The best of the Galapagos with this comprehensive itinerary on board the intimate yacht, MY Coral I or II. Travel in style and see the unique wildlife of the islands in a small group with your expert guide. Flights from and to the mainland included and scuba available as an extra option.
An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country.
In 1981 Toni moved to Namibia with her family and from then on her love of the outdoors and all things nature grew and grew. Her father was an exploration geologist who travelled extensively around Southern Africa, living in small mining towns and managing bush camps where Toni would spend her school holidays camping in the bush, or visiting private farms and reserves. Toni’s father passed on to her his unparalleled knowledge of all things Namibia, and she carried this with her as she became a manager and guide at some of the most remote lodges in the extreme North West of Namibia. Toni has travelled expansively across Namibia and its neighbouring countries, making regular visits to all of the National Game Reserves and developing her photographic skills which she takes great pleasure in passing on to visitors to the region.
Her deep love and knowledge of the Namibia, coupled with her infectious passion and enthusiasm to want to share it, make her one of the country’s top guides and ambassadors for this beautiful country. More than just a guide who simply points from a vehicle, Toni becomes fully involved in the experiences of her fellow travellers and places a great emphasis on finding the best adventures, wildlife encounters and photo opportunities for her tour groups. As a Managing Tour Consultant she plans safaris for a wide range of interest groups but her main focus is on birding and photographic small group tours, where she delights in each visitor gaining an up-close and personal experience of all that the country she loves and knows so well has to offer.
Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. She spent 11 years on Sea Lion Island as Manager of the Lodge, Warden of the Nature Reserve and as the principal tour provider, meaning her knowledge of Sea Lion Island in particular is second to none. Having spent so much time here, as expected her wildlife speciality is Elephant Seals, but she is also well versed in the ways of the seabirds, penguins, whales, dolphins and sea lions that call the Falklands their home.
After her time on Sea Lion Island Jenny moved to Stanley to work for the Falkland Islands Government and became manager of a local travel firm assisting with travel arrangements for incoming visitors, before taking semi-retirement to spend more time with her family and enjoy more time further exploring the lands she knows so well. Jenny is extremely passionate about sharing the hidden nature secrets of the Falklands with those who come to visit her homeland and will be looking forward to accompanying you and passing on her unsurpassed knowledge of the areas you will be visiting.
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Island (2h30 flight). Arriving in the Galapagos, passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturist guides and taken in a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/Y Coral I or M/Y Coral II.
Off the western coast of Santa Cruz, Eden Islet offers opportunities to see Nazca and blue-footed boobies, reef sharks, and banks of endemic bream fish, either from the dinghy or while snorkelling. Wet landing in “Bahia Ballena,” Whale Bay, a beautiful greenish sand cove at the base of Dragon Hill on the west coast of Santa Cruz Island. The beach contains a large amount of volcanic olivine crystals, formed when the magma was still underground. Its content is magnesium, iron, and silica. A small tortoise population from Pinzon Island lives in the area, probably left by whalers or previous inhabitants. There is the opportunity to see marine iguanas and sea birds, followed by snorkelling.
Vicente Roca point is a promontory created form the remains of a tuff cone, with two protected turquoise coves on either side. One of them, the Bolivar Channel is one of the richest marine ecosystems on Earth. This place is only accessible by water, with great opportunities for deep-water snorkelling. In this part of the Galapagos, the upwelling of cold water currents from the west, offer an abundant plankton supply for marine species like: red-lipped batfish, seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, octopus, and the mola-mola or sunfish. It is common to observe dolphin pods, sea lions rafts, and tuna banks feeding. The sheer cliffs provides the perfect setting for dinghy rides along the coast, observing a great diversity of sea birds, like: noddies, brown pelicans, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, Nazca and Blue-footed boobies are often seen feeding all at once in these waters during cold season (May – December). Whale watching is also common while navigating.
Dry landing. From Espinosa Point, is possible to admire a wide view of Isabela Island across the Bolivar Channel, an area that hosts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. Here, the largest most primitive-looking marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Fernandina island displays a wonderful opportunity to encounter flightless cormorants at their nesting sites. The Galapagos penguins and the “King” of predators on the islands, the Galapagos Hawk, can also be spotted. Pa-hoe-hoe and AA lava formations cover the majority of Fernandina terrain. Vegetation is scarce inland, with the exception of a few brachycereus cacti. In the shore, mangrove can be found.
Wet landing. On a black volcanic sandy beach, the remains of salt mines still can be seen. This is a historically important site; on 1683 the British sailor, William Ambrose Cowley named the bay as James. Since then, this location became an anchor base to recollect water, tortoises, and salt from the salt-lake that locates in a closer crater. Charles Darwin visited this place in 1835. The first part of the trail is comprised of volcanic ash (eroded tuff) and the other half is comprised of volcanic basaltic rock on the shoreline; creating the best tidal pool area in the Galapagos. Here, the fur seals and sally lightfoot crabs populations thrive. The unique, truly striking layered terrain of Santiago’s shores is home to a variety of resident and migrant birds, including the Galapagos hawk and the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron. Snorkelling in this place is a highlight; it is frequent to see lobsters, starfish, octopuses, squids, and marine iguanas on algae beds. Santiago is one of the few places where fur seals (actually, a kind of sea lion) and Galapagos sea Lions can be found.
Wet landing. This site located at the southeastern portion of Santiago Island is of important geologic interest. It features extensive relative young pa-hoe-hoe lava flows formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. In the middle of the lava flow, older reddish-yellow-coloured tuff cones appear. Mollugo plants with their yellow-to-orange whorled leaves usually grow out of the fissures. Walking on the solidified lava gives the impression of been in another planet. Tree moulds are found, indicating that in that position large size plants grew in small crevices, until the lava flow of past eruptions burned down the flora of the island.
Dry landing. On the highlands of Santa Cruz Island it is possible to visit private farms- tortoise reserves “El Chato” / “Primicias,” where giant tortoises wander freely in the National Park. In the mountains of Galapagos is possible to admire different types of birds, such as: tree and ground finches, vermillion flycatchers, paint-billed crakes, yellow warblers, and cattle egrets (usually on the shells of the tortoises). The journey to the reserve offers great opportunities to see the contrasts that the island offers in its 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.
Dry landing. Visit to the Galapagos giant tortoises and land iguanas breeding programme, where the famous Lonesome George (last surviving specimen of Pinta Island) lived for decades. The centre is managed by the Galapagos National Park´s (GNP) staff with the collaboration of scientists from the Charles Darwin Station (CDS). Here, eggs taken from Pinzon, Santiago and Santa Cruz Islands hatch without the danger of introduced species. After artificial incubation; the “galapaguitos” (newborntortoises) are reared until the age of 5, when they are released in their native habitats, having the enough capabilities to survive alone. Since the 70’s, more than 2,000 specimens have returned to their native islands. In addition, the Darwin Station works in several scientific projects and botanical research, providing environmental education to local communities, schools and tourists. If time helps, it is possible to visit Puerto Ayora town.
Wet Landing. Mosquera Islet is located between North Seymour and Baltra Islands. This flat, sandy island has a large colony of sea lions. It is also an excellent site to observe shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. There is no trail on the islet, visitor can enjoy the open area. Most of the islet is covered with sand and barren lava rock. Very little sesuvium portulacastrum plants grow on the sand.
Dry landing. Off the Baltra Island and not far from Santa Cruz Island, locates North Seymour. This landmass was formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, which deposited layers of lava on the ocean floor. After arrival and an approximately two hours walk, large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies, great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls can be seen. Land iguanas and on a lucky day Galapagos snakes can be encounter along the path.
Wet landing. Santa Fe shows white sandy beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies; through the island path an endemic cactus forest is passed. Home of the Santa Fe land iguanas (the largest in the islands). This island is the habitat for a number of species, including: the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches and one of the four mockingbird species of the archipelago.
Dry landing. There are two Plaza Islets (north and south) located east of Santa Cruz Island. On the northern part of the Islet, visitors begin the journey along an impressive cactus forest were colourful yellow and red land iguanas live, the population number is around 300 animals; during dry season they survive on fruits and flowers of the opuntia cacti. A peculiar thing to see in South Plaza is the hybrid iguana (sea and land). When reaching the highest point, tropicbirds can be seen. During the dry season (June – January) the usually greenish and yellowish vegetation change of colour creating a bright red landscape (sesuviumedmonstonei plant).
Dry landing. San Cristobal is home of the capital town of the Galapagos Province, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Passengers visit the Interpretation Centre, which is an excellent place to learn about the nature and history of the Islands, displaying information of Galapagos volcanic origins, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, arrival of the original species, among other points of interest. The human interaction is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events about the colonisation of the islands. Later on a high-intensity hike can be done to visit Tijeretas Hill, a beautiful landscapes ending with a magnificent view of a nearby large frigatebird colony. If there is enough time, a town visit can be planned.
Transfer to airport for flight back to the mainland.
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