Summary : Experience a truly intimate encounter with the Galapagos on this semi-guided land program. Stay in three lodges on three different islands—Santa Cruz, Floreana, 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. "Darwin's Triangle" offers a wonderful array of activity options such as hiking and snorkeling.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Snorkeling
$2,462 to $3,192
Upon arrival into Puerto Ayora, check into the Aventura Lodge and have lunch. Depart to Garrapatero Beach, a 25 minute ride to the spot where an easy trail leads you to the beach. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for its finches and as a place where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. One of Santa Cruz's most peaceful and tranquil settings, the 3 kilometer stretch of El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds and mockingbirds. You may also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water. Dinner is at the lodge.
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge
Today's adventure begins with a trip to "Los Gemelos" (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers—an awe-inspiring visual reminder of the power of nature. The short, easy hike to each of the twins is teeming with endemic flora and fauna. Also, visit a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep. Then, travel to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20-feet high in most places, this is an incredible opportunity to ramble through the remnants of one of the most powerful forces in nature—lava flows! Stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, mineral-colored walls, and the rippled floor formed from lava can all be experienced in this uniquely Galapagos stroll. Enjoy lunch at the Aventura Lodge.
After lunch, depart to Floreana. Arrive at Floreana Island where you'll visit La Loberia, a very beautiful location to swim, snorkel, or simply relax while watching a colony of sea lions and enjoying the majestic scenery. Check in at Floreana Lodge before attending a barbecue dinner hosted by a local family. At dinner, you can enjoy Galapaguena food, as well as local traditions and culture. Experience the warm hospitality of one of the first families to arrive at the island and learn the mysteries of Floreana from them.
Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge
An open-air bus will transport you to the highlands of Floreana while your guide explains the colorful history of this first-settled island in the Galapagos. Walk up to see the Peace Asylum, an artisan spring that attracted pirates, whalers and later, settlers to Floreana. The Pirate's Cave is where pirates carved temporary shelter out of the soft stone. Bird Hill truly lives up to its name with a multitude of Floreana Finches. Before lunch, set sail for Isabela. Weather and tides permitted, cruise by Isla Tortuga abundant with frigates and blue-footed boobies. Arriving in the port is a visual feast with stunning waters so clear you can see turtles, sea lions and penguins as though looking through glass. Check-in to the Isabela Lodge where you can enjoy lunch.
After lunch, walk through a lava field to observe a small canal full of resting white-tipped reef sharks. The black lava field, the emerald green sea, the forest green mangrove and the cloud capped volcanoes of Isla Isabela is the sort of afternoon backdrop you are not likely to ever forget. Back at the dock, you can snorkel for an opportunity to see white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, penguins and more. Then, you'll have a bit of time to relax before a briefing and dinner at the lodge.
Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge
This morning, 4x4 vehicles will drive you up through the humid highlands to the slopes of Volcan Sierra Negra. Here, you can hike to the caldera of Sierra Negra, the second largest in the world at 4 miles across. The views are breathtaking! Relax a bit and have a snack on the edge of the caldera. More advanced hikers will have the option to walk an especially difficult hour further to Volcan Chico, where fumarole activity is abundant
After returning from Sierra Negra, have lunch at Campo Duro. Campo Duro offers a "tortoise patronage" program. Guests have the opportunity to become patrons to their chosen tortoise at the reserve merely by choosing a tortoise (they're all numbered), naming their tortoise, and then entering a story in the Patrons' Book, such as information on why they chose the name and their contact information. Travel back to the lodge where you will have the rest of the afternoon free to discover Isabela on your own or to go snorkeling, swimming or simply relax. This evening, enjoy dinner at the lodge.
Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge
After breakfast at the Lodge, ride through town while enjoying the simplicity of this traditional island. Visit the Galapagos National Park Isabela Breeding Station to learn about the various Galapagos tortoise species, and witness the process of caring for tortoises – from newborns up to centenary individuals. Hike along a beautiful boardwalk while enjoying part of the Isabela wetlands, with the likelihood to see flamingos and other spectacular birdlife. Before returning to the lodge, visit the well-known Playa del Amor (Love Beach) and enjoy the magical feeling of this mangrove surrounded paradise. Enjoy lunch at the Lodge before departing to Santa Cruz.
Check in at the Santa Cruz Lodge before heading to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station for a guided tour to learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs in the world. Founded in 1964 the Charles Darwin Research Station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, with the unique purpose to study, support and implement the conservation efforts of the islands.
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge
After breakfast, transfer to the Baltra airport for your flights home.
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; 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, USD$100 (children under 12 subtract $50); Galapagos Transit Card ($10 per person); 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-$550 per adult; $250-$325 per child under 12 (copy of passport required).