Galapagos Charm - 5 day Island-hopping
Discover the enchanted Galapagos Islands through this private island-hopping tour. The islands offer endless opportunities to explore a unique abundance of life in a setting unlike any other on earth. The Galapagos form a natural sanctuary that preserves species, allowing them to evolve over countless millennia. This is one of the few places on earth that allows such intimate contact with so much wildlife. The tour also provides many benefits to local communities and is socially and environmentally responsible. Be part of an educational and inspirational journey of a lifetime in one of the most fiercely protected marine wilderness areas in the world!
DAY 1 - BALTRA – ISABELA: Arrive at Baltra airport. Private transfer in and speedboat to Isabela.
Today we board a morning flight from Quito or Guayaquil to the island of Baltra. Upon arrival, we head to the town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, the largest town in Galapagos. From here we take a speedboat to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago and the place where the most volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. The island is formed by six shield volcanoes, Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf. Five of them are still active, making the island is one of the most volcanically active places on earth. During our island crossing, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October).
DAY 2 ISABELA ISLAND: Breakfast, box lunch. Full day of exploration.
Hike to Sierra Negra Volcano and Snorkeling in Tintoreras (guided): After driving up from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead, we prepare our backpacks and hike into a young forest ecosystem, a world of recent geological history. Our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005.
Here we take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater that is over six miles across at its widest point. If we feel energetic enough, we can continue our hike to Volcan Chico, a secondary crater that has an interesting landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations, great examples of the dramatic geological events that have forged the Galapagos Islands over millennia.
In the afternoon we will visit Tintoreras Islet located at a short distance from Puerto Villamil and home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, marine turtles and sea lions. One of its beaches surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully.
DAY 3 ISABELA ISLAND (GUIDED) Breakfast, box Lunch. Island exploration.
Lava Tunnels Snorkeling & Free Time (guided) Today we explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the volcanic island along the seashore. This magical place has been used by the staff of the BBC and National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches inside the breakers with crystal clear water full of huge sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, fish, white-tipped reef sharks and more. Turtles navigate from the mangroves to the open sea through Los Tuneles. Here we will have the best snorkeling opportunity with all the beautiful animals, including the curious and playful Galapagos penguin.
In the afternoon you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkeling at Concha de Perla, kayaking in Tintoreras, take surfing lessons, biking or just relax on the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela. We recommend you to take some time to visit the giant tortoise breeding center.
D4 –SANTA CRUZ ISLAND (GUIDED): Breakfast. Island exploration.
Charles Darwin Research Station & Highlands (guided) In the morning we embark on a speedboat from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. When we arrive, we will check in to the hotel. Later we will have time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about many of the endemic species observed during our adventure as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts in the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, we head to the El Chato Reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home of the famous Galapagos giant tortoise. Hiking through El Chato's beautiful scenery with those lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers and finches during our hike. We can also observe frigate birds that gather to wash the salt off their feathers at the freshwater lake. We return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town.
DAY 5 –Departure: Breakfast. Private transfer out to Baltra airport.
The itinerary is subject to change without prior warning depending on seasonal changes, weather conditions, and adjustments in policies set by the Galapagos National Park, or other unforeseen circumstances that may arise.
Recommendations: For excursions, please take solar protection, a cap or hat, bathing suit, long-sleeved shirt, water bottle, snorkeling gear (if you do not have your own, a mask, snorkel and fins are provided free of charge), camera, appropriate shoes for wet landings and hikes on lava terrain (sneakers or similar) with thick soles. Our expedition staff will give further details and recommendations, as well as more natural history background, the night before each excursion.
2018 Prices per person in US$:
HOTELS (subject to availability)
3*: Isabela: San Vicente and Santa Cruz: Mainao
4*: Isabela: Cormorant beach or Isamar and Santa Cruz: Silberstein
5*: Isabela: Iguana Crossing and Santa Cruz: Angermeyer Point