Galapagos Island

Galapagos Island

 Day 01: Start your adventure in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, surrounded by majestic volcanoes. Whether arriving early or later, take time to discover the charming squares, cozy cafes, and colonial buildings. Situated just 22 kilometers from the equator, Quito enjoys a delightful, temperate climate all year round. In the evening, gather with your trip leader and fellow travelers at the hotel for a comprehensive briefing and the first group dinner.

 Day 02: Today, we’ll begin with a brief flight to San Cristobal, the farthest eastern isle of the Galapagos archipelago, housing the provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Following a satisfying lunch, we’ll venture to La Soledad for a scenic bike ride through the verdant cloud forest atop the island. Enjoying panoramic coastal vistas, our journey will lead us to La Loberia, a bustling sea lion colony and nursery along a picturesque beach. To conclude the day, we’ll savor a dinner featuring local delicacies and freshly caught fish at Casa Blanca, Blue Marlin, or a similar establishment on San Cristobal Island. (All meals included) Biking Distance: 14.5 kilometers (9 miles), 2 hours, flat terrain (supported by vehicle)

 Day 03: Embark on a thrilling journey to Kicker Rock near San Cristobal’s shores. Equipped with snorkels and masks (diving option available), we’ll delve into the remnants of an underwater volcano towering 150 meters above the water. Your guide will provide a comprehensive briefing before we explore the volcano’s walls, encountering vibrant marine life like tropical fish, turtles, and sharks. Afterward, enjoy a scenic lunch at a bay before returning to port. Visit the interpretation center to delve into the islands’ history and biology. Opt for an exciting hike to Frigate Hill Lookout to witness local frigate birds in action. Stay at Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin for breakfast and lunch. Choose between 1 or 2 snorkeling sessions or 2 dives at Kicker Rock for an unforgettable adventure.

Day 04: Following an early morning meal, we’ll depart from San Cristobal Island aboard our vessel bound for the enchanting Floreana Island. Ranked as the sixth largest within the Galapagos archipelago, Floreana boasts sparse human settlements, fostering a serene ambiance with merely 120 inhabitants. Along the journey, we often encounter amicable dolphins, so stay alert! Later, we’ll trek into Floreana’s highlands, delving into the enigmatic history of the islands by exploring pirate caves and the remnants of early settlements. Our retreat awaits at the quaint Puerto Velasco Ibarra port, offering a splendid hideaway lodge with breathtaking ocean vistas and memorable sunsets! (Accommodation: Hotel Wittmer or Floreana Island, including all meals). Boat journey duration to Floreana Island: 2-3 hours. Snorkeling time at Floreana Island: 30 minutes. Distance of hike on Floreana Island: 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles), lasting 1-2 hours. Elevation gain: 100 meters (328 feet). Elevation loss: 100 meters (328 feet).

Day 05: This morning, we embark on an adventure to Isabela Island, the largest gem in the Galapagos archipelago. Glide through the serene waters of Isabela Bay on an early morning kayak expedition, encountering the island’s captivating wildlife. Witness marine iguanas sunbathing, blue-footed boobies perched atop rocks, and agile Sally Lightfoot crabs darting along the shoreline. Below the surface, graceful rays and curious turtles grace us with their presence. Following a delightful lunch, explore Tintoreras or Shark Alley on a brief stroll, home to countless marine iguanas. Then, immerse yourself in the tranquil inlet for a snorkeling session, admiring colorful fish and green sea turtles. (Accommodation: Hotel Albemarle or equivalent, Isabela Island. All meals included) Boat journey to Isabela Island: 2-3 hours Kayaking duration: 1 hour Snorkeling at Tintoreras: 40 minutes.

Day 06: Embark on a thrilling journey to the peak of Sierra Negra volcano. Witness the dramatic transformation of vegetation as we ascend through an otherworldly terrain. The hike poses a challenge, yet the panoramic vistas of the expansive crater and coastline make it all worthwhile. Keep an eye out for the diverse birdlife that inhabits this area, including Galapagos hawks and finches. Our adventure continues through the lava fields of Volcan Chico, culminating in breathtaking views from a lookout point. After a rewarding day, return to town for leisure activities like reading or a refreshing swim. Accommodation at Hotel Albemarle or similar, Isabela Island (Breakfast, Lunch). Hiking Distance: 16 kilometers (10 miles), 4-6 hours. Elevation Gain/Loss: 130 meters (426 feet).

Day 07: As our time winds down on Isabela Island, we face a delightful decision for our morning: either leisurely beach exploration or an exciting snorkel excursion to Los Tuneles. Opting for the latter adds an extra dimension of adventure (for an additional fee of US$150). If the allure of encountering sleeping sharks, seahorses, sea turtles, and peculiar lava formations sparks your curiosity, then don your snorkeling gear and prepare for an unforgettable experience at Los Tuneles, also known as Cabo Rosa. This unique area, formed by lava flows meeting the ocean, presents a captivating landscape of tunnels, arches, and secluded bays, ideal for underwater exploration. A boat journey takes us to this natural wonderland, where we’ll marvel at the intricate network of arches and islets sculpted by past volcanic activity. While snorkeling, prepare to encounter an array of marine life, from slumbering reef sharks to vibrant starfish and elusive seahorses. Renowned for its biodiversity, Los Tuneles stands as one of the Galapagos Islands’ premier destinations. After lunch, a brief stroll leads us to a nearby wetland, inhabited by graceful pink flamingos and elegant pintail ducks. Following a mangrove-lined path, we arrive at Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where we’ll have the privilege of meeting these iconic creatures in various stages of development. With nearly a thousand giant tortoises under their care, the center offers a fascinating glimpse into their conservation efforts.

Day 08: Early this morning, we’ll set sail from Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island. There, we’ll embark on a captivating hike through the enchanting cloud forest highlands. Our journey offers a rare opportunity to witness giant tortoises in their natural habitat, alongside fascinating bird species like the vermillion flycatcher. Exploring the lava tunnels etched into the highlands, some stretching nearly a mile long, reveals the geological marvels shaped by molten lava flows. Later in the day, we’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to delve into crucial breeding programs safeguarding tortoises and land iguanas. It’s also a chance to observe various carapace types distinguishing tortoise species. Accommodation at Hotel Solymar or similar awaits us on Santa Cruz Island, where we’ll enjoy meals throughout our stay. The boat journey to Santa Cruz takes approximately 2 hours, and our hike spans 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), offering a leisurely 1-2 hour stroll on flat terrain.

Day 09: This morning, our journey leads us to Los Gemelos, the twin craters on the Island. Formed by the collapse of volcanic roofs due to tectonic shifts and erosion, these sinkholes offer a unique glimpse into geological history. Surrounded by scalesia forests, also known as “broccoli trees,” this area boasts a distinct climate. Here, bromeliads, orchids, mosses, lichens, and various bird species, including the renowned Charles Darwin finches, find their habitat. Later, a brief flight brings us back to Quito on the mainland. Tonight, we gather for our final celebratory dinner in Ecuador.

Day 10: Experience the final day of your unforgettable journey in Tortuga. Let us ensure your return home brimming with tranquility and rejuvenation, having indulged in remarkable adventures, exquisite cuisine, and delightful encounters throughout the Galapagos Islands. Extend your exploration with our ‘Tapir & Tortuga’ itinerary to discover more of mainland Ecuador’s treasures. (Breakfast)

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