Galapagos with Ciscoe: Itinerary
January 20th to January 27th, 2018
WESTERN GALÁPAGOS: Baltra to Baltra
The Western Islands are home to the only active volcanoes in the archipelago and are known both for their spectacular volcanic landscapes as well as penguin spotting; over 95% of Galapágos Penguins live in these islands. It’s also the only area to see the endemic Flightless Cormorant. Other key sites include the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Post Office Bay with its human history and Champion Islet with some of the best snorkelling in the archipelago.
- Walk across spectacular lava fields
- Explore tidal pools, lush mangroves and Scalesia forests
- See pelicans and penguins along the rocky shores
- Swim with green sea turtles, sea lions and manta rays
- Hike through fragrant forests of Palo Santo "Incense" trees
- Encounter the largest colony of Marine Iguanas
- Watch for a unique species of Flightless Cormorant
- Visit one of the most volcanically active places on Earth
- Discover a saltwater lagoon within a volcanic tuff cone
- Read cave inscriptions from the 1800s
- Learn of the islands' whaling history and early Norwegian settlers
- See wild flamingos (in season) and nesting sea turtles
- Observe giant tortoises and sea lion colonies
- Photograph iconic Pinnacle Rock
- Day 1 — San Cristobal
- Embark Silver Galapagos for your exciting Silversea Western Galápagos Expedition. After settling in and attending a mandatory safety drill we will be setting sail. This afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
During the late afternoon Silver Galapagos will circumnavigate Kicker Rock. We will be looking for frigatebirds,
Swallow-tailed Gulls and Nazca Boobies. The geological formation and its impressive height can best be seen from
the ship and conditions permitting we will be able to observe one of the most beautiful sunsets of the Galapagos
In the evening you will enjoy the first of many memorable meals in The Restaurant.
- Day 2 — Bartolomé and Playa Espumilla, Santiago
- Some of the most spectacular landscapes in the islands come into view. Just off the coast of Santiago, Bartolomé
boasts some of the most magnificent landscapes in the islands including the famous Pinnacle Rock, a toweringobelisk at the edge of the ocean. Go snorkelling or take a walk along the beach to look for the playful Galápagos
Penguin, perched on a rock or zooming underwater.
Beautiful Espumilla Beach is an important nesting site for the East Pacific green sea turtle. We will walk through the arid vegetation zone of the interior where we will see the largest palo santo trees in the Galápagos, the perfect habitat for several species of Darwin’s finches. At times of the year when conditions are not ideal at Espumilla, you will enjoy a visit to Buccaneer’s Cove. This protected cove once served as a safe harbour for pirates as they repaired their ships and replenished their stores. Today, it offers a wealth of water-based activities, including snorkelling with a kaleidoscopic array of tropical fish, whitetip reef sharks, fur seals and even eagle rays. You can embark on a kayak or Zodiac tour and spy some of the beautiful geologic features of the area—red cliffs, natural caves and unique rock formations—while perhaps spotting seabirds like the Brown Noddy that nest in the cliffs.
- Day 3 — Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela, and Punta Espinoza, Fernandina
- The arid landscape of Isabela, the largest and youngest island in the Galápagos, is pierced by five majestic shield
volcanoes. Snorkelling is probably the best although coldest in the islands at Punta Vicente Roca, located at the
base of Ecuador Volcano. Half of this volcano collapsed about 100,000 years ago—meaning that visitors now get a
spectacular cutaway view of the caldera. Aboard a Zodiac, we will look for Flightless Cormorants and Galapagos
The largest colony of marine iguanas in the Galápagos can be seen sunning on the black lava shores of Punta Espinoza at the northeastern corner of Fernandina. One of the most pristine islands in the world, Fernandina hosts an impressive array of wildlife including sea lions, colourful Sally Lightfoot crabs and the rare endemic Flightless Cormorant.
- Day 4 — Caleta Tagus and Bahía Elizabeth, Isabela
- A short cruise across the Bolivar Strait brings Silver Galapagos to Tagus Cove on Isabela Island. Yellow Warblers
and Galápagos Mockingbirds may escort our hike between palo santo trees and yellow cordias, passing the briny
Darwin Lake along the way. Join the snorkelling tour to look for penguins, cormorants and the shy Brown Noddy
along the sheltered cliffs. You may also explore the area on a kayak.
The tallest red mangrove trees in the Galápagos are found in Elizabeth Bay, an idyllic mangrove lagoon and a fascinating place to observe marine life. We will take a Zodiac through the mangroves where sea turtles swim close to the surface, and pelicans and herons stalk for fish or crab. Sea lions and penguins are also prevalent in this marine sanctuary.
- Day 5 — Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant or Champion, Floreana
- Floreana has been luring visitors since the 18th century when whalers hunted the island for tortoises and pirates
sought shelter in its caves. Sailors established a rustic mailing system still in use today: a box –today a barrel
nailed to a pole- where they would drop letters hoping they would be delivered by other mariners sailing home. You can continue the tradition if you choose. Afterwards take a walk along the lovely beach, or go snorkelling in a colourful underwater world.
A sea lion rookery has developed on Floreana’s northern shore. Amid lava rocks that are dotted with prickly pear cacti and sesuvium, a small colony of the creatures thrives. Pups are particularly curious when visitors arrive—they love to go in the water and investigate Zodiacs as they pass through their waters.
As you travel along the coast, you may find many other creatures that look for shelter amid the red and white mangroves: eagle rays, marine turtles, Brown Pelicans and resting Cattle Egrets. Kayaking through the turquoise waters here is a true pleasure, inviting a sense of peaceful solitude and an invigorating feeling of connection to nature.
At Punta Cormorant, one of the most interesting sites in the islands, we will land on the olive-green sand and walk to Flour Beach, a favourite nesting site for green sea turtles, hoping to see flamingos on the way. Floreana also offers some of the best snorkelling sites in the Galápagos.
- Day 6 — Cerro Dragón and Las Bachas, Santa Cruz
- Cerro Dragon’s land iguanas have played an important part in the conservation program by the Charles Darwin
Foundation and the Galapagos National Park. When their numbers declined in the 1970s some animals were taken
to breed in captivity, others were put onto the neighboring islet, Venecia. As these programs were successful, wewill be heading inland on a trail leading past small saltwater lagoons that periodically feature flamingos to see the
reintroduced animals. Once at the hill, we will circle Cerro Dragon, looking for the land iguanas and their burrows.
There might also be the possibility to snorkel near the landing site if time and tides permit.
Silver Galapagos will relocate to the northern shore of Santa Cruz during the early afternoon. At Las Bachas there
will be the chance to swim from one of the two beaches, see White-cheeked Pintails and flamingos at a lagoon behind the beach and look for sea turtles -Las Bachas is one of the major nesting sites for them.
- Day 7 — Los Gemelos, Puerto Ayora and the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, Santa Cruz
- The second largest island in the archipelago is home to both the largest human settlement and the second largest wild tortoise population. We will visit Los Gemelos, two pit craters in the midst of a forest of tall scalesia trees that look like giant daisies and are endemic to the Galápagos. There is a good chance to spot land birds, especially one of the rare and endemic Galápagos Martins.
In the afternoon, the Fausto Llerena Breeding Center gives us the opportunity to see both the domed tortoise and the iconic saddleback tortoise after which the islands were named.
- Day 8 — Baltra
- Following breakfast, disembark Silver Galapagos for your return flight from Baltra Airport.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.