This single active volcano is more than 5,000 feet high
and one of the youngest island volcanoes of our planet.
It’s location to the far west makes it one of the least
visited islands and its volcanic activity makes the
landscape unique. Fernandina is home to a large colony
of marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins and the
Galapagos flightless cormorant.
San Cristobal is in the eastern corner of the archipelago
and is also the oldest. This was the first island that
Charles Darwin set foot and he was puzzled by the
extremes of the island; volcanic peaks in the north and
rich vegetation in the south. The central highlands are
scattered with farms and has the only freshwater lake in
the Galapagos. Red-footed, blue-footed and masked
boobies make their home on the eastern side of the
island and a unique type of mockingbird and lava lizard
can be observed here.
North Seymour was formed by a volcano which rose from
the sea. Brown and white rocks hold large amounts of life,
but it is the sounds of seabirds will impress you most. See
the magnificent male frigatebird with its red-scarlet pouch
attract a mate, watch a couple of blue-footed boobies
parade or watch sea lions playfully swim in the water.
Located near the centre of the archipelago, Santa Cruz is
the centre of tourism in the Galapagos. Once upon a time
violent eruptions occurred here now evidence of these
eruptions can be seen by walking through lava caves. This
is also a place where highland vegetation has taken over
the volcanic boulders and provides food for the
Galapagos giant tortoises which roam here. The coastal
region offers spectacular scenery, with mangroves where
turtles are often spotted and on the northern side, land
iguanas and giant-tree cacti can be found. The island
also hosts Ecuador’s largest conservation effort: the
Charles Darwin Research Station.
This island has long been a
favourite of visitors including
pirates, whalers, sailors, explorers
and early settlers. Floreana is
home to one of the oldest ways
of posting items in the middle of
the sea: Post-Office Bay. Still in
use, this historic site is where
mariners from around the world would deposit and
collect letters from a post office barrel to be brought
home by returning sailors. Flamingos can also be seen
here and sea turtles nest upon beaches.
Isabela is the largest island of the Galapagos and there is
an extraordinary contrast of rugged volcanic landscapes
and lush coastal environments. Walk over recent lava
flows and search for flamingos, stilts and ducks in brakish
lagoons. There are mangrove-rimed coves to explore
where we can see feeding and resting grounds for sea turtles, rays, sharks and Galapagos penguins. Isabela’s
rich animal, bird and marine life is beyond compare.
Tower (Genovesa) Island
This island which we visit with the Isabela II, is a low lying
volcano rising just above the ocean surface and is an
oasis for seabirds with thousands of frigatebirds, redfooted
boobies and storm petrels coming here to nest.
Located just off the
east coast of Santiago,
Bartolome is a desolate
island bestowed with a
beauty all of its own. The
island consists of an extinct
volcano and a variety of red, orange, green, and
glistening black volcanic formations. Exploring the
surrounding waters, it is possible to spot Galapagos
penguins, sea lions, stingrays, spotted eagle rays and
white tipped sharks.
Rabida geologically consists of eroded hills and lava emitted
from spatter cones that have resulted in the island's striking
colors. Marine iguanas and sea lions are often seen resting
in the shades of the caves on the northern beaches. On the
cliffs above the pelicans, blue-footed and masked boobies
can be seen. This is the only opportunity visitors have for an
up-close view of pelicans nesting.
Española's remote location helped make it a unique jewel
with a large number of endemic creatures. Secluded from
the other islands, wildlife on Española adapted to the
island's environment and natural resources. The
subspecies of Marine iguana from Española are the only
ones that change color during breeding season. Gardner
Bay is a wonderful location for swimming and snorkelling.
This one of the central islands and was a favourite island
for pirates and whalers. Highlights here include the fur
seal grotto, pink flamingo lagoon as well as the chance to
see Galapagos hawks, vermilion fly catchers and Darwin’s
finch. Sullivan Bay, the youngest part of the island,
consists of an impressively large lava flow of an eruption
barely over a hundred years ago and walking over this
young flow is a unique experience.
Day to Day Exploration
A full week of discovery allows an in-depth exploration
into the flora, fauna, wildlife, geology and history of the
Galapagos. The schedule will be flexible, determined by
weather and sea conditions and wildlife sightings. Whilst
cruising, you are free to relax or learn more from the
naturalist guides. Explorations ashore will include island
walks with your naturalist guide who will explain the flora
and fauna and take you to the best places for wildlife
sightings. There will be daily excursions by Zodiac to go
ashore, landing on remote beaches and to explore the
coastlines, taking full advantage of wildlife sightings. In
addition there will also be daily opportunities to swim or
snorkel to observe the diverse marine life.