The Enchanted Galapagos Islands: A natural heritage of mankind
Come to the Galapagos Islands and admire its unique endemic species. You will then understand how Charles Darwin got the inspiration to release his Theory of Evolution and Natural adaptation of species on this isolated archipelago and why the Unesco has declared these islands as a Natural Heritage of Mankind. Our boats will take you to many of the different islands where you can snorkel and swim among friendly and playful Sea lions, Dolphins, harmless Sharks marine iguanas, sea turtles , big Sting Rays and on the islands you can admire the colorful red- and blue- footed bobbies, land iguanas and of course the Galapagos tortoises
Brief description of highlights of each of the islands
Baltra. A small island where most airlines serving the Galapagos land. Most cruises depart from this island and some others from San Cristobal island. Your guide will meet you at the airport and will transfer you to your cruise ship to start your adventure on the Enchanted Islands
Bartolome located in Sullivan Bay off James Island. A small colony of penguins can be seen on this island. Bartolome has two visitors sites: a climb to the summit of the island reveals both the varied volcanic formations of Bartholome and the huge black lava flows on nearby James.
Daphne island can offer an endemic tree The Palo Santo, Bursera Malacophylla is endemic to the islands of Daphne, North Seymour and Baltra. Daphne is a tuft cone formed by successive volcanic explosions where lava mixed with water, Two species of boobies nest in this island, generally from April until December: the blue-footed boobies that nest in the interior of the craters and the masked boobies that nest on the crater rim and on the flanks of the cone. It is also possible to see tropic birds that nests within the cavities of the cliffs, where they are protected from the frigate birds that harass them.
Española ( Hood ) is known as the oldest island in the archipelago, approximately 3.3 million years. There are two important visiting sites: Punta Suárez with its high cliffs and breathtaking views and Gardner Bay excellent site for swimming and admire the great colonies of sea birds in Galapagos. The waved albatross, Diomedea Irrorata, is an endemic specie of this island. April is their reproduction season. Paris mate for life! From January to April they fly over the Pacific Coast of Southamerica and cannot be found here. On this island you will see marine iguanas and the lava lizards. One of the four species of Galapagos mockingbird, Nesomimus macdonaldi. Can only be found on this island.
Fernandina.(Narborough) Fernandina and Genovesa are the only islands that do not have any introduced mammals. The volcanoes of Fernandina are the most active in the Archipelago The huge shield of Fernandina volcano provides an impressive backdrop for Punta Espinosa. Large colonies of marine iguanas generally nest in February. Espinosa Point is one of the best sites to see the lava cactus. Brachycerus nesioticus.
Floreana has three important sites: Punta Cormorant, This is probably one of the best flamingo’s lagoon where you can see them close. The pink color is synonymous of health, the pinkest are the most well nourished. They eat shrimps and aquatic insects. The variety of plants found here is greater that seen in other islands of the Archipelago. On Floreana you can admire shores birds. Devil’s Crown Consists of the picket fence-like remains of small volcanic cone which has been eroded away by the sea, creating in its interior an ideal habitat for several types of corals and marine life, it is perfect for snorkeling. And Post Office Barrel (wooden barrel placed there in the 18th century by the crew of a whaling ship) and the Lava Cave are also this islands main attractions.
Genovesa. This island has remained virtually unaltered by humans thanks to its geographic isolation and its lack of fresh water. The swallow-tailed gull is endemic. The species of frigate bird most abundant in this island is the common frigate bird Fregata minor. This is the only island that does not have land reptiles. Genovesa is located at the inner part of Darwin Bay. The island has nesting areas of frigates, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls and the large billed cactus finch.
Isabela: Tagus Cove has served as a popular anchorage for the whalers, pirates and other navigators. These visitors left their names written in the cliffs. This visitors site is excellent for observing the terrestrial birds , ground and tree finches, hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and even the woodpecker finch!. On some occasions land iguanas have been observed of the scoria cones. Giant tortoises have also been seen in years of abundance of rain. In the rainy season this site offers a great vegetation.
Isabela :Elizabeth bay, The laggon that is found in this bay is a resting place for sea turtles in the Galapagos. In this location and the nearby coves, some other species of sea turtles have been seen in addition to the green sea turtle the leatherback and the hawksbill, among others. The mangroves that grow around the lagoon are principally red and black , they reach an impressive height
Isabela: Urbina bay Located at the bottom line of Alcedo Volcano, was uplifted from the sea in 1954. The site is relatively flat, distinguished by corals and other marine formations which were lifted out of the sea by the uplift. Urbina bay has the most abundance of blue lobster of the Archipelago Flightless cormorants and pelicans nest along the coast during their nesting seasons.
Isabela: Volcan Sierra Negra, located at the southern end of Isabela Island, is one of the most impressive volcano in the archipelago. Following the edge of the caldera to the north, a place called “Volcan Chico” is reached, comprising a group of small craters, their activity consisting of several different fumaroles. Volcano Sierra Negra caldera is the second largest in the world after Ngorongoro in Africa.
Plaza Sur (south Plaza) There are approximately 1000 sea lions that live on this island . Land iguanas on this island are smaller than iguanas at other sites. Two hybrid iguanas exist on this island, resulting from a cross between a male marine iguana a female land iguana. These iguanas are peculiar, recognized simply by their black or grey color with the crest of the land iguana but the head and tail of the marine iguana. Swallow-tailed gulls, along with various other sea birds.
Rabida, located behind the picturesque dark red beach lies a salt water lagoon where the beautiful flamingo is usually seen.
San Cristobal. San Cristobal has an airport as well as Baltra Your guide will meet you at the airport and will transfer you to your cruise ship to start your adventure on the Enchanted Islands
The interpretation Center where natural history is displayed for visitors. Isla Lobos : admire the blue footed boobies, sea lions, frigatebirds ,El Junco Lagoon, located in the high part of San Cristobal at an altitude of 700 meters, Kicker Rock, this giant uplifted rock has the shape of a sleeping lion. Small cruise ships can slip through the rock which is divided in two parts forming a channel between them. Other sites: playa Ochoa, Cerro Tijeretas.
Santa Cruz. All cruises make 1 stop over to visit Puerto Ayora where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located. On this visit you can witness the efforts of the Galapagos National Park authorities as well as the local population to preserve the ecosystem of the archipelago. The Gemelos (twin craters) are, geologically speaking, considered to be pit craters and their formation was produced from the collapse of surface materials into the fissures of chambers below the earth. Tortuga Bay, a beautiful beach which can be reached by a long trail from Puerto Ayora. Cerro Dragon or Dragon Hill hast is name because it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. Black Turtle Cove, this site is used by green sea turtles or black for feeding as well as for mating. There are three types of sharks in these water. They are mainly distinguished by their dorsal fins: the black-finned reef shark ; the white tipped reef shark and the Galapagos sharks fin, completely gray. Other attractions on this island: Las Bachas beach, El mirador.
Santa Fe. This island has interesting geology. There are rock formations below the surface of the water that date back 3.9 millions of years of history. The land iguanas of Santa Fe can be distinguished by their crests which are larger and denser with greater size and paler color than the land iguanas of the rest of the Galapagos Islands.
Santiago. The major part of the section southeast of Santiago is covered by lava flows formed in the last quarter of the 19th century. Santiago has a beautiful landscape completed with cliffs and pinnacles upon which rest marine birds. During, the 17th and 18th centuries, pirates used this site for maintaining their ships, and supplying themselves with fresh water, meat, and firewood. Santiago has miniature volcanoes also known as little ovens
Seymour Norte. Located slightly to the north of Baltra, North Seymour is a low, flat island, formed as a result of the uplift of a submarine lava formation. Usually it is possible to see fur sea lions on the rocks to the east of the landing site. The two species of frigatebirds nest in this islands the magnificent and the great frigatebirds. There is also a large population of blue-footed boobies but there are times when the blue-footed boobies leave the island completely indicating that there is little food in the area for reproducing.
Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat). Small Islet located on the southeast of James Island.