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
$2,499 to $3,299
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.
Galapagos Hotel Katarma
Enjoy breakfast at the lodge, then explore La Loberia, a beach of coral tinted sands and sea lion-laden sands, that's also a great place to see large marine iguanas, lava lizards, yellow warblers and frigates, any many species of finches, among other fascinating creatures.
During your walk, you will find button mangrove, white mangrove, chala, palo santo, cotton, Tiquillia, morning glory and other species of the littoral zone of the cacho de chivo, whose seed is the main source of food for several species of finches.
Hike to Las Negritas cliffs, an area of black rocks, where Marine Iguanas are abundant and you will enjoy chances to see a seabird breeding colony including red-billed tropicbirds and Galapagos swallow-tailed gulls. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then depart for Santa Cruz by public boat. After checking into the lodge, enjoy the afternoon at your leisure.
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge
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.
Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge
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.
Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge
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.
Following your navigation to Santa Cruz Island (2 hours, sea condition dependent), enjoy a guided tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge
Transfer to the Baltra airport and return to mainland Ecuador.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips 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; inter-island transportation; use of bikes where available; snorkeling gear; 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, subject 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).