Day 1: Quito

You will be met on arrival in Quito at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport and transferred to La Casona de la Ronda, beautiful hotel located in the historical center of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

La Casona de la Ronda

Two nights atLa Casona de la Ronda. Breakfast included daily.

Day 2: Quito - Guided City Tour

After breakfast the place to start is Colonial Quito, a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising high, the steeples and cupolas of the city’s many spectacularly decorated historic churches. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all South America and its integrity was assured in 1978 when Quito was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walk through the Main Plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, the Cathedral, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the monastery of San Francisco which was started five days after the founding of the city in 1534. Then visit the Panecillo hill, where you can admire the famous Panecillo’s Virgin and spectacular views of Quito.

Breakfast included.

Day 3: Floreana Island - Snorkeling

After an early morning transfer to Quito’s airport and flight over the Pacific, you’ll arrive in the Galapagos Islands!

The tiny island of Baltra was a military base during the Second World War and has been the Galapagos’ principal airport for many years. The good news is that to protect the local environment the airport has been rebuilt, this time using the most advanced environmental techniques to reduce emissions and energy use. This is the first eco-friendly airport in the world. At the airport, you will be met by our expert local guide before transferring to Santa Cruz, which involves public transport (no private vehicles are permitted) overland to the Itabaca Channel and a short crossing on the public ferry. Now your journey really begins, with a visit to the impressive Los Gemelos craters and a look at the highland Galapagos tortoises. At midday we enjoy a tasty specially prepared boxed lunch en route to the town of Puerto Ayora where our private speed boat will be waiting to take us on a two hour ride to the island of Floreana.

This peaceful island is home to the Galapagos’ smallest population, only 150 people, and is also the least developed and most natural of the four inhabited islands. Once a pirates’ lair, Floreana was the first inhabited island in the Galapagos and descendents of the original population still live here together with the mysterious tales and legends that surround their ancestors. On Floreana we will be hiking, learning about the fascinating history of the local people, and seeing some of the Galapagos special wildlife (giant tortoises, frigate birds, Darwin's finches, sea lions, and petrels).

We check in at our lodge overlooking the Galapagos’ most beautiful and secluded bay. After that we will walk for 30 minutes towards La Loberia (a sea lion breeding ground) and then for our first marine encounter, snorkeling and swimming in the warm bright water with sea turtles, sea lions, spectacular rays and lots of shimmering fishes.In the afternoon we return to the lodge for a nice warm shower and dinner in the village. Night Activity (weather permitting): star gazing.

Floreana Lava Lodge

Two nights at Floreana Lava Lodge. All meals included.

Day 4: Floreana Island - Highlands Hike, Kayak & Stand Up Paddle Board

After breakfast, explore the Floreana highlands on our open-air bus (chiva), an unbeatable, historic, and comfortable way to see the island. On the way our Naturalist Guide will point out the wildlife and give us an idea of the colorful history of some of Floreana's first inhabitants, such as the Wittmers (whose descendents still live on the Island), the ‘Baroness’, and the pirates that once visited here. They will also tell you about the "Enigma of Floreana", involving the mysterious deaths of several of the Island’s inhabitants, a riddle that has never been solved.

After driving into the highlands, we reach Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven) where our hike begins. Hike to this historic site, explore pirate caves, and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire Island. Along the way, you can expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation or even on the trail. We leave Asilo de Paz walking down through a rural area where the local people grow produce for their own consumption: this is a fascinating example about how these island people survived in this remote place and over the years were able to develop an understanding of the local environment and now work to preserve their unique agricultural knowledge. Once back on the coast we will be able to watch the extraordinary behavior of the frigate birds who ‘dance’ as they wash their salty wings in the fresh water. With a little bit of luck, we may be able to see males puffing up the red pouches on their chests in an attempt to attract females.

From La Primavera, continue by chiva to Las Palmas, where the Island’s first permanent inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, lived and is buried. Arriving in 1926, this German physician believed that with a combination of exercise and the right vegetarian diet he would live to be 150 years old. He didn’t, but his story is one of the many strange ones that abound on the island. On the way we will see spectacular views of the Floreana shoreline, and on arrival sit down to a special barbeque.

In the afternoon, back at the lodge, we do more marine exploration, snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddling, the newest water activity at the lodge. Haven't used an SUP before? No problem, the staff and guides can teach you how to "walk on the water."

All meals included.

Day 5: Isabela Island - Boat Tour & Snorkeling

Today take an early morning speed boat and transfer to Isabela Island where we will check into the hotel. Our Isabela adventure begins with a tour of the Tintoreras, a group of small islands near the village of Puerto Villamil, that are named after the white tipped ‘Tintoreras’ reef sharks that swim in these calm waters. A Galapagos in miniature on the Tintoreras you will see almost all of the archipelago’s iconic wildlife: white tipped sharks, sea lions, turtles, rays, penguins, and of course pelicans and blue footed boobies. You will have a chance to snorkel in the bay – and don’t be surprised if some of the penguins or sea lions jump in to play alongside you in the water.

In the afternoon we walk from our hotel to the local giant tortoise-breeding center and on the way we may catch a glimpse of pink flamingos feeding in a lake. Once at the Center our guides will explain the process of breeding and then releasing into the wild these giant slow moving creatures whose Spanish name (meaning saddle) gave the Islands their present title. The breeding center is an important conservation tool and it is here that the island’s giant tortoise population is presently recovering.

La Casa de Marita or similar beachfront lodge.

Three nights at La Casa de Marita. All meals included.

Day 6: Isabela Island - Hiking & Puerto Villamil Beaches

Volcanic eruptions created all the islands in the Galapagos, and you will get to see this geologic process first-hand as we explore Isabela, one of the youngest and most volcanically-active islands of the archipelago. We have the whole day to explore the Isabela highlands, and we start by hiking up to the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano, and then to the rim of the Volcan Chico. This fascinating walk usually begins with some morning fog and drizzle which sometimes persists in the shadow of the volcano, adding to its mysterious character. But when we reach the rim of the Sierra Negra crater, the second largest in the world (after the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania), you will see why it has been worthwhile. The crater is so large, and the views so expansive, that photos don’t even do it justice, but you should bring your binoculars and camera anyway!

Later, as we head towards Volcan Chico, you may get the feeling you are walking on Mars, but while the landscape appears desolate, a closer look reveals small lizards, scurrying about amongst the rocks. After Volcan Chico under the shade of a lovely “jaboncillo” tree we enjoy a well prepared picnic lunch with the chance to enjoy some spectacular views over the central and northern parts of Isabela Island. In the distance, you will be able to see Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. We then head back down to complete our day of hiking (10 miles in total) and relax on the beaches of Puerto Villamil.

All meals included.

Day 7: Isabela Island - Wall of Tears Visit & Kayaking

This morning, leave from the Villamil dock and the white sandy beaches of Isabela and paddle to Island Bay. En route we will be looking for turtles, rays, penguins, and blue-footed boobies; sea lions will probably paddle along with us, as well. After watching the wildlife in the Bay, paddle back to the Villamil dock.

In the afternoon, bike the Wetlands Trail where we can see marine iguana colonies and a number of different types of mangroves trees (all four can be seen here) as well as enjoying the network of trails, beaches and historic sites. At the end of the trail is the Wall of Tears, built in the late 1940’s by Second World War prisoners held at the US base on the islands. Our guide will explain the importance of the Wall of Tears, giving us a glimpse into the lives of the island’s previous inhabitants. On this network of trails you will catch some beautiful views of the village below and we will have the chance to see birds and, with luck, some wild giant tortoises.

We stop at the local swimming hole where you can take a refreshing dip. When we get back to town, there will be time to relax and enjoy some swimming or snorkeling in our Galapagos paradise or of you prefer to just sit on the beach and relax.

All meals included.

Day 8: Santa Cruz Island - Mountain Biking & Kayaking

Start the day early, catching our speedboat in the morning and heading to Santa Cruz Island. From May to November, a flight is recommended rather than transfer by speedboat due to the possibility of rough seas. When we arrive at Santa Cruz, we will enjoy a hearty breakfast close to the docks before heading up to the highlands for a busy day of multi-sport activities. Drive to an off-the-beaten-path area of Santa Cruz Island, and when we reach a high point on the road we switch to mountain bikes for a long downhill glide on freshly paved roads to Garrapatero Beach. On the ride, pass small farms and enjoy views of the ocean and the distant islands.

Once we are on the beach at Garrapatero we may see a few local families, but few, if any, tourists. We will paddle the bay in sit-on-top sea kayaks, enjoying our last day on the water in the Galapagos, while looking for sharks, rays, turtles, and sea birds. Later we will have a specially prepared lunch before heading back to Puerto Ayora and our next adventure.

Once back in the town, you will have the option of staying and shopping for souvenirs, or (if time allows) walking the 3 km boardwalk to Tortuga Bay, and checking out one of the largest and most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. At Tortuga Bay you can walk on the beach, swim, or even snorkel a bit more.

Tonight we stay in Santa Cruz’s largest town, the small picturesque port of Puerto Ayora. Although it has the largest population in the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora is still a small, intimate place where you will find friendly local bars, shops, and restaurants, as well as places to stroll along the water’s edge. There is everything you need for a mellow night in the Galapagos.

Comfortable lodge in Puerto Ayora (Angermeyer Waterfront or similar)

All meals included

Day 9: Departure

After a morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Center, transfer to Baltra for your return flight back to mainland Ecuador. Of course, you may extend your stay for a few days. There’s lots of scuba diving and naturalist day trips you can take to explore some of the other fascinating Galapagos islands.

Rates - 2017
Dates Per Person Double Single Supplement
2017 $6,567.00 Please call.
Prices based on two travelers sharing. Flights and Galapagos entrance fees additional. International and domestic airfares are not included. Please call for a quote from our air partners!
Registered Seller of Travel License # 602 127 852.    •   

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