birds, marine iguanas or the Chatham mockingbird that can only be found on San Cristóbal Island.
- – Transfer San Cristobal dock – San Cristobal hotel. Private Spanish speaking driver.
- – Meet & Greet
Tour uninhabited Island including light lunch on board
|Please note that the options on this day are subject to availability due to weather conditions, operational decisions, and Galapagos National Park regulations.|
Go on a full-day tour to one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos archipelago. Your destination can be reached by boat at a few hours from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in San Cristobal. The trip takes the majority of the day and is an interesting way to get to know the divers wildlife of the islands. You might spot some sea lions, sea turtles, giant rays, tropical fish, crabs, marine iguanas, mockingbirds and many others.
Duration: Full Day tour
Difficulty: Medium (Good Swimmers)
In the middle of the sea northwest of Baquerizo Moreno Port, capital of the Island San Cristobal, we find this ancient and eroded volcanic tuff rock. Kicker Rock is formed by two rocks of approximately 148 m high, named in Spanish “Leon Dormido” for its resemblance to a sleeping lion. In the middle of the rocks, it forms an exceptional waterway to swim, practice snorkelling, and watch animals such as masked boobies, frigates, pelicans and sea lions. In the sea there are hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays and many tropical fish.
Duration: Full Day tour
Difficulty: Medium (Good Swimmers)
Lobos Island is a small flat islet, which can be reached by boat from San Cristobal. The islet is named this way as it is home to many sea lions, that play on the beaches, rest on the rocks and their brown fur stands out on the white sand. In addition, it is the ideal place to observe nesting frigate birds and blue footed boobies. It has a protected channel where you can snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles.
Free morning until your transfer will bring you to the airport for your flight back to the mainland of Ecuador.
|Transfer San Cristóbal hotel – San Cristóbal Airport|
|Hostal Galapagos Native|
|Casita de Isla|
|Casa Blanca (Standrd interior rooms)|
|Cassa de Nelly|
|Hotel Villa Laguna|
|Hotel Blue Marlin|
|Casa Blanca (Ocean view rooms)|
|Galapagos Sunset (Balcony room)|
|Miconia (Suite jr.)|
|GPS Habitat (Superior rooms|
|Hotel Angermeyer Point (Superior rooms)|
|Hotel Finch Bay (Garden view rooms)|
|Golden Bay (De luxe waterfront rooms)|
|Price single room p.p.||Price double room p.p.|
|– Accommodation based on double room including breakfast|
|– Visits according to the established program|
|– Transfers and transportation as mentioned|
|– Meals (only if mentioned)|
|– Welcome pack, quinoa cookies, water|
|– 24/7 local assistance in case of emergencies|
|– Drinks with meals included according to itinerary|
|– Entrance fees to visit sites|
|– Use of public transport or taxis|
|– Personal expenses|
|Please take into account the following: |
All itineraries are subject to change due to weather conditions, road conditions, national park rules – please be advised that your safety is our priority. Should you have any inquiries please do not hesitate to contact our customer experience representatives who will be attending the coordinated briefing in the respective hotels in Quito and/or Galapagos.