Day 1: Galapagos Islands
Upon your arrival to San Cristobal Airport, you will head to the first visiting site, El Junco Lagoon, an impressive crater lake located in the highlands of San Cristobal Island, where you will enjoy superb panoramic views of the island, and also spot frigate birds diving in the clear crystal water at the lagoon. After this activity, you will be transferred to the yacht to settle in and for dinner.
Full itinerary map here: http://bit.ly/elite_8-days-a
Day 2: Galapagos Islands
First activity of the day will be heading to North Seymour, a small island, and characteristic for its large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, along with frigate birds. If you are lucky enough you may spot the marvelous bright chests of male bird frigates when they court the females. In the afternoon, you will visit Dragon Hill at Santa Cruz Island, place named after the large population of land iguanas that live here, and that resemble miniature dragons, hence the name of this place. You will spot this species and also visit the Palo Santo forest here. This is also a nice place to snorkel
Day 3: Galapagos Islands
Early in the morning, you will take a panga ride to Tintoreras, a chain of Islets near Isabela Island, that have created a unique habitat for a variety of wildlife. You can snorkel, kayak, or paddle board at this spot. Then you will visit Sierra Negra Volcano at Isabela Island, one of the most active in the Galapagos. As you walk to the top of the caldera you will spot forest of guava trees, and if the weather allows it you will have a spectacular view of the entire island. After lunch, you will head to Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, where you will learn about the conservation efforts that have been made to preserve the two species of Galapagos giant tortoises that inhabit here. Then you will be transferred to Isabela wetlands, a spot comprised of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves, which have become a paradise for migratory birds like stilts and flamingos.
Activities and Services
Day 4: Galapagos Islands
After breakfast, you will take a panga ride to Moreno Point, located on the west coast of Isabela, while spotting sea turtles and white-tip sharks. Once you land you will take a trail to a place with a multitude of green lagoons and mangroves. You may also spot penguins, blue herons, and flamingos here. In the afternoon you will visit Urbina Bay, located at the foot of Alcedo Volcano, and result of a major volcanic uplift, resulting in a coral reef being lifted out of the ocean. You can observe corals and remains of marine life that were stranded due to this event. This place is also home to giant land iguanas and giant tortoises, Galapagos hawks and flightless cormorants. You can also snorkel at this spot.
Day 5: Galapagos Islands
First activity in the morning will be heading to Espinosa Point at Fernandina Island, by a zodiac ride. You will be able to spot marine iguanas, sally light foot crabs, and once on land, you will explore the mangrove plants, lava cacti and the lave formations that can be found here. In the afternoon you will visit Vicente Roca Point by a panga ride. This is a beautiful large bay with two coves that provide nesting sites for blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls storm petrels and Brown Noddy Terns. You can also snorkel here, while spotting a great abundance of marine life, like sea lions and dolphins.
Day 6: Galapagos Islands
Rabida and Bartolome Island: Early in the morning, after breakfast, you will take a panga ride to Rabida Island, most known for its dark red sand beach surrounded by a backdrop of cliffs and steep volcanic hills, full of Palo Santo trees and endemic cacti. You can also spot blue-footed and Nazca boobies, and a large sea lion colony at the shore. This is also the only site where all nine Darwin’s finches are found. You can also snorkel, kayak or paddle board at this spot. In the afternoon, head to Bartolome Island, an islet located in Sullivan Bay, famous for the huge volcanic cone named Pinnacle Rock. A walking trail leads to a viewpoint at the summit of the island where you can enjoy spectacular views of Pinnacle rock and the entire island. The northern beach of this place is perfect for snorkeling and spotting eagle rays and reef sharks.
Day 7: M/C Elite
Kicker Rock, San Cristobal
They say your culture influences the way you look at things, and Kicker Rock may just be the proof of that. Kicker Rock is a distinctive, boot-shaped rock formation located off of San Cristobal Island. In English, it gets its name from this shape. In Spanish, its name is “León Dormido,” or “Sleeping Lion.” Does it look more like a boot or a lion? You’ll get a nice close-up chance to look for yourself and make up your mind. The M/C Elite sails around it, giving you the opportunity to take incredible photographs and see several kinds of seabirds on the rock itself. If you’re lucky, you might get to see rays and sharks swimming just under the surface!
Witch Hill, San Cristobal
Witch Hill gets its name from the Vermilion Flycatcher, a small bird with dazzling red plumage. In Spanish, it is called “pájaro brujo,” or “witch bird,” and the rugged hill at this site was once known for the population of Vermilion Flycatchers that lived there. The birds are not as common here as they once were, although they are still plentiful elsewhere in the islands.
The Witch Hill visitor site features one of the best beaches in Galapagos, a small lagoon where visitors may see egrets and herons, and some excellent light snorkeling. Generally, part of the visit includes a panga ride around the unique rock formations of Witch Hill itself.
Sea lions snooze on the beach, and nesting boobies quork and whistle at visitors from the rocks.
The waters here are particularly lively: look for shore birds darting along the water line and poking around in tidal pools, boobies fishing offshore and pelicans splashing noisily in search of a billful of fresh fish. There is a spectacular view of picturesque Kicker Rock from the beach.
Giant Tortoise Reserve on San Cristobal
A hike into the wilds of the Galapagos is an adventure all to itself! Visiting the Giant Tortoise Reserve, the longest hike on San Cristobal at about 5 km each way, will give visitors the opportunity to observe this iconic Galapagos species in its natural habitat.
There are approximately 6,000 giant tortoises on San Cristobal Island, and on most days hundreds of them can be seen on the hike, in addition to several other endemic species, including furtive lava lizards and friendly mockingbirds.
The beach located at the visitor point is a great place to go snorkeling. Many different fascinating species can be seen underwater, including several species of colorful fish, enormous sea turtles and even white-tipped reef sharks! The beach is also a nesting area for sea turtles, and at certain times of the year visitors might be able to see some hatchlings.
Day 8: End of Itinerary
After breakfast, you will disembark at San Cristobal Island, to visit the Interpretation Center, that provides an overview of the fascinating history of the islands, and learn about the natural history, human history and the conservation for the future. After this activity, you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight back to the continent.
Activities and Services