9 Days - Land+Sea, The Galapagos
Arrival in Quito
Upon arrival, we will be met at the airport and transferred to the selected hotel, typically the Hotel Patio Andaluz.
Quito - Baltra Island - Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island
Transfer to the Quito airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Upon arrival, meet your transfer and the journey begins, first with a look at the highland Galapagos tortoises.
At mid-day we enjoy a tasty specially prepared lunch en route to the town of Puerto Ayora where our public speed boat will be waiting to take us on a two-hour ride to the Isabela Island. Once arriving in Isabela, we'll explore the breeding center where the Islands’ giant tortoise population is presently recovering. Expert guides will explain the process of breeding and then releasing into the wild. Overnight at Isamar Hotel.
Volcanic eruptions created all of the islands in the Galapagos, and you will get to see this geologic process first-hand as we explore Isabela, one of the youngest and most volcanically active islands of the archipelago.
We have the whole day to explore the Isabela highlands, and we start by hiking up to the crater of the massive Sierra Negra volcano, and then onward to the rim of the Volcan Chico. This fascinating walk usually begins with some morning fog and drizzle which sometimes persists in the shadow of the volcano, adding to its mysterious character. Despite the drizzle, we might see Galapagos hawks, finches, flycatchers and short-eared owls en route.
When we reach the rim of the Sierra Negra crater, the second largest crater in the world after the Ngorongoro in Tanzania, we will see the real reward for our efforts. The crater is so large, and the views so expansive, photos can’t do it justice, but bring your binoculars and camera anyway!
Later, as we head towards Volcan Chico, we may get the feeling we are walking on Mars due to the alien landscape. While it appears to be utterly desolate, a closer look reveals small lizards scurrying among the rocks. From its rim, we will enjoy more amazing views along with lava tubes and fumaroles.
After Volcan Chico and its extreme landscape, we will relax under the shade of a lovely “jaboncillo” tree to enjoy your box lunch while taking in the spectacular and expansive views over the central and northern parts of Isabela Island. In the distance, we will be able to see Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. We then head back down to complete our day of hiking (16 km in total) and relax on the beaches of Puerto Villamil. Overnight at Isamar Hotel.
Today we’ll take a tour of the small islands of Tintoreras, a Galapagos in miniature. Here we can see white tipped sharks at rest, sea lions, turtles, rays and penguins. We’ll also have the chance to snorkel in the bay.
We hike the Wetlands Trail where we can see marine iguana colonies and a number of different types of mangroves trees (all four can be seen here) as well as enjoying the network of trails, beaches and historic sites. At the end of the trail is the Wall of Tears, built in the late 1940’s by Second World War prisoners held at the US base on the islands. Our guide will explain the importance of the Wall of Tears, giving us a glimpse into the lives of the island’s previous inhabitants. On this network of trails you will catch some beautiful views of the village below and we will have the chance to see birds and, with luck, wild giant tortoises.
We stop at the local swimming hole where you can take a refreshing dip. When we get back to town, there will be time to relax and enjoy some swimming or snorkeling in our Galapagos paradise or, if you prefer, to just sit on the beach and relax. Overnight at Isamar Hotel.
The day starts with a visit to Roca Unión, a small island full of life, where we’ll snorkel amid clouds of brightly-colored fish and watch sea lions and blue footed boobies from the surface. At Turtle Cove, a secret spot used by fishermen, that today is considered one of the island’s major attractions, there are plenty of opportunities to snorkel through a maze of small islands and arches (and for the experts, tunnels!) in the company of fish, sea turtles and the occasional white tipped shark and rays. There are more opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles at Finado, and from our boat out on the open water, the chance to watch sea turtles and manta rays against a background of varied coastal beaches and rocky shores where sea turtles nest. Overnight at Isamar Hotel.
Isabela Island - Santa Cruz Island
Today we say goodbye to Isabela very early via speed boat towards Puerto Ayora. We visit Cerro Mesa viewpoint from where we can admire the whole southern shore of Santa Cruz. Continue towards one of the iconic formations in Galapagos resembling a crater, from where we will start a hike downhill for about 30 minutes to the bottom of this collapsed crater. Explore the area, recover energies and start the hike uphill for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Excellent opportunities to find endemic species such as the Wood-pecker Finch and being very lucky giant tortoises. We then walk for about 500 mts (~0.3 mile) on flat and easy terrain through a deciduous forest until we reach El Garrapatero beach. Kayaking takes place from the beach along the bay for about 45 minutes. We can then make a short walk to the brackish lagoon where we have high possibilities to find pink flamingos. Overnight at the Fich Bay Eco Hotel.
We embark our motor yacht and enjoy our daily excursion with welcoming crew members and knowledgeable naturalist guides, and experience the remote islands in comfort and style. Our daily excursions will take you to experience the Galapagos Islands in a safe and comfortable manner.
Today after breakfast we will head back to Itabaca Channel to continue our National Park and Marine Reserve exploration. Our yacht will deliver us to Bartolome Island, which offers one of the most dramatic views in the Galapagos Islands. A 600 – meter pathway takes visitors to the highest point of the island, where you will learn from our expert naturalist guide about the volcanic origins of the Galapagos. After the walk, a dingy ride along the coastline will give you the opportunity to see the Galapagos penguin. This curious bird nests amongst fissured lava flows and ventures into the crystal-clear waters of Bartolome. Overnight at the Fich Bay Eco Hotel.
Santa Fe Island
Santa Fé offers a beautiful bay where the yacht anchors and where the visit of the island begins. You will disembark on a small sandy beach where you will see a colony of sea lions and the possibility of seeing the Galapagos hawk. Following the trail, the endemic species of land iguanas from the island of Santa Fé wait beneath the large opuntia cactus to eat its fallen pads or flowers. After the visit on land you will be taken to enjoy snorkeling in the clear waters of the anchoring site. You will see a variety of tropical fish and even sea lions underwater. Overnight at the Fich Bay Eco Hotel.
Santa Cruz Island - Baltra Island
Los Gemelos (the twins) on Santa Cruz Island are two large craters that were once underground magma chambers. When the magma chambers caved in they left two huge impressive looking craters. Transfer to Baltra airport.
Meals as detailed
English speaking guide
Transfers & ground transportation as detailed
Boat excursions with snorkeling on a sharing basis
Speed boat transfer on a sharing basis
Kayak, SUP and snorkeling equipment
Activities and visits detailed in the itinerary
Flights to/from Galapagos
Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US $100 per adult/$50 per child under 12)
tourist transit card (US $20 per person)
Insurance (prior to your journey please ensure your travel insurance is valid in your country of origin)