Giant Tortoises

domingo, 13 de febrero de 2011

DAILY TOURS

SOUTH PLAZA



The two Plaza islands lie just off the eastern tip of Santa Cruz. They are formed from uplifted marine lava. Only the southern of the two islands is open to visitors, but this is one of the most concentrated wildlife sites in the islands.
The trail takes you up from the small dock, frequently occupied by Sea Lions, past the rather droopy Prickly Pear Cacti with their yellow flowers, and up to the cliff from where you can often see a shoal of the endemic Yellow-tailed Mullet. The cliff is an excellent place to view the Swallow-tailed Gull and the Red-billed Tropic Bird, both of which breed here, and which along with boobies and frigates use the updraft for soaring. At the eastern end of the islands is an area where the bachelor bull Sea Lions congregate. There is a colony of Land Iguanas here as well as Marine Iguanas, and you may also see a hybrid of the two species. At certain times of the year, the Galapagos Carpetweed which covers much of the eastern end of the islands turns a brilliant red-orange, adding a welcome touch of colour.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Galapagos Sea Lion, Marine Iguana, Land Iguana, Lava Lizard, Yellowtail Mullet, Sally Lightfoot Crab, Galapagos Shearwater, Red-billed Tropic Bird, Magnificent Frigate Bird, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Common Noddy, Brown Pelican, Cactus Finch, Ground Finch.
Bitterbush, Desert Plum, Leatherleaf, Prickly Pear Cactus, Galapagos Purslane, Spiny Bush, Galapagos Carpetweed, Puncture Weed.

Pick up time: 8:00 from the hotel.
Drop off time: 15:30 at the hotel.
Rate approximately per person: 143 usd
Includes: transportation, naturalist guide and lunch.


BARTOLOME



This is the classic spot of the Galapagos. The view from the top of the island of the volcanic landscape is spectacular. It is reached by a series of flights of wooden steps, and is the most photographed view in Galapagos. Pinnacle rock is the eroded remains of a tuff cone. A small submerged crater can be seen just offshore. To the east you can see a series of small spatter cones. You may swim from the beach of the north side of the island and the snorkeling is excellent close to Pinnacle Rock.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Galapagos Penguin, Galapagos Hawk, White-tipped Shark, Green Turtle, Ghost Crab.
Grey Matplant, Saltbush, Lava Cactus, Prickly Pear, Galapagos Spurge, Beach Morning Glory, Mollugo, Stewart’s Scalesia, Spiny Bush.

Pick up time: 5:00 or 6:00 from the hotel.
Drop off time: 17:00 at the hotel.
Rate approximately per person: 165 usd
Includes: transportation, naturalist guide and lunch.


SEYMOUR



Lying just to the north of Baltra, Syemour is a small island consisting of uplifted submarine lava. It is cover with a forest of Dwarf Palo Santo trees and is the breeding site of both frigatebirds and two of the boobies. The trails lead from the small dock along the coast, past an area where Marine Iguanas nest and then loops into the Palo Santo forest past nesting frigatebirds and both Nazca and Blue footed Boobies.
The Land Iguanas here are actually from Baltra from where they were brought in the 1930’s. Some have recently been returned to Baltra as the original population was wiped out during the period that Baltra was a US military base. You can often see young Sea Lions surfing in the large waves off the rocky beach.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Galapagos Sea Lion, Marine Iguana, Land Iguana, Lava Lizard, Stripped Galapagos Snake, Great Frigatebird, Magnificent Frigatebird, Blue-footed Boobie, Nazca Boobie, Brown Pelican, Swallow-tailed Gull, Lava Gull, Common Noddy, Ground Finches.
Dwarf Palo Santo, Parkinsonia, Prickly Pear Cactus, Muyuyo, Leatherleaf, Saltbush, Spiny Bush, Galapagos Carpetweed, Sea Purslane, Galapagos Croton.

Pick up time: 8:00 from the hotel.
Drop off time: 16:30 at the hotel.
Rate approximately per person: 143 usd
Includes: transportation, naturalist guide and lunch.


SANTA FE



The visiting site on Santa Fe is on the northeastern corner of the island. The anchorage is very sheltered, being protected by a small cactus covered islet, “Islote Black”, named after the late Juan Black, one of the first Directors of the Galapagos National Park. The bay is quite shallow and you can often see sting rays and green turtles in the clear water. There is good snorkeling around Islote Black.
Santa Fe is noted for its large colony of Sea Lions that live on the white sand beaches at the head of the bay. Visitors often have to find their way around groups of sleeping cows and pups. Be careful of the bull Sea Lion or beachmaster. He is normally not very aggressive, but can be during the breeding season. The trail should give you the opportunity to view the Santa Fe Land Iguana, found only on this island, and the delightful endemic rice rat, which is particularly in evidence towards sunset. The vegetation on Santa Fe is notable for the very large Prickly Pear Cacti found here. Not quite as tall as some on Santa Cruz, it is larger and more heavily trunked than any other in the islands.

WATCH OUT FOR:
Galapagos Sea Lion, Sand Dollar, Ghost Crab, Galapagos Rice Rat, Galapagos Hawk, Ground Finches, Cactus Finches.
Palo Santo, Muyuyo, Galapagos Lantana, leatherleaf, Prickly Pear Cactus, Salt Bush Spiny Bush, Galapagos Croton.

Pick up time: 8:00 from the hotel.
Drop off time: 16:30 at the hotel.
Rate approximately per person: 143 usd
Includes: transportation, naturalist guide and lunch.


SANTA CRUZ- GIANT TORTOISES BREEDING CENTER-HIGHLANDS




The main interest is the Tortoises Breeding Center where you can also see Lonesome George, the last remaining Pinta tortoises. This is the only place where you have the opportunity to compare the different shapes of carapace of the various Galapagos Tortoises and also enjoy the baby Giant Tortoises and the adult tortoises.
The highland of Santa Cruz offers us Los Gemelos are a pair of collapse or pit craters, one on either side of the road in the Scalesia Zone. Here you get an excellent opportunity to see Scalesia pedunculata. There are also many mosses, ferns and other epiphytes on the trees. Watch out for the Woodpecker Finch and the Small and Large Tree Finches. Also you will visit a farm where the Tortoises’ are in their own environment and as well you will have the opportunity to visit the Lava Tunnels.


TORTUGA BAY




The Galapagos beach at Tortuga Bay is a pristine location covered with beautiful white sand beach. It is a great location for swimming and even surfing. Located south-west of the town of Puerto Ayora.
It is considered to be as one of the most beautiful beaches in Galapagos. The sunsets here are just stunning. Tortuga bay is also a favorite place for sea lions, marine iguanas and pelicans, are commonly found along the shore of most beaches.
It takes around 45 minutes walk to get to the beach. You'll be able to see beautiful birds including the famous Galapagos finches and Galapagos Mockingbirds as you walk. The trail to the beach is paved and marked.
There are two beaches at Tortuga Bay, the main beach is used for surfing due to its strong waves. If you want to swim and just relax you can head to the west side of the beach where the waters are calm also you can kayack there.

TIPS FOR TRAVEL
Before traveling, you will need to know the following information.

WEATHER:
You will experience a range of different temperatures, which can be unpredictable.

In Quito, our temperature is usually in between 56 to 78 degrees and without humidity. Our Dry Season runs from the end of June through the end of September. The rest of the year is our Rainy Season. Please note that there’s not a big difference in temperature between the two seasons.

In the Galapagos, The islands are very misty from May through November, when there is constant moisture called, “garua.” It tends to be very warm and humid from November to April, so be sure to dress accordingly and don’t forget your sunglasses, sun block, hat, and a rain jacket if it’s garua season!!


CLOTHING:
In Quito, anything is fine. Just make sure to bring trousers, shorts, comfortable shoes, a rain jacket, sunglasses, and sun block.

In the Galapagos, you will have snorkeling opportunities, be sure to remember and bring your swim suit. I highly recommend bringing your own mask, especially if you need a prescription mask! Galapagos walks will include terrain covered in sand, lava, boulders, and compacted volcanic ash.

Island landings will include both wet (on beaches) and dry (on lava), so you will need a good pair of shoes. Since you will not be permitted to wear the same shoes on excursions and on the boat, a pair of flip flops or sandals are also suggested.

1. Footwear for wet landings (sandals, aqua shoes, Tevas)
2. Good shoes for dry landings and lava trails (tennis shoes or other closed shoes, closed Tevas)


CURRENCY:

In Ecuador, the local currency is the same as in the USA (dollars). On mainland Ecuador, credit cards are widely accepted, but in the Galapagos Islands none of the daily tour boats accept them. So be sure to bring enough cash for your on board expenses and small change for items such as payphones, beverages or non included tips, etc.

Small bill denominations are very important! Ecuadorians love two dollar bills, so they can be a fun option to bring along.

We also suggest that you contact your bank and your credit card issuing company and inform them about your travel plans and inquire as to any specific fees that might be associated with this.

You might also want to ask them the best local bank option for ATMs. (Sometimes ATM cards don’t work very well.)

Don´t forget to get your ATM pin number.

ELECTRICITY:

The electricity in Ecuador is 110 volts.

MISCELLANEOUS:

It is suggested that you have copies of your passport, airline tickets (if not electronic tickets), and of your Travel Protection Plan.

Please be aware that there is a airport departure tax of $40.80 before you flight back to your country.

Binoculars are extremely useful for spotting birds and other wildlife.

Seasickness pills or patches might be useful in the Galapagos.


RECOMMENDED PACKING LIST

• SEA SICKNESS MEDICINE
• MOSQUITOS REPPELENT
• RAINCOAT OR LIGHT WIND BREAKER
• BATHING SUIT
• SHORTS
• LIGHT TROUSERS
• LONG SLEEVES T-SHIRTS
• T-SHIRTS
• FLASHLIGHT OR HEAD LAMP
• SANDALS / TEVAS
• TENIS SHOES
• SUNGLASES
• CAPS / HATS
• SUN LOTION No 30+
• DARK CLOTHING FOR ACTIVITIES IN THE RAIN FOREST
• BINOCULARS
• FLEECE
• OPTIONAL GIFTS FOR SCHOOL
• GIFTS FOR HOME HOSTED LUNCH
• KNEE-HIGH SOCKS