I was skeptical about taking the 360 Tour, a day trip which takes its passengers entirely around San Cristobal in a speedboat. Would it be trying to cram too many things in? Are they just trying to make more money from tourists? There are a lot of variations at stake, depending on the whether or potentially mood of the operators. It’s touted as part fishing tour, due to a loophole of chartered fishing boats taking groups out – yet our experience didn’t have fishing. I was glad, because that’s not what I’m interested in, but if someone was hoping to fish they may be disappointed. This is a newer tour still forming and taking root, but I’m very happy that I went for it. The day turned out to be one of my favorites on the Galapagos.
Multiple snorkeling spots (wetsuit and gear) including Kicker Rock, beach time, lunch, bird watching and photography at Punta Pitt. I believe you end up saving money and time, because instead of booking two separate tours visiting San Cristobal hot spots such as Kicker Rock and Punta Pitt – they are both included on one ticket.
We went with the tour agency Galapagos Ecofishing S.A. which is right on the main avenue, people are charged anywhere from $125-180.
Start bright and early heading out onto the speed boat, if you are prone to seasickness consider taking some medication or skipping a heavy breakfast. Our tour was a small group under 10 people with an excellent guide who spoke perfect English. After a 45 minute ride our first stop was Rosa Blanca. While it was a bit overcast for swimming, the small desolate beach was gorgeous.
We made our way to a lava rock lagoon where we would ‘make a snorkel’ for the first time of the day.
The water was frigid in November due to the Humboldt Current, I was thankful to have a wetsuit. There were many white tip sharks at least five feet long, sleeping right below us. Sea turtles, urchins, and plenty of fish – this was an excellent spot. Afterwards we took a short nature walk along the lava rock and had an up close encounter with a blue footed booby.
Hopping back into the boat we made our way to Punta Pitt – there is another day trip to this location where you can get out and hike, but here we just looked from the boat.
Initially I was upset we wouldn’t get to hike at this area, but I was completely won over on account of all the bird activity we could see without heading to shore. This is the only place on the archipelago where all three boobies that live in the Galapagos can be found together: the blue footed, red footed, and nazca. I was so excited to encounter the red footed booby for the first time, they nest in trees and frequent this area.
The nazca boobies, along with a storm petrols, and lava gulls.
Tropical birds elegantly soared across the sky with their long tails trailing.
Plenty of sea lions, this area is such a wildlife hot spot. Nearby is a gorgeous green sand beach, though we did not stop to take a dip there.
A window sea arch gives a glimpse of what’s to come.
Don’t forget to turn around as you’re leaving Punta Pitt, to catch quite a spectacular vista.
Next we anchored outside of quiet Sardine Bay and had a delicious fresh tuna lunch with rice and salad served on the boat. We made a wet landing and had this amazing place all to ourselves.
You have the option to snorkel , but with the sun out I was more than happy to simply bask and watch the birds fly by and take a invigorating dip – saving my energy for the final stop. Last up is Kicker Rock, known more commonly to locals as Leon Dormido (sleeping lion). This formation is made up of volcanic ash and stands 500’ tall.
The boat drops you off on one side of the passage way and your snorkel through while it swings around to pick you up on the other side. The water is over 80’ deep and below we saw the endemic Galapagos sharks, a myriad of fish, and sea turtles. No hammerheads on this day, though they frequent the waters in the area. When you arrive through the passage, there is more time to snorkel. If you hang close to the wall of the formation you are in for an incredible treat.
The water is so clear you can truly see how deep it is. A rainbow of growth is attached to the wall, purple, yellow, green, grey like nothing I’d ever seen before. After an hour of snorkeling head back to the boat to continue the loop around the island and return to the main town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Our trip truly encompassed the epic sights of San Cristobal and made me a supporter of the 360 Tour.