Islands Hopping

For those of you who are interested in exploring the Galapagos Islands but prefer to have your base on land (rather than on one of the many Galapagos cruises) there is always the option of island hopping. Island hopping is touring the various attractions of the islands during day-trips, and returning to a hotel to sleep every night. The main mode of transportation for island hopping are boats which will take you from site to site and return you to your homebase afterwards. This is a great way to see the Galapagos lifestyle and directly support the local economy.

ISLAND HOPPING

For those of you who are interested in exploring the Galapagos Islands but prefer to have your base on land (rather than on one of the many Galapagos cruises) there is always the option of island hopping. Island hopping is touring the various attractions of the islands during day-trips, and returning to a hotel to sleep every night. The main mode of transportation for island hopping are boats which will take you from site to site and return you to your homebase afterwards. This is a great way to see the Galapagos lifestyle and directly support the local economy.
There are two option for island hopping tours one is hotel based in which our speed boat will take you from port to port and the second option is on board a beautiful catamaran which takes 12 people in 6 double cabins and that way you sleep on the boat as it takes you to the next destination,here are the boats.

ISLAND HOPPING HOTEL BASED

– Builder: Megapacific Manta
– Designer: Ital fibra
– Hull: Fiber glass
– LOA: 31′ 36″
– Beam: 9′ 6″
– Displacement: 10 TRB
– Bridge Clearance: 9’7″
– Engines: 2YAMAHAS 4 strokes 200HP ea.
– Cruising Speed: 25 knots

ISLAND HOPPING GALAPAGOS YACHT BASED

*Rates include:
– All meals
– Transfers in the islands
– All shore excursions with an English speaking naturalist guide
*Not included:
– Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100)
– Airfare to Galapagos
– Transit Control Card ($10)
– Bottled beverages
– Gratuities

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. When is the best time of the year to go to Galapagos?

Absolutely the most frequently asked question. Darwin said it all: Considering that these islands are placed directly under the equator, the climate is far from being excessively hot; this seems chiefly caused by the singularly low temperature of the surrounding water, brought here by the great southern polar current. Excepting during one short season, very little rain falls, and even then it is irregular. CHARLES DARWIN, 1845.

From month to month there are some differences in what you can see in the islands, however, the differences in the experience itself are small, for example, from April to December you can see the waved albatrosses but not many sea turtles, the rainy season (December to May) is when land birds are mating and in the Dry season (June to November) sea birds have their mating season. The average year-round temperature is 24°C

2. What should I bring for my Galapagos islands trip?

  • 2 pairs of Sandals, Teva style or flip flops ,one for short walks on the islands and one for on board use, often is not allowed to wear shoes indoors but clean sandals are ok.
  • One pair of running shoes and one pair of hiking boots.
  • 2 different bathing suits so one can dry while using the other.
  • Sarong or big towel for avoiding sun while out on deck if wanted 2 light t-shirts for snorkelling, lycra is recommended to avoid sunburn as well as at least.
  • One lightweight t-shirts for walks on the islands, one per day of cruise minimum.
  • 2 pairs of long light pants for either avoiding sunburn or for windy nights.
  • 1 hut , any sort of hut to avoid sunburn as much as possible.
  • Backpack or rucksack, waterproof if possible, for carrying water, cameras , etc during walks or visits.
  • Strong sun block lotion minimum 20 SPF Aloe or any after sunbathing lotion.
  • Sunglasses , prescription glasses and or contact lenses for snorkelling.
  • Light rain Jacket or umbrella as well as windbreaker. Refillable water bottle.
  • Sea sickness pills as well as a basic first aid kit, vitamins and or personal medicine. Reading material if wanted Galapagos guidebook, magazines, etc.
  • Binoculars.
  • For regular cameras minimum one roll of film per day, for digital cameras we recommend minimum 8gb card.
  • Snorkelling is a common activity, we recommend 1 underwater disposable camera per every 2 days of cruise.
  • Credit cards and ATM cards are often not taken in Galapagos so we recommend to bring some US dollars cash or travellers checks.

3. Traveling Alone to Galapagos ?

No problem, there are two ways you can visit the islands alone, since we operate our own boats we are in charge of the cabins assignment, actually half of our guests are couples and the other half are singles, if you are willing to share a double cabin we will guarantee that the other person in your cabin if of your same gender, if you are not willing to share please contact us for more information and prices.

4. Do I need a passport or visa to go to Ecuador and Galapagos ?

A passport is required, most North American and European countries citizens do not require a visa in advance ,this is issued on arrival for a maximum of 3 months. Your travel agency can advise you of any visa requirements for your particular country when travelling to Ecuador.

5. Are vaccinations required for Ecuador and Galapagos ?

To visit the Galapagos Islands there are no vaccinations neither required nor recommended. If you are anyway planning to spend more time in Ecuador, especially in the rain forest or Amazon area, vaccinations and immunizations strongly recommended. Since this varies from time to time please consult with your local health office (or the Institute for Tropical Diseases) several weeks before your trip.

6. How are the Flights to the Galapagos Islands ?

The flight time depends you departing city, this Flights to the Galapagos leave from Quito making a stop in Guayaquil so you don’t have to necessarily board in Quito to get from Quito to Guayaquil takes about thirty minutes and about one and a half hours from Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands. All flights leave from 7am to 11am in the morning and return between 1pm and 5pm.

7. How about luggage restrictions on the airplanes to the Galapagos ?

Only one suitcase 20kg and one carry-on piece are allowed on the plane.

8. What currency do we use in Galapagos and Ecuador ?

Since the year 2000 the Ecuadorian government adopted the US Dollar as the national currency so if you already live in a country where you use them you can just bring them alone, otherwise make sure you exchange money before arrival.

9. How are the communications facilities on board and on the Galapagos islands?

During your Galapagos cruise regardless of the extent, you most likely will visit one of the inhabited islands, Puerto Ayora which is the largest town in the Galapagos or Puerto Baquerizo which is the capital of Galapagos, there you can find many internet cafes as well as phone booths to make international calls, and while you are onboard you will be able to receive urgent messages immediately.

10. Can we smoke on the galapagos Islands or on the boat ?

One of the main rules for visitors to the Galapagos is that it is not allowed to smoke on the islands. On the boats, however, you can smoke on deck but not in the inside social areas, for sure not in the cabins.

11. What is the electricity on the boat in Galapagos ?

Most of the boats in the galapagos have 110v outlets in all the cabins and bathrooms, please keep in mind that the sockets are the American type(flat – not round) so you might want to bring an adaptor if you have different shaped sockets in your country.

12. Is there a dress code on the boats in Galapagos ?

No dress code is applied on board our Galapagos yachts. The only requirement for lunch and dinner is to wear shoes or sandals.

13. What are the payment policies ?

Once you have decided to book a cruise 30% deposit is required and after that you will receive a time limit for making the full payment, we will send you the details for making a wire or internet payment to our bank account, no credit cards are accepted.

14. What is included in the price ?

Double accommodation with private bathrooms , or single room if requested at extra cost,All meals on board ,Guided visit to the islands with English speaking guides ,bottled pure drinking water , coffee and tea at the bar any time, transportation in the islands, direct support from our office.

Not included

Round trip tickets to Galapagos finaly prices US$ 520,00 per person (subject to change without prior notice) ,Galapagos entrance fee US$ 100.00 for per person , children under 12 years US$ 50.00 , tips and personal expenses, and US$10,00 INGALA fee.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][easy-profiles template=”outlinecolor” animation=”pulse” profile_facebook=”https://www.facebook.com/galapagosislandstours/” profile_twitter=”https://twitter.com/galapagosexpert/” profile_google=”https://plus.google.com/+GalapagosToursCo” profile_pinterest=”https://www.pinterest.es/galapagostours/” profile_instagram=”https://www.instagram.com/galapagostours/” profile_youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/user/aidamariatravel” profile_rss=”https://galapagosislandscenter.com/feed/” profile_flickr=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/152193854@N04/albums”][ninja_form id=”1″][vc_posts_slider count=”10″ interval=”3″ slides_content=”teaser” slides_title=”1″ orderby=”date” order=”ASC” posttypes=”tour” title=”Naturalis Cruises”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Flying to Galapagos Islands

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]There are three airlines currently serving the air transportation from mainalnd Ecuador to the Galapagos islands ,there are three airports ,one in Baltra island which is the largest in Galapagos and the most popular since that was the first airport in service so there is an average of 3 flights a day and more during high season.The second largest airport is in San Cristobal island with one to two flights a day from the mainland and the third airport in on Isabela island which serves mostly inter island flights.

The three airlines offer one to three flights a day depending on the season, and they have departures from Quito and Guayaquil , normally the flight starts in Quito with a short stop in Guayaquil in order to pick up more passengers.Flying to the the flight from Quito to Guayaquil takes only 40 minutes aprox. and from Guayaquil to Galapagos 1 hour and 30 minutes.

All flights depart from 7am to 10am making it impossible to have a direct connection with international flights ,so when you plan your vacation to Galapagos make sure you arrive to Ecuador at the least the night before your flight to Galapagos. We recommend that you let us handle the flight reservation to give you more security ,also keep in mind that all yachts in Galapagos have at least 4 different itineraries and pick up passengers from either San Cristobal or Baltra.

There are many international airlines flying into Ecuador , the most popular destination is Quito ,now Quito has a new international airport that will open the doors to more airlines to arrive ,but also if you want you can fly into Guayaquil.
– Airlines from the US with flights to Ecuador are American Airlines , Continental ,LAN , LACSA, TACA ,COPA
– Airlines from Europe with service to Ecuador are Iberia , KLM , LAN , British Airways/AA
– This are the airlines flying from mainland Ecuador to Galapagos

 

AVIANCA

National Route: Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta, Lago Agrio, Coca y Portoviejo On our routes between Quito, Guayaquil, Cuenca, Manta, Lago Agrio, Coca and Portoviejo, AVIANCA offers a sandwich accompanied by a great variety of soda, juice, coffee, or tea.

Galapagos: We offer hot or cold snacks accompanied by soda, juice, coffee or tea. Special Services offered by AVIANCA in all our routes. Our passengers have the option to request a vegetarian menu or a menu for children at the moment of making the reservation. On board, AVIANCA also offers white or diet sugar to suit our customers’ needs.

LATAM

Fly to Galapagos with LATAM and visit the Galapagos National Park, one of the most attractive destinations in Ecuador. LATAM flights to Galapagos Ecuador offer inflight entertainment, complimentary food and drink, and access to airport VIP lounges to make your next flight to Galapagos more enjoyable.

From the moment you step onboard, our South American hospitality is brought to life in the warm greetings and smiles from the flight attendants and crew.

TAME


Around 3,000 passengers travel daily on Tame’s aircraft on its national and international routes. The incorporation of modern planes with a higher capacity increases the number of passengers and consolidates Tame’s prestige in the commercial aviation market.

In spite of remaining part of state enterprises, its operation is completely autonomous in administrative and financial fields. It does not receive governmental contributions and its growth is only based on the income generated by its own activity.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][easy-profiles template=”outlinecolor” animation=”pulse” profile_facebook=”https://www.facebook.com/galapagosislandstours/” profile_twitter=”https://twitter.com/galapagosexpert/” profile_google=”https://plus.google.com/+GalapagosToursCo” profile_pinterest=”https://www.pinterest.es/galapagostours/” profile_instagram=”https://www.instagram.com/galapagostours/” profile_youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/user/aidamariatravel” profile_rss=”https://galapagosislandscenter.com/feed/” profile_flickr=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/152193854@N04/albums”][ninja_form id=”1″][vc_posts_slider count=”10″ interval=”3″ slides_content=”teaser” slides_title=”1″ orderby=”date” order=”ASC” posttypes=”tour” title=”Naturalis Cruises”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Diving in Galapagos

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]For 4 years in a row (20002003) , Galapagos was rated as the #1 best overall dive destination in the world by Rodale’s Scuba Diving Magazine’s ” Readers’ Choice Awards”

Darwin island and Wolf island are probably the two best dive sites in the world but they are very far to the north (120 miles from the nearest other island) and no land excursions are possible up there. It takes approximately 15 – 20 hours of open ocean travel each way so any trip that includes them on the itinerary usually will spend at least 3 days up there. Therefore any trip which includes Darwin and Wolf islands will have very few land excursion available and will not visit as many of the islands as a trip which does not include them. These itineraries are not appropriate for non-divers.

There are two modalities for dive tours in Galapagos, live aboard dive tours and land based dive tours , here we give you an idea of both so you can make a decision before booking your dive tour in Galapagos.

LIVE ABOARD GALAPAGOS DIVE TOURS

Live aboard dive tours was the first modality of dive tours in the Galapagos islands , the dive yachts have always had a high standard making these dive cruises very comfortable and relaxing . Most of the dive tours go for a week which is a good ammount of time to dive as much as possible and travel further from the central galapagos islands such this way you can reach Darwin and Wolf which are probably the best diving in the world.The number of dives which are done on any trip to Galapagos depends on how much time you have to actually dive.

The amount of time available on any given day. The Galapagos Islands are located directly on the equator so the days in Galapagos are exactly 12 hours long every day all year long. The islands are far apart and there are many of them. There may be a two to three hour boat run between dive sites. Darwin and Wolf are 14 to 20 hours from the other islands depending on seas, wind and current. Most of this long run is done during the night but you still must leave the south by early to mid afternoon to get to Wolf by the morning.

Safety issues – You must have surface interval between dives. You must wait an hour or so after you eat before you dive. You must wait a minimum of 24 hour hours before flying and most yachts will not start the last daylight dive of the day after to 3:00 PM. This last rule is because there are very strong currents and the next nearest land is 4000 miles to the west. A lost diver at night is in serious trouble. If a diver is separated from the group (which is common) and the dive takes 1 hour, this give the crew 2 hours of daylight to find them.

Night diving is the exception rather than the rule. Remember that this is open ocean diving with strong currents. The main attraction is not reef but the pelagic large animals off the reef. A lost diver in Galapagos is a serious problem especially at night. Therefore night dives are done in coves and are not available on most nights.

To give you an idea of the number of dives, you can typically expect one or two dives plus one or two hikes plus snorkeling . At Darwin/Wolf you have time to make between 2 – 4 dives the first and last day up there depending on what time you arrive and what time you have to depart for the south. On days where you are there all day long you have time to make between 3 and 4. On a 7 night Darwin Wolf trip you will typically make between 16 to 20 dives.

LAND BASED GALAPAGOS DIVE TOURS

The second way to dive in the Galapagos islands is taking a land or hotel based tour,these kind of dive trips can be done from Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz island which is the largest town in Galapagos and therefore has the most options ,but of course there are dive tours offered from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristobal island and Puerto Villamil in Isabela Island.

These dive tours start very early in the morning , since they are done on fast boats mostly ,you can reach your dive site within a couple of hours,groups are small (from 4 up to 8 people normally) , you will be diving with a certified dive master / dive guide ,these tours have become very popular due to the big difference in price between them and the live aboard ones.

There are normally 2 dives a day with a break for a box lunch on the boat and maybe snorkeling, you can take as many days as you want starting from 1 depending on availability ,the dive sites are close to the port they leave from so there might be the chance to run into other dive groups.

The price also depends on the type of boat ,here we give you a sample idea of the types of boats running day dive tours in Galapagos ,they range from superior class , moderate price , and budget.

ECLIPSE (moderate price)

Galapagos 3D

Enjoy daily diving-tours on our new cruising-boat Eclipse Yacht! This is a 14.60 m long and 6 m beam, especially constructed diving boat.

According to the Galapagos National Park Diving License It has a capacity of 8 divers and is designed to offer modern comfort and guarantee a safe and enjoyable trip for you and your family or friends. Non-divers are very welcome to accompany the divers and enjoy snorkeling at the dive-sites. Hot lunch, snacks between meals, cold and hot drinks are offered on board.

Equipped by 2 engines, one 40kw generator, Capitano Bauer Compressor on board, fresh water production (desalinization) Zodiac disembarkation boat for 10 passengers, first aid equipment, air conditioner and hot shower.

All of the trips are to the nearest islands of Puerto Ayora, where we can easily anchor and dive in 13 different dive sites.

NAUTILUS (superior class)


Nautilus is our beautiful and spacious pilot house motor sailor. Extremely comfortable and attractive, with rich teak paneling and furnishings. For total relaxation this sailing diving yacht is unbeatable for DAILY DIVING in the Galapagos Islands.

She accommodates eight passengers in four air conditioned cabins, each with double lower and single upper berths, private head and shower (hot and cold water). Bathrooms have stall showers and manually operated heads. There is plenty of hot and cold water for passenger use. Nautilus facilities include a dining area with two tables, and salon, TV, DVD a mini-library, and mini-bar and Sun deck.
Nautilus Yacht holds all necessary permits from National Park as diving operator in the Marine Reserve, and full fill all safety requirements from the Ecuadorian Navy: Life rafts, Hunter Satellite, Radio VHF, Radio HF, ecosounder, radar, EPIRB, bidirectional radio, Oxygen, and offers the necessary safety and comfort in navigation.

Diving is from an auxiliary soft boat Caribe 20 capacity per 10 divers. While diving, this boat is always on top of the divers, offering you safety and easy water entries and exits through the ample ladder.

Our crew has many years of experience in diving operations in Galapagos.

ANGELITA (budget class)


Most of the dayly dive tours in galapagos are done on samller speed boats ,these small dive boats are aprox. 10 meters long by 2.5 meters wide ,will carry a maximum of 8 people and have a general sitting area which can be a bit crowded considering that all the dive equipment is also there , however they have 2 large outboard engines making them very fast so that way you will reach your destination in a very short time.

The budget dive boats have a crew of 2 normally consisting of the captain and the dive gide ,this doesnt mean in any way that they are less safe than the higher priced dive boats. The ecuadorian navy which controls the marine operations in Ecuador has a high standard when it comes to safety on board.

On the budget class dive boats you will have two dives a day , they include all the necessary equipment for your dives and in between dives a box lunch is served and if there is enough time a snorkel is included.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][easy-profiles template=”outlinecolor” animation=”pulse” profile_facebook=”https://www.facebook.com/galapagosislandstours/” profile_twitter=”https://twitter.com/galapagosexpert/” profile_google=”https://plus.google.com/+GalapagosToursCo” profile_pinterest=”https://www.pinterest.es/galapagostours/” profile_instagram=”https://www.instagram.com/galapagostours/” profile_youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/user/aidamariatravel” profile_rss=”https://galapagosislandscenter.com/feed/” profile_flickr=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/152193854@N04/albums”][ninja_form id=”1″][vc_posts_slider count=”10″ interval=”3″ slides_content=”teaser” slides_title=”1″ orderby=”date” order=”ASC” posttypes=”tour” title=”Naturalis Cruises”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

The Islands

[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text]The Galapagos is one of the most fascinating places in the world, it offers a variety of activities from liveaboard cruises on which you can spend from 5 up to 15 days cruising around the islands discovering its unique species, from the famous galapagos giant tortoises, blue footed boobies, land and marine iguanas, the world famous Darwin’s finches and many more, the flora is also very unique, from giant opuntia cactus trees to plants that grow on rocks, it really is as they call it, a living laboratory of evolution.

Since the first visitors to the Galapagos were mostly from england, the first names of the islands were in English normally after british royalty, after Ecuador claimed the islands as ecuadorian territory they were given names in spanish, here are a few.

Turtle Galapagos Islands

SANTA CRUZ OR INDEFATIGABLE ISLAND

Santa Cruz island is located in the center of the Galapagos, it has the largest town in the galapagos named Puerto Ayora also with the largest human population, the reason for this is because Baltra island located on the north side of Santa Cruz was occupied by a US air base that buildt the first landing strip in Galapagos, after the air base left, Baltra became the main airport in the Galapagos and tourist started arriving there.

Now Santa cruz offers many options for tours from live aboard cruises,day trips and hotel based, in town we can find the Charles Darwin research center , also at the highlands it is possible to see giant tortoises in the wild as well as Darwins finches and many land birds,other attractions are Tortuga Bay , Las Grietas and Garrapatero.

Floreana Islands

FLOREANA OR CHARLES ISLAND

Floreana was one of the first island reached by early visitors such as pirates and british whalers, Floreanas human history is very interesting with stories from Norwegian settlers to German families making of it their home, Floreana has several attractions starting from the Post Office Bay where a rum barrel was placed as a mail box for whalers.

Punta Cormorant has a large brackish water lagoon where flamingoes go to eat, it also has a green sand beach as well as a white sand beach which is used by sea turtles as a nesting area.

The Devil’s crown is one of the most popular snorkelling and diving sites in Galapagos , there is easy to find lots of fish, playful sea lions, sometimes reef wite tip sharks locally known as tintoreras.

San Cristobal Islands

SAN CRISTOBAL OR CHATAM ISLAND

San Cristobal is the eastern most island of Galapagos , with a population of around 8000 people in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno ,is the capital of the Galapagos and the second largest town in the islands.

From here it is possible to visit many sites such as El Junco on the highlands, a fresh water lagoon filled with rain water , La Galapaguera which is a small reserve for giant tortoises.

Puerto baquerizo has also great waves that have made of this town a favorite destination for surfers.Other attractions on the San Cristobal are Punta Pitt , La Loberia, Isla Lobos, Frigate Hill , Kicker Rock, Puerto Ochoa, and Cerro Brujo.

 

 

Isabela Islands

ISABELA OR ALBERMARLE ISLAND

Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos, Isabela island has 6 volcanoes 5 of which are still active, in each one of these volcanoes lives a different species of giant tortoises, From the town on Isabela named Puerto Villamil is possible to visit Sierra Negra volcano,with giant tortoises in the wild and also is possible to see fumaroles on the volcano.

Back in town there is a brackish water lagoon with flamingos, at the coast we can find penguins, marine iguanas and several species sea birds like blue footed boobies frigate birds,also sea lions and sharks. Other places ti visit on Isabela are Muro de las Lagrimas, Elizabeth Bay, Ubina Bay ,Tagus Cove and more.

 

Fernandina Islands

FERNANDINA OR NARBOROUGH ISLAND

Fernandina is the younguest island in the Galapagos and the one with the most volcanic activity, Fernandina’s volcano is named La Cumbre.

Fernandina is located on the west part of the Galapagos ,surounded by marine currents bringing cold waters with lots o nutriens , Fernandina is one of the richest islands in terms of food for marine life and sea birds such as the flightless cormorant which due to the abundance of food never had the need to fly and lost that ability.

Snorkelling is also a highlight when visiting fernandina.

 

 

My beautiful picture

BARTOLOME ISLAND

Almost in the middle of the archipelago is located Bartolome island , one of the smallest islands in the Galapagos but also one of the most interesting.

There are to parts of this island that are open to visitors,one is a mall trail that takes us to the top of the island aprox. 350 feet above sea level.Bartolome is one of the younguest islands in Galapagos meaning that most of its landscape is covers by lava flows and volcanic ash making of it a great place to understeand about the formation of the Galapagos.

Once at the top there is an amazing view of this island and its famouse pinnacle rock , with good weather we acn also see many of the surounding islands. The second place to visit is a beautiful golden sand beach where on season it is possible to see marine turtles nesting and of course snorkelling is a must since there is a small population of penguins and some times you can see them under water.

Bird on Galapagos Islands

NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND

North Seymour , located north of santa Cruz and Baltra Islands is a small flat island full of life ,there is a large colony of blue footed boobies that can be found all over the island , blue footed boobies nest right on the ground without making a real nest so some times you have to really watch your step while walking on the trail.

Another species of sea birds found in large numbers are frigatebirds , probably the most interesting part of visiting North Seymour is to see the frigates courtship , the male inflates a big bright red pouch to atract the females and females fly over all males looking for the nicest pouch.

Besides birds there is also a small population of land iguanas , sea lions , lava lizrds and interesting vegetation such as the palo santo tree.

 

Genovesa Galápagos Islands

GENOVESA OR TOWER ISLAND

Genovesa has 2 visit sites the first one is Darwin Bay , this is one of the places in galapagos with large colonies of sea birds like frigates, nazca boobies, red footed boobies,and some shore birds such as swallow tail gulls and night herons.

The second site is Price Phillip steps, a natural stairway made of lava rocks which takes us to the top of this relatively low island, once at the top a narrow trail takes us along nesting areas of Nazca boobies formerly known as masked boobies, at the end of the trail we find a lava field close to the water where lots of storm petrels can be found feeding ,its also a good place to sit down and go birdwatching , one of the goals is to find a night owl that blend in with the color of the lava waiting to catch a storm petrel.

 

RABIDA OR JERVIS ISLAND

Rabida is one of the small central islands of the galapagos,located south of James island , Rabida or Jervis island has a beutiful red sand beach where colonies of sea lions are found just relaxing or waiting to go fishing.

The trail takes us along the beach ,eventually through the vegetation ,mostly a plant caled salt bush ,once you vcross the vegetation a small brackish water lagood is found and soome times is possible to see flamingoes.

The rocks near the beach a a great place for snorkelling and most of the time the sea lions will join you and swim along.

 

SANTA FE

Santa Fe is located south east of Santa Cruz , this island has probably one of the most beautiful bays in Galapagos , a sandy bottom gives the water a beutiful turquoise color on sunny days , after landing on a white sand beach , the path takes you along a forest of giant opuntia or prickly pear cactus, probably the tallest i the world reaching heights of over 50 feet.

As part of the fauna , Santa Fe is home to a unique species of land iguanas , galapagos doves , an endemic species of rice rat and with a bit of luck you can even find the endemic galapagos snake , small and non poisonous.

After the walk we recommend to go snorkelling , some times is even possible to find marine iguanas feeding underwater.

 

SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND

Plazas islands are actually the product of an underwater uplift so now what we see are two long and flat rocks opposite each other forming north and south Plazas islands.

The one open to visitors is South Plazas ,as ussual the first ones wellcoming us are the galapagos sea lions ,once on the island we can find land iguanas and marine iguanas, due to the small size of this island it is probably the only place where both species of iguanas interbreed.

The island is covered mostly by a succulent plant called sesuvium which is food for the land iguanas,the interesting part of this vegetation is that during the dry season ,the surface of the plant turns red and during the rainy season its green.

 

SANTIAGO OR JAMES ISLAND

Santiago is one of the large islands towards the north west of the Galapagos archipelago , it was one of the few islands visited by Charles Darwin and one of the first inhabited island , during the early 1900’s a people lived there working on a salt “mine” which was actually a salt water lake at the nottom of a small volcanic cone ,and they would extract salt from the bottom.

Now James or Santiago islan is home to a second species of galapagos sea lion known as fur seals.

Along the coast is easy to find shore birds such as oystercatchers, herons and more,also its common to see the galapagos hawk flying in circles looking for food.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][easy-profiles template=”outlinecolor” animation=”pulse” profile_facebook=”https://www.facebook.com/galapagosislandstours/” profile_twitter=”https://twitter.com/galapagosexpert/” profile_google=”https://plus.google.com/+GalapagosToursCo” profile_pinterest=”https://www.pinterest.es/galapagostours/” profile_instagram=”https://www.instagram.com/galapagostours/” profile_youtube=”https://www.youtube.com/user/aidamariatravel” profile_rss=”https://galapagosislandscenter.com/feed/” profile_flickr=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/152193854@N04/albums”][ninja_form id=”1″][vc_posts_slider count=”10″ interval=”3″ slides_content=”teaser” slides_title=”1″ orderby=”date” order=”ASC” posttypes=”tour” title=”Naturalis Cruises”][/vc_column][/vc_row]