Day 1: Arrive at Baltra / Transfer to Isabela Island / Visit Flamingos Lagoon. You can arrive to the Galapagos Islands only by flight, and either Quito or Guayaquil (air ticket not included). An English- speaking guide will be waiting for you at the Baltra airport. He will then take you to the port of Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) for lunch. Afterwards, the guide will lead you to the Public speedboat towards Isabela Is. (departs at 14:00) for a two and a half hours ride. After arriving at Isabela and after a brief rest at the hotel, we head to the Flamingo Lagoon, the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and one of the main reproductive sites for the majority of flamingos.
Day 2: Isabela Island:
- Option 1: Hike Sierra Negra + Chico Volcanoes / Snorkel at Concha Perla
- Option 2: Full Day: Visit Cabo Rosa aka. Tuneles (extra cost – please ask us).
Option 1: Early in the morning (8:00 am), after breakfast, get ready for the Sierra Negra Volcano hike (comfortable clothes, walking shoes and a light rain jacket are recommended). Make sure your camera is stored in waterproof bags, wear some sunscreen, bring water, and a hat! Yourself will prepare your box lunch at the hotel with the foodstuff of your choice. We will then travel approximately 45 minutes by truck or bus to begin the 12 km hike (approx. 4 hours). The hike is long in terms of distance, but not very difficult as the inclines and declines are quite gradual. (There is an option to ride horses for an additional cost, if interested please let us know beforehand). Sierra Negra Volcano has the second largest crater in the world, measuring approximately 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet deep. We will then reach Volcan Chico, which should provide a spectacular view of the islands.
Once we get back to the hotel we will take a short break to rest. In the afternoon, get to do some fine snorkeling in Concha Perla. Swim with sea lions, colorful varieties of fish and, with luck, sea turtles and rays. Return to the hotel to rest before heading to dinner at a local restaurant indicated by the guide.
Option 2: (extra cost – please ask us for more info)
There are two departure times for this tour, one at 08:00 am with return time at 13:00 pm approx., and one at 11:00 am, with return time at 16:00 pm. approx. The chosen departure time for your tour might vary; hence, you will be notified on the departure time for this day trip on the night before the tour.
Cabo Rosa aka Los Tuneles is perhaps one of the most beautiful sights in the archipelago. Continuous volcanic eruptions petrified into tunnel-like lava formations right in the middle of the sea, and crystal clear turquoise water allows an amazing view of marine vegetation and playful sea lions. The tour begins early at 8:00 am via speedboat and the first stop is a small islet in the middle of the ocean, home to pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and sea lions. Finados snorkeling site is the next stop, where you can swim next to sea turtles, Tintoreras sharks (endemic to the islands), trumpet fish and surgeonfish. With some luck, eagle and golden rays will come to this site too. Getting to Los Tuneles will take around 1 ½ - 2 hrs. Once there, the speedboat will navigate through various spots in and around the Lava Tunnels. Here you get the chance to do some more snorkeling and enjoy some short walks while observing the landscape and wildlife inhabiting the area. A box lunch on board will be provided for this day. Dinner will be served at the local specified restaurant.
Day 3: Isabela Island: Tintoreras Islet snorkel / Humedales Hike (Giant Tortoise Center). After breakfasts, get ready to visit to Tintoreras Islet. First we will make our way to the dock of Puerto Villamil in order to embark on small speedboats (12 passenger capacity). After a short ride (approx. 20 min.) we will arrive at Tintoreras Islet. The name of the islet derives from the sharks that inhabit in the waters surrounding the islet, the famous white-tipped fins Tintorera Sharks. The islet is one of the most fascinating places on Isabela Island. Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, sea turtles, pelicans, and Galapagos Penguins can all be found in this site. It is also one of main breeding sites for marine iguanas, and a great spot to get a close-up with them. After a hike around the islet, we will get back on the boat and cool off by snorkeling in the waters nearby. Swimming next to multicolor fish, starfish, sea urchins, and with luck manta rays, sharks, and sea lions is a major highlight in this excursion. After a fascinating experience we will return to the hotel for lunch.
In the afternoon we you visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center of Isabela. Here you can observe a variety of species of giant tortoises. You will also hear how this center has successfully breed and raise the giant tortoises to preserve many endangered subspecies. Afterwards, we will visit the Wall of Tears (Muro de las Lagrimas). Between 1946 and 1959 Isabela Island was used as a penal colony by the Ecuadorian government, and the prisoners were obligated to construct this wall out of the sharp and hard volcanic rocks. The wall is 100 meters long and 7 meters high, and the name is derived from the arduous and painful nature of the conditions in which the prisoners were forced to work. On the way back we will make a visit to a Lava Tunnel near the Wall- Visits to Mirador Orchilla, Estero de Isabela, and Playa del Amor are also programmed.
We will then return to the hotel to rest before heading to dinner at a local specified.
Day 4: Transfer to Santa Cruz Island: Highlands Hike (Giant Tortoise) / Charles Darwin. At 5:30 a.m. we will get ready to go to the dock (wake-up at 5:00 AM). We will take the Public speedboat, which leaves at 6:00 a.m. (subject to change), to Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Is (approx. 2 hr.). Upon arrival the guide will take you to eat breakfast. After a short rest we will make our way to the Highlands of Santa Cruz. Here you will have the unforgettable opportunity to observe the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoises in their natural environment. The Islands themselves were named after these species. You will also be able to observe the famous Galapagos Finches, Bird Wizards, as well as endemic vegetation such as Escelacias forests and Matazarnos. After this incredible encounter with the Giant Tortoises, we will return to Puerto Ayora. Lunch will be served local-style menu in the specified restaurant.
In the afternoon, the guide will have specified the meeting time to begin the visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you can find a large variety of Giant Tortoise, one of each island in the archipelago. You will also learn about the ongoing conservation efforts directed at preserving the Giant Tortoises, as well as the natural environment of the archipelago as a whole. After this, we will make a short visit to the Art Galleries of Puerto Ayora. Dinner at a local style specified restaurant.
Day 5: Full Day Navigable Tour to: Plazas Is. OR Seymour Is OR Santa Fe Is or Batolomé Is.* *Note: You may choose one of these navigable sites. Depending on the dates and/or navigable site chosen, pick-up from the hotel will be early on the morning (either 5 or 8 AM) to take you to the small vessel (16-passenger capacity) at the embarkation point (either Puerto Ayora dock or Itabaca Channel). The destination will be to any of these islands; all of these sites are inhabited and offer a unique close-up with wildlife and endemic vegetation.
The destination can be Santa Fe, South Plazas, North Seymour or Bartolomé. The activities will include hiking, snorkeling, swimming and breathtaking sightseeing. After land and sea excursions, we will return back to the hotel in Santa Cruz where you can relax and later on have dinner at the specified restaurant.
Important Note: You may choose one of the navigable sites above. However, the visits to these are established by the Galapagos National Park and are subject to availability. Let us know what site you like better. We will advise on availability and arrange your trip as best as possible. In case none of the sites are available, an alternative itinerary will be used and a discount applied.
Day 6: Transfer out Baltra Airport (Visit “The Twins” on way out) / Goodbye Galapagos! On the final day we recommend waking up at 6:00 am to get ready and have breakfast before the transfer out to Baltra Airport where you will catch your return flight to either Quito or Guayaquil. Note: Itinerary subject to change without prior warning depending on seasonal changes, weather conditions, and adjustments in policies set by the Galapagos National Park, and other unforeseen circumstances that may arise.
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