GALAPAGOS GOLD EXTENSION 2018

Extension to Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) 5 Days/4 Nights

  • Day 01  Baltra- Santa Cruz – Twin Craters -Charles Darwin Research Center
  • Day 02   South Plaza or Bartolome Island
  • Day 03   North Seymour Island
  • Day 04   Highlands of Santa Cruz and Tortuga Bay beach
  • Day 05   Transfer out -Puerto Ayora -Baltra

DAY 1

TRANSFER IN – VISIT CHARLES DARWIN STATION - / L / -

Your flight lands on Baltra Island where our guide awaits you to accompany you from the airport to our hotel in Puerto Ayora. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and requires several changes before arriving at the Itabaca channel, where onward transport to Puerto Ayora is waiting.

During the journey, you make a stop at the Cráteres Gemelos (Twin Craters) which are found on either side of the road leading to Puerto Ayora. These impressive formations were formed when underground magma chambers collapsed, leaving two large craters. The craters lie within lush Scalesia cloud forest, a high-altitude plant species that is endemic to the Galapagos. This area is also home to the Carpenter Finch, which uses tools to search for food. There may also be opportunities to see the Pajaro Brujo (Vermillion Flycatcher), a small red-breasted bird.

In the afternoon, your guide leads a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, which was home of the famous hundred-year-old tortoise, Solitary George who came from Pinta Island and died in June 2012.

The Station has a visitor center where you learn about the history of the islands, as well as various enclosures with information detailing conservation programs for the wildlife of the Galapagos.

Overnight at the selected hotel.

DAY 2

NAVIGATION TO NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND B / L / -

Pick up from the hotel at 08h00 and transfer to the channel of Itabaca, where the staff of your boat is waiting for you. The trip takes around one hour, close to your arrival you are able to spot grey shapes from the Bursera Graveolens trees that almost never carry any leaves.

Seymour was created many million years ago due to the elevation of tectonic plates and the island has a flat shape with many small cliffs that serve as home for the local seabirds. Swallow-tailed gulls and frigate birds overfly the island, frigate males showing their big red throat pouches to find their mate. Meanwhile along the path, many blue footed boobies are nesting or executing their mating ritual in which they dance and whistle in a very unique way. It is also common to see these birds flying near the coasts looking for food and dive into the water at high speed, a stunt that they are only able to perform due to a special waterproof protection on their wings. Seymour is probably the island which best resumes the known Galapagos species, as you are also be able to see sea lions, sea and land iguanas, pelicans, royal frigate birds and many others.

You return to the hotel at around 16h00, allowing you to relax in the hotel or enjoy a walk through town before dinner time.

Overnight at the selected hotel.

DAY 3

NAVIGATION TO SOUTH PLAZA B / L / -

Picked up at 08h00 and transfer to the Channel of Itabaca where the staff of your boat is expecting you. The trip takes around 90 minutes until you arrive at the dock of Plazas South, a small island of only 13 hectares, but with such a big diversity in fauna and flora that it is known as one of the favorite places for visitors. The landing is made in between Plazas South and North, on the second visitors are not allowed, it is only used for scientific purpose. You are greeted by turquoise water that contrasts perfectly with the black color of the volcanic rocks of the islands. Big colonies of sea lions lie on the shores, their males always aware of any intruder.

Impressive opuntias grow near the coast and a big carpet of sea-purslanes covers almost the whole island and turns it red during the dry season. In between land and sea iguanas are resting and taking a sun bath. The cohabitation of these two species has created a hybrid species that can be seen on Plazas South. Additionally, the island is perfect for spotting sea birds, such as masked boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls and frigate birds.

You are back at the hotel at around 16h00.

Overnight at the selected hotel.

DAY 4

TORTUGA BAY / HIGHLANDS OF SANTA CRUZ B / L / -

Your guide picks you up at 8h00 to start the tour to Tortuga Bay. Don´t forget to take sun protection and water with you, as you walk one hour to the beach. During this walk you spot different types of finches and cactus throughout the whole path.

Tortuga Bay has been given its name by the many sea turtles that nest on this beach. The beach is split into the so called wild beach and the calm beach and you are able to walk along the shore and see sea iguanas that contrast with the beautiful landscape of white sand. It is not recommendable to go swimming on the wild beach as it is known for its strong currents, but once you reach the calmer beach you can go for a swim and enjoy the calm water surrounded by mangroves. You return the same way to the hotel and have your lunch there.

In the afternoon the trip continues to the highlands of Santa Cruz, the home to the biggest tortoise population on the Archipelago. During the trip you might experience a slight change of the weather conditions, as this area is colder and humid. Many private properties are located in the highlands and are used for agriculture and cattling and the protection of endemic species of the area. This place is perfect for spotting birds, the paint-billed crake, the Galapagos crake or the vermilion flycatcher. Before returning you experience an exciting hike through the lava tunnels that originated due to the cooling of lava on the surface.

At around 16h00 you are back in the hotel.

Overnight at the selected hotel.

DAY 5

PUERTO AYORA – BALTRA -TRANSFER OUT B / - / -

After breakfast, according to the individual flight schedules of our guests, we coordinate every transfer to the airport of Baltra with our hotel staff individually. Our service does not end until our guests have checked in with full satisfaction, many photographs, and uncountable, unforgettable memories in their luggage while heading back home.

 

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