Your Galapagos cruise begins on Baltra, a small island that is home to the archipelago’s main airport. Baltra was used as a U.S. military base in WWII and is now a base for Ecuador’s armed forces.
Visitors may take comfort when arriving at the airport, seemingly out of place in so precious and fragile an environment, that it is the first ecological airport in the world designed to reduce impact through energy saving programs, rain water recovery systems and extensive recycling.
There is no real chance to see the island as upon arrival you will normally be met by an English-speaking guide who will whisk you to the nearby port where the boat will be waiting to start your Galapagos cruise. Some cruises start from San Cristóbal and there a variety of options available for land based tours.
Separated from Baltra by a short, narrow channel, North Seymour is an uplifted lava flow that has formed a plateau of only 1.9 square kilometres. Though small, the island offers a good introduction to the unique plants and animals that can be found on the archipelago. It is here on your Galapagos cruise that you might first witness the piratical behaviour of the frigate birds: dive-bombing and harassing other birds into dropping food or nest building materials before swooping and snatching up the booty in their own beaks.
An interesting circular trail takes you through the low, bushy vegetation so
suited to the island's
desert-like climate. Endemic plants such as the dwarf Palo Santo and the
strikingly shaped opuntias
form the backdrop to the constant cycle of mating, nesting and chick rearing.
blue-footed boobies are never more than an arms length away.
- Galapagos sea lions
- Red-billed tropic birds
- Nazca & blue-footed boobies
- Lava gulls
- Galapagos pinnipeds
- Audubon’s shearwaters
- Galapagos land iguanas