Thursday, May 6 - QUITO, ECUADOR (OVERNIGHT)
Friday, May 7 - QUITO, ECUADOR
"Quito by Night" Tour:
The night tour of Quito is an elegant tour, where you can appreciate the beautiful Quito architecture and feel the city without external noise giving more privacy, you can enjoy a hot drink if the night is cold.
Saturday, May 8 - SAN CRISTOBAL (GALAPGUERA), ECUADOR (MORNING)
Like so many of the islands in the Galapagos, San Cristobal is formed by dormant volcanoes. It lies to the east of the archipelago and is one of ht e oldest islands in the group. Approximately 6,000 people live on the island, making their living from tourism, fishing, in government offices, or off the rich volcanic soils with some limited raming existing in the highlands. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the southwestern tip of the islands is the capital city of the Galapagos Islands. A statue of Charles Darwin graces the harbor, marking one of the first places he likely stepped ashore in the 1830s.
Saturday, May 8 - KICKER ROCK, ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Kicker Rock is the vertical remnant of a former tuff cone less than 5 kilometers to the west of San Cristobal. Both its Spanish name "Leon Dormido" (Sleeping Lion) and English name Kicker Rock implies that it is one rock only - when in fact it is a larger one 300 meters long by 100 meters wide with a maximum height of approximately 150 meters and next to it an obelisk-like rock separated by a narrow channel some 20 meters deep. When approaching Kicker Rock, Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigatebirds can be observed in the air, while sea lions can be seen along the shore. Snorkelers and divers have reported many rays, hammerhead sharks and turtles. The Spanish name implies that the geological formation seen form the south resembles a sleeping lion. An interesting explanation fo the English name suggests that James Colnett in 1794 likened it to famous landmarks in Portsmouth.
Sunday, May 9 - ISLA BARTOLOME, ECUADOR (MORNING)
Our ship anchors in sight of the volcanic moonscape of Isla Bartolome, at Sullivan Bay. Zodiacs bring guests ashore to ascend a boardwalk of 388 steps. Passing through the arid volcanic landscape provides a chance to watch for lava lizards, Galapagos Hawks, and Blue-footed Boobies. However, the climber's ultimate reward is one of the most beautiful panoramas in all of the Galapagos Islands - the view towards Pinnacle Rock with black, volcanic cones of Baltra, Daphne Major, and Daphne Minor in the distance. On the way down watch how the sunlight catches the green of pioneering plant species in stark contrast against the dark volcanic rock, and look forward to time swimming and snorkeling from the golden beach at Bahia Dorada.
Sunday, May 9 - BUCCANEER COVE, SANTIGO, ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Buccaneer Cove is a colorful inlet on Santiago of James Island. It owes its name to some of the first visitors to the area: pirates. They came searching for water, tortoises, and some people say even places to hide their treasures. We don't know about any pirates' gold, but the area's landscape is a treasure. The geology combines some tuff red cones with impressive basalt lava dikes and sills. The erosion has carved caves and shaped some rocks into unique forms such as the Bishop's Rock. Palo Santo trees and some giant Prickly pear cactus cover the area, and at a distance, you can observe the impressive volcanos of Isabela Island. We will explore the area from our Zodiacs, searching for sea birds, such as Nazca Boobies, Blue Footed Boobies, and Swallow-tailed Gulls. We can often find sea turtles and even reef sharks in this place. Also, in Buccaneer Cove, we can observe the two sea lions species: the Galapagos sea lion basking on the beaches and the fur seal looking for shade on the collapsed rocks along the coast.
Monday, May 10 - PUNTA VICENTE ROCA (ISABELA), ECUADOR (MORNING)
Punta Vicente Roca is one of the marine sites Isabela Island has to offer. On the southern side of Ecuador Volcano, the tip of land on the western end of Isabela is named after Vicente Ramon Roca, President of Ecuador from 1845-49, whom as Prefect of Guayas, had proposed the Ecuadorian annexation of the Galapagos Islands in 1831. The geological formation, the underwater caves, and lava tubes offer fascinating views of the coastline. The South Equatorial Countercurrent hits this part of the archipelago from the west, and the water offers abundant food sources for different marine life and seabirds. It is normal to see Pacific green turtles, but sharks, rays, whales, and dolphins can also be expected, apart from a small colony of fur seals. Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Brown Noddies, and other seabirds nest in the cliffs, and both the endemic Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants have established small colonies nearby. Marine iguanas also like this area because of the rich variety of seaweeds growing underwater along the western coast of Isabela. As a marine site, deepwater snorkeling is also possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
Monday, May 10 - PUNTA ESPINOZA, FERNANDINA, ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
With the gentle slopes of La Cumbre volcano in the distance, the low, lava-forged coast of Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island is a spectacular sight. Hundreds of marine iguanas rest on the black rock of recent lava flows, absorbing heat from the stone and defending their territories against one another. Galapagos sea lions and their pups also take shelter here, resting on the beach and playing in the shallow tide pools sprinkled along the coast. Walk past high sandy areas where marine iguanas lay their eggs and along low, shallow mangrove ponds ringed with bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs and Flightless Cormorants drying their stubby wings in the sunshine.
Tuesday, May 11 - TAGUS COVE (ISABELA), ECUADOR (MORNING)
Tagus Cove is bordered by a steep, rocky coastline, and has for centuries, offered shelter for ships and yachts. The cove is named after the British frigate, HMS Tagus, visiting the Galapagos in 1814. Already by the 1830s, other ships had their visits recorded by painting or scratching their name onto the rocks. On approach, Galapagos Penguins and Flightless Cormorants - both birds mainly found on Isabela's west coast and neighboring Fernandina - are often seen. From the landing, a trail through an incense tree forest leads past Darwin Lake to a viewpoint on top of a splatter cone. During the high, several land birds, including Medium Ground-Finches, Galapagos Hawks, Yellow Warblers, as well as Large-billed and Vermilion Flycatchers, are often present. Brown Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies prefer the rocks along the shore.
Tuesday, May 11 - ELIZABETH BAY (ISABELA), ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Elizabeth Bay is one of the marines that sits on Isabela's west coast. South of Alcedo Volcano and north of Sierra Negra, Elizabeth Bay is found at Isabela's narrowest east-west extension, where the lava flows, of these two volcanoes, have connected each other. Elizabeth Bay's shores show mangroves, and specifically, the easternmost part, a cove which can only be entered via a narrow channel, has red, white, and black mangroves. Different animals prefer different parts of Elizabeth Bay. Las Marielas, three rocks at the entrance to the bay, are favored by Blue-footed Boobies, Flightless Cormorants, and Galapagos Penguins as a resting place while the mangrove area is preferred by Great Blue Herons, for hunting or the Magnificent Frigatebirds for perching. The bay is used by turtles, rays, and even sharks for feeding or resting. The shallow water, and the root system of the mangroves in the small inlet, allow smaller fish to hide from bigger predators.
Wednesday, May 12 - POST OFFICE BAY (FLOREANA), ECUADOR (MORNING)
Floreana's Post Office Bay has received its name as the site was used to leave mail for retrieval by others who were thought to stop at the Galapagos Islands or might be heading for the addressee's direction. First mentioned by Porter 1813 as "Hathaway's Postoffice", HMS Beagle's Captain FitzRoy stated that it was not in use in 1835, as the island was already settled at that time. Floreana had been the first island to be settled by Ecuadorians in 1832. Today a barrel, instead of the original box, is used by visitors who leave their own postcards and retrieve mail for hand-delivery. Apart from the beach and main barrel, the bay offers good swimming and snorkeling. The area holds remains of a failed Norwegian fish canning plant and settlement dating back to the 1920s. A lava tube in the vicinity can also be explored. Although Floreana is inhabited, the number of residents is reduced because of the difficult access to water. A track from Post Office Bay connects with the only road from Puerto Velazco Ibarra, on the west coast, to a spring in the highlands.
Wednesday, May 12 - PUNTA CORMORANT (FLOREANA), ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Floreana Island's northernmost point is called Punta Cormorant - named after the British naval vessel HMS Cormorant and dating back to the late 19th century. From the landing beach, a short track leads to a shallow lagoon that is famous for its flamingos. The brilliantly pink birds skim the salty waters for shrimp and tend to chicks on the nest. The trail then scales a low hillside through scattered Palo Santo trees to reveal an idyllic white-sand beach on the other side of the point. Standing at the edge of the lapping waves, you might spot mammoth female sea turtles hauling themselves out of the sea to lay eggs in the sugar dunes that lay high above the tide line. Before returning to the landing site your guides may also point out White-cheeked Pintails, Blue-footed Boobies, Yellow Warblers, and Medium and Small Ground Finches.
Friday, May 14 - CERRO DRAGON (SANTA CRUZ), ECUADOR (MORNING)
Cerro Dragon's land iguanas once played an important part in a conservation program headed by the Charles Darwin Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When the reptiles' numbers declined in the 1970s, some animals were taken to breed in captivity and were released back into undeveloped areas. Today, it is an honor to see the success of this program firsthand at Cerro Dragon. Walk inland, on a trail past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos, to see the reintroduced animals. In a periodic local phenomenon, during rainier times, the salinity in the lagoons drops with the inflow of freshwater. As a consequence, crustacean populations decline, which, in turn, means the shorebirds become scarce.
Friday, May 14 - ISLA GUY FAWKES, ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Guy Fawkes is a group of four islets situated on the northwestern side of Santa Cruz Island. They are satellite cones, surrounded by deep waters. As they rise from the deep, they intercept with the strong sea currents making the area a place full of life. These small islets have beautiful underwater cliffs covered with all sorts of marine invertebrates such as sponges, corals, sea stars, urchins - making it a very colorful place for deep water snorkeling. Due to the conditions mentioned above, it results in some immense aggregations of this, and, due to the depth of the water, it is not unusual to find Sharks or Manta Rays. Guy Fawkes is one of the most exciting places to deep water snorkel. You never know what you will find.
Friday, May 14 - BAHIA BORRERO, SANTA CRUZ, ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
In the northern area of Santa Cruz Island, Bahia Borrero is a beautiful white coralline beach used as a nesting site by Green Sea turtles. Behind the dunes, we have a forest of typical vegetation from the arid zone: Palo Santo, Leather leaf, and Salty bushes. This vegetation welcomes Yellow Warblers and some of the most characteristic species of Darwin Finches, such as the Common Cactus Finch or the Small ground Finch. This extinct volcano, due to its altitude, shows all the different zones of vegetation and changes from the littoral to the arid, then with more moisture into the humid zone, to end in the dry pampa zone. It is an impressive landscape to enjoy while you swim in the turquoise waters of the bay or have a nice relaxing walk along the beach.
Saturday, May 15 - BALTRA, ECUADOR/ QUITO, ECUADOR
Disembark your ship in Baltra, Ecuador. Transfer to your flight to Quito.
Wednesday, May 12 - CHAMPION ISLET (FLOREANA), ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Champion Islet is a small islet some 700 meters off the northeast coast of Floreana. It is one of four marine sites surrounding Floreana and offers excellent deepwater snorkeling opportunities. Curious sea lions approach the snorkelers while turtles slowly swim by and sharks, stingrays, and a high diversity of colorful fishes can usually be seen. During a Zodiac cruise around Champion Islet, not only seabirds such as Nazca Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, or Red-billed Tropicbirds will be seen it is also possible to spot the rare Floreana Mockingbird.
Thursday, May 13 - SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS, ECUADOR (MORNING)
Los Gemelos (The Twins) is a visitor site in the Santa Cruz highlands. Found some 15 kilometers northwest of Puerto Ayora, the road leading from Puerto Ayora in the south of Santa Cruz to Itabaca in the north dissects the twin pit craters. Pit craters are formed when the roof of an underground void collapses. The smaller pit crater is on the eastern side of the road, while the larger one is on the western side. See from above, the two openings in the ground are not at all identical. Their layout might imply an elongated magma chamber or a lava tube leading further west and larger twin actually having formerly been two small pit craters whose connecting wall collapsed as well. Trails through a Scalesia forest not only give access to good views of the pit craters, but also permit to observe some of the smaller land birds. Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Doves, Medium Ground Finches and several other finch species can often be seen there.
Thursday, May 13 - FAUSTO LLERENA BREEDING CENTER, PUERTO AYORA (SANTA CRUZ), ECUADOR (AFTERNOON)
Silver Origin will anchor in front of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, where the prestigious Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The station also houses the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center for giant tortoises and land iguanas where guides interpret the center's captive breeding and reintroduction programs. In addition to these star species, throughout the station, huge prickly pear cactus trees are being fed upon by the pretty Galapagos Cactus Finch. To round out the stay in Puerto Ayora, enjoy free time in town where local artists have created charming art galleries and corner cafes.