This tour allows you to explore the islands of Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Española and San Cristobal at your own pace. Swim with sea lions, snorkel, explore a volcano, meet giant tortoises, get to know the very famous Kicker Rock and meet the local Galapagos residents.
Once you arrive to Galapagos you will take the bus to the Itabaca Channel to cross from Baltra Island to Santa Cruz. On the other side of the channel on Santa Cruz Island, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Later in the afternoon you will join a shared tour to the highlands. The highlands of Santa Cruz are a deep green, contrasting beautifully with the lower areas of the island. The dominant vegetation in the highlands are the Scalesia trees. In the highlands is a private reserve where Galapagos Tortoises roam freely, grazing along the fields. Walking among the wild tortoises will be one of the most treasured moments of your time in Galapagos. After visiting these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat, we take a 5-minute ride to the entrances of lava tunnels. The tunnels are illuminated and the top of the tunnels reach nearly 20 feet in height in most places and are about 1350 ft long (450 meters). This is an incredible opportunity to see lava stalagmites, stalactites, mineral-colored walls and rippled floors formed from previous lava flows.
North Seymour Island is teeming with wildlife and is one of the best visitor sites in Galapagos! You may have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana because they are everywhere. Blue-footed boobies’ nest on either side of the trail where mating pairs will perform their courtship dance. Further along the rocky shore a strip of white-sand lies inland and large flocks of sea birds are seen in massive flocks in feeding frenzies, diving into the ocean all at once; rendering a picturesque seen the same as ages long past. The trail in North Seymour Island also turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site of the magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos Islands. These huge acrobats have a 5-foot wingspan and males display bright red, scarlet gular pouches when on the look out for a mate. These frigate birds can be seen sitting precariously on low branches watching over their chicks.
In the morning the speedboat to San Cristobal will leave at 7:00 am. Upon arrival you will join the tour to Kicker Rock, or as the locals call it, “Leon Dormido” aka Sleeping Lion. Kicker Rock is a large rock formation located on the coast of San Cristobal Island that has eroded over time creating a magnificent island in the middle of the sea. The two rocks are remnants of a vertical tuff cone formation and is a favorite of several species of seabirds looking for shelter. The main attraction is the snorkeling or diving activity where many Galapagos and hammerhead sharks can be seen at the ocean’s bottom, as well as sea turtles, manta rays, octopus, and a wide array of tropical fish.
Located two hours from San Cristobal is Espanola Island, the southernmost and oldest of all islands in the archipelago. The island’s flat profile is extremely dry with only a few inches of rainfall per year. Despite the dry climate, the island is one of the world’s only known nesting sites of the Waved Albatross, or Galapagos Albatross. During the months of April to December, this island is covered with these adorably clumsy birds. They’re body is disproportionate to their legs and feet as they spend most of their lives on the water or flying and only walk in order to mate with their lifelong partner. They’re mating dance is spectacular to watch as they clumsily walk and smack their beaks together with their mates year after year. You’ll also be greeted by marine iguanas, the males will turn shades of green and bright red during the mating season, earning them the nickname of Christmas iguanas. Here a visit to Gardner Bay for snorkeling opportunities completes the visit. Whale sightings are common (but not guaranteed) during the open water transfer to/from Espanola and back to San Cristobal.
Based on the flight time, please go to the airport to take your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.
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Gulliver Expeditions is a tour operator that offers unique Ecuador and Peru tours. Specialized in adventure travel such as climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding. We offer both pre-planned packages as well as tailor-made tours that can include the Amazon rainforest, once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos cruises and expeditions to Machu Picchu.