Athala: Yacht Details


One of the most beautiful catamarans in the islands

The Athala is a beautiful 16 passenger catamaran offering 8 day and 6 day cruises. Constructed in 2007, this ship is one of the sleekest and most refined catamarans in the archipelago.  The vessel has 8 deluxe cabins, 4 on the upper deck and 4 on the lower deck.  This is a great option that combines comfort and stability.

Day by Day Itinerary

BRIEF SUMMARY (for detailed island visits please scroll down)
7 night cruises run from Saturday to Saturday / 5 night cruises run from Saturday to Thursday

Itinerary with Española
Saturday:        Arrive to Baltra / Sombrero Chino
Sunday:          Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz) / Rabida
Monday:          Isabela: Tortoise Breeding Center / Wetlands / Wall of Tears
Tuesday:        Floreana / Cormorant Point & Champion Islet
Wednesday:  Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal) / Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock
Thursday:       Santa Cruz: Puerto Ayora / Charles Darwin Research Center / Santa Cruz Highlands
Friday:             Española Island: Punta Suarez / Gardner Bay
Saturday:        Daphne Island / Depart for Mainland

Itinerary with Genovesa
Saturday:        Arrive to Baltra / Mosquera Islet
Sunday:          Sullivan Bay (Santiago) / Bartolome
Monday:          Isabela: Urbina Bay / Tagus Cove
Tuesday:        Punta Espinoza (Fernandina) / Punta Vicente Rock
Wednesday:  Santiago: Puerto Egas / Espumilla Beach
Thursday:       Santa Cruz: Puerto Ayora / Charles Darwin Research Center / Santa Cruz Highlands
Friday:             Genovesa Island: El Barranco / Darwin Bay
Saturday:        North Seymour / Depart for Mainland


Athala II 7 night Itinerary with Española

Saturday to Saturday


Day 1 Saturday Begin Cruise / Sombrero Chico
Once you arrive to the Galapagos Islands and have retrieved your luggage you will be met by a representative of the MC Athala II and be transferred to your ship to start your cruise. Your first excursion is a panga ride to Sombrero Chino Island, a small islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island. Its name translated to English means ‘Chinese Hat’; a name that makes perfect sense as soon as you take a look at its unique shape. There are various interesting geological formations which make this island a great location for scenic photos, but there are also various marine species to observe such as very colorful sally lightfoot crabs and sea lions. Keep an eye out for different species of Darwin’s finches as well.

Day 2 Sunday Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz) / Rabida
You will start your day with a dry landing at Cerro Dragon. The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) stems from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. After landing at a pier, a hike takes to you to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks, and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site, with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming after the walk.
 
The afternoon includes a wet landing on Rabida Island for beach activities, deep water snorkeling, kayaking, and an excursion. Rábida is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or go on a panga ride.

Day 3 Monday Isabela: Tortoise Breeding Center / Wetlands / Wall of Tears
In the morning there will be a dry landing at Port Villamil on Isabela Island. There are various activities to choose from including an excursion to the wetlands, snorkeling, kayaking, a visit to the tortoise breeding center, the Wall of Tears, or relaxing at the beach. Lunch will be served between activities onboard the ship. Isabela is the archipelago’s largest island and formed by five volcanoes. It is home to a small, laid-back island town called Puerto Villamil. This quaint, friendly port is your home-base during a diverse and exciting day where choices for adventure and relaxation abound.

The Tortoise Breeding Center was created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise.

The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules and other shore birds. The Wetlands can easily be reached by foot via beautiful trails that wind through the swamps.

The Wall of Tears was a penal colony that existed in Isabela between 1945 and 1959. Prisoners were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. This now historical site towering at 65 feet (25 meters) took the lives of thousands during its construction and remains as a vivid reminder of the past.

Day 4 Tuesday Floreana / Cormorant Point & Champion Islet
Today starts with a dry landing on Floreana Island. Floreana is one of the Galapagos most famous islands due to many strange stories regarding past settlers. There are many wonderful and diverse sites to visit including Post Office Bay and the “Baroness’s Viewing Point”. Marine life also abounds in Floreana’s coastal regions making it a fantastic site for snorkeling. Flamingos also populate the island and may be seen during your visit. The Baroness’s Viewing Point is the perfect place to take in the special environment that defines Floreana, and a great spot to talk and ponder regarding the intriguing history of the Baroness and her three lovers. The Post Office is a place where in the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. This is one of the archipelago’s most famous spots. For the adventurous, a visit to a lava tunnel is included. This tunnel has been kept untouched and completely natural, so please, watch your step!

The afternoon includes visits to Cormorant Point and Champion Islet with snorkeling or a panga ride. A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where everything from Flamingos to stilts and pintail ducks can be observed. The beach nearby is also quite special and known as: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand.

Day 5 Wednesday Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal) / Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock
The day begins when you disembark at Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill) for an excursion. Located on the north coast of San Cristobal Island, this eroding tough cone offers a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Cerro Brujo’s gorgeous beach is home to many sea lions and it’s also the coast where Charles Darwin first stepped foot on in the Archipelago!

The afternoon begins when you disembark at Isla Lobos. Isla Lobos is named after its large colony of sea lions (also called “lobos”, or wolves in Spanish). Usually visitors may have close encounters with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. However, this small islet offers much more including blue footed boobies, frigate birds, and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: the Fur Sea Lion.

Day 6 Thursday Santa Cruz: Puerto Ayora / Charles Darwin Research Center / Santa Cruz Highlands
The day begins with a dry landing at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. On your visit to the Research Station you will gain insight into the huge efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers, and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake.

After the visit you will drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. You will then have a free afternoon of leisure before your briefing on Friday´s program.

Day 7 Friday Española Island: Punta Suarez / Gardner Bay
The day begins with a dry landing at Punta Suarez. Due to its isolation from other islands, it has a high proportion of endemic fauna. A few steps inland from the landing site, groups of Española marine iguanas bask in the sun. Further inland, Nazca and blue-footed boobies nest near the trail, Galapagos doves peck around unaware of visitors and finches go about their day to day business. The trail continues towards a blowhole, which is a fissure in the lava where water spurts high into the air like a geyser. The cracks in the cliffs are home to swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Further up the cliff in an area of low-lying trees you will find waved albatrosses nesting. The 15,000 to 17,000 pairs of albatrosses on Española represent almost the entire population of this species on the planet. They perform one of the most spectacular courtship rituals of the animal world.

The afternoon begins with a wet landing at Gardner Bay. Gardner Bay offers the chance to enjoy a wonderful white sandy beach. It is home to one of the most important colonies of sea lions, and it is also a nesting site for sea turtles. Throughout the afternoon there are opportunities for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking.

Day 8 Saturday Daphne Island / Cruise Ends
The morning starts with a circumference ride around Daphne Island. Daphne Major is located between Santa Cruz and Santiago Islands and is a spectacular bird-watching as well as scientific research site. A select handful of scientists have long studied bird life on these islands, especially Darwin’s finches. Your guide will point out the bird-life as well as explain some of the important research carried out on the islands from the vantage point of the yacht’s deck, as visitors are not allowed to walk on these islands due to their very fragile nature. After the visit you will be escorted to Baltra airport for your flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.


Athala II 7 night Itinerary with Genovesa

Saturday to Saturday


Day 1 Saturday Begin Cruise / Mosquera Islet
Once you arrive to the Galapagos Islands and have retrieved your luggage you will be met by a representative of the MC Athala II and be transferred to your ship to start your cruise. Your first excursion is on Mosquera Islet, home to a huge population of sea lions and shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Afterwards you will return to the boat for dinner and a briefing by your guide.

Day 2 Sunday Sullivan Bay (Santiago) / Bartolome
You will start your day with a dry landing at Sullivan Bay and have a snorkeling opportunity. Sullivan Bay is known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively young pahoehoe lava flows, and unique geological scenery. Due to Sullivan’s relatively recent volcanic activity, few plants have been able to take root here, much less be successful. Therefore, pay particular attention to the low-lying pioneer plant known locally as “mollugo” as well as the lava cactus.

The afternoon includes a dry landing on Bartolome Island for a hike or panga ride. Bartolome is a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow, and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. If you are not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. Usual fauna and flora also includes sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish. Please keep in mind that the hike includes walking up 375 low-grade stairs to the top of the volcano.

Day 3 Monday Isabela: Urbina Bay / Tagus Cove
In the morning there will be a wet landing at Urbina Bay. Urbina Bay is located on Western Isabela, at the foot of the Alcedo volcano. After landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches as well as large land iguanas. Be on the lookout for wild Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation.

In the afternoon you will have a dry landing at Tagus Cove for a power hike and a panga ride or kayaking. Tagus Cove was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of the Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake. The brisk “power-hike” is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns, and swallow tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, you can sometimes encounter dolphins and whales.

Day 4 Tuesday Punta Espinoza (Fernandina) / Punta Vicente Rock
Today starts with a dry landing at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island. Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine and dynamic ecosystems in the world. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009, and also dominates the landscape with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins, and the Galapagos hawk.

The afternoon will begin with a panga ride along the Punta Vicente Rock or snorkeling. Punta Vicente Rock is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. If you prefer not to snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and penguins are often seen in the area.

Day 5 Wednesday Santiago: Puerto Egas / Espumilla Beach
The day begins with a wet landing at Puerto Egas (James Bay) on Santiago Island. Puerto Egas is located on the northwest side of Santiago. The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus, and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals can be seen. After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays, and possibly reef sharks.

The afternoon takes you to a wet landing at Espumilla Beach for a hike, a panga ride, and swimming or snorkeling. The Espumilla Beach visitor site is on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions here are a Palo Santo forest, the beach, and the landscape. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of the species in the entire archipelago. Also look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. The beach is also an important site for nesting marine turtles.

Day 6 Thursday Santa Cruz: Puerto Ayora / Charles Darwin Research Center / Santa Cruz Highlands
The day begins with a dry landing at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. On your visit to the Research Station you will gain insight into the huge efforts being made by scientists, guides, rangers and park managers to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will see the famous Galapagos tortoises that are the islands’ namesake.

After the visit you will drive to the green highlands of Santa Cruz, where you will visit a tortoise reserve to search for giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. You will then have a free afternoon of leisure before your briefing on Friday´s program.

Day 7 Friday Genovesa Island: El Barranco / Darwin Bay
The day begins with a dry landing at El Barranco on Genovesa Island where you will be able to snorkel, kayak, or take a panga ride. Genovesa, or Tower Island, is the northernmost island that is allowed to be visited by naturalist (non-diving) cruises. This island is extremely remote and home to literally millions of birds belonging to many different species including the red footed booby as well as frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and even endemic owls. El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps, is a steep path with stairs carved into the rock which leads to a plateau full of bird life amongst a Palo Santo forest. You will see Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, petrels, and possibly a short-eared lava owl.

In the afternoon you will visit Darwin Bay’s. The soft, coralline white sand is only the beginning of the excursion. A trail from the beach takes you into lush mangroves where red footed boobies nest. Other locals include sea lions, swallow-tail gulls, frigate birds, and more. Snorkeling is a must here as sharks, colorful reef fish, rays, and sea turtles are common sights.

Day 8 Saturday North Seymour / Cruise Ends
The morning starts with a short hike at North Seymour Island. Seymour may very well be the perfect way to say goodbye to the Galapagos Islands. Although the island is characterized by arid vegetation, fauna abounds and you will soon find yourself surrounded by frigate birds, blue footed boobies, land iguanas, and more. After the visit you will be escorted to Baltra airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland.


Athala II 5 night Itinerary (North-West)

Saturday to Thursday


Day 1 Saturday Begin Cruise / Mosquera Islet
Once you arrive to the Galapagos Islands and have retrieved your luggage you will be met by a representative of the MC Athala II and be transferred to your ship to start your cruise. Your first excursion is on Mosquera Islet, home to a huge population of sea lions and shorebirds. While at Mosquera, keep your eyes peeled as there are occasional reports of dolphins and orcas. Afterwards you will return to the boat for dinner and a briefing by your guide.

Day 2 Sunday Sullivan Bay (Santiago) / Bartolome
You will start your day with a dry landing at Sullivan Bay and have a snorkeling opportunity. Sullivan Bay is known for its spectacular volcanic formations, relatively young pahoehoe lava flows, and unique geological scenery. Due to Sullivan’s relatively recent volcanic activity, few plants have been able to take root here, much less be successful. Therefore, pay particular attention to the low-lying pioneer plant known locally as “mollugo” as well as the lava cactus.
The afternoon includes a dry landing on Bartolome Island for a hike or panga ride. Bartolome is a small island that has two visitor sites. At the first site, you can snorkel around Pinnacle Rock, where penguins are usually seen. Then, it’s back on board for a quick change of clothes followed by a short dinghy ride to a dry landing for a climb to the highest point on the island. On the way up, you will encounter different volcanic formations, including spatter and tuff cones, lava flow, and lava tubes. From the summit you will have a wonderful view of Sullivan Bay. If you are not interested in the hike, there is the option of a panga ride. Usual fauna and flora also includes sea lions, pioneer plants, reef sharks, rays, and colorful reef fish. Please keep in mind that the hike includes walking up 375 low-grade stairs to the top of the volcano.

Day 3 Monday Isabela: Urbina Bay / Tagus Cove
In the morning there will be a wet landing at Urbina Bay. Urbina Bay is located on Western Isabela, at the foot of the Alcedo volcano. After landing on a beautiful black-sand beach, you may be able to observe sea turtle nesting sites. This area is also known for penguin and flightless cormorant sightings and is one of the best places to see Darwin’s finches as well as large land iguanas. Be on the lookout for wild Galapagos tortoises which like to feed within the site’s dense vegetation.

In the afternoon you will have a dry landing at Tagus Cove for a power hike and a panga ride or kayaking. Tagus Cove was historically used as an anchoring place for pirates, buccaneers and whalers. Here you will see the names of hundreds of ships painted on the high ridges (a practice now forbidden). On the hike, the trail goes through an area of vegetation and the volcanic landscape of the Darwin volcano. At the top of the trail, you will enjoy an incredible view of the whole cove and Darwin Lake. The brisk “power-hike” is followed by kayaking or a panga ride, where you will have the opportunity to see a large number of blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs, as well as marine iguanas, penguins, brown pelicans, brown noddy terns, and swallow tailed gulls. While exploring the channel between Fernandina and Isabela Islands, you can sometimes encounter dolphins and whales.

Day 4 Tuesday Punta Espinoza (Fernandina) / Punta Vicente Rock
Today starts with a dry landing at Punta Espinoza on Fernandina Island. Fernandina Island is one of the most pristine and dynamic ecosystems in the world. La Cumbre Volcano last erupted in April 2009, and also dominates the landscape with lava fields stretching towards the ocean from its base. Punta Espinoza is a narrow piece of land where some of the most unique Galapagos species can be seen, including the flightless cormorant, Galapagos snakes, marine iguanas, penguins, and the Galapagos hawk.

The afternoon will begin with a panga ride along the Punta Vicente Rock or snorkeling. Punta Vicente Rock is a wonderful snorkeling site, where you can usually see turtles as well as all kinds of fish. If you prefer not to snorkel, a panga ride will give you the opportunity to study some of the Galapagos’ spectacular geological rock formations. Nazca boobies, pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, and penguins are often seen in the area.

Day 5 Wednesday Santiago: Puerto Egas / Espumilla Beach
The day begins with a wet landing at Puerto Egas (James Bay) on Santiago Island. Puerto Egas is located on the northwest side of Santiago. The landing is on a black beach with eroded rock formations in the background. The trail crosses the dry interior, where the remains of a salt mining enterprise can still be seen, and then continues along the coast. Tidal pools are home to a variety of invertebrate organisms, including sea urchins, octopus, and starfish. You will also see marine iguanas, finches, oyster catchers and possibly the Galapagos Hawk. The trail leads to the Fur Sea Lion Grottos, one of the only places in the islands where these unique animals can be seen. After the walk, you will have time to swim or snorkel off the beach, where you will see sea lions, fish and maybe some turtles, rays, and possibly reef sharks.

The afternoon takes you to a wet landing at Espumilla Beach for a hike, a panga ride, and swimming or snorkeling. The Espumilla Beach visitor site is on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay. The main attractions here are a Palo Santo forest, the beach, and the landscape. The Palo Santo forest at Espumilla has some of the tallest specimens of the species in the entire archipelago. Also look out for the Galapagos Hawk as well as Darwin’s finches. The beach is also an important site for nesting marine turtles.

Day 6 Thursday Charles Darwin Research Center (Santa Cruz) / Cruise Ends
The morning starts with a dry landing at Santa Cruz Island and a transfer to the Charles Darwin Research Station accompanied by a guide. The Charles Darwin Research Station is where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place. It is an excellent place for visitors to be photographed with them. You can also admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety Darwin finches and other land birds while there. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos. After the visit you will be escorted to Baltra airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland.


Athala II 5 night Itinerary (South-West)

Saturday to Thursday


Day 1 Saturday Begin Cruise / Sombrero Chico
Once you arrive to the Galapagos Islands and have retrieved your luggage you will be met by a representative of the MC Athala II and be transferred to your ship to start your cruise. Your first excursion is a panga ride to Sombrero Chino Island, a small islet near the southeastern coast of Santiago Island. Its name translated to English means ‘Chinese Hat’; a name that makes perfect sense as soon as you take a look at its unique shape. There are various interesting geological formations which make this island a great location for scenic photos, but there are also various marine species to observe such as very colorful sally lightfoot crabs and sea lions. Keep an eye out for different species of Darwin’s finches as well.

Day 2 Sunday Cerro Dragon (Santa Cruz) / Rabida
You will start your day with a dry landing at Cerro Dragon. The name Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) stems from the fact that it was one of the few sites on Santa Cruz Island where a healthy population of land iguanas were found in 1975. After landing at a pier, a hike takes to you to a salt water lagoon behind the beach, frequented by common stilts, pintail ducks, and occasionally flamingos. A short walk up the hill leads you to a land iguana nesting site, with breathtaking views of the bay. You will have the chance to go swimming after the walk.

The afternoon includes a wet landing on Rabida Island for beach activities, deep water snorkeling, kayaking, and an excursion. Rábida is a small island with red volcanic rocks surrounding a beautiful red sand beach, where there is a colony of sea lions and a pelican nesting site. The trail leads to a salt water lagoon where shore birds can be seen. Rábida is considered to be one of the best snorkeling sites in the Galapagos Islands, and you will also have the opportunity to go kayaking or go on a panga ride.

Day 3 Monday Isabela: Tortoise Breeding Center / Wetlands / Wall of Tears
In the morning there will be a dry landing at Port Villamil on Isabela Island. There are various activities to choose from including an excursion to the wetlands, snorkeling, kayaking, a visit to the tortoise breeding center, the Wall of Tears, or relaxing at the beach. Lunch will be served between activities onboard the ship. Isabela is the archipelago’s largest island and formed by five volcanoes. It is home to a small, laid-back island town called Puerto Villamil. This quaint, friendly port is your home-base during a diverse and exciting day where choices for adventure and relaxation abound.

The Tortoise Breeding Center was created to protect animals in their first years of life from the threats of foreign species such as pigs and donkeys as well as to educate visitors and locals about the importance of the Galapagos giant tortoise.

The Wetlands of Isabela Island are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. They consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintail ducks, gallinules and other shore birds. The Wetlands can easily be reached by foot via beautiful trails that wind through the swamps.

The Wall of Tears was a penal colony that existed in Isabela between 1945 and 1959. Prisoners were forced to build this wall, stone by stone, in isolation, only to be asked to tear it down again and start over. This now historical site towering at 65 feet (25 meters) took the lives of thousands during its construction and remains as a vivid reminder of the past.

Day 4 Tuesday Floreana / Cormorant Point & Champion Islet
Today starts with a dry landing on Floreana Island. Floreana is one of the Galapagos most famous islands due to many strange stories regarding past settlers. There are many wonderful and diverse sites to visit including Post Office Bay and the “Baroness’s Viewing Point”. Marine life also abounds in Floreana’s coastal regions making it a fantastic site for snorkeling. Flamingos also populate the island and may be seen during your visit. The Baroness’s Viewing Point is the perfect place to take in the special environment that defines Floreana, and a great spot to talk and ponder regarding the intriguing history of the Baroness and her three lovers. The Post Office is a place where in the 18th century whalers passing through the islands placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mail box. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. This is one of the archipelago’s most famous spots. For the adventurous, a visit to a lava tunnel is included. This tunnel has been kept untouched and completely natural, so please, watch your step!

The afternoon includes visits to Cormorant Point and Champion Islet with snorkeling or a panga ride. A great site for bird-watching, Cormorant Point has a large lagoon where everything from Flamingos to stilts and pintail ducks can be observed. The beach nearby is also quite special and known as: The “Green Beach” named so due to its green color, which comes from a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand.

Day 5 Wednesday Cerro Brujo (San Cristobal) / Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock
The day begins when you disembark at Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill) for an excursion. Located on the north coast of San Cristobal Island, this eroding tough cone offers a fantastic landscape as well as wonderful swimming and snorkeling opportunities. Cerro Brujo’s gorgeous beach is home to many sea lions and it’s also the coast where Charles Darwin first stepped foot on in the Archipelago!

The afternoon begins when you disembark at Isla Lobos. Isla Lobos is named after its large colony of sea lions (also called “lobos”, or wolves in Spanish). Usually visitors may have close encounters with sea lion pups, especially while snorkeling. However, this small islet offers much more including blue footed boobies, frigate birds, and even a glimpse at the second type of sea lion species found in Galapagos: the Fur Sea Lion.

Day 6 Thursday Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz) / Cruise Ends
The morning starts with a dry landing at Santa Cruz Island and a transfer to the Charles Darwin Research Station accompanied by a guide. The Charles Darwin Research Station is where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place. It is an excellent place for visitors to be photographed with them. You can also admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and a variety Darwin finches and other land birds while there. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. After the visit you will be escorted to Baltra airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland.

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