Upon arrival at the Mariscal Sucre Airport in Quito, you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time you can set out on an excursion in Quito (own expenses).
Overnight at a first-class hotel in Quito.
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be picked up and taken to the Mariscal Sucre airport in Quito to catch your onward flight to Galapagos at 0815h (08:15am.) The flight from Quito to Baltra airport in Galapagos takes approximately 2 hours.
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra. Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Corals.
PM – Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz):
Dry landing. We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place and you will have the opportunity to meet Lonesome George, the last surviving specimen of his species and symbol of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment. It is an excellent place for visitors to be photographed with them. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and variety Darwin’s finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.
Your stay on M/Y Coral includes all meals on the cruise from dinner on first day of the cruise to breakfast on the last day of the cruise.
Wet landing on an olivine green sand beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach one can spot sea turtles, Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search of food.
This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
PM – Post Office (Floreana):
Wet landing. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay is so-named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them to their destinations. Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel that should reach their destinations for free. It can take weeks, months, even years, not arrive at all, or even arrive before you!
We may also encounter Darwin’s finches, Yellow Warbler and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles as well, this island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.
Return to your ship.
Wet landing on a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so we stay along the shore where we can spot Galapagos Hawk, American Oystercatcher, Galapagos Dove, Hood Mockingbird, Yellow Warbler, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin’s finches: a subspecies (Geospiza fuliginosa) of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the large ground finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Warbler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea) which is another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling offers a great variety of Galapagos marine animals: King Angelfish, Creole Fish, Damsel Fish, parrot fish, manta rays, and White-tipped Reef Sharks.
PM - Suárez Point (Española):
Dry landing. An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies and the spectacular red billed tropic bird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful sally light foot crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you among Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. OtheR birding favorites include Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Hawk, Swallow-tailed Gulls and the world’s largest colony of Waved Albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water at some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.
Return to your ship.
Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about Natural History in the Galapagos. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the islands.
Tijeretas Hill which involves a high intensity walk through beautiful landscapes ending with a magnificent view nearby a large frigate bird colony.
San Cristobal Airport:
After the visit you will go straight to the airport for return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
Overnight at Hotel in Quito, first class.