This package includes trips on land, sea and plenty of opportunities for snorkeling. The tours take place by speed boat from the ports and yachts for up to 16 passengers to access the inhabited islands.
Some of the species that can be seen during this trip are Frigates, Blue-footed Boobies, marine and land Iguanas, Galapagos Penguins, tropical birds, various types of Darwin Woodpeckers, Sea Lions, Sea Turtles and Tortoises amongst other species, all within the unique landscapes of the Galapagos.
DAY 1 Direct Flight to San Cristobal – Transfer IN and visit to the Interpretation Center and Tijeretas
Your flight departures from Quito or Guayaquil for Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on the island of San Cristobal. You are expected by your tour guide who will take you to the hotel, only a few minutes away from the airport. After a short rest you will visit the interpretation Center, where you can learn about the origin of the Galapagos Islands, as well as the human history on the Archipelago. This project is financed by the Spanish Development Aid Agency and the Charles Darwin Station with the aim of teaching visitors the fascinating world you are about to discover in the next few days. The trip continues to the Tijeretas, a name also given to frigate birds by the local population and to this place due to the large amount of these birds in the area. The walk takes about two hours, during which you will see beautiful landscapes until you reach a lookout with a monument of Charles Darwin. The highlight of this walk is seeing the two species of frigate birds (common and royal) nesting in the same spot.
Accommodation Hotel Miconia (or similar)
DAY 2(San Cristobal) Visit to the Galapaguera and El Junco
The trip starts in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno from where you are taken by land to the area of the Cerro Colorado (Colored Hill). Here you will find a dry forest of approximately 12 hectare, chosen to serve as home to a very important colony of tortoises that live in a semi-natural state. These giant tortoises were tamed by the presence of humans, especially during times of the Hacienda el Progreso. Nevertheless, during the 70s and 80s these tortoises were included into a rescue program sponsored by the National Park. Part of the attractions to this place is the history of the place and the special natural habitat. The tour continues to the lagoon of El Junco, which is located at 687 meters above sea level and has been named after an endemic plant (Elocharis Mutataes) with the same name found in this area. The lagoon is located in a small crater and is the only sweet water lagoon to be found on the whole archipelago. This place is ideal for spotting finches, Galapagos petrels, royal frigate birds and canary birds. You will also see some farms dedicated to agriculture along the way, one of the most important income sources for the local community.
Accomodation Hotel Miconia
DAY 3(San Cristobal) Visit Sea Lion Island/Ochoa Beach
The trip starts by boat, leaving from the dock of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. You will be on board for around 45 minutes. After a dry landing you will enjoy a walk of about an hour to Sea Lion Island. During your walk you can spot blue footed boobies, common frigate birds nesting in the area and sea lion colonies enjoying the sun on the shores. The landscape is an attraction of its own, composed of dry vegetation, volcanic rocks and golden sand. If you enjoy snorkeling, you will have the chance to see many colored fish, rays, turtles and young playful sea lions during this activity.
After a snack (box lunch) the tour continues to Ochoa Beach, which is located on the north side of San Cristobal. After a 20 minute trip, you will be welcomed by large sea lion colonies. You will also see a very particular vegetative species of the islands: The Matazarno (Piscidia carthagenensis) which is known for its strong wood and was originally used for construction. Last but not least you will have some more time for snorkeling.
DAY 4 (Santa Cruz) Visit to the Highlands and Tortuga Bay
The trip from San Cristobal starts at 6h00 by speedboat to Santa Cruz. After a 2 hours trip you will reach Puerto Ayora, where your tour guide will be expecting you to take you to your hotel. The tour starts only a few minutes later taking you to the highlands of the island. Here you will see go¡iant tortoises (Geochelone Porteri) in their natural habitat. These tortoises are also known as Galapagos Tortoises, as the first inhabitants of the islands named them after a horse saddle very similar to the shape of the shell of these animals and called galapago. At about 870 meters above sea level many private properties expand on these lands. They are dedicated to agricultural activities and conservation of these impressive reptiles. The tortoises can live hundreds of years and the colony in this area is known to be the second largest of the whole archipelago. The tour ends with an exciting walk through the lava tunnels, which were formed due to a quick cooling of the surface of lava streams during one of the past eruptions.
Back in Puerto Ayora an exquisite lunch will be waiting for you in the hotel. In the afternoon your tour continues to Tortuga Bay, a walk of one hour. Along the way you will spot several types of finches and a particular flora to this area, including giant cactus as the protagonist of this landscape. The guide will take you to the “Calm Beach” where you will have time to enjoy some time before returning to the hotel.
DAY 5Visit to Floreana
You will be picked at 7h00 in the morning and take a speedboat to Floreana on the dock of Puerto Ayora. The trip will take about 2 hours until you reach a small village called Puerto Velasco Ibarra.
Floreana is famous for its mystery stories evolving around its first inhabitants, Doctor Ritter and Dora Strauch and the Wittmer family. One of the spots to visit is the “Cave of the Pirates” which is located near a fresh water fountain and served as only source of fresh water for the families that lived there and was called the Asylum of Peace by the Wittmers. The incredible stories of these inhabitants come to life during your trip, which is also the perfect opportunity to spot birds, such as the medium tree finch, endemic to this island, the vermilion flycatcher and the Maria canary bird. Once you arrive in town, you will visit the breeding center for Galapagos Tortoises and will have lunch in a small restaurant nearby. In the afternoon you will be taken to the “Lobería” to see colonies of sea lions and to do some snorkeling in one of the best places for this activity.
DAY 6Visit to Bartolome/Seymour/Pazas South or Santa Fe (subject to availability)
During the trip, you may be accompanied by schools of dolphins jumping alongside the yacht. On arrival at the island, disembarkation from the boat is dry. You will take a short walk and climb the steps leading up to the famous Roca del Pináculo viewpoint (Pinnacle Rock), one of the most iconic views of the Galapagos. As you climb the steps, you will gradually become immersed in the fantastic volcanic landscape where dozens of red stone craters are spread over the island giving the appearance of a moonscape.
In the afternoon, after lunch on board the boat, with a bit of luck you will be able to observe the small colonies of Galapagos Penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus) that nest in the area. You will then have the opportunity to snorkel with the Penguins as well as Sea Turtles and Starfish. The island has two beaches which are connected by dunes and are popular with nesting Sea Turtles. The beaches provide the perfect location for observing Tiger Sharks.
You will be picked up from the hotel at 08h00 and taken to the channel of Itabaca, where the staff of your boat will be waiting for you. The trip will take around one hour and close to your arrival you will be able to spot grey shapes from the Bursera Graveolens trees, that almost never carry any leaves. Seymour was created many million years ago due to the elevation of tectonic plates and the island has a flat shape with many small cliffs that serve as home for the local seabirds. Swallow-tailed gulls and frigate birds overfly the island, frigate males showing their big red throat pouches to find their mate. Meanwhile along the path, many blue footed boobies will be nesting or executing their mating ritual in which they dance and whistle in a very unique way. It is also common to see these birds flying near the coasts looking for food and dive into the water at high speed, a stunt that they are only able to perform due to a special waterproof protection on their wings. Seymour is probably the island which best resumes the known Galapagos species, as you will also be able to see sea lions, sea and land iguanas, pelicans, royal frigate birds and many others.
You will be picked up at 08h00 and be taken to the Channel of itabaca where the staff of your boat will be expecting you. The trip will take around 90 minutes until you arrive at the dock of Plazas South, a small island of only 13 hectare, but with such a big diversity in fauna and flora that it is known as one of the favorite places for visitors. The landing will be made in between Plazas South and North, second of which is not allowed visitors and only used for scientific purpose. You will be greeted by turquoise water that contrasts perfectly with the black color of the volcanic rocks of the islands. Big colonies of sea lions lie on the shores, their males always aware of any intruder. Impressive opuntias grow near the coast and a big carpet of sea-purslanes covers almost the whole island and turns it red during the dry season. In between land and sea iguanas will be resting and taking a sun bath. The cohabitation of these two species has created a hybrid species that can be seen on Plazas South. Additionally, the island is perfect for spotting sea birds, such as masked boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls and frigate birds.
This tour leaves at 8h00 and you might board the boat in Puerto Ayora or the Channel of Itabaca, depending on the yacht you will be taking that day. The trip to Santa Fe takes about 2 hours. This island is the home to several land iguana species, as well as one endemic type of this specie, the Conolophus Pallidus, that only inhabits Santa Fe and has a pale yellow color and is of a bigger size than other land iguanas. You can also find four different types of endemic rodents, but being night active, they will probably not show themselves during the tour. Nevertheless, they are of great importance for the proper function of the food chain. Several studies talk about Santa Fe as one of the oldest islands of the archipel, being over 3 million years old. The turquoise water around the island is perfect for snorkeling and known as one of the best spots for this activity with a high probability of seeing sea turtles, sea lions, tropical fish and squids.
Tortuga Bay Parte y Alta Santa Cruz
DAY 7(Santa Cruz) Visit to the Charles Darwin Station and (Isabela) trip to Puerto Villamil by speedboat
At 9h00 your guide picks you up at the hotel and take you to the Scientific Station Charles Darwin, home to the famous and centenary tortoise Lonesome George, native to the island Pinta and deceased in 2012. The Station has its own interpretation center that tells you the story of the origin of the islands. The station also shows its conservation programs for different species of the archipelago.
This scientific program is financed by international doners and focusses on studies of different species, as well as community projects. After this visit you will enjoy your lunch at Hotel Silberstein.
The trip from Puerto Ayora to Puerto Villamil on the island Isabela starts in the afternoon at around 14h00. Your trip takes about 2 hours after which you will be taken by an aquataxi to the dock, where your new tour guide will take you to the hotel.
DAY 8(Isabela) Visit to the Volcano Sierra Negra
The tour starts at 8h00 when you will be taken by land to the starting point of the path that will lead you to the volcano Sierra Negra. The walk will start at the control point of the National Park, called “El Cura” (The Priest) and will take around 6 hours in total. The crater of the volcano is the second biggest in the world with a diameter of around 10km. during the walk you will also visit the area known as the “volcán chico” (small volcano), which is a crack from the big crater and whose last explosion was registered in 1979. The astonishing landscape in this area is a combination of the natural vegetation of the highlands of Galapagos and lava formations of different shapes and color.
DIA 9 Isla Isabela
Your tour will start at the dock of Puerto Villamil and will take you by boat to the tunnels. We suggest to take this tour during the months of January and May, as the sea conditions are better during this season.
The tunnels offer a unique landscape of volcanic rocks shapes like arches. Only small boats can sail through these tunnels and it is a perfect place for snorkeling with many reef fishes, playful sea lions, rays, sea turtles and other marine species of Galapagos. On the surface you will occasionally be able to spot penguins and a large variety of sea birds. The tour will take you around 6 hours in total.
The tours starts on the dock of Puerto Villamil where a boat will take you to the Tintoreras. This place is a small island where you will occasionally spot sharks that bear the same name (Triaenodon Obesus). You will see a large colony of sea lions, as well as sea iguanas during this tour.
In the afternoon the tour continues to the Wall of Tears, a wall built by prisoners held captive on this island until 1954. On your way back your last stop will be the Flamingo Puddle.
DIA 10Isabela / Santa cruz / Baltra
A staff member from the hotel will take you to the airport to take a small plane to Baltra, where you will take your connecting flight to the mainland of Ecuador.
A staff member from the hotel will take you to the dock of Puerto Villamil, where you will be boarding a speedboat to Santa Cruz. This boat leaves at 6h00 and takes about 2 hours to reach Puerto Ayora. Once arriving on the main dock, another staff member will take you to Baltra to take your connecting flight to the mainland of Ecuador. We recommend to book the last flight in case of delays during your transfer.
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