Baltra to Baltra
Our 7 nights eastern itinerary visits most popular sites of southern and eastern Galapagos, where you will keep going from one surprise in the other. This route combines the spectacular sea bird colonies of Española, largest American flamingo colonies of Isabela and Floreana with highly appreciated and not to be missed South Plaza. This varied route is characterized by relatively shorter nightly navigations and even two nights of quiet rest at fairly calm anchorage-sites. Walk at a short distance past blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and waved albatrosses, whilst courtshipping, mating, breeding, nurturing or learning to fly (depending the season). Española is the sole option for those eager to admire synchronous courtship dances of the only tropical albatross in the world. Other not to be missed highlights of this cruise certainly will be Santa Fe and South Plaza, where characteristic Galapagos land iguanas crawl below bizarre giant prickly pear cacti. Mind your step when strolling around, because you may tread on one of them! These almost extinguished volcano islands in the south-west are geologically eldest, where evolution has had enough time to create plenty endemic species. En route you can observe marine iguanas, whitetip reef sharks and – if lucky – even Galapagos penguins. On Santa Cruz you will have a full day to quest for emblematic giant Galapagos tortoises in the lush forests and to learn more on their successful captured breeding programs in the Charles Darwin Research Center. Striking coral sand beaches at azure bays are favourite places for large colonies of Galapagos sea lions. For many Devil’s Crown is Galapagos deep water snorkelling site number one, and one of the very highlights of their cruise. Besides that this route also offers plenty possibilities for optional scuba diving. Please Note: Christmas net surcharges: Dec 21-27: USD 300 pp; Dec 24-27: USD 200 pp; Dec 24-31: USD 350 pp; Dec 27-31: USD 250 pp. New Year net surcharges: Dec 31-Jan 4 USD 250 pp; Dec 31-Jan 7: USD 350 pp; Jan 4-7: USD 200 pp.
AM: Arrival at Baltra AirportUpon arrival at Baltra Airport, you will first pass through an airport inspection point where your TCT (Transit Control Card) will be checked and stamped (please keep this carefully with your passport as you will need to show it again when you leave Galapagos). Here you will also pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 (unless it has been prepaid). To ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, your luggage will be inspected as well. At the arrival hall a naturalist guide will meet you and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbor at Baltra. By dinghy you will be taken to the yacht.PM: Las Bachas (Santa Cruz)These two small beaches are found to the West of Black Turtle Cove. Their sand is made of decomposed coral, which makes it white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Behind one of the beaches there is a small brackish water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts and whimbrels. The other beach is longer, but it has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategically point to protect the Panama Channel.
AM: White Tipped SharkLas Tintoreras is a small bay on an islet, located 5 minutes on a dinghy ride from Port of Villamil, which permits the visitor to observe the White tipped shark. There is a colony of skarks that can often be seen resting in the lava canal. In addition to the sharks there are sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and rays in the beautiful, calm turquoise waters. Volcano Alcedo is one of the five shield volcanoes that form Albemarle Island the famous “Geyser” or hot steam fumarole will be reached, while all around are Galapagos giant tortoises of the Alcedo race.Nearby hundreds of marine iguanas can be observed, as ‘Las Tintoreras’ is one of their main breeding sites. On the nearby sandy beaches, sea lions play and relax in the sun. This is one of Isabela’s most beautiful visitor sites.PM: Arnoldo tupiza Tortoise Breeding CenterThis is where giant tortoises are reared on Isabela. It is located 1.5 kilometers from Pto. Villamil, this important center has a captive breeding program for tortoises from the populations of southern Isabela. Here you can learn about the processes of reproduction and breeding. In total there are about 300 tortoises of all size between juveniles and adults. Isabela Island is the only island in the world which has 5 different species of these giant reptiles.
AM: Punta Cormorant, Devil´s Crown (Floreana)This site offers probably the best Flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos; it is also one of the largest in the islands. It’s situated between two tuff lava cones that give the area a special atmosphere. There are various species of shorebirds to observe besides flamingos; the most frequent are common stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds. It is very interesting to see the two distinct beaches: “The Green Beach” (due to its high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour Sand Beach” which is made up of coral. After our visit of Cormorant Point we will continue with our yacht to the nearby islet known as Corona del Diablo (Devil’s Crown), where we can enjoy some great snorkeling.PM: Post Office Bay (Floreana)Historically, Post Office Bay is the location of a wooden barrel that was placed in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship. Since this time it has been used by mariners and tourists as a post office. The idea is to carry letters or postcards to their destination by hand. Apart from being the Post Office Barrel, this site was the landing area for some of the first colonists. We will continue to the north of the island and ascend to an elevated slope to enjoy a beautiful view from the Baroness Lookout. It is said that Baroness Eloisa von Wagner loved this place and spent several hours watching the horizon. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as her House. From this lookout, the landscape covers the coastline from the Enderby islet to Post Office Bay, as well as Cerro Pajas, the pool of flamingos and wide forest of Palo Santo.
AM: Punta Suarez (Española)This rocky land spot sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galapagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea affording the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow whole where water spouts up to 50-75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf. PM: Gardner Bay (Española)Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay provides an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming and snorkeling, and the opportunity to observe sea lions. Here you may also observe sharks in the crystal clear ocean waters.
AM: Santa Cruz Highlands Tortoises FarmSanta Cruz also offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild tortoises, both roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the Tortoise Reserve, which is accessible from Santa Rosa or Salasaca. Several farms serve food and allow visitors to explore their grounds in search of tortoises. Descending through the agricultural zone into the Transition Zone where the Tortoise Reserve is located, the introduced vegetation of the farmlands is replaced by native vegetation. The pond at El Chato is surrounded by forest where short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Rails, and Paint-billed Crakes can be seen. As the visitor walks into the forests overgrown with lichens, ferns, and other epiphytes, it is time to listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and the sound of shrubs being slowly crushed as the tortoises make their way through the brush.PM: Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz IslandAlthough the great majority of Galapagos visitors come here to observe and appreciate natural wonders, it is also interesting to learn how the protection and conservation of the islands are carried out. The Breeding and Rearing area of the scientific center are definitely a worthwhile visit.
AM: Punta Pitt ( San Cristobal)At the far eastern end of San Cristóbal is Punta Pitt. Disembarking onto the small beach, visitors are confronted by the strong stench and cacophony of barking sea lions. This is a bachelor colony, and most are exhausted from fighting and mating. A steep gully leads up the cliff to a breeding ground for Boobies of all three varieties: Red-footed, Blue-footed and Nazca. It’s the only place in the Galapagos where you can see all three species nesting together. Two species of frigatebirds are also present, as are Swallow-tailed Gulls and Storm Petrels. The view of sea lions from the top of the cliff over the beach is magnificent, as are the contours of the barren, wind-eroded peaks of the island. The trail across the Punta Pitt site offers a closer look at the hardy vegetation that manages to thrive in this volcanic wasteland. From Saltbush and spiny shrubs next to the beach the trail leads up to an area of Palo Santo trees, big yellow-green shrubs, tiny cacti and, in the dry season, carpets of red Vesuvius.PM: Urbina Bay, Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal)The primary attraction of this site is the coral sand beach. It is an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Cerro Brujo is the remains of a tuff cone. It is one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. Captain Fitzroy climbed to the top of the hill to scout out reefs. It has an impressive landscape, where it is often possible to see coastal and migratory birds, including pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies, and Swallow-tailed Gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. At times the lagoon is completely dry and deposits of salt may be found in the bottom. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine.
AM: Santa FeLocated in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, this island was formed from an uplift, which explains why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which assure this could be the oldest island in the Archipelago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands Iguanas of the islands. After disembarkation in the beautiful and clear waters you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail many salt bushes can be seen as well as giant prickly pear cactus. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fishes.PM: PlazasSouth Plazas is located at the east of Santa Cruz Island, and forms part of two islands known as Islas Plazas. Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the Galapagos are found here. The Plazas land iguanas are smaller than its relatives found on other islands. Throughout the island there are several hybrid iguanas, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana, they are unique, recognizable at first glance by their black/gray color, with a land iguana’s crest, but face and tail of the marine iguana. The big population of iguanas is due to the presence of tunas, their favorite food. Swallow Tailed Gulls nesting in the rugged cliffs are seen along with other sea birds as: Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds and brown pelicans.
AM: Black Turtle Cove (Santa Cruz)This little cove is located at the northern side of Santa Cruz Island, this is a red mangrove lagoon very calm and quiet which makes it an ideal place as nursery for many sharks and rays. Its crystal waters permits to observe large groups of white-tip reef, black tipped reef and hammer heads sharks, schools of golden rays and spotted eagle rays. There are no landing sites so the visit is done by zodiac. Sea turtles are frequently seen and sometimes they are seen mating in the mangrove-lined waters. Pelicans and Herons are also seen in this area. Transfer to Baltra airport for your flight back to Guayaquil or Quito.
Itinerary is subject to change in case of force majeure caused by exceptional and natural circumstances.Approximate departure and navigation times are just indicative and depend on the sea state and decisions of the captain.Although Galapagos seldom requires quests for wildlife, observation of specific species can never be guaranteed.
Vessel Type: Motor Sail Catamaran Length: 25m Passenger Capacity: 14 Built / refurbished: 1996 / 2014 The Nemo I (also known as the Nemo Martinica) is a 14-passenger sailing catamaran, offering a unique cruising experience in the Galapagos Archipelago. The catamaran was designed and built in France by Dufour & Sparks. On this catamaran you will experience the Galapagos Archipelago to its fullest. Most social areas are open deck spaces where you will constantly enjoy the most spectacular views of the islands and their volcanic rock formations. These areas include various lounges and catamaran netting at the front. Meals are served in the indoor and outdoor dining areas. When weather conditions permit we can turn off the engines and raise the sails, navigating silently through one the world’s natural wonders. The rich and spectacular Galapagos wildlife is the most important aspect of every naturalist cruise, but not the single and only factor that paints Holiday memories for the rest of your life. MS/C Nemo I contributes truly to a comfortable and pleasant stay as well. We follow fascinating routes in a more adventurous way, accompanied by an excellent naturalist guide, including time to unwind from the well-filled excursion program. Our chef will pamper you with a rich breakfast buffet, snacks, exquisite warm lunch and dinner served in buffet style. During your cruise you can fully enjoy the unrestrained ambience and personal service on board.
• Guided hikes during island visits • Dinghy-rides (in an inflatable dinghy, ‘Zodiac’ or ‘panga’) • Snorkelling & swimming • Sea-kayaking • Visit to a Galapagos giant tortoise breeding project, visitor’s Centre & interpretative botanic trail • Time for relaxing and realizing on which unique place you have ended up