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"!