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Help with my Itinerary

Long Beach...
posts: 100
reviews: 21
Help with my Itinerary

So I have made a few posts over the past few days. With a bit of help, I have detailed the following itinerary.

I will not be cruising, rather visiting the islands by land.

5 Days in Santa Cruz:

Day 1: Darwin Center Black Turtle Cove

Day 2: Las Grietas, Los Gemelos, La Tortuga Bay

Day 3: Lava Tubes, Rancho Mariposa in the Highlands

Day 4: Camanio Island

Day 5: Floreana

4 or 5 Days in Isabela

Day 1: Puerto Villami, Wetlands

Day 2: Urbina Bay

Day 3: Bartholomew

Day 4: Las Tintoreras OR Play del Amor OR El Estero

4 Days in San Cristobal

Day 1: Isla Lobos

Day 2: Sea Lion Rookery

Day 3: Sappho Bay

Day 4 Cerro Brujo

Let me know what I should change. If there are specific activities that I have listed that cannot be done without a cruise please let me know.

Thanks in advance!

Lakewood, CO
posts: 1,391
reviews: 23
1. Re: Help with my Itinerary

Hi, John--

You said in an earlier post that you were willing to do a few guided trips, but you wanted to do things on your own. I can't tell from this post if you know that some of these sites required certified guides or if you expect to be able to visit independently. I'm going to assume the latter, so my apologies if you already know these things.

As far as I know, Black Turtle Cove can only be reached with a naturalist guide; it's on the north shore of Santa Cruz and isn't a landing per se--just a panga ride around the cove. You might be able to arrange for a certified guide to get you there, but the logistics could be tricky. (I've not heard of anyone's going there except on a naturalist cruise, but perhaps there's a way.) The day trip to Floreana from Santa Cruz doesn't go to the same spots that naturalist cruises do (Post Office Bay, snorkeling at Devil's Crown). Instead, you go to the inhabited highlands area and snorkel at another spot. The wildlife at the inhabited highlands likely won't be that great (humans have that effect). But if you find the human history of the archipelago interesting, that could be just fine.

You can't get to Urbina Bay or any of the areas on the western shore of Isabela without being on a naturalist cruise. The map I referenced in one of your earlier posts (http://www.galapagospark.org/onecolmap.php?page=sitiosdevisita_index ) also shows Las Tintoreras and the Wetlands as needing a guide. (I don't know these sites firsthand, so I'm just going with the National Park info. Day tours to Las Tintoreras are not uncommon, you just can't go on your own.) You can't do a day trip to Bartolomé from Isabela--only from Santa Cruz.

I don't personally have any experience with San Cristóbal. But again, the National Park map shows Isla Lobos and Cerro Brujo as green (intensive), needing a certified guide. Perhaps your hotel would help you arrange something when you first arrive. But again, I've not heard of folks going there except on naturalist cruises.

If you haven't already seen it, Snaek29 posted a great thread about research he has done concerning visiting by land: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g294310-i6637-k658… .


trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/


Long Beach...
posts: 100
reviews: 21
2. Re: Help with my Itinerary

Thank you. That was incredibly helpful. I honestly don't think I would have had the time or energy to do every one of those tours so crossing some off the list is fine.

Do you have any tours in particular that I have not listed that would be plausible?

Lakewood, CO
posts: 1,391
reviews: 23
3. Re: Help with my Itinerary

Great! Glad it was some help.

I know the most about the land-based options from Santa Cruz; I'm sure others will chime in on San Cristóbal and Isabela. In my opinion, the 2 best day trips from Santa Cruz for wildlife are Bartolomé (which you listed and I underline) and N. Seymour (which you didn't). On the Bartolomé trip, you might get to snorkel with a small group of the adorable Galápagos Penguins as well as climb up an extinct volcano to the gorgeous, most photographed spot in the archipelago--and rightfully so! And N. Seymour provides a great opportunity to wander through breeding colonies of boobies and frigatebirds--some of which can be nesting quite close to the paths.

I personally don't think the Floreana day trip would be that great for wildlife, although one person on this forum raved about the snorkeling spot on his/her day trip. (I can't think of the name.)

But don't cross off the highlands tour to see the Giant Tortoises living free on the farms. June is during the breeding season, so the largest/oldest ones may be down on the sandy beaches nesting and/or mating. But even seeing the younger, smaller-although-still-really-big (i.e., not old enough to breed) tortoises up close and personal is a wondrous experience.


trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/

Long Beach...
posts: 100
reviews: 21
4. Re: Help with my Itinerary

Wonderful. Again, thank you very much! Huge help! If anyone has further suggestions please let me know!

posts: 21
reviews: 1
5. Re: Help with my Itinerary

Are you not going to have a little time on Floreana? Seems a shame to go through there so quickly when there is so much there, both in terms of wildlife and in terms of the human history of the island. I'd be tempted to slot in a couple of nights at the Lava Lodge if you can. I would personally say that you have too much time on Santa Cruz, rule of thumb would be to get to the islands with the smallest populations for the better wildlife.

As per previous posts, you won't be able to get to Urbina bay from a base in Puerto Vilamil. As you've probably gathered, Bartolome as a day trip from Isabela doesn't work but does from Santa Cruz.

6. Re: Help with my Itinerary

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