DAY TO DAY ITINERARY
Friday - Arrive Quito
Your trip begins in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. If you’re flying in on day one of the trip, your ACTIVE SOUTH AMERICA trip leader will meet you at the airport at 2pm and take you to your accommodation. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon to explore this amazing city with its beautiful town squares, quaint cafés and colonial architecture. Quito sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering volcanoes just 14 miles from the Equator, giving it a mild, spring-like climate year round. In the evening you’ll meet your trip leader and the rest of your group for a full briefing before our first dinner together.
ACCOMMODATION: Sierra Madre Hotel, Quito (D)
Saturday - Fly to the Galapagos, Cycle San Cristobal highlands
This morning we’ll take a short flight to San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos Islands chain and home of the provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. After lunch we’ll head to the town of La Soledad and bike down through the lush highland cloud forest that blankets the top of the island. With stunning views of the coast, we’ll ride all the way to Mann Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. We’ll also check out La Lobería – a nearby beach that is home to a large sea lion colony and nursery. You’re not likely to see this many sea lions in one place anywhere else in the world! This evening, we’ll dine on local produce and fresh fish for our first evening meal in the Galapagos Islands.
ACCOMMODATION: San Cristobal lodging, San Cristobal (B,L,D)
Sunday - Snorkel with seals and manta rays at Kicker Rock, Sea kayaking San Cristobal
Today we’ll take our boat out to Isla Lobos off the coast of San Cristobal, where we’ll don wetsuits, snorkels and masks (and tanks for the divers – diving option add US$160) and explore the underwater world for a close up view of sea lions as they fish for their dinner!
Isla Lobos is the main sea lion and blue-footed booby colony in the area, as well as being home to the endemic lava lizard. After a swim with the sea lions, we’ll get back on our boat and head for Kicker Rock where we’ll either snorkel or dive around the remains of an underwater volcano with a rock face rising 500 feet above the surface of the water (dives one and two).
Your trip leader will give you a full briefing and then we’ll take to the water to explore the walls of the volcano. We’ll see sea lions and manta rays as they skirt the edges of Kicker Rock – they’re everywhere! Later on today we’ll sea kayak along the shoreline of San Cristobal Island – we like to see this incredible island from all angle! Later we’ll hike to Frigate Hill Lookout to see the acrobatics of the local frigate birds as they dart around the cliff tops stealing the catch from other birds. Or you can check out the interpretation centre to learn more about the history and biology of the area.
ACCOMMODATION: San Cristobal lodging, San Cristobal (B,L)
Monday - Snorkel and hike Floreana Island
After an early breakfast, our little boat will take us away from San Cristobal Island towards the magnificent Floreana Island. Floreana is the sixth biggest island in the Galapagos chain and one of the least inhabited (by humans at least!). With a population of around 120, this place has a pretty relaxed atmosphere. On the way, we’re often visited by friendly dolphins so keep an eye out! Later, we’ll hike into the highlands of Floreana, exploring it’s wide open volcanic terrain. Afterwards we’ll head to our accommodation in the tiny port of Puerto Velasco Ibarra– a fantastic hideaway lodge with incredible sea views.
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Wittmer, Floreana Island (B,L,D)
Tuesday - Journey to Isabela, Visit pink flamingos, coastal hike
This morning we’ll make the journey east to Isabela Island, the largest of all the islands in the Galapagos archipelago. After we arrive on land, we’ll visit a flock of graceful Pink Flamingos in a nearby wetland. On the way, we’ll have the chance to see some of the Islands’ most amazing wildlife up close. Marine iguanas bask in the sun at our feet, blue-footed boobies sit in pairs on the rock tops, and Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry out of our way along the beach.
ACCOMMODATION: Isabela accommodations, Isabela Island (B,L,D)
Wednesday - Hike Sierra Negra volcano
Our hike today will take us to the summit of Sierra Negra volcano, rising nearly a mile above the ocean. See the lowland vegetation change before your eyes as we ascend into a lunar landscape on our way to the top. It’s quite a hike to the top of the volcano, but the views across the seven mile wide crater and surrounding coastline are worth the climb! This is the world’s second largest volcanic crater, so it’s an incredible sight. As we hike, we might be lucky enough to see Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and fly-catchers that inhabit this region. When we get back from our hike, we’ll head to Beto’s beachside bar to toast the setting sun over the Pacific.
ACCOMMODATION: Isabela accommodations, Isabela Island (B,L,D)
Thursday - Giant tortoise breeding centre, snorkel Concha Perla & Tintoreras
This morning we’ll head to a Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre where we can meet these majestic prehistoric creatures. Then we’ll hike a section of Isabela’s pristine coastline to the ‘Wall of Tears’ – a fascinating remnant of the Galapagos Islands’ convict past. Later, we’ll head out on a zodiac to check out the crystal-clear waters of the Tintoreras rock outcrop. Keep an eye out for manta rays, marine iguanas, dolphins, reef sharks, herons and the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found close to the equator. Later, we’ll don out snorkels and masks again to explore the crystal clear waters of the Concha Perla. This calm and shallow body of water is home to sea turtles, and a multitude of colourful fish species.
ACCOMMODATION: Isabela accommodations, Isabela Island (B,L)
Friday - Hike Santa Cruz highlands and Tortuga Bay, visit giant tortoises
We’ll depart Isabela Island early this morning bound for Santa Cruz Island, where we’ll hike into the amazing cloud forest highlands. On the way to the summit of one of the islands highest peaks, we’ll have another chance to see giant tortoises in their natural environment, along with intriguing birdlife like the vermillion flycatcher. We’ll take a look inside the lava tunnels scattered throughout the highlands. These tunnels were formed by petrified lava flowing underneath the Earth’s surface, carving out large cylindrical caves. Some are almost a mile long! This afternoon we’ll hike to Tortuga Bay, one of the most stunning beaches in the Galapagos, where we’ll have the option of trying our hand at bodyboarding or surfing, or just lounging around on incredibly fine sand. Tortuga Bay is accessible only by foot and is home to hundreds of prehistoric-looking marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and pelicans.
ACCOMMODATION: Puerto Ayora lodgings, Santa Cruz Island (B,L,D)
Saturday - Optional hike, return to Quito
You’ll have the morning free to explore Santa Cruz. There are beaches, a museum and short hikes in the area, and your trip leader will fill you in on the best activities around the island. Then it’s a short flight back to Quito on the mainland where we’ll have time to explore Quito in the afternoon. This evening we’ll share our final dinner together in Ecuador.
ACCOMMODATION: Sierra Madre Hotel, Quito (B,L,D)
Sunday - Quito, depart for home
Today is the last day of your trip around Ecuador and Galapagos Islands with ACTIVE SOUTH AMERICA. If you have a flight today, we’ll be sure to get you back to the airport on time. You’ll return home relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food and friendly people you will have met while travelling with us in Ecuador and the Galapagos. (B)
INCLUDED: Just about everything, specifically:
Also see tour packages in:
South America Ecuador Outdoor: Water Drifter Scuba Diving Wildlife Viewing