4D/3N | Guayaquil / Guayaquil | From May to November 2019
Fly from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Airport in Galapagos. Welcome by you naturalist English-speaking guide. Upon arrival to Baltra Airport, travellers pass through an airport inspection point to make sure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands, and to pay the park entrance fee of $100 (unless it has been prepaid). A guide will meet you, help you collect your luggage, and escort you on a short bus ride to the harbour.
Breakfast onboard. Before landing, you will take an inflatable dinghy-ride along the eastern arm of the caldera. As we approach, the soaring 25m / 80ft high walls become overwhelming. Sometimes, a Galapagos fur seal is resting or a seabird is nesting on one of the ledges at the base. You will then have to hike and overcome the steep stairs from the landing dock to a bush of palo santo shrubs on top. Red-footed boobies gratefully use these scarce nesting places; so that they don’t have to nest on the rocky ground. Upon arriving at the edge of the rim, the bushes open up and you can enjoy panoramic views, a strong sea breeze and the amazing flying skills of countless seabirds. Following the exposed rim, you will first pass the Nazca boobies and finally reach the extensive storm petrel nesting places, where if you’re lucky you can spot the well-camouflaged short-eared owl hunting for them on foot!
Breakfast onboard. In the morning, visit of the Bartolomé island : the beautiful volcano islet of Bartolomé is among the youn- gest of the islands, and on a geological scale was just recently born out of fire.Although at first sight lifeless,Bartolomé offers some of the wildest landscapes and best panoramaso the entire archipelago.To enjoy the postcard view of the idyllic ‘Pinnacle Bay’ you have to climb the stairs to the viewpoint on top of the island (114m/375ft). Enter a dramatic world of threatening (though extinguished) nearby spatter cones, craters, and lightweight lava droplets that have been spewed out by fiery fountains. The Summit Trail is also ideal for witnes- sing how scanty pioneer vegetation such as lava cactus strug- gles to take root in the bare virgin lava fields.
Breakfast onboard. Visit of the Charles Darwin Research Station : although 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 main attractions are the National Park information centre, the Van Staelen Exhibition Hall, the Breeding and Rearing Centre for young tortoises, and adult Galapagos tortoises in captivity.