San Cristobal or Chatham the eastern most Island of Galapagos is also one of the oldest. Eroded volcanic peaks in the northern part of the island and rich vegetation in the southern portion characterize the island. This morning we visit Witch Hill. Located on the northern coast, this eroded hill and its surroundings present one of the most picturesque beaches in the Galapagos with its white powdery sand and the abundance of animals. Wildlife includes sea turtles, rays, and various types of Booby Birds. The clear water provides an excellent opportunity for enjoying swimming and snorkeling. Highlights: Beautiful rock formations, sea lions, shore birds, finches and mockingbirds; snorkeling: nice tropical fish, anemones, sponge coral. Activities: Hike, dinghy ride, snorkeling & kayaking. This afternoon we explore Kicker Rock. This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, kayaking and scuba diving allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life. Highlights: Great snorkeling: sharks, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays (occ.), hammerhead sharks, spectacular rock formations and sea birds: Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies & Frigate birds. Activities: Snorkeling & dinghy ride (no landing). Today we also make our way to El Junco or Tijeretas Hill. The Junco lagoon, located about 700m above sea level, is one of the few permanent freshwater bodies in Galapagos. Frigate birds are often seen here washing the salt from their feathers as well as white-cheeked pintails and common gallinules. Its name comes from a type of plant that is common in this area called “junco”. Tijeretas hill provides visitors with an impressive view of the bay from one side and the town from the other. The area is also great for observing both the Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds and a diverse array of flora. The site also offers safe snorkeling and swimming.
Later today we visit the Interpretation Center, which was opened in 1998 as a phase of the project “Interpretation and Environment Education Project.” Visitors enjoy expositions on natural history, human history, and conservation. The conservation efforts represent the movement to protect the wildlife and natural environment through means of population and tourist control. The Interpretation Center has an outdoor stadium, audio-visual equipment, and meeting rooms.