Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field

  • Urbina Bay and Tagus Cove

    Today aboard National Geographic Endeavor II, we had the opportunity to start the day with our morning walk at Urbina Bay, a black sandy beach located on the rim of Alcedo Volcano on Isabela Island. As we walked along the trail, we had close encounters with yellow land iguanas and giant Alcedo tortoises! After the hike, some guests returned to the ship by Zodiac ride, and others had a refreshing swim at Urbina Bay, sharing the space with penguins and pelicans that were feeding at the coast. Today we had a delicious and traditional Ecuadorian buffet lunch, where we learned the proper way to eat ceviche.

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  • Bartolome and Rabida Islands

    It’s our first day into our expedition in the Encantadas, and we begin on Bartolome Island, one of the jewels of the archipelago. This island is like a field guide of volcanic features: cindery slopes, tuff and spatter cones, lava pipes, and pahoehoe lava. In order to reach its summit, one must climb nearly 400 wooden steps, but the view is certainly worth it! After breakfast we enjoyed the water world of Bartolome, either from its beautiful golden beach or deep-water snorkeling.

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  • Fernandina and Isabela Island

    Today we woke up at sunrise to search for cetaceans from the sky deck of National Geographic Endeavour II. We were lucky to observe a group of common dolphins hunting for fish. After a delicious breakfast, we went for a natural history hike at Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island, where we had the opportunity to observe an endless number of marine iguanas. Before lunch, we went snorkeling, where we observed plenty of green sea turtles and a few flightless cormorants searching for algae to build a nest.

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  • North Seymour & Rabida

    Sunday was a sensational day in the Galapagos. We had the chance to visit two islands of this magical archipelago. The first was North Seymour, a seabird paradise, so after breakfast we put on our life jackets and off we went by Zodiac. We landed in the northern side, ready to do a loop around this wonderful uplifted island, and right at the beginning, we encountered our first blue-footed boobies and Galapagos sea lions. The chances that we had here to photograph wildlife were incredible. Blue-footed booby chicks in all their fluffy stages, male frigatebirds with their gular pouch puffed up to attract a mate, both of these species taking care of and feeding their chicks, all unbothered by our presence. Then land iguanas, with their fierce look, walked next to us without a care in the world. After a couple of hours, we were back on the ship, full of excitement from the amazing experience we had and from what was going to come next. We tried on the snorkel gear and headed for lunch while we navigated to the next island in our itinerary.

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  • Genovesa Island

    This morning we awoke in the northeastern region of the Galapagos and sailed into the flooded caldera of Genovesa Island. Genovesa is home to the largest colony of red-footed boobies and frigate birds. We spent time in Darwin Bay, a white coralline beach, among nesting seabirds, curious Galapagos mockingbirds, and finches. The island has developed a reputation as “Bird Island” due to the prolific and diverse bird species that nest here.

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  • Chinese Hat

    Off the southeastern tip of Santiago Island lies Sombrero Chino, or Chinese Hat. The beauty of this location is complemented by its surrounding turquoise water and wildlife. We had an early start to the day, and many guests chose to have a pre-breakfast stretch and swim on the beach of Chinese Hat. Later, after breakfast we set out on Zodiacs to look for the iconic bird of the Galapagos, the Galapagos penguin.

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  • Genovesa

    Located up in the northernmost part of the archipelago, quite distant from any of the central islands, Genovesa is an extremely interesting place. Its isolation makes life possible mainly for sea birds here, and they are among the most numerous inhabitants of the place. The early morning light gave us a very good opportunity to see the walls of the crater that collapsed a few million years ago.

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  • South Plaza & Santa Fe

    Today we had the opportunity to visit two distinct islands that offered wonderful wildlife experiences. In the morning, we traveled to South Plaza Island where we explored the amazing coastline and cliffs looking for land iguanas, sea lions, and several species of seabirds. In the afternoon we toured Santa Fe Island, home to the unique Santa Fe land iguana. Here, we had several activity options such as kayaking, Zodiac rides, and hiking. Each provided up-close encounters with the local wildlife. This was a great day as we were able to observe three different species of iguanas: marine, Galapagos and the Santa Fe iguanas. Santa Fe Island is a great example of ecological restoration; goats, once introduced to the island, grazed mercilessly and threatened the survival of native flora and fauna. They have since been eradicated from the island, and tortoises reintroduced.

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  • Bartolome and Sombrero Chino

    This morning we woke up anchored in Bartolome Island. We started our morning with an optional early wakeup call, and off we were at 6:30 a.m. We had a great hike, going all the way to the top and taking pictures of the most iconic view of the Galapagos. Bartolome is relatively new, since it is less than a million years old, and our guests were able to witness how everything starts in the islands. They saw how the first colonizing plants arrive, and how little by little the place starts to be inhabited by other species.

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  • Santa Cruz Island

    Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago, and contains the largest human population. We dropped anchor at Academy Bay, in the south of the island. From our ship, we could see rows of buildings and the small port of Puerto Ayora in the drizzle of the early morning. This town is where the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Research Station are located, which make it a popular tourist hub. On our first excursion, we set off to the Fausto Llerena Giant Tortoise Rearing Center, in order to learn about one of the most successful conservation projects they carried out. A tortoise that has become the symbol of this success is Diego. Espanola tortoises were doomed to disappear if it wasn’t for a timely operation in the early 1970s where the remaining population was brought to the Charles Darwin Research Station in order to reproduce under the protection of park rangers and scientists. These fifteen individuals are the parental stock of close to 2,000 tortoises that have already been repatriated to Espanola Island.

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