Best of Galapagos Adventure

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Best of Galapagos Adventure Best of Galapagos Adventure
7 Days from $2,854 p/p in USD Departures: Year Round
 

Discover the enchanted Galapagos Islands on this island-hopping adventure. Snorkel through lava formations with sea turtles, penguins, sea horses, sea lions and sharks; hike to the top of Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island and admire the surrounding moon-like landscapes. With endless opportunities to explore its unique abundance of flora and fauna, the islands are one of the few places on earth that allows such intimate contact with wildlife. The tour also provides many benefits to local communities and is socially and environmentally responsible. Be part of an educational and inspirational journey of a lifetime in one of the most fiercely protected marine wilderness areas in the world.

 

Overview

  • Country:
    Ecuador
  • You will visit:
    Galapagos Islands National Park, Isabela Island, Sierra Negra, Tintoreras, Santa Cruz Highlands
  • Tour type:
    small group
  • Safari standard:
    luxury
  • Wildlife:
    Sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, fish, white-tipped reef sharks, penguins, giant tortoise, marine iguanas, rich birdlife and much more
  • Viewing by:
    Boat, snorkelling, swimming, kayaking, hiking
  • Getting around:
    Internal flights, transfer vehicle, boat
  • Arrive/Depart:
    Start/end in Quito

Trip Highlights 

  • Snorkel with Sea Lions: sea lions are a common sight in the Galapagos, be they flopped out on a sandy shore or darting through the ocean with their rubberized twists and turns. Even on a short trip to the Galapagos, you should see their muzzles popping up near your boat or better still, be able to wander among their beached forms, especially on Santa Cruz, Isabela and Espanola.
  • Isabela Island: this is the largest island of the Galapagos, about 50% of the whole archipelago. It is also one of the youngest and has the most incredible wildlife easily seen while walking along the beach, snorkelling or kayaking, or just while sitting and having a drink outside your hotel.
  • Lava Tunnels: Los Tuneles is an area of naturally occurring underwater stone tunnels, the remainder of lava tubes, which make the landscape look like something out of a different world. While snorkelling here you can spot some of the archipelago's best wildlife.
  • Staying on the islands: a wonderful experience to spend time learning about the local people, have the chance to see how the fishermen arrive with fresh seafood and experience the local gastronomy while having a delicious dinner at family-run restaurants, as well as staying in beautiful hotels and practicing sustainable travel.
  • Charles Darwin Research Station: enjoy an educational walk while seeing many different species of tortoises, as well as learning about Charles Darwin and gaining a better understanding of his theory of evolution.
  • Giant Tortoises: this is the most representative animal of the Galapagos Islands. These tortoises can weigh as much as 417 kg (919 lb) and can grow to be 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) long. These amazing land-dwelling reptiles originally made their way to islands from the mainland. On this trip you will have the opportunity to be really close to these creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Sierra Negra Volcano: this is a large shield volcano at the southeastern end of Isabela Island that rises to an altitude of 1,124m. It is one of the most active of the Galapagos volcanoes, the most recent historic eruption was in October 2005.

Trip Info

  • Difficulty level: Moderate to challenging - the hiking in Sierra Negra is moderate but long and muddy during the wet season (from July to November); snorkeling is easy
  • Activities: Wildlife, hiking, kayaking, snorkelling, swimming
  • Kayaking time: 1-2 hours
  • Snorkelling time: Tintoreras 1 hour, Lava Tunnels 2 x 1 hour 
  • Hiking time: Sierra Negra 30 minutes easy uphill, 1.5 hours on flat terrain, 30 minutes downhill, 2 hours same way back
  • Season: Year round
  • Altitude: From sea level (most activities) to 1,200m (3,937 ft) at Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Service level: Comfort - 4 Star Hotels
  • Minimum age: 12 years
  • Group size: Maximum 15, average 12
  • Average temperature: December to May: 80-90ºF / 25-30ºC, June to September: 60-70ºF / 15-20ºC, October to December: 70-80ºF / 15-25ºC
  • Water temperature: The waters of the Galapagos Islands are a unique mixture of warm and cold water, ranging between 65ºF and 85ºF
  • Trip leaders and guides: They are highly experienced, licensed to operate in Ecuador and certified as Wilderness Adventure First Aid responders. We always carry a complete first aid kit on our trips. In some locations and for some activities, local guides join the trip leaders to provide an added service. In the Galapagos Islands, minimum 4 participants for the AJ trip leader service are required.
  • Sustainable eco-tourism: Clients receive interpretation and education about the ecology and conservation of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands, and learn about the factors that threaten it. We aim to promote long-term conservation of both local people's cultural identity and the environment. We transport out and recycle all non-organic garbage and we prefer to work with local suppliers. Your visit will encourage the local communities to support responsible eco-tourism as a sustainable alternative for their living.
  • Health: Yellow fever, hepatitis B vaccination and malaria medication are mandatory for this trip. We strongly recommend you ensure that routine immunisations such as tetanus and diphtheria are up to date and to consider hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations. Please ask your doctor for advice.
  • All prices are based on double-occupancy. If you are travelling solo, you will be matched with another participant of your same sex. If you prefer to have a single room, this can be arranged prior to your departure at an extra cost.

Day by Day

Day 1: Arrival in Quito City

Welcome to Quito! The largest, best-preserved colonial city of America was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire. Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. Adventure Journeys can help you to organize a day trip, please request in advance. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel’s lobby for a welcome briefing at 18:00 hours, and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an informative and acclimatisation day.

Accommodation: Mercure Alameda or simila

Day 2: Travel Day to Galapagos - Isabela Island

Today we get ready to explore the most amazing archipelago on the Pacific coast and the place where Charles Darwin based his theory of the evolution of species. The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador so to get there we have to travel by air, road and sea. We board a morning flight from Quito to the island of Baltra. On arrival we head to the town of Puerto Ayora, the biggest town in Galapagos. From here we take a fast boat to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago and the place where the most volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. The island is formed by six shield volcanoes, Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf, five of which are still active, making the island is one of the most volcanically active places on earth. During our island crossing, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October). 

Flying time: 3 hours (including the stop at Guayaquil city on the way to Baltra airport)
Speedboat time from Santa Cruz to Isabela: 2 hours (if you normally get seasick it's very important to take medication before getting on the boat)
What to wear today: Light trousers, t-shirt, fleece top, trainers, hat, sun cream

Accommodation: Cormorant Beach house or similar  Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Isabela Island - Snorkel in lava tunnels

Today we explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the Volcanic Island along the seashore. This magical place has been used by the BBC and National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches inside the breakers with crystal clear water full of huge sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, fish, white-tipped reef sharks and more. Turtles navigate their own highway from the mangroves to the open sea through "Los Tuneles". Here we will have the best snorkelling opportunity with this incredible wildlife including the curious Galapagos penguin playing around. Before or after the trip, you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkelling at "Concha de Perla", taking surfing lessons, biking or just relax on the exotic white sand beaches of Isabela Island. We recommend you take time to visit the giant tortoise breeding center located walking distance from the hotel. 

Boat ride to the Lava Tunnels time: 1 hour each way
Snorkelling time: 2 x 1 hour 
What to wear today: shorts, long sleeve t-shirt, sandals or trainers, bathing suit, hat or baseball cap, sun cream, mosquito repellent, buff.

Accommodation: Cormorant House or similar  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 4: Hiking Sierra Negra & kayaking in Tintoreras

After driving up from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead, we prepare our backpacks and hike into a young forest ecosystem, a world of recent geological history, our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra Crater, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005. Take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater, over six miles across at its widest point. If we feel energetic enough, we can continue our hike to Volcan Chico, a secondary crater that has a wild landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations, great examples of the dramatic geological events that have forged the Galapagos Islands over millennia. In the afternoon we will visit Tintoreras Islet, located a short distance from Puerto Villamil and home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, turtles and sea lions. One of its beaches surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully.

Hiking time: 4 hours both ways
Hiking distance: 6 miles (10 miles optional to Volcan Chico)
Hiking elevation gain: 950 feet, 289 meters
Maximum elevation while hiking: 3687 feet, 1124 meters
Kayaking time: 2 hours
Snorkelling time: 1 hour
What to wear today for hiking: shorts, t-shirt, trainers, rain jacket, hat, buff, sun cream, mosquito repellent
What to wear today for kayaking and snorkeling: sandals, shorts, long sleeve t-shirt, bathing suit, hat, sun cream, mosquito repellent

Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar  Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Research Station 

In the morning we embark on a fast boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. During our island crossing we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October). We will have time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about many of the endemic species we meet during our adventures, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands. Lunch is on your own then in the afternoon we head to the 'El Chato' Reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoise, hiking through this beautiful scenery with those lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers and finches on our hike. We can also observe frigate birds which gather to wash the salt off their feathers at a freshwater lake. We return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town, your guide will help you organize a great last dinner on the Islands.

What to wear today: shorts, t-shirt, trainers or sandals, hat, rain jacket (for the boat ride), sun cream

Accommodation: Hotel Silberstein or similar  Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Flight back to Quito

After our final breakfast on the Galapagos Island and the last photos taken of sea lions, we transfer to Baltra airport in time to catch the flight back to the mainland.

What to wear today: trousers, t-shirt, fleece top, trainers, hat

Accommodation: Mercure Alameda or similar  Meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Departure day

Today our trip will end and you will have your international departure. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!

Meals: Breakfast

 

Rates

RATES - PER PERSON USD 


From USD 2,854 per person


Includes

  • Transportation: airport transfers (domestic flights), sea transportation Santa Cruz - Isabela islands round trip, comfortable land transportation
  • Accommodations based on double occupancy: First Class hotel in Quito, 4-star hotels in Galapagos
  • Activities: snorkelling in the Lava Tunnels, trekking to the top of Sierra Negra active volcano, snorkelling and kayaking in Tintoreras, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, hiking in Santa Cruz highlands
  • Meals Included: 6 breakfasts, 2 box lunches
  • Gear: snorkelling mask and fins, life vest
  • Trip Leader: certified EPL expert English-speaking Adventure Naturalist local guides


Excludes

  • My Own Room supplement: USD610
  • Airfare Quito-Galapagos-Quito round trip (estimated budget USD610)
  • International flights
  • Airport transfer (international flights)
  • Travel insurance (mandatory)
  • Meals not described in the itinerary (estimated budget USD180 USD)
  • INGALA transit card: USD20 per person, cash only (subject to change)
  • Galapagos National Park fee: USD100 per person, cash only (subject to change)
  • USD10 pier-use fee at Puerto Villamil
  • Snorkelling gear (mask and fins) for optional activities: USD8 per day per person
  • Wetsuit for rent: USD10
  • Tips

 

 


Disclaimer

  • This itinerary is owned and delivered by 'Adventure Journeys'
  • All prices are 'From' and may vary at the time of booking
  • Display price is usually based on two people sharing
  • 'Adventure Journeys' reserves the right to change the content and price of the itinerary
  • All itineraries are subject to availability

Departures

Available year round - contact us to discuss your dates 

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