Motor Yacht Galapagos Odyssey welcomes you on board to discover with your own eyes the unique wonders of the Galapagos Islands. We take you around the remote and most exceptional islands of the archipelago. The Odyssey is considered among the most comfortable and spacious 16-passenger boats cruising this archipelago. Our certified professional crew, attentive cruise director and the knowledgeable, bilingual naturalist guide on board will do their utmost to convert yours once in a lifetime cruise into the trip of your life!
|DEPARTURES||Every Tuesday to Sunday|
|DURATION||6 Days / 5 Nights|
|ACCOMMODATION||9 Cabins for 16 Guests with a crew of 10 people|
|INCLUDED||Accommodation as confirmed.
All mentioned meals (full-board); filtered water, coffee and tea.
All guided excursions & activities as mentioned in the itinerary by a National Park certified naturalist guide.
Beach towels & snorkeling gear (snorkel, mask, fins; optional wet-suits for hire).
Bus ticket Baltra Airport / Itabaca Channel – $5 pp
|NOT INCLUDED||Round flight to Galapagos.
Soft and alcoholic drinks.
Galapagos National Park entrance fee(currently $100, subject to change).
Personal travel insurance.
Personal expenses, extras and tip.Galapagos transit control card $20pp
Isabela docking fee $15pp *Depending on IT. Santa Cruz Highland Tortoises ranch $5 * depending on the IT.
Southeastern Galapagos Islands Cruise
Our 5-night southeastern itinerary visits the most popular sites of the Galapagos and combines the spectacular seabird colonies of Española and North Seymour. The southwestern islands are geologically older, eroded and overgrown, with almost extinguished volcanic activity. Striking beaches of white coral sand are favorite places for large colonies of Galapagos sea lions and surround breathtaking azure-colored bays. This varied route is characterized by relatively shorter nightly navigations and even two nights of quiet rest at calm anchorage-sites. This cruise begins in San Cristóbal, with lots of Galapagos sea lions occupying the harbor of the Galapagos’ capital Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. You will cross the highlands to visit the local Galapagos giant tortoise breeding center. The next day you will get the chance to walk through the waved albatross and booby colonies on Española, and observe sunbathing marine iguanas. The northern cape of Floreana contains a lagoon where exotic American flamingos used to breed. Nearby Devil’s Crown is one of the most popular snorkel sites of the Galapagos! Heading to the heart of the archipelago, you will visit the extraordinary Santa Fe and South Plaza, both unmissable highlights (both with land iguanas and giant Opuntia cactus trees). We conclude with the thriving booby- and frigate colonies on North Seymour, a beach stroll on Bachas Beach and an inflatable dinghy-ride along or landing on Mosquera, all three close to Baltra, from where you will fly back.
- Spot sharks and sea lions in the crystalline waters in Gardener Bay
- Visit Post Office Bay to drop off your letter and find a few to deliver
- Hike around North Seymour to spot blue-footed boobies and frigate birds
- Enjoy the white sand beaches of Bachas, a favorite nesting spot for sea turtles
|FRIDAY||Santa Fe – South Plaza Island|
|SATURDAY||North Seymour – Bachas Beach – Santa Cruz Island|
|SUNDAY||Mosquera Islet & Transfer to Baltra´s Airport|
Day by day itinerary description
Day 1 – Tuesday
This morning you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristóbal Airport. After welcome, check-in, lunch, briefing and the safety-drill, we leave for a 45-minute bus ride (22.5 km / 13.2 mi) to our first visitor’s site in the highlands of this island, the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding center on Colorado Hill.
Before dinner, your guide will give the first daily briefing for tomorrow and will explain the yachts and National Park rules. The captain and his crew will then present you with a welcome cocktail and make a toast to celebrate your first evening on-board. Around midnight we will lift the anchor and navigate about 5 hours to the south-eastern island of Española.
AM: Arrival at San Cristóbal Airport
At San Cristóbal Airport you will have to pay your Galapagos National Park entrance fee and your luggage will be inspected. After meeting your naturalist guide and fellow passengers in the arrivals hall, you will be transferred to the harbor of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Our inflatable dinghy will bring you the last stretch to the yacht.
PM: Colorado Hill (San Cristóbal)
The only (unpaved) road into the highlands of San Cristóbal passes the formal sugarcane plantation and penal colony El Progreso and a row of ecological wind generators on a ridge. It then reaches the highest parts of the agricultural zone and El Junco Lagoon, one of the few sweet water lagoons in the archipelago. Colorado Hill is on the descent to the southern coast. The giant tortoise breeding center on Colorado Hill bears the official name Galapaguero Jacinto Gordillo, but in daily use, it is simply named after the red hill on which it is located. This and similar breeding centers on Santa Cruz and Isabela are the most comfortable places where you can see Galapagos giant tortoises. All of the centers are created with the intention of rescuing these endangered giants by collecting their eggs in the wild, reproduction in captivity
and repopulation once the hatchlings are big enough and less vulnerable to predators. This center works with the local subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoises (out of ca. 11 remaining subspecies in total; scientists disagree about the number, and also if the San Cristóbal subspecies should be considered as a distinct species).
Around the large corral, there is also an interpretive botanical trail and an interesting visitor’s center. In here the natural history of the local giant tortoises is explained to you; including the relationship and evolutional differences between these and other (sub) species. On the trail you can spot songbirds as well, such as yellow warblers, endemic Galapagos large-billed flycatchers and the Chatham mockingbird (even ‘more’ endemic, while unique to this island alone), which put Darwin on track of his evolution theory.
Day 2 – Wednesday
Española is one of the crown jewels of the archipelago, and offers everything that you might expect from the Galapagos; it’s a real birdwatcher’s and photographer’s paradise! Being one of the oldest, it no longer looks like a volcanic island. Unlike the western islands, where barren lava tongues reach up to the coastlines, massive erosion of the former cone and lava fields has formed long sand beaches. Española gives you the opportunity to become an eyewitness of evolution. Thanks to its very dry climate and remote isolated location, its residents evolved completely independently into new (sub) species, even unlike the rest of the islands. Española is, therefore, one of the strongest examples of natural selection, together with nearby Santa Fe, and Fernandina in the extreme west.
After breakfast, your island excursion will start with a so-called ‘dry landing’ (with footwear) at Suarez Point. This morning promises to be a highlight of your cruise. During a longer guided walk (Moderate Level; 4 km, 2.5 mi, about 2 hours) you will pass spectacular seabird colonies on top of the cliffs, which contain some short scrambling passages (avoidable depths).
Back on-board we will navigate for about an hour to our afternoon’s exotic visitor’s site. After lunch, you will make your first ‘dive’ in the alluring turquoise-colored Gardner Bay, where you can admire colorful tropical reef fish, snorkel side by side with a Pacific green turtle, or find yourself in the middle of playful Galapagos sea lions. You will then make a ‘wet landing’ (bare feet) on the wide sand beach. This is a good spot for a stroll alongside the sea lions colony (Easy Level), or a moment of reflexion, relaxation, or rolling with the sea lions in the surf.
After dinner we will navigate the longest stretch of Route A, which will take about 7 hours, navigating west to the neighboring island of Floreana.
AM: Suarez Point (Española)
Huge ocean waves crash onto the southern basaltic cliffs of Suarez Point, forming a spectacular blowhole, where the water sprays meters high into the air (depending on the season, the tide and how strongly the sea breeze pushes the waves). Take your time to enjoy a meditative break in silence on this emblematic viewpoint, and convert this unforgettable moment into a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Española marine iguanas become bright red with a turquoise-colored crest and legs at the start of the breeding season (starting from Christmas). Hood lava lizards are the largest of the 7 endemic species in the islands, as well as the mockingbirds, which have turned to carnivorous behavior! The successful rebred endemic Galapagos giant tortoise population resides on a site that is closed to tourism.
For most of their lives, waved albatrosses soar far out at sea and only come onto dry land to breed and nurture their huge chicks (March-December). This spectacular seabird is the only tropic albatross, and it is considered a critically endangered species. It only breeds on Española (besides some strayed individuals on Isla de La Plata, Machalilla National Park, close to the Ecuadorian coast). If you’re there at the right time (especially in October, though also noticeable in other months) you will be able to admire their synchronous courtship dances, which include bowing, whistling and even a stylized form of ‘sword fighting’ with their bills! Suarez Point also forms the massive breeding site for Nazca and blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Especially during the food-abundant garúa-season (2nd half of the year), you can admire amusing courtship dances, mating, breeding, emerging from the eggs, nurturing or first flight-attempts. Blue-footed boobies don’t breed in the middle of the trail. You will walk just a few meters away from seabirds and marine iguanas of the islands, making you feel like you’re within a busting nature documentary!
PM: Gardner Bay (Española)
The striking white beach at Gardner Bay is an important breeding site for Pacific green turtles. But without doubt, its main attraction is the Galapagos sea lion colony. Females stay year-round in this nursery, suckling their pups up to an age of 3 years old, although they already start to learn how
to fish after 5 months. During the breeding- and mating season the colony becomes even more populous. The strongest bachelors and elder males return from their secluded bases and start again to conquer and defend a part of the 1300 m / 4250 ft. long beach. Pregnant females choose the best territory to give birth and will mate again with their landlord within a month.
Day 3 – Thursday
Before daybreak, we have dropped the anchor at the Northern Cape of Floreana, known as Cormorant Point. Nearby are several tiny islets, which boast some of the most fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving sites, such as Devil’s Crown and Champion. The historical place of Post Office Bay is also excellent for sea-kayaking. Floreana determines the southern border of Galapagos and has an ‘end of the world’ feel to it. Its freshwater spring on top made it the first of four inhabited islands in the archipelago, although you won’t notice the present settlement Puerto Velasco Ibarra (150 inhabitants).
After breakfast, the inflatable dinghies will bring you to the rocky rim of Devil’s Crown, which is located just outside the bay of Cormorant Point. If fantastic deep-water snorkeling (with sometimes stronger currents) is not your thing there are other options such as birdwatching, or alternatively, you can enjoy an inflatable dinghy ride (landing is prohibited on these marine visitor’s sites).
After a snack, we make a wet landing on the greeny beach of Cormorant Point. From here you will follow the sandy path to the other, powdery sand beach of the peninsula, which has been formed by a lava tongue (Easy Level; about 1.5 km, 1 mi). En route, you can observe the American flamingo lagoon from different viewpoints and perspectives.
After a short displacement to Post Office Bay and lunch, you can post your holiday greetings in the traditional barrel just behind the beach (wet landing), which is also a comfortable place to relax. You can then explore the submerged crater rim that surrounds the neighboring bay of Baroness Lookout in your own pace by sea-kayak, or by inflatable dinghy.
Around midnight we will navigate about 5 hours northeast to the extraordinary island of Santa Fé.
AM: Devil’s Crown (Floreana)
With no less than five sea currents, the marine reserve is even more diverse than the archipelago above sea level. For many, Devil’s Crown is the number one snorkeling site on the Galapagos, and maybe even one of the main highlights of your cruise. The jagged crater rim just protrudes sea level and is continually beaten by the waves. The depth and very transparent waters of this deep-water snorkeling site give you the sensation that you’re flying. It is like plunging into a huge tropical aquarium,
swimming amidst schools of thousands of brightly colored tropical fish, such as yellowtail surgeon fishes and king angelfishes, and many other species. Sometimes a Pacific green turtle or Galapagos sea lion will swim past, and don’t be scared when you might come across a scalloped hammerhead shark! On the bottom, you can distinguish resting white tip reef sharks, different species of ray and starfishes. The inner walls of the crater rim are coated with coral formations and protected against the surf. Above sea level the dramatic decor of the jagged crater rim provides living space for lots of coastal birds, including lava gulls, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, brown pelicans, and red-billed tropicbirds, which look for protected nesting places in caves or ledges under a rock overhang (and can fight out spectacular air battles). The opposite land head of Floreana is a nesting place for magnificent frigate birds, where you could also head for.
AM: Cormorant Point (Floreana)
Please don’t expect to spot the flightless cormorant at Cormorant Point, on the northern coast of Floreana. This emblematic example of evolution lives exclusively in the remote west of the Galapagos on Fernandina and Isabela. Instead, this is one of the best places on the Galapagos to observe American flamingos among other aquatic birds, such as pintails (or Bahama ducks). Its salty lagoon houses a breeding colony of dozens of these elegant and exotic, but nervous waders. Although, when breeding is done and the lagoon dries up, the flamingos tend to be on the move to look for shrimps and algae from other saline lakes.
The peninsula of Cormorant Point forms the extreme north cape of Floreana, which is pockmarked by numbers of smaller volcanic cones and covered by tropical dry forest (predominantly palo santo). At the landing beach, you will be welcomed by a small Galapagos sea lion colony. The green sand on this beach contains a high percentage of glassy olivine crystals that have been blown out by the surrounding tuff cones. The ‘flour sand’ sand beach on the southern side of the peninsula is formed of even finer white coral sand that feels very smooth on your feet. Parrotfishes have pulverized it, grinding the calcareous skeletons of living coral. In the surf, you can see schools of stingrays that love using the sandy bottom to hide. During the first months of the year, Pacific green turtles come ashore to bury their eggs. The next morning you can notice their tracks from the dunes, or eventually, still catch an exhausted, delayed one, crawling back to sea.
PM: Post Office Bay & Baroness Lookout (Floreana)
Post Office Bay is one out of three nearby visitor’s sites on Floreana’s northern coast. Bring your postcards and post them in the peculiar traditional barrel on this historic site. These might arrive home quicker than you! The barrel commemorates an improvised mail service that was set up for communication between British 16th-century whalers
and poachers. The novel of Moby Dick is inspired by the whaling epoch around the Galapagos. Whale oil was very demanded illumination and odorous ambergris was an essential ingredient for perfumes, but there is no longer any left in the Atlantic. Like James Bay on Santiago, Floreana used to be a popular base to complement stocks. In these pre-Panama Canal times, sailors could be years from home, as the way back around Cape Horn was long and dangerous with storms, pirates, malnutrition, and diseases. Returning vessels picked up letters from the barrel for home delivery. In the end, this post box became the termination of the British whaling industry in this region. During the Anglo-American War (1812-1815) it easily revealed the positions of the whaling vessels to the American frigate USS Essex, who captured them for their own use.
Proceeding by inflatable dinghy to Baroness Lookout you will follow the graceful arm around the sheltered bay to the entrance of a submerged tuff cone. Here you can spot Galapagos sea lions, Pacific green turtles, golden cow nose rays, and you might even spot a Galapagos penguin! This is the only spot on the south-eastern routes where you’ll find penguins residing (although the best opportunities are on Fernandina, the west coast of Isabela or Bartolomé).
After landing you can climb the miniature basaltic cone of Baroness Lookout, and dream away, admiring one of the most striking panoramas of the Galapagos. The turquoise and ocean blue waters merge with year-round red mangroves and basaltic rocks. This viewpoint was the favorite spot of one of the first colonists, Baroness Eloisa von Wagner Bosquet. The eccentric and self-proclaimed ‘Empress of Galapagos’ even built her house a few meters behind. She and one of her lovers were the first in a series of mysterious disappearings and deaths in the 1930s.
Day 4 – Friday
From Floreana, Santa Fe is located halfway to the central island of Santa Cruz. Today promises to become another memorable highlight of this cruise, with visits to the typical and popular islands of Santa Fe and South Plaza. Here you will be surprised again because of their complete distinctive character. Below the bizarre giant opuntia cacti, you will encounter some of the most characteristic and outstanding species, including land iguanas, but also birdwatchers and underwater enthusiasts will enjoy this experience.
After breakfast and another wet landing, you will take a guided walk from the beach of Santa Fe. There is an easy shorter circuit or a strenuous longer hike land inland (Moderate Level; ca. 3km / 2 mi.); the guide will decide which path to follow. Don’t forget to save some energy for excellent swimming or snorkeling in the crystal-clear azure waters of Barrington Bay.
Around lunchtime, we will proceed to South Plaza (about 2.5 hours Northwest), possibly accompanied by bottlenose dolphins. South Plaza is one out of two islets close to the eastern coast of Santa Cruz. On this Jurassic islet, you will undertake a contrast guided nature walk (avoidable depths on the cliff-edge; Easy Level; ca. 1.25km / 0.75 miles).
Before – a hopefully spectacular – sunset we will start out journey to tomorrow’s destination, North Seymour, following the coast of Santa Cruz to the heart of the archipelago (about 4 hours). We drop the anchor in the Itabaca Channel, where you can be rocked to sleep by the gentle water.
Additional options scuba-diving: Gordon Rocks (Expert/Advanced) or Santa Fe (All levels)
AM: Barrington Bay (Santa Fe)
Practically every animal on the extraordinary island of Santa Fe is unique; endemic to the Galapagos, or even to this island alone and therefore extremely vulnerable! Apparently, evolution has had enough time and isolation to create wonders that will surprise you even nowadays. And indeed, geologists have determined that Santa Fe is the remnant of probably the most ancient volcano on the Galapagos; the 259m / 850ft high hill is all that remains from its former cone. Evidence of volcanism, such as 3.9 million old sub-areal volcanic rocks, debunk theories that this would be another tectonic uplift around Santa Cruz.
Almost every visitor to Santa Fe would like to get a glimpse of the rare Barrington land iguana, but this pale version is not as easy to spot as its modeling counterparts on South Plaza. This one sometimes asks for an adventurous search, rather untypical for the Galapagos; and other times it surprises you by waiting for you right next to the path. Whether you spot it or not, you will keep going from one surprise to the next. Your experience starts before you’ve even anchored at Barrington Bay when the contours of its bizarre giant opuntia cactus forests become distinguishable. These largest cacti of the islands have extremely thick trunks indeed and can grow over 10m / 33ft. tall! You will land right in the middle of a Galapagos sea lion colony on the beach, attentively being stared at by surprisingly tame Galapagos hawks. From their outlooks in the saltbush– and palo santo-branches on the beach ridge these are ready for snatching away a not-to-be-despised lava lizard; not worrying that even these tiny reptiles are unique…
Snorkeling in the paradisiacal bay gives the opportunity to amplify your quickly-growing spot list with (harmless) white tip reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and lots of colorful tropical reef fish. If you’re lucky you might find a curious Galapagos sea lion waiting to play with you!
PM: South Plaza
Although in line of sight of the main island of Santa Cruz, the southern of both Plaza islets is quite different even from all other sites in the National Park. At the same time, it is so typically Galapagos, with its sharp contrasts, amazing diversity and high concentration of wildlife. It is one of the most popular, not to be missed islands, and definitely another highlight of your cruise.
There are several large Galapagos sea lion colonies, and this islet is the best place to encounter the endemic Galapagos land iguana. Watch your step and don’t stumble over one of them when the equally bizarre giant prickly pear cactus-trees distract you! These reptiles are not only ugly: as nobody less than Charles Darwin pronounced: but also extremely photogenic with strikingly yellowish or saffron-colors, and very patient models. On South Plaza, the land iguanas remained somewhat smaller because of overpopulation and severe food competition. It is incredible to see how cactus spines don’t harm their leathery tongues while chewing the pads, flowers, and fruits. Watch out as well for some unique hybrids, a result of crossing a male marine iguana and a female land iguana.
South Plaza has two faces, which provide it with completely different ecological niches and corresponding wildlife. At the upper rim of this seismic uplifted formation, you will learn about its windy, wild face, where dazzling cliffs abruptly cut off the gentle slope. About 20m / 75ft. downwards powerful waves splash against the foot of these massive walls, impressively droning. Sun basking marine iguanas who have escaped the cool shadows of the wall prove to be talented rock climbers equipped with strong claws.
Clouds of petrels, storm petrels, shearwaters, and brown noddies make spectacular flights and sometimes appear to walk on the waves. Take your binoculars and don’t miss the red-billed tropicbird with its graceful long tail and spectacular mating fights. These cliffs are also a nesting place for the endemic swallow-tailed gull, the most beautiful gull in the world. Its neatly lined eyes are perfectly adapted for its exceptional nightly fishing habits. From a birds-eye perspective, it is even possible to discover schools of surgeonfish, Galapagos mullets and when you are lucky even a jumping manta ray!
Day 5 – Saturday
North Seymour is one of most visited sites of the Galapagos and overloaded with extensive colonies of frigate birds and boobies. It is located in the heart of the Archipelago, just north of the main island of Santa Cruz, and close to Baltra.
After an early snack, you will take a guided walk through the waking seabird’s colonies, following a circular loop (Easy Level; 2 km / 1.25 mi, about 2 hours). Filled with impressions you will return on- board to fill up your stomach with our delicious breakfast buffet. Later in the morning snorkeling is scheduled.
As usual, you will be welcomed on-board with a snack, while we continue about 2 hours west to Bachas Beach, where we will serve lunch. In the afternoon you will make another wet landing followed by an easy stroll along the waterline of this coral sand beach.
Before dinner, we will sail back to the heart of the Archipelago, where you will spend your last night on board, enjoying a farewell cocktail with the crew and your fellow passengers, and enjoying another quiet sleep, while floating.
AM: North Seymour
The former seabed of the uplifted tabletop of North Seymour is strewn with boulders and overgrown by dry shrubs. Nevertheless, this islet is one of the most visited sites and overloaded with birdlife. The surprising proximity to South Seymour (better known as Baltra) enables an ideal combination with your flight to or from the Galapagos, either for a quick introduction or for the last farewell.
Two emblematic hosts say “Hello” or “Goodbye”. An easy circular path takes you through the archipelago’s most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. At the start of the (shifting) breeding season adult frigate bird-males blow up their vivid red pouches to impressive football-sized balloons. This is one of the few spots (besides Genovesa and Pitt Point) where you can compare the magnificent and the rarer great frigate bird breeding next to each other. Frigate birds attack returning boobies and conduct aerial battles rather than fishing themselves. The even more popular blue-footed boobies show their fascinating courtship rituals, in which their remarkable feet play an important role. Moreover, you can spot numerous other seabirds, such as brown pelicans, red-billed tropicbirds, endemic swallow-tailed gulls and seasonally even Nazca boobies. Between the shrubs, you might see a Galapagos land iguana. North Seymour originally did have any land iguanas, but in the 1930s an eccentric American millionaire moved the last generation from Baltra and saved them from starvation caused by competition with introduced goats; the breeding program that followed at Charles Darwin Research Station turned into a big success.
PM: Bachas Beach (Santa Cruz)
Strolling along its coastline, the blinding white Bachas Beach appears full of natural life. But both the turquoise bay and the symmetrical tuff cone- islet of Daphne Major pull your eyes to the horizon as well. Much closer, in the intertidal zone at your feet, you will see impressive sparkling orange colored and heavy-armed sally lightfoot crabs running around the dark basaltic rocks. Look out for Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas, shark fins or (seasonally) mating Pacific green turtles in the surf!
You will reach a brackish lagoon in the dunes, with different species of wade and shorebirds, including gracious and noisy black-necked stilts, white-cheeked pintails (or Bahama ducks) and hunting herons. Migratory aquatic birds that spend winter on the Galapagos, such as whimbrels, also frequent this pond. As soon as the water level drops and becomes saltier in the dry season, you might even encounter some American flamingos tirelessly filtering water to catch shrimp and algae!
These two quiet plagues along the remote north-western coast have become the preferred nesting site of Pacific green turtles on this main island of Santa Cruz. Females wait for high tide at night before crawling ashore, resulting in an unnoticed, safer and less exhausting effort. In the sunny months (November-February) the powdery coral sand becomes a hot greenhouse, and as soon as the eggs hatch, lots of predators arrive to attend the banquet.
‘Bachas’ refers to the ‘minefield of nest holes’ in the dunes strip; though others argue that it is a ‘Spanglish’ mispronunciation of ‘barks’, referring to two rusty landing vessels that were left on the longer second beach in World War II, when the American US Air Force used BALTRA as a strategic base to defend the Panama Canal.
Day 6 – Sunday
Mosquera lies in the middle of the Itabaca Channel, between Baltra and North Seymour. Because of nearby Baltra airport, Mosquera is the perfect ending to your Galapagos visit.
Shortly after the wake-up call and another snack, you will undertake this last excursion. Depending on the tide and the check-in time for your flight to Guayaquil or Quito we may or may not have the opportunity to go on land, where you can freely stroll around. Otherwise, we will make an interesting dinghy-ride along the rocky shore, full of seabirds. After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye and leave the yacht. We will accompany you and your luggage to the airport, where you can check-in and return to Guayaquil or Quito.
Though close neighbors, Mosquera and North Seymour offer a very different experience; diverging habitats attract different residents. While North Seymour contains large breeding colonies of boobies and frigate birds, Mosquera stands out as one of the largest concentrations of Galapagos sea lions in the entire archipelago. It’s also one of the few spots inside the National Park where you can stroll around freely, without being restricted to a trail.
Galapagos sea lions are real beach lovers and Mosquera offers beautiful white coral sand beaches contrasting with the azure-colored water. This islet is just a few meters higher than a sandbank and doesn’t complicate their landing, and they can roll relaxed in the surf. For fishing, they just have to enter the Itabaca Channel, which is a sort of natural place in which lots of marine life and schools of fish are concentrated. When the geological upraise continues, or if sea levels drop, the current submarine parts of the rocky ridge would come to the surface too, and change Mosquera into an isthmus, connecting North and South Seymour (Baltra). Fishing in the channel is not without risk; sometimes a school of killer whales (orcas, recognizable by their characterizing dorsal fins) enters to hunt sea lions.
During a beach walk, you can also expect to spot shorebirds and waders, such as groups of sanderlings that steadily have to interrupt their foraging efforts and run to escape each next breaker. Between the rocks there are lots of other intertidal hunters waiting such as striking orange sally lightfoot crabs, ready to play hide-and-seek with you when you want to photograph them. If a dinghy-ride is programmed, Mosquera might surprise you with some more exotic species as well. The endemic and vulnerable lava gull nests on this island, but there are only a few hundred pairs and it is the rarest species of gull in the world. With some luck, you might approach a yellow-crowned night heron keeping an eye on one of the tidal pools, or you even might catch a glimpse of a strayed red-footed booby!
AM: Transfer to Baltra airport
Assisted by the guide and some crew-members, the inflatable dinghy will bring you and your luggage to Baltra, where we take the airport shuttle. Your guide will accompany you to the check-in counters in the departure hall. You will return home with stunning pictures and unforgettable lifelong memories!
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