Ecuador offers you a wide variety of natural and cultural attractions in its four natural geographic regions, our country’s richly diverse “Four Worlds”. We invite you to know more about them.
BALTRA (SOUTH SEYMOUR)
Most arrivals and departures from mainland Ecuador are to this island's airport. During WW II, from 1941 to 1948, this island was known as Beta. It was occupied by the US Air Force and the US Navy as a Military Base. Back in those days, this airport had the largest airstrip in South America. This uplifted island is a great visual introduction to Galápagos.
The pier is a 5-minute drive from the air terminal. If you happen to start your voyage in Puerto Ayora, you will take a bus ride to the Itabaca Channel, cross it by ferry towards Santa Cruz Island, and then an interesting ride, across the island to the extreme north to the extreme south will take yo from the lowlands up to the highlands and down again to the lowlands. The changes in vegetation that guests will experience will be a rewarding way to start your Galapagos Expedition.
BARRINGTON (SANTA FE) (Barrington)
A walk through Opuntia cacti and Palo Santo forests. You can see land iguanas (endemic to Barrington), lava lizards and sea lion colonies. Great swimming and snorkeling.
Perhaps the most photographed location on the entire archipelago. Climb up a wooden staircase to the summit for a stunning view of two beautiful bays. You can observe fascinating formations of lava flows and spatter cones. Many have called this island "an open Geology textbook". Sea lions and penguins can be seen around Pinnacle Rock. There is a sandy beach with great swimming and snorkeling. This is one of those selected locations where seeing penguins in tropical waters can be a revealing discovery.
The youngest island of the Galapagos group. The landing point is Punta Espinoza. Walk among hundreds of marine iguanas on black lava rocks. See flightless cormorants, penguins, pelicans, sea lions and mangrove forests. The walking grounds will reveal the beautiful shapes of lava once it has cooled off. At this location, few rocks are older than 400 years of age. Fernandina's colossal dome shape can enchant anyone who visits, perhaps the most remote and pristine island of the Archipelago .
FLOREANA (CHARLES) - Post Office Bay
Visit the famous barrel, a do-it-yourself postal service set up in the 18th century by whalers. Cruise by "Lobería" islet with its sea lion colonies, opuntia cacti forests and sea birds.
Point Cormorant: has an olivine-crystal beach and pink flamingos inhabiting a secluded lagoon. A short walk away is a white-sand beach where sea turtles nest (December to May).
Nearby is Devil's Crown with beautiful coral formations and great snorkeling.
HOOD (ESPAÑOLA) - Gardner Bay
A coral white-sand beach with sea lions and mockingbirds. Swimming and snorkeling at the beach and nearby islets.
Punta Suarez: Walk on lava rocks along a trail dotted with nests of blue-footed boobies and masked boobies, a colony of marine iguanas (endemic to Hood), waved albatrosses and a blow hole. There are also sea lions, Galapagos doves and Darwin's finches.
The largest island in the Archipelago. It is the result of six large volcanic domes fused together.
Tagus Cove: is a natural harbor where centuries ago whalers and pirates left their ship's names painted or carved on the rocks. A walk uphill takes you around Darwin's Crater salt-water lake for a superb view. A dinghy ride along the shoreline lets you see penguins, flightless cormorants, boobies, pelicans and Sally Light foot crabs.
Urbina Bay: is located at the central-west coast of Isabela Island at the foothills of Volcanoes Alcedo and Darwin. Land on a dark volcanic sand beach. Highlights include large and colorful land iguanas, since the inland area includes excellent nesting grounds for them. Good possibilities of seeing giant tortoises in the wild (all year, numbers may vary according to seasonal conditions). Along the rocky shoreline, possible sightings of flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, penguins and large marine iguanas. Quite impressive is the coral uplifting from 1954.
Punta Moreno: is located in the central-south western coast of Isablea Island. Spectacular vies of volcanoes Alcedo, Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul. Highlights: impressive lava flows from eruptions years ago. Desolate, extremely pristine landscape. A textbook of pioneer plants, extraordinarily varied and unusual arid-zone vegetation. The main attraction is a compound of small brackish lagoons very much like a desert oasis with lagoon birds, including seasonal flamingos. Ideal place for observing the rare and reclusive gallinules. Frequent sights of frigates, pelicans and other sea birds doing salt cleansing dives to the lagoons’ surface.
Punta Vicente Roca: a magnificent landscape shows the uniqueness of the western volcanoes of Galápagos. We are now looking at the youngest geological features of the archipelago, and we are at the northern tip of the Galápagos' largest island, Isabela. This area is part of Ecuador Volcano, where a collapsed caldera floor is revealed after a major sinking of half of the whole volcano structure. The anchoring place lies in front of tuff-stone layers of a parasitic cone, next to the slopes of the host volcano. Lava intrusions, called sills and dikes, reveal the relatively recent volcanic activity of this area. Since there is no landing site at this location, our outing will include coastal exploration by dinghy where our Naturalists will commit to explaining the dramatic geology of the area. Wildlife here will definitely surprise everyone; few hours before we crossed the Equator and yet this tropical area can have surprises like dolphins, whales, sea lions, sea birds, turtles, and more. Where is all this life coming from? The answer is the Cromwell Current; a deep submarine current that surfaces right at the volcanic platform of the western islands. These cool nutrient-rich waters attract plenty of sea-depending species which include brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies, noddy terns, shearwaters, and the only tropical penguin on Earth, the Galápagos penguin. Depending on sea conditions (current and visibility), we will schedule a snorkeling outing too.
Sullivan Bay: Dry landing on the area that had James' latest volcanic activity in 1897. Fantastic lava formations. A good spot for snorkeling where pioneer marine species should be expected.
James Bay: Landing takes place at a black sandy beach where the shoreline walk will reveal a great assortment of marine-related species. Particularly good for migratory species of birds. Great swimming and snorkeling. An easy stroll, observing Darwin's finches and eventual Galapagos hawks lead to the dramatic black lava rock formations, home to a fur sea lion colony.
Behind the island's red-sand beach, frequented by sea lions, is a flamingo lagoon. Pelicans and boobies nest in the vicinity. Nine species of finches have been spotted here.
Palo Santo trees, colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and magnificent frigate birds. On the other side of the island, the waves crash onto the rocks and sea lions play in the surf.
A small island packed to its steep-cliff shoreline with fascinating natural life: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cactus, and vegetation that changes color with the seasons.
Follow the route of Charles Darwin and visit his first-ever island in Galápagos. Visitor sites include the Interpretation Center at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, as well as Isla Lobos. A walk up in the highlands is arranged for guests who take the week expedition. Great landscape photography. Site of the Archipelago’s second airport where some tours start and/or end.
SANTA CRUZ (INDEFATIGABLE)
Academy Bay and Puerto Ayora: The Finch Bay Eco Hotel is located here, as well as the Charles Darwin Research Station. Giant tortoises are seen here and seasonally in the highlands where they graze on the pastures of local farms. Up in the highlands, the Pit Craters (Los Gemelos) is an outstanding area for bird watching, and observation of flora of the highlands. It is up here where amazing encounters with woodpecker finches have occurred. Moist conditions keep this epiphyte-laden environment with a fresh green look. Visit the bustling and picturesque town of Puerto Ayora.
Darwin Bay.- formed after a caldera collapse. Its steep cliffs dominate the island. It is called "the bird island" because it is home to thousands of frigate birds, red-footed and masked boobies, noddy terns, lava gulls, tropic birds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin's finches. Good snorkeling along the amazing cliff-sides.
Prince Philip's Steps.- Walk on lava rocks. A Palo Santo forest full of nesting birds. There is a good possibility of seeing the unique Short-eared owl. Nazca boobies, great frigate birds, red-footed boobies, and flycatchers are outstanding representatives of the avian life forms on this island. Outstanding sunsets from here.