This voyage explores in depth some of the larger islands in the Galapagos, with landings to see Galapagos penguins, Galapagos giant tortoises and a host of unique bird species.
A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island will help you learn about the breeding programmes being undertaken in the Galapagos to protect the giant tortoise and land iguana. You can also see giant tortoises in the wild in the highlands of Santa Cruz. You will then spend at least three days exploring Isabela Island, the largest of the archipelago, home to flamingos, penguins, green turtles and land iguanas.
Your journey then continues to the nearby volcanic island of Fernandina, which has a huge population of land iguanas, as well as a variety of other wildlife. The trip culminates with landings on Santiago, Bartolomé and North Seymour, where you can see fur seals, sealions, magnificent frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and more penguins.
A typical Galapagos Highlights itinerary is shown below, on board the Beluga, however we offer a variety of other voyages, durations and vessels.
Board your vessel on Santa Cruz Island
After arriving at Baltra airport you will be transferred to your vessel. Later that day you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about their giant tortoise and land iguana breeding programmes. In the highlands of Santa Cruz the giant tortoise can be seen in the wild.
Floreana is best known for its colourful history of buccaneers, whalers, convicts and early colonists. Punta Cormorant has two contrasting beaches and a large inland lagoon where pink flamingos can be seen. You will be able to snorkel at Devils Crown, located just off Punta Cormorant. The site is a completely submerged volcano that has eroded to create the appearance of a jagged crown.
Today brings landings on Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, formed by five active volcanoes fused together. Wolf Volcano is the highest point in the entire Galapagos at 1707 metres. Volcan Sierra Negra has a caldera with a diameter of 10 kilometres – here you can view recent lava flows, moist highland vegetation and parasitic cones. You will also visit Puerto Villamil, a charming small town on a white sand beach. Highlights include the Tortoise Breeding Station and the flamingo lagoon
Continue your exploration of Isabela with a landing at Punta Moreno, located on the central south western coast of the island. The site has spectacular views of Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcanoes and you can see impressive lava flows and desolate, pristine landscapes. Elizabeth Bay is only accessible by dinghy, and it is possible to see penguins on the small islets in the bay. Galapagos green turtles and rays can usually be seen in the water here.
There is more to see on this fascinating island, and today you will first stop at Urbina Bay, located in the foothills of Alcedo and Darwin volcanoes. Wildlife to be found here includes colourful land iguanas and Galapagos giant tortoises. Later you will visit Tagus Cove, a natural harbour where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship's names painted or carved on the rocks. A walk uphill to Darwin's Crater salt-water lake provides an excellent view.
Fernandina is the youngest volcanic island and is still active – it has rugged slopes, unusual lava formations and a huge population of land iguanas. There are also sealions, marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants. You’ll then take a panga ride along the cliffs to land at Punta Vicente Roca, where Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies and flightless cormorants inhabit the shoreline.
Santiago and Bartolomé Islands
Located between Isabela and Santa Cruz, Santiago offers a wide variety of seabirds, marine iguanas and fur seals. A walk along the rocky coastline at Puerto Egas will show you some of the Galapagos’ best tidal pools.
Continuing to Bartolomé, a hike will take you to the highest point to enjoy spectacular views. Sealions and penguins can be seen around Pinnacle Rock, and there is a sandy beach for swimming and snorkelling.
North Seymour, disembark and transfer to Baltra airport
The island of North Seymour is home to endemic Palo Santo trees, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow tailed gulls, and magnificent frigatebirds. After visiting this final island, it’s time to disembark your vessel and transfer back to Baltra airport.
This trip can easily be combined with our 8 day superior Galapagos Islands to make a complete and in depth experience of the Galapagos.
You should note: Exact itinerary and duration will depend on your chosen vessel, departure date and local conditions.