- Small Group
- Land Based Adventures
- 16 Capacity
- 8 Days
- Price from
Summary : Experience a truly intimate encounter with the Galapagos. Stay in three lodges on three different islands—San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela—and delight in the abundant, unusual, and surprisingly approachable wildlife—from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed boobies. These spectacular islands offer a wonderful array of activities such as hiking, snorkeling or simply relaxing in the stunning environment.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling
$3,799 to $5,026
Travel from mainland Ecuador to San Cristobal Island. Check in at your hotel, followed by lunch at a local restaurant.
Cerro Tijeretas gets its name from the frigate birds that populate the area; they are also called tijeretas (scissors) due to the unique shape of their tail. This is the only place where you'll have the chance to see two species of frigate birds nesting in the same colony. After a hike of about 3.5 kms, enjoy an impressive view of the bay, and a panoramic vista of the town, a scene that's well worth the hike. Along the hike, trek through dry forest area with cacti, acacia trees and lava lizards. Visit a small lagoon that is perfect for snorkeling in calm waters, with no waves or current, where just below the water's surface fish and other marine life abound.
Following your hike, relax at Playa Mann, a white sand beach. The clear waters allow for snorkeling and swimming. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, a briefing on the upcoming activities, and overnight at your hotel.
Following breakfast at your hotel, cruise to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), one of the most spectacular landmarks in the Galapagos, formed by two volcanic rocks, 40m tall and separated by a narrow channel. Sea lions, nesting frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies are common residents. While snorkeling, you may see schools of colorful tropical fish, an array of sharks, marine turtles, spotted eagle rays, and sea lions. After snorkeling, enjoy some downtime on a white sand beach, with opportunities to swim with sea lions.
Enjoy breakfast at the lodge, then depart for Santa Cruz by public boat. Upon arrival, enjoy lunch at the lodge, followed by an afternoon adventure to Los Gemelos, two enormous collapsed lava chambers, which are a wonderful introduction to the great biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Highlands and the power of the majestic forces of nature that have shaped the Galapagos Islands. The short easy hike is swarming with endemic flora and fauna, including remnants of scalesia forest, draped in liverwort, lichens, and mosses, where you may spot Darwin finches or the short-eared owl.
A short bus ride brings you to Primicias, a private reserve where you can see giant Galapagos tortoises freely roaming and grazing. It can be muddy, so you'll be provided field boots so you can walk among the tortoises—one of the most treasured moments of your trip. After visiting these prehistoric creatures, a short bus ride takes you to the entrance of an illuminated lava tunnel, where you can see stalagmites, stalactites, mineral colored walls, and the rippled floor of this unique lava formation.
After an introduction to the basic technique, you'll be ready to kayak along the shore of Santa Cruz at Canal de Itabaca. Escorted by Zodiac and guided by a certified specialist, enjoy the beautiful scenery—a landscape full of contrasts. Snorkeling will offer the possibility to encounter sea lions, green sea turtles, and countless schools of tropical fish.
Travel to Isabela Island (by public or private boat, dependent on the number of guests). During the two hour navigation, you may see marine life such as whales, dolphins, and manta rays. Upon arrival, relax on the lodge's deck with a welcome drink.
After breakfast at the lodge, depart to Sierra Negra Volcano. Ascend to the humid highlands of Isabela to the slopes of Sierra Negra, considered the oldest of Isabela's volcanoes. Hike to the volcanic caldera for breathtaking views. Four miles across, it's the second largest crater in the world, second only to Ngorongoro in Tanzania. For the more adventurous in the group, you'll have the option to continue on a challenging one hour walk to Volcan Chico, crossing sloping lava fields, where you'll be rewarded with spectacular views.
Enjoy lunch at a local farm, with a meal prepared from locally grown fruits and vegetables. Take a walk and explore the beautiful property that is also home to giant tortoises.
Concha Perla is a short ride from the lodge, where you can walk on a board walk among the mangroves, before reaching a dock to snorkel from in the beautiful lagoon-like bay, sharing it with the sea lions, turtles and tropical fish as you enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery. Follow this with a visit to Muro de Las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears), a unique site built by the prisoners of a penal colony decades ago. The path to the Wall of Tears is abundant in lava lizards—males with stripes, and a females with colorful red throats.
Following breakfast at the lodge, depart to Los Tuneles. Along the way, enjoy the amazing Galapagos wildlife such as giant manta rays, sea turtles, and more. Make a stop at "Roca Union" where you can see masked boobies, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea lions and occasionally fur seals from the boat. Los Tuneles is a breathtaking site formed by labyrinthine lava arches at the waters edge, where you will cruise along the site and try snorkeling (dependent on sea conditions).
Visit the Galapagos National Park Isabela Breeding Station where you will learn about the life cycle of tortoises and how to identify the different species. Hike along a boardwalk as you enjoy the Isabela wetlands, with a high chance to see flamingos and other sea birds. Before returning to the lodge, visit Playa de Amor to feel the magic of this sandy beach surrounded by mangroves.
Board a small craft and head out across the port to explore the bay and Las Tintoreras, slowing to view blue-footed boobies, and possibly Galapagos penguins. Take an intriguing walk through jagged lava fields, passing thriving colonies of nesting marine iguanas and sea lions to reach a small canal of shallow waters, full of resting white-tipped reef sharks. The views from this location will be remembered for a lifetime–black treacherous lava field, emerald green sea, green mangroves, and the cloud capped volcanoes of Isabela create an unforgettable backdrop to the afternoon. Snorkel in the warm, shallow bay, surrounded by mangroves. The white-tipped reef sharks are not aggressive, but merely fascinating.
Transfer to the Baltra airport and return to mainland Ecuador.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Lodge accommodations; all meals; soft drinks during meals; activities and excursions with English speaking Naturalist guide as outlined in the itinerary; wireless Internet service while in Santa Cruz; Internet service at front desk while in Isabela; use of bikes in Puerto Ayora and Isabela; snorkeling gear; diving equipment except dive computers which can be rented separately; service charge.
International airfare; airfare to/from Galapagos; transfers in and out of Galapagos; Galapagos National Park entrance fee, $100 (children under 12 subtract $50); Galapagos Transit Card ($20 per person, sbuject to change); items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc); alcoholic beverages; gratuities; passport and visa expenses; travel insurance; fuel surcharge may apply.
Airfare between Quito/Guayaquil and the Galapagos Islands:
The flights between mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil) and the Galapagos Islands are an additional cost. To secure your seats on often overbooked flights, ExpeditionTrips must reserve these flights for you at the time of booking. Approximate cost (including service fee): $450-$600 per adult; $250-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).