Galapagos Kayaking Tour - 7 Days
DAY 1: SEA KAYAK IN DARWIN BAY
After a morning flight to San Cristobal Island, we’ll greet you at the airport and head to our Hotel. After lunch and a quick introduction, we head to the water for an easy paddling afternoon. We fit into our kayaks and paddle along the coast to Darwin Bay. This is the site where the HMS Beagle first landed, when Darwin arrived to the Galapagos. We have our first encounters with the local wildlife including sea lions, sea turtles,
iguanas, frigate birds and boobies. After dinner, we’ll explore the friendly, laid-back beach town and stroll down the boardwalk to see an immense colony of endemic Galapagos sea lions. (-, L, -)
DAY 2: INTERPRETATION CENTER, HIKE AND SNORKEL TIJERETAS / SEA KAYAK IN SAN CRISTOBAL’S NORTHERN COAST
Our second day begins with a visit to the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics of the Galapagos. From our visit, we continue our walk to Tijeretas (Darwin Bay) along natural trails formed of lava rocks. The path is surrounded by native plants like Galápagos cotton, palo santo, acacia, and cacti, and we will spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches in the vegetation and sea cliffs.
We reach the coast line where our kayaks will be waiting for us. We continue paddling along the coastal bays and coves of San Cristobal’s north coast, full of blue footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. We may see occasional rays and marine iguanas perching on lava rocks. Once we reach Isla Lobos we leave our kayaks and continue exploring by boat. We may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visiting site will depend on the week day according to Galapagos National
Park regulations. We’ll put on snorkels and fins to interact with sea lions, as well as marine iguanas and countless reef fish. We’ll swim with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color. With luck, we might even see some menacing but harmless hammerhead sharks!
After a full day spent exploring the seas, we head back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for a delicious dinner and a well-earned rest. (B, L, -)
DAY 3: MOUNTAIN BIKE THE COASTLINE AND KAYAK EXPLORATION OF TINTORERAS ISLETS
After breakfast, we say goodbye to San Cristobal and take a quick, 40-minute plane ride to Isabela Island.
Upon arrival, we jump into our kayaks and paddle along the coastline and around coves, islets and mangroves, home to the endemic Galapagos penguin. We continue our journey, padding through small islets known as Las Tintoreras, where we can see hundreds of marine iguanas, reef sharks, scenic beaches and lava formations.
In the afternoon we embark on an easy bike ride that will take us through a wide variety of environments and ecosystems. Along the way, we’ll pass through white sand beaches, mangrove forests and brackish lagoons, and into a lava tube cave. As we ride, we’ll pass giant tortoises, flamingos, and other wildlife. At the end of our ride, we arrive at el Muro de las Lagrimas (the Wall of Tears). When Isabela was used as a penal colony, prisoners constructed this towering wall of lava rocks for no other reason than to keep themselves distracted from the madness of isolation. After a gourmet dinner, we can enjoy the well-appointed lounge or wander the idyllic sand streets of Puerto Villamil. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: VOLCANO HIKING IN ISABELA’S HIGHLANDS
This morning, we’ll drive up the flanks of the Sierra Negra volcano until the road ends. Here, we continue on foot and hike into a surreal world of geological history.
On the hike up, we can admire incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and sea, as well as the distinctive highland ecosystem around us. But the real prize is at the top - when we arrive at the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano, we are treated to a truly breathtaking vista. Sierra Negra is the second largest active caldera on the planet, over six miles at its widest point. We’ll hike the rim of this enormous crater and, if we feel energetic, continue on to the caldera of Volcan Chico, an otherworldly landscape of vibrant hues created by sulfur deposits. Here we can explore
spectacular lava formations and fumaroles. 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. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: HIKE WITH GIANT TORTOISES AND EXPLORE LOS GEMELOS
After bidding a fond farewell to Isabela, we board a fast boat for a scenic ride to Santa Cruz Island. After we arrive, we head to El Chato reserve in the Santa Cruz highlands, home to several subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoise. Hiking through El Chato’s beautiful highland scenery with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience. As we hike, we see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, and finches. We’ll also visit a freshwater lake where frigate birds gather to wash the
salt off their feathers.
Our next stop is a group of massive volcanic tunnels that were created by underground lava flows. According to legend, pirates once used these tunnels to hide from pursuing Spanish ships and stash plundered Inca gold. After walking through these fascinating geological formations and reliving some pirate stories, we continue to Los Gemelos, a pair of volcanic sinkholes near the top of the island. Los Gemelos are covered with a beautiful endemic Scalesia forest. As we hike through this unique environment, we keep an eye out for the elusive short-eared owl and other endemic wildlife. We return to town in time to relax on the beach for a while and dine on our own at any of Puerto Ayora’s many
outstanding restaurants. (B, L, -)
DAY 6: KAYAK IN LAVA WALL CHANNELS; EXPLORE THE TORTOISE HIGHLANDS IN SANTA CRUZ
Today we’ll head back to sea in kayaks to explore the unique landscape of nearby Punta Estrada and Divine Bay. As we paddle through towering lava channel walls, we can see rays and white-tipped reef sharks below us in the serene, clear water. We can also paddle right up to the fearless blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally light foot crabs, and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs. In the afternoon, we hike to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful white sand beach and the preferred nesting site for thousands of black sea turtles. To reach this isolated beach, we hike a six kilometer trail through a beautiful dry forest, home to hundreds of land iguanas. After a relaxing afternoon on Tortuga Bay’s pristine beach, we return to Puerto Ayora to spend our last evening in the Galápagos at leisure in the archipelago’s most populous
town. (B, L, -)
DAY 7: EXPLORE PUERTO AYORA FOR SHOPS AND CHOCOLATE - TRANSFER OUT
If we have some extra time before the flight we will explore Puerto Ayora’s shops for fine handcrafts, jewelry and souvenirs! We will also visit a chocolate workshop to learn how the sweets are made on Galapagos. We transfer to the Baltra airport. The ride takes about 45 minutes through the highlands to the Itabaca Canal, and then another 30 minutes to the airport. (B, –, –)
Immerse yourself in one of the world’s richest and most unique marine ecosystem. This program is a comprehensive kayaking experience with exclusive access to three different islands. Highly rated kayaking/ naturalist guides combine sea and land excursions for a full natural history and evolutionary tour. You will be sure to encounter many friendly species of Galapagos wildlife as you paddle with penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas, sea turtles and sharks. Snorkeling hiking and biking experiences included.
• Most complete kayaking experience in 3 diverse Galapagos Islands.
• Sea kayak with penguins, sharks, marine iguanas, sea turtles and sea lions.
• Snorkel with tropical fish, rays, sea lions, penguins, and sharks.
• Walk among giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.
• Hike the rim of an enormous, active caldera and discover extraordinary lava formations.
• Mountain bike along pristine coastline filled with wildlife.
• Relax on beautiful beaches with playful sea lions and countless marine iguanas.
• Quality Prijon expedition kayaks.
• Certified (ACA) and Naturalist guides serve as your liaison to the local culture and wildlife.
2018 Prices per person in US$:
Accommodations in comfort or premium class hotels, meals as listed (B = breakfast,L = lunch), bilingual Galapagos naturalist
guide/adventure guide, all sea and land transportation during the tour.
Flights to and from Galapagos, entrance fee to Galapagos National Park, Galapagos transit card, tips, dinner and hotel & restaurant beverages
Comfort: Opuntia, Casita de la Playa and Fernandina
Premium: Golden Bay, Iguana Crossing and Angermeyer Waterfront Inn
This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, inclement weather conditions, and adjustments of Galapagos National Park policy.
The Weight restriction per person for the Inner Island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is 25 pounds in one piece of luggage.
BOAT TRAVEL TIME: Two hours
SMALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT TIME: 40 minutes Activity duration (paddle, hike, bike, snorkel): Two to three hours per activity
ALTITUDE: 0 – 3,688 feet (1,124 meters) above sea level
WEATHER: During the warm season from January to May, air temperature is around 77º to 83º F (25º to 28º C) at sea level. During the cool season from June to December, air temperature is around 70º to 75º F (21º to 24º C) at sea level. Temperature decreases with altitude.
WATER TEMPERATURE: During the warm season from January to May, water temperature hovers around 77º F (25 º C).During the cool season from June to December, average water temperature is about 72º F (22º C). Water temperature also varies significantly by location.
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK: Hiking shoes, rain jacket, water bottle, non-cotton trekking clothes, sunblock, sun hat, and repellent.