"The Galapagos Islands provide a window on time. In a geologic sense, the islands are young,
yet they appear ancient"
GALAPAGOS ISLAND HOPPING 9D/8N
SAN CRISTOBAL-SANTA FE- SANTA CRUZ-ISABELA
DAY 1: ARRIVAL TO QUITO
UNESCO World Heritage city, capital of Ecuador. Upon arrival in Quito, you will be transferred to your hotel. Most international flights to Ecuador arrive late at night. Overnight hotel at Garden Hotel San Jose or similar w/breakfast.
DAY 2: SAN CRISTOBAL
Located in the Pacific Ocean some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador , this archipelago and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique “living museum” and showcase of evolution. This “living laboratory” of evolution inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and continues to offer a unique opportunity to explore a pristine natural ecosystem.
Early transfer to the International airport of Quito from where we’ll embark on a 1 hour and 45 minute flight to San Cristobal Island (Chatham).
In the afternoon you’ll check into your hotel and meet with our Galapagos naturalist guide. After lunch you'll visit the Interpretation Center where you’ll have an introduction to the Galapagos Islands, flora and fauna, as well the human history of the islands. Then a short walk to Tijeretas Hill, a spectacular view point. A trail leading off from the Interpretation Center heads up Frigate-bird Hill. Here it is possible to see magnificent frigate birds and great frigate birds in the same colony. This is the perfect place to compare and learn to distinguish them.
One of the trails will lead you to a calm water inlet, a perfect place for snorkeling where you may have an amazing encounter with sea turtles, sea lions and many species of tropical fish.
INCLUDED: Transfer out Quito, and Transfer in at the Galapagos, Galapagos certified naturalist guide, all excursions and activities, lunch, lodging Opuntia Hotel or similar w/breakfast.
DAY 3: KICKER ROCKS BOAT TRIP AND SNORKELING DAY
After breakfast you will join a group and visit Kicker Rock. This formation is what remains of a volcanic cone that has been eroded by the sea. Above the water, the monolithic rock formation towers over 500 feet above the Pacific Ocean and is home to a number of Tropicbirds, Blue-footed Boobies and Frigatebirds. However, the true appeal of this location lies below the surface of the sea.
The natural erosion of this ancient cone has created a channel between the rocks that provides the ideal habitat to view a variety of sharks and rays including Spotted Eagle Rays, White-tip Reef sharks, sea turtles, the elusive Galapagos Shark and Hammerheads! This will be a truly unforgettable experience. Because it is not permitted to moor at Kicker Rock, a lunch stop and swim at a nearby beach is included.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, all excursions and activities, snorkeling gear, lunch, lodging Opuntia Hotel or similar w/breakfast.
DAY 4: TRANSFER TO SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, HIGHLANDS - LAVA TUNNELS OR TORTUGA BAY
After breakfast you'll be transferred by the public speedboat for approximately 2 1/2 hours from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz (Indefatigable island).
Highlands and lava tunnels option: Upon arrival to Puerto Ayora, the largest town of the Islands, our guide will greet you at the main passenger dock and later you’ll check in at our hotel.
Santa Cruz is the only island having a road that crosses its interior running from Puerto Ayora in the south to the Itabaca Channel crossing in the north, thus providing the opportunity to see the interior and higher elevations of this marvelous island. You will have a guided tour to the highlands where we’ll be delighted by the island’s variety of life zones and geology and see giant tortoises in their natural state!
Then we’ll visit a giant lava tunnel: underground tunnels dug by hot lava twist that turn and intertwine providing an exciting opportunity to view the immense effect of volcanic activity.
Tortuga Bay option: A 45 minute walk through an amazing trail leading us to Tortuga Bay, considered by the majority of visitors one of the most beautiful beaches in Galapagos.
Here you can snorkel in the beautiful calm water inlet that reveals the full richness of the Galapagos marine life. You can see colorful reef fish, white-tip sharks, rays and sea turtles. We’ll also take time to walk through the marine iguana sanctuary where you might also catch a glimpse of blue-footed boobies, lava herons and frigate birds along the shore.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, transfer to Santa Cruz in public speedboat, all excursions and activities, snorkeling gear, lunch and lodging at Angermeyer Water Front Inn or Similar w/breakfast.
DAY 5 TRANSFER TO ISABELA ISLAND, HUMEDALES AND TORTOISE BREEDING CENTER
Following breakfast you'll will be transfer to Isabela Island after a two hour boat ride you'll reach the largest island of the archipelago, This seahorse-shaped island is 80 miles long and remarkably beautiful; a well-kept secret, it is one of the least visited of the Galapagos Islands.
The timeless fishing village of Villamil still maintains sandy streets where locals and visitors alike walk bare feet. With a population of only 2,000 people, life here is quiet, and within moments of arrival you cannot help but take a deep breath and slip into the relaxed lifestyle. After leaving our bags at our hotel and a delicious lunch we will go to visit the flamingo lagoon and Playa Grande.
With a long, white sand, palm-lined beach and several brackish-water lagoons frequented by flamingos, Black-necked stilts, whimbrels, White-cheeked pintails, and gallinules; Isabela's rich animal, bird, and marine life is beyond compare.
Today you´ll visit the marshlands or "humedales" where elevated walkways lead you over tidal lagoons that include four mangrove species and provide habitat for flamingos and numerous migratory birds including Whimbrel, Short-billed dowitcher, Wilson’s phalarope, Common tern, Blue-winged teal, Black-bellied and Semipalmated plovers, Greater and Lesser yellowlegs to name a few. The wooden walkways lead to the tortoise breeding center and its interesting interpretive displays. The center has been responsible for the breeding and release to the wild of over 2,000 giant tortoises in the past few years alone. From the center, a walk along the beach takes you through town and back to your hotel, or perhaps, pause in town to get a feel for local life.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, transfer to Isabela in public speedboat, all excursions and activities, lunch and lodging at Albemarle Hotel or similar w/breakfast.
DAY 6: CHOOSE 1 OF THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS
OPTION 1 SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO
After a one-hour drive to the Isabela highlands, you gain an entirely new perspective on the Galapagos experience. At the starting point of this day’s walk you immediately notice the difference in vegetation and weather—fostered by the southeast trade winds that bring significant humidity to the southern side of the island. The lowland landscape of prickly pear and the endemic candelabra cactus dominating the coastal areas gives way to more lush and diverse flora including bromeliads and epiphytes. Your path leads to the rim of the Sierra Negra Volcano. The volcano stands at 4,888 feet and last erupted in 2005, subsequently depositing a new outstanding layer of lava.
As you circle the caldera either walking or horseback riding you’ll spot a variety of birds including the rare and endemic Galapagos rail, Galapagos martins, finches, flycatchers as well as the Galapagos hawk.
From the caldera’s rim we’ll continue to "Volcan Chico" to see fumaroles (gas and steam vents in the earth’s crust) and unusual lava formations, a striking visual record of the islands’ geological history. From the highest vantage points, you‘ll enjoy spectacular views of Isabela’s other volcanoes and nearby islands. Along the walk you are introduced to aa and pahoehoe lava; you’ll feel the steam beneath you, and witness new life being created within the most inhospitable of environments. We’ll have our box lunch in a very welcoming resting area at "Jaboncillo".
In the afternoon we will drive back to Puerto Villamil to take a well deserved rest at the hotel or Playa Grande.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, transportation to Volcan Sierra Negra, all excursions and activities, lunch and lodging at Albemarle Hotel or similar w/breakfast.
OPTION 2: LOS TUNELES
Los Tuneles is an area of naturally occurring underwater stone tunnels. The tunnels are the remainder of lava tubes and make the landscape look like something out of a different world.
Getting there takes about an hour by boat from Isabela. Along the way you can see some of the most important nesting sites of the Galapagos green sea turtles.
Going from the open ocean through the breakers into the calm waters of Los Tuneles is an adventure itself. The water at The Tunnels is amazing! It's calm, shallow and clear blue. Here, you will have one of the most remarkable snorkeling experiences and admire a series of arcs and tunnels underneath the water that create the perfect habitat for many Galapagos marine species.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, shared boat transportation, all excursions and activities, lunch, snorkeling gear, lodging at Albemarle Hotel or similar w/breakfast.
DAY 7: TINTORERAS ISLET - TRANSFER TO SANTA CRUZ
After breakfast you´ll join a group to go to Tintoreras (local name for White-tip reef sharks): a series of islets in front of Puerto Villamil. A small boat will transfer us to a small dock in the Tintoreas islet where we’ll begin a short walk. The small bay of completely tranquil turquoise water provides habitat for sea lions, Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, and other species.
The bay is connected to a shallow crevice of crystalline water that is frequented by sharks. The relatively short loop trail is primarily on aa lava. Marine iguanas nest on the islet and sharks can be seen in the crevice where they rest during the day. This is one of the few reliable places to see the unique Galapagos penguins, the only species of penguin living close of the equator in the wild. It can survive due to the cool temperatures resulting from the Humboldt Current and cool waters from great depths brought up by the Cromwell Current. Here you will have the opportunity to experience Galapagos’ marvelous marine diversity through a snorkeling activity.
In the afternoon you´ll be transfer to take a speed boat to Santa Cruz.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, transportation, all excursions and activities, lunch, snorkeling gear, lodging at Angermeyer Water Front Inn or Similar w/breakfast.
DAY 8: SANTA FE ISLAND
Today you'll meet with Fabian, a local entrepreneur and former fisherman, who is part of an initiative from the Galapagos National Park to encourage the local community to get involved in more sustainable practices. You'll embark on Fabian's boat Lancha Sebastian with your local Galapagos Naturalist to an extraordinary journey to
Santa Fe Island, which offers one of the most beautiful and sheltered coves in the archipelago. Its turquoise water is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations and snorkel in a inlet bay with a colony of sea lions.
After a delicious lunch onboard you'll have a wet landing on Playa Escondida, a pristine beach where only few local operators have the opportunity to visit.
INCLUDED: Galapagos certified naturalist guide, all excursions and activities, snorkeling gear, lunch, lodging at Angermeyer Water Front Inn or Similar w/breakfast.
DAY 9: SANTA CRUZ- BALTRA- QUITO
After breakfast, you'll be transferred to the Itabaca channel. This drive will take approximately 50 minutes. In the way you´ll make a short stop at the Twins: two collapsed lava craters on each side of the road, surrounded by Scalesia forest-a tree species endemic to the Galapagos.
Upon arrival to the Itabaca Chanel you'll take a short 10 minute ride on a ferry to Baltra, followed by a 5 minute bus drive to the the airport to take your flight back to Quito.
INCLUDED: Breakfast, road transportation to Itabaca Chanel and transfers.
This is a sample itinerary subject to change due to weather conditions, safety, National Park regulations and particular interests of guests. Changes and additions are made in order to maximize your experience, wilderness enjoyment and cultural interaction with local people.
The price listed below is based on the accommodations listed in the itinerary which can be upgraded or modified according to your preferences.
PRICE PER PERSON:
Accommodations in double or triple occupancy with private bathroom: USD$ 3980
-Single traveler Supplement: Add USD $ 810
- All Breakfast and Lunch listed in the itinerary with soft drink and purified water
-All boat transportation
-All transfers In-Out
-All excursions and activities listed in itinerary
-Service of a certified Galapagos naturalist bilingual guide
-Entry Tax to Isabela Island
-Air tickets Quito-Galápagos- Quito
-USD $20 Transit control card for Galapagos (must be purchased and filled directly at the airport)
-USD $100 Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park must be paid directly upon your arrival at the Galapagos National Park airport control.
-Any other item not specified
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES AND DAY(S):
Optional full day boat trips to other Islands: Española, Bartolomé, La Pinta, South Plaza, and North Seymour or other destinations are available upon request and availability.
PLEASE ASK FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES AND DESTINATIONS IN GALAPAGOS OR TO EXTEND YOUR TRIP IN MAINLAND ECUADOR.
Local authorities manage the quarantine system of the Galapagos National Park in order to reduce the possibility of foreign species invading the archipelago. All cargo and luggage that arrives to Galapagos National Park or that is transferred from one island to another must be inspected. All aircrafts are disinfected with Permethrin before landing. To preserve human health and the native species of the Galapagos Islands, the following products may not be transferred to Galapagos: fresh vegetables and fruits, animal products and or their derivatives, dairy products, other live animals, pathological samples, dry coffee beans, genetically modified organisms, forest species or their disseminative parts, grass and its disseminative parts, fresh flowers, medicinal plants and their disseminative parts, banana tree leaves, micro-organisms (fungi, bacteria, etc.) soil and sand, and animal vaccines.