DAY 5: Tortoises, Pirates, Lava Tunnels, and Volcanic Sinkholes in Santa Cruz Island
After breakfast,we take a speedboat to Santa Cruz Island – keeping an eye out for whales and dolphins along the way. After arrival, our destination is “El Chato”, a reserve located in the Santa Cruz highlands, and a place where we can observe the Giant tortoise in its natural environment. It is truly an honor to walk amongst these captivating creatures, who can live for over 175 years. You will also see pintail ducks, finches, frigate birds, egrets, and hopefully the striking vermillion flycatcher.
Our journey is continued with a trip to some breathtaking lava tunnels, once the realm of pirates and their plundered booty. Continuing on to “Los Gemelos”, two vast volcanic sinkholes at the top of the island, we hike through a forest of endemic scalesia trees, where we will be on the lookout for the short-eared owl. The trees are covered with ferns and epiphytes that give the forest an ethereal, otherworldly feel.
In the late afternoon, we retire to our Santa Cruz Galapagos hotel, the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. Expect fine treatment at this relaxed guesthouse, located in its secluded vantage point overlooking the bay, coastline, and town. (B, L, D)