A fantastic tailor-made premium multi-activity holiday in the Galapagos
A full week of sea kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, and snorkeling in the incomparable beauty of the islands awaits, and you can easily combine this with mainland Ecuador to provide a holiday of great contrast. Focusing on the Central and Southern islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Isabela, you will be able to discover these enchanted islands in a way you never thought possible.
This tailor-made adventure comes alive in a unique way as you sea kayak and snorkel in the marine reserve, or hike and even mountain bike on the highlands. Diving in the world-class marine reserve is optional, but highly recommended. The main highlights will be hiking to the Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela; paddling sea-kayaks in gin-clear waters past penguins or sea lion pups; mountain biking to the top of Santa Cruz in search of giant tortoises; and snorkeling or scuba-diving through huge shoals of tropical fish.
Staying in high quality hotels with daily activities suitable for all levels, this weeklong trip combines the best of the Galapagos – nature, wildlife, history and landscapes along with adventure and sports. You visit areas that other travellers cannot reach, and in so doing are able to share experiences with the local people and learn more about the challenges they face living on these islands and support local people through this sustainable program.
DAY 1: TRANSFER AND HIKE ON THE ISLAND (L, D)
After a morning flight to San Cristobal Island, we will meet you at the airport and you’ll be given a briefing over lunch at our Hotel. We will begin our journey at the Interpretation Center to learn about the Galapagos’ unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics before hiking to Tijeretas along lava rock trails.
Along the way, our naturalist guide will explain all about the Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acacia, and cacti you encounter. You will also spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches amongst the vegetation and sea cliffs. In addition to unique species, the hike provides marvellous views of the rugged coastline and the tranquil town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
On the way back, we stop for a refreshing snorkel or swim at post-card worthy Carola Beach. Here, you will find sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas. After a gorgeous sunset and dinner, we explore the friendly and laid-back town. We recommend you take a 5-minute walk from the hotel down the boardwalk to view the immense colony of endemic Galapagos sea lions.
Overnight at Golden Bay Hotel
DAY 2: SEA KAYAK AND SNORKEL THE COAST, ISLA LOBOS AND KICKER ROCK (B, L, D)
The morning is spent kayaking coastal bays and coves full of wildlife. You will see blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. We may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visiting site will depend on the week day and Galapagos National Park regulations.
Here we will snorkel with marine iguanas, sea lions, and countless reef fish. We will swim with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and colour. If you are lucky, you may even see hammerhead sharks! After a full day exploring the seas, head back to the Golden Bay for a gourmet dinner and a well-earned rest.
Overnight at Golden Bay Hotel
DAY 3: MOUNTAIN BIKE THE COASTLINE / EXPLORE TINTORERAS ISLETS (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we take a short plane ride over to Isabela Island. This is the largest island in the Galapagos and is still being formed by 6 shield volcanoes. Hence, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active spots on the planet.
This morning, we embark on the most scenically-varied bike ride in the Galapagos. Along our ride, we will pass through white sand beaches, mangrove forests and brackish lagoons and a lava tube cave. The area is filled with giant tortoises and birdlife including flamingos. We end our ride at El Muro de las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears). When Isabela was used as a penal colony, prisoners constructed a towering wall of lava rocks for no other purpose than to keep them distracted from the madness of isolation. After lunch, we explore Tintoreras, a set of small islets filled with hidden coves and beaches. Here, we will find the endemic Galapagos penguin as well as reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions. At the end of the day, retire to our hotel. After a gourmet dinner, feel free to take a stroll down the seemingly endless beach or down the sand streets of this idyllic beach town.
Overnight at Iguana Crossing Hotel
DAY 4: VOLCANO HIKING IN ISABELA’S HIGHLANDS (B, L, D)
This morning, we drive up to the highlands until the road ends. Here, we don our daypacks and hike into a world of recent geological history. On the hike up, admire the incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and sea. However, when you arrive at the rim of Volcano Sierra Negra, your jaw will drop. This is the second largest active caldera on the planet. You will walk along the rim of this enormous 30 square mile crater, and if feeling energetic, continue your hike into the caldera of Volcano Chico. Volcano Chico is an otherworldly landscape with endless hues of oranges, reds, blacks, and yellows. Here, you can explore puffing fumaroles and spectacular lava formations. After a stop at an idyllic tortoise reserve for lunch, we’ll head back to the lowlands in time to spend our last afternoon on Isabela relaxing on the perfect beaches and soaking up the island-life atmosphere.
Overnight at Iguana Crossing Hotel
DAY 5: TORTOISES, PIRATES, LAVA TUNNELS AND VOLCANIC SINKHOLES (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we take a speedboat (or internal flight) to Santa Cruz Island. Along the way we may see whales and dolphins. Upon arrival, we head to El Chato in the Santa Cruz highlands to find the giant tortoise in its natural habitat. It is truly an honour to hike amongst these fascinating giants, who can live to be over 175 years old. You will also see pintail ducks, finches, frigate birds, egrets, and hopefully the vermillion flycatcher – a red jewel of a bird.
We will then explore some incredible lava tunnels in which pirates frequented and perhaps hid Inca gold. We then carry on to Los Gemelos, two deep volcanic sinkholes at the top of the island. We will hike through a forest of endemic scalesia trees, where we will be on the lookout for the short-eared owl. The trees are covered with ferns and epiphytes and exude an almost eerie feel.
Overnight Angernerver Hotel
DAY 6: KAYAK IN LAVA WALL CHANNELS / HIKE TO TORTUGA BAY (B, L, D)
This morning, we take to sea kayaks again to explore a different landscape, Punta Estrada and Divine Bay. We paddle through serene turquoise waters that meander through towering lava channel walls. Below the clear waters, you should be able to see rays and white-tipped reef sharks. You can also paddle right up to the fearless blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally light-footed crabs, and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs.
After lunch, we take a 40 minute hike to Tortuga Bay through a unique dry forest. Along the hike, you will find many birds and interesting plants. When you reach the beach, you will hardly believe your eyes, as this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Take time to relax on its fine sands or in its turquoise waters. Return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy your last evening on the Galapagos.
If there is enough time we’ll stop for a visit at the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn from local scientist about the ongoing conservation efforts on these enchanted islands.
Overnight at Angermerver Hotel
DAY 7: TRANSFER TO BALTRA ISLAND & RETURN FLIGHT (B)
We transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland. End of expedition.
-This itinerary can be altered to suit-
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We wanted to experience Galápagos Islands in a different manner, and this land based tour was excellent. The highlights of the trip were being up so close to so many different animals in their natural habitat.
It has been my dream to take my kids and grandkids to Galapagos, and this was definitely my dream come true. We ranged in age from 8 to 75 years old and everyone had an absolutely wonderful time. Our trip was absolutely fantastic, and very well organized.
There was just one time when we felt we needed more information. When we were dropped off at the Quito airport to catch our flight to the islands, we did not know where to go or what to do, we phoned the local guest support number that you provided us and they helped us. It all worked out well, and I'm not telling you this to be complaining. Its just a suggestion that a detailed form explaining the airport layout and routine would be helpful.
We loved our trip and other than this minor incident, everything was perfect. We couldn't have asked for a better experience! I will share some of our pictures with you as soon as I have time to get them organized.
Thank you for all of your help in making sure that everything was in place for us. What a lot of logistics to organize!! Everything was very well organized and went like clockwork. The hotels (especially the Garden San Jose de Puembo) were high quality, as were the restaurants and meals. We were so impressed that whatever was needed for each activity was always right there; including extra people to follow us for the biking and kayaking.