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Coral I & II: 5-Day Cruise to the North-Central Islands

Galapagos – Superior

5-Day Galapagos Cruise to the North-Central Islands

This 5-day Galapagos cruise itinerary takes you on a trip to the north central islands of the archipelago from San Cristobal Island to Santa Cruz. 

There are plenty of opportunities to get up close and personal with endemic wildlife during daily morning and afternoon excursions that will leave you tired yet wanting more by nightfall.

Note:

Please note that the itinerary below is dependent on the Galapagos National Park regulations, weather and sea conditions, wildlife behavior, and accessibility to locations, so may vary. All times indicated are approximate, and are also subject to change.


Galapagos Coral Cruise

Day 1: WEDNESDAY
AM: San Cristobal Island, Embarkation

Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the Coral I or Coral II Galapagos cruise.

PM: San Cristobal Island, Cerro Tortoise Reserve – Dry landing

Visit the San Cristobal Tortoise Breeding Center; located in the vicinity of Cerro Colorado (reddish hill). This is one of the few places where you can see Calandriniagalapagosa, a plant endemic to San Cristobal that resembles a small tree. Passengers can learn about the National Park’s conservation programs and the assisted reproduction tortoise program. If there is enough time, passengers will have the opportunity to visit Puerto Baquerizo Town, to have time for a drink or shopping.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy
Duration: 40 minutes bus drive to the reserve / 1 hour visit
 

Galapagos hiking

Day 2: THURSDAY
AM: San Cristobal Island, Cerro Brujo, Snorkeling– Wet landing

Cerro Brujo is an eroding tuff cone that is composed of AA lava formations; it is close to a beautiful white sand beach which is great for snorkeling and sunbathing. Nearby a lagoon ideal for migratory bird species can be seen, including: black-necked stilts, ruddy turnstones, whimbrels, sandpiper and white- cheeked Pintails. Cerro Brujo offers beautiful views of Kicker Rock, an islet in the adjacent southern coast of San Cristobal Island.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling

 

PM: San Cristobal Island, Pitt Point, Snorkeling, Kayaking– Wet landing

The trail goes through several magnificent viewpoints, including: an olivine beach and a path climbing to the top of a volcanic tuff. This is probably the only site where the three booby species of the Galapagos can be seen together: Nazca, blue-footed, and red-footed; as well as the two species of frigate birds plus a sea lion colony; this is an excellent place for dinghy rides and snorkeling, where a good range of sea birds can be observed.
Difficulty level: Demanding
Type of terrain: Rocky / steep
Duration: 2:30 hours walk / 40 minutes snorkeling - kayaking

 

galapagos snorkeling

DAY 3: FRIDAY
AM: Espanola Island, Suarez Point– Dry landing

An island of geological interest, being one of the oldest in Galapagos, it has a high percentage of endemism due to its isolation from the rest of the islands. Due to the great variety of wildlife this is one of the most attractive spots in the Galapagos. Here is possible to explore volcanic formations and see large colonies of sea lion and seabirds including Española mockingbird, Nazca boobies, and the spectacular red billed tropicbirds. Here the singular marine iguanas have a turquoise color with reddish parts during breeding season, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally light foot crabs. A somewhat lengthy hike brings visitors to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birdwatchers favorites include Galapagos dove, Galapagos hawk, swallow-tailed gulls and the world’s largest colony of waved albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (April-December). Admire the island’s dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous “Soplador”, a seaward blowhole that shoots water up to 23 m. (75 ft.) in to the air.
Difficulty level: Demanding
Type of terrain: Rocky ground
Duration: 2:30 hours walk

 

PM: Espanola Island, Gardner Bay, Osborn or Gardner Islets– Wet landing

Gardner Bay is a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea Lions. Here there are no trails, so visitors stay along the shore, spotting Galapagos hawk, American oystercatcher, Galapagos dove, hood mockingbird, yellow warbler, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin finches , cacti finch (Geospizafuliginosa), the Small ground finch (Geospizafuliginosa) and the warbler finch (Certhideaolivacea). Swimming and snorkeling offers a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, creole fish, damsel fish and parrot fish.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling

 

Coral galapagos cruise

Day 4: SATURDAY

AM: Floreana Island, Champion/Cormorant Point

Champion is a small islet located just offshore Floreana Island, dinghy rides and snorkeling here is done along a nice marine wall, filled with a variety of wildlife, like schools the endemic black striped salemas, blue Lobster, long nose hawkfish, sea horses, coral hawkfish, sea lions, and the famous red-lipped batfish. Wet landing. Cormorant Point first impression is of an olivine green sand beach. From here, a hike next to black mangroves takes to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as the Scalesiavillosa, white mangrove, and palo santo trees. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of green Pacific sea turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the stingrays that may be hiding in the sand. From the beach is easy to spot sea turtles, blue-footed boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks searching for food along the shoreline. From here it is necessary to go back to the iniytail olive green sand beach to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of Galapagos penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy / Flat terrain
Duration: 1 hour walk / 1 hour snorkeling


PM - Floreana Island, Post Office Bay– Wet landing

On the north side of Floreana, locates Post Office Bay, named like this because, in 1793, Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel, which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take the letters with them to their destinations. Nowadays, our visitors continue this tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel, on the promise that other tourists will take that mail and send it for free. It can take weeks, months, or even years to arrive!. Here is possible to see Darwin finches, yellow warbler, and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with green Pacific sea turtles and on the main beach be around playful sea lions. Moreover, this island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesiavillosa, Lecocarpuspinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Sandy / Flat terrain
Duration: 30 minutes walk / 1 hour snorkeling
 

Galapagos Tortoises

Day 5: SUNDAY

AM: Santa Cruz Island, Highlands– Dry landing

On the Santa Cruz Island highlands it is possible to visit private farms- tortoise reserves “El Chato” / “Primicias”, where giant tortoises wander freely, passing from the National Park. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire diferents kind of birds, such as: tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually on the shell of tortoises). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in reference to the variety of ecosystems. The road goes from the coast through the agricultural zone and straight up to the dense humid forests. Often, tortoises are also seen on the way, wandering through pastures in the paddocks. This spot is relevant for birdwatchers, since almost every land bird present on the island lives or migrates here.
Difficulty level: Easy
Type of terrain: Flat & muddy sometimes (depending on the season)
Duration: 45 minutes drive / 1,30 hours walk

 

Afterwards, you will go straight to the airport for the return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.


  • Please note that all cruise itineraries are subject to change due to seasonal weather conditions (and resultant variations in ocean cruising conditions) affecting accessibility to locations. Thus navigation routes, times and excursions may need to be modified at the cruise captain’s discretion.
  • Passengers should also be aware that animal sightings cannot be guaranteed due to the unpredictability of wildlife behavior. 

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