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Seabird Sanctuary Expedition

Traversing the Jewels of Central and Northeastern Galapagos

(Monday to Friday)

5 days
FROM USD 4,514 pp
12 of 15
Galapagos Iconic Species

Overview

Home / Galapagos Islands Tours / Central and Northeastern Galapagos Tour

Our journey begins with giants of the tortoise kind. After landing at Baltra airport, we will soon be among these lumbering creatures in their natural, highland habitat. The next day takes us to the beautiful coast of Santiago Island, home to sleepy fur seals, where there’s a chance to snorkel alongside marine iguanas, before an afternoon visit to the sandy beach of Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat Islet). Overnight we sail up to Genovesa, otherwise known as “Bird Island,” where we spend the entire day observing remote colonies of nesting birds, including the rare red-footed booby, and explore the island’s gorgeous shorelines, cliffs, and beaches. Returning to the central islands, Santa Fe offers glimpses of the islands’ top avian predator, the Galapagos hawk, while in the afternoon, we can hope to observe sea lions and sharks in the waters off South Plaza. From tortoises to boobies, hawks to sea lions, our northern itinerary makes for five truly memorable days in the Galapagos.

The BIG15: Must-see Wildlife of the Galapagos

Because the Galapagos Islands are so extensive, deciding where to go and what to see can be challenging. In crafting our itineraries to ensure our guests experience the optimum array of Galapagos species, we spoke with experts, Naturalist Guides, and island enthusiasts to identify the archipelago’s most unique and fascinating animals. Their choices influenced our creation of the Galapagos BIG15, which showcases the most iconic Galapagos wildlife.

Itinerary Map

Yacht Isabela Northern Itinerary Map
Northern Itinerary Map

Day by Day

Day 1: Baltra Island & Santa Cruz Island

Visit Santa Cruz Island from Baltra Airport

Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, we embark on a scenic drive to the Itabaca Channel for a delightful ferry journey to Santa Cruz Island. Following a brief 30-minute bus ride, we ascend to the captivating and lush Highlands of the island, where we delve into its exceptional ecosystems and rich biodiversity. A delectable lunch awaits at a charming local restaurant.

Exploring the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island

Post-lunch, our excursion continues as we head to a nearby reserve renowned as one of the premier spots in the archipelago to observe giant tortoises in their natural environment. These majestic creatures leisurely roam, grazing on grass and leaves and indulging in the tranquility of small pools. Moreover, the reserve boasts several intriguing lava tunnels to explore. Our journey concludes with a brief bus transfer to Puerto Ayora to embark on the Isabela II for further adventures.

Discover Puerto Egas on Santiago Island

Upon a wet landing on the striking black, sandy beach, our journey leads us to marvel at up-close encounters with recently reintroduced land iguanas alongside terrestrial and marine birds amidst a backdrop of tuff-stone layers, rugged rocks, and lava formations. Marine iguanas eat algae during low tide, while fur seals rest in the shade of rocks.

Explore Chinese Hat Islet

This relatively young islet provides a picturesque afternoon excursion as we venture along its 1,312 ft (400 m) trail, commencing at a crescent-shaped, white sandy beach. The cove beckons with superb swimming and snorkeling opportunities, where encounters with white-tipped reef sharks and enchanting Galapagos penguins await.

Experience Prince Phillip's Steps on Genovesa Island

Commence your day with a picturesque panga ride along the cliffs of “Bird Island,” fondly known as Genovesa, before landing at a wooden staircase that leads to a sprawling plateau. The trail meanders through extensive colonies of Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, magnificent frigatebirds, and graceful storm petrels. Keep an eye out for the elusive short-eared owl. For those opting out of the landing, a lengthier panga (inflatable dinghy) excursion along the cliffs is available, subject to favorable weather conditions. Additional activities, such as snorkeling and kayaking, may also be offered.

Explore Darwin Bay on Genovesa Island

Following a satisfying lunch, we arrive at the pristine white sands of Darwin Bay. Here, immerse yourself amid numerous avian species, predominantly frigatebirds, red-footed and Nazca boobies, alongside gulls, herons, finches, and mockingbirds.

Explore Santa Fe Island

Embark on a delightful dinghy ride to the serene sandy-white shores of Santa Fe Island, home to bustling colonies of sea lions. Watch for the majestic Galapagos hawks gracefully perched on salt bushes. As you explore, you might glimpse the Santa Fe land iguana. Conclude your walk with the option to snorkel and swim alongside a natural wave barrier or enjoy a glass-bottom boat ride.

Discover South Plaza Island

After a satisfying lunch break, make a dry landing in this channel characterized by turquoise waters contrasting with the coastline’s white sands and black lava. Venture further to encounter a vibrant carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents blanketing the ground around luminous green prickly-pear cacti. Yellow-grey land iguanas patiently await fallen pears beneath these cacti. Along the shoreline, observe lively sea lion colonies while frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, and shearwaters gracefully soar overhead, dancing in the thermals.

Concluding Stop at Baltra Island

Our voyage culminates at Baltra Island, where we proceed to the airport for our return flight to the mainland.

Sailing Dates & Prices

Start Date End Date Request

Included

Not Included

*Upon request, airline tickets can be included. Metropolitan Touring guarantees availability of these flights. Airfare is subject to change.

**Upon request, we can include the Galapagos National Park and INGALA Transit Control Card fees (US$200 and US$20 respectively and subject to change without prior notice). However, due to logistical reasons, these fees can only be included when guests travel on the operational departure date and not before.

***Guests may bring their own wine or spirits; however, there is a corkage fee of $25 USD + tax.

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