Elite Itinerary C
Saturday – Tuesday
Day by day itinerary description
Saturday AM: Arrival to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristobal Island. Reception and Assistance at the airport by our members and transportation to the Elite.
Saturday PM: the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Center, San Cristobal
The Jacinto Gordillo breeding center, named for a renowned environmentalist, is one of a handful of breeding centers in the Galapagos Islands. Located about an hour from the town, the center is home to hundreds of tortoises of different species and ages.
The staff at the center have a favorite tortoise: “Genesis,” one of the first ones hatched there in 2005. The tortoises are raised in a protected environment and eventually released into the wild when they are old enough to be safe from predators and forage for themselves.
Through the efforts of the staff at the Jacinto Gordillo center and others like it, hundreds of tortoises have been released and the Galapagos tortoise population is healthier than it has been in decades.
The center is located in an area of low, dense forest, and in addition to the tortoises at the center it is possible to see several small species of birds flitting about in the vegetation. Look for finches, Yellow Warblers and Galapagos Doves.
Sunday AM: Suarez Point, Española
Universally considered one of the top five visitor sites in all of Galapagos, Suarez Point is an unforgettable hike along the rocky cliffs of the oldest of the Galapagos islands. Bird life abounds: visitors can hope to glimpse Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropic Birds, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks, among others. The undisputed stars of the site, however, are the Waved Albatrosses.
These majestic birds range all over the world but only nest here on Española island. Visitors who come between January and March may not get to see many albatrosses, as they are all far away feeding, soaring over deep seas. Suarez Point is not only for birds: marine iguanas and lava lizards abound, and lucky visitors will spot a Galapagos Snake or two along the rocky trails.
Sunday PM: Gardner Bay, Gardner and Osborn Islets, Española
Gardner Bay features a wide, pristine beach populated by sea lions, crabs and mockingbirds.
Bring your snorkel: you will see some reef fish in the gentle surf off the island. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to swim alongside playful sea lions! It’s the perfect place to relax after the inspirational intensity of the morning visit to Suarez Point.
If the weather and conditions are permitting, the visit to Gardner Bay may be combined with a snorkeling trip to Gardner Islet and/or Osborn Islet, both of which are close to the beach.
Monday AM: Cormorant Point, Floreana
Cormorant point is a visitor favorite, as it features two memorable beaches, a picturesque walk and some interesting bird and plant life. Oddly enough, there are no Galapagos Cormorants here, but the flamingos make up for it! Visitors disembark on a sandy beach, which is greenish in color because of the special sand only found here. A short walk leads to a salty lagoon where flamingos feed and nest.
An easy trail leads to white sand beach on the other side of the point, this one wide and breezy. As you walk, your guide may point out the two species of plants which are only found here: Scalesiavellosa and Lecocarpuspinaffitidus. Lucky visitors will see stingrays in the gentle surf, or even sharks swimming a little further out.
The stingrays make swimming here dangerous, but it is possible to wade in the shallows and take a stroll down the length of the beach. Look for Sally Lightfoot Crabs in rocky areas on both sides of the point.
Snorkeling at Champion Islet, considered one of the best places for snorkeling with a great variety of underwater wildlife. It is also home of Floreana Mockingbird, one of the species in danger of extinction.
Monday PM: Post Office Bay, Floreana
Long before the Galapagos Islands were a bucket-list travel destination, it was a common stop for grand wooden seafaring vessels such as whalers. The sailors placed a barrel a short way from a sheltered bay on Floreana Island and used it to drop off and receive letters from home.
Today, the yachts that serve the Galapagos are proud to continue this tradition: drop off letters and postcards in the barrel, and some other traveler will deliver them for you! Once you’ve flipped through the letters to see if there are any for your neck of the woods, you can enjoy some sun and sand on the small beach where passengers embark and disembark from the landing craft.
The Baroness’ Lookout
In the early 1930’s, Floreana Island was home to Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bosquet, a beautiful young Austrian woman, and her two lovers. Calling herself “the Baroness of Galapagos,” she quickly became an international sensation. She disappeared in 1934, a case which remains unsolved to this day.
The visit to the site includes a short panga ride – look for sea life like rays and turtles. There are red mangroves along the shore: these mangroves are crucial to the island ecosystem. Once on land, a dusty trail wends steadily upwards.
The lookout point itself is a rocky hill of rugged volcanic rock, and there is indeed a good view from there, a reward for those who scramble to the top. A short walk away are the ruins of an old biological station, which were likely used in 1934 when some passing filmmakers made a short film starring the Baroness herself.
Tuesday AM: Mosquera
Located between the islands of Baltra and North Seymour, Mosquera is one of a number of tiny islets in the Galapagos. Sandy and rocky, it is not home to much in the way of vegetation, but it is very popular with sea lions and birds, including gulls. You can also expect to see marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks and colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs scuttling about in the tidal pools. Shorebirds are fond of the island: look for them trotting along the beach.
There is some good snorkeling around Mosquera and dive shops in Puerto Ayora sell day trips there.
After our early morning visit, passengers will get ready and then be taken to Baltra Airport, crossing the highlands of Santa Cruz Island by car. Our airport personnel will assist passengers with the check in process. Farwell and boarding the flight back to mainland Ecuador.