Galapagos Island Hopping - 5 Days to Santa Cruz,
South Plazas and Isabela
Day 1: Baltra Island - Santa Cruz Island
Today we arrive on Baltra Island, the gateway to the Galapagos. This tiny island was a military base during the Second World War and hosts the Islands’ principal airport. The airport was the first ecological airport in the world.
We dive into a Galapagos Island-hopping adventure just after we arrive! We will enter the airport through a special VIP lounge where you will have a chance to change clothes, put on some sunscreen and get a cool drink before we transfer to the Itabaca Channel to explore its turquoise waters. We will have a chance to kayak, snorkel and stand up paddleboard (SUP) where we will see some of the famous Galapagos wildlife such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, brown pelicans, a variety of herons and white-tipped reef sharks. We will glide through beautiful red mangrove forests and along lava rock cliffs on water so clear we can see sea life in the shallows. Our ocean (sit on top) kayaks come in doubles or singles, and life jackets are provided. A support boat escorts us throughout the water activities to ensure safety and to provide water, snacks and towels between activities.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Kayak: 1.5-2 hours depending on fauna activity and skills of kayakers
From Itabaca Channel we head up to the Santa Cruz highlands where our exclusive giant tortoise reserve and tented camp is located. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the ocean, Magic Galapagos Tented Camp will be our home for the next two nights. The sounds of nature will be our lullaby in the evenings, and the Milky Way will be our night light. We’ll be able to feast our eyes on the mountains and forest surrounding the lodge, and enjoy the peace of having the entire hillside to ourselves, with the exception of seasonal resident giant tortoises.
Watching the colorful sunset from Magic’s western perch is the perfect segue into evening. Dinners are sumptuous three course affairs, prepared by expert chefs in an open-air kitchen in the main lodge. A favorite post-dinner activity is a short walk to the natural lava tubes on the reserve for a night cap in the one-of-a-kind ‘Lava Lounge!’ It’s the perfect spot to relax around the fire and share stories from the day’s adventures.
Day 2: Santa Cruz Island -
Today we have multiple choices of activities available (organized at additional cost or self guided) or if you feel like unplugging from the world and relaxing completely at our Giant Tortoise Sanctuary enjoying the views, walk to the Lava Tunnels or simply enjoy of the peacefulness.
1. Walk to Las Grietas & Kayak at Tortuga Bay (private basis) USD 300 per person
From Puerto Ayora main pier we take a water taxi to the “Other Side Pier”. At this point we start an easy walk for about 1 Km (~0.6 mile) until we reach Las Grietas. This is a stunning geological formation named as fissure where we can see two impressive rock walls with an elongated crystal clear water pond ideal for snorkeling. ied. The Research Center offers a brand new Interpretation Center with some of the most important samples of the Center Collection.
Later, visit to Tortuga Bay. After walking through a deciduous forest for 2.5 Km (~1.5 miles) we will reach one of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago. We will continue walking along this white sand beach for another 1 Km (~0.6 mile) until we reach the Playa Mansa where we can enjoy a special kayaking ride around the Bay.
2. Kayac Itabaca channel & Giant Tortoise Reserve (private basis) USD 368 per person
Transfer to the Itabaca Channel to explore its turquoise waters. We will have a chance to kayak, snorkel and stand up paddleboard (SUP) where we will see some of the famous Galapagos wildlife such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, brown pelicans, a variety of herons and white-tipped reef sharks.
There’s no better introduction to the Galapagos than to get on the water upon arrival! We will glide through beautiful red mangrove forests and along lava rock cliffs on water so clear we can see sea life in the shallows. Our ocean (sit on top) kayaks come in doubles or singles, and life jackets are provided. A support boat escorts us throughout the water activities to ensure safety and to provide water, snacks and towels between activities.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Kayak: 1.5-2 hours depending on fauna activity and skills of kayakers
Transportation: boat, swimming, kayak or stand up paddleboard
From Itabaca Channel we head up to the Santa Cruz highlands where our exclusive giant tortoise reserve is located.
3. Cerro Meza & Kayak at Garrapatero (private basis) USD 256 per person
Visit Cerro Mesa viewpoint from where we can admire the whole southern shore of Santa Cruz. Continue towards one of the iconic formations in Galapagos resembling a crater from where we will start a hike downhill for about 30 minutes to the bottom of this collapsed crater. Explore the area, recover energies and start the hike uphill for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Excellent opportunities to find endemic species such as the Wood-pecker Finch and being very lucky giant tortoises.
Later, kayaks at Garrapatero. Walk for about 500 mts (~0.3 mile) on a flat and easy terrain through a deciduous forest until we reach El Garrapatero beach. Kayaking activity takes place from the beach along the bay for about 45 minutes. We can make a short walk to the brackish lagoon where we have high possibilities to find pink flamingos.
4. Coffee farm and Sugar Cane mill & Highlights of Puerto Ayora (private basis) USD 233 per person
In the morning, visit Organic Coffee Farm & Sugar Cane mill. Departure from your hotel towards the farming area of El Cascajo. Visit one of the most traditional farms in the area where we can find real organic coffee and sugar cane plantations. We will learn about all coffee and sugar cane growing and production process including a handcrafted sugar cane mil and distillery where the farmers produce a traditional sugar cane liquor.
Later, visit to Charles Darwin Research Station. The Charles Darwin Research Center is the matrix of all the scientific researches in the Galapagos Islands. It is from these headquarters from where all the most sensitive conservation projects are being directed. The conservation and preservation of giant tortoises, marine iguanas among others are some of the examples of the Center labor. We can walk along the core of the Research Center where we can find the corrals where the giant tortoises are being breed as well as the corrals where the land iguanas are being studied. The Research Center offers a brand new Interpretation Center with some of the most important samples of the Center Collection.
Afterwards, visit to wooden workshops in Galapagos. Inspired by the unique beauty of the islands and using cedrella´s wood; one of the introduced species in Galapagos several years ago; galapagueños artists have dedicated their lives to capture in this wood images of fauna and flora of the archipelago. Their pieces are full are full of creativity and details that reflect the naturalness of the enchanted islands. During this visit we will know more about these skilled hands.
5. Navigable Tour to neighbor islands (sharing basis) USD 300 per person
Embark our motor yacht and enjoy of a daily excursion with a welcoming crew members and knowledgeable naturalist guide, and experience the remote islands in comfort and style.
Our daily excursions will take you to experience the Galapagos Islands in a safe and comfortable manner.
Check the boat´s weekly itinerary: Mondays and Thursdays visit to North Seymour and Bachas. Tuesdays and Fridays visit to South Plazas. Wednesday visit to Santa Fe Island. Saturdays visit to Bartolome and Sullivan Bay. Sundays visit to Bartolome.
** These excursions are subject to availability and change without prior notification
Discovery or Advanced Diving full days are also available with extra cost and previous reservation. Return to Galapagos Magic lodge in the afternoon for overnight
Day 3: Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island
Today we take an early morning speed boat and transfer to Isabela Island where we will check into our hotel. Our adventure begins with a tour of the Tintoreras, a group of small islands near the village of Puerto Villamil. The islands are named after the white tipped ‘Tintoreras’ reef sharks that swim in these calm waters. On Tintoreras we will see almost all of the archipelago’s iconic wildlife: white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, turtles, rays, penguins, and of course pelicans and blue footed boobies. It’s like the Galapagos in miniature! After walking on the island, we will have a chance to snorkel in the bay. 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 will visit to the breeding center where the Islands’ giant tortoise population is presently recovering. Expert guides will explain the process of breeding and then releasing into the wild.
Night at Isamar Hotel (Standard Room)
Included: breakfast, excursion, english speaking guide, transport, equipment rental, lunch, room.
Day 4: Isabela Island
Volcanic eruptions created all of 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 volcanicly 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 massive Sierra Negra volcano, and then onward 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. Despite the drizzle, we might see Galapagos hawks, finches, flycatchers and short-eared owls en route.
When we reach the rim of the Sierra Negra crater, the second largest in the world after the Ngorongoro in Tanzania, we will see the real reward for our efforts. The crater is so large, and the views so expansive, photos can’t do it justice, but bring your binoculars and camera anyway!
Later, as we head towards Volcan Chico, we may get the feeling we are walking on Mars due to the alien landscape. While it appears to be utterly desolate, a closer look reveals small lizards scurrying among the rocks. From its rim, we will enjoy more amazing views along with lava tubes and fumaroles.
After Volcan Chico and its extreme landscape, we will relax under the shade of a lovely “jaboncillo” tree to enjoy your box lunch while taking in the spectacular and expansive views over the central and northern parts of Isabela Island. In the distance, we will be able to see Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. We then head back down to complete our day of hiking (16 km in total) and relax on the beaches of Puerto Villamil.
Night at Isamar Hotel (Standard Room)
Included: english- speaking guide, transport, excursion, lunch, and breakfast
Day 5 - Isabella Island - Santa Cruz Island - Baltra Island
Today we take an early morning public speed boat back to Santa Cruz and then transfer by land to Baltra for our onward journey or flight back home.
2018 prices per person, double occupancy in US$: $1700. Single supplement = $175. Surcharge for Dec. 17-Jan. 5 = $250
2018 Dates: April 14-18, 16-20, 30-May 4, May 28-June 1, June 4-8, 16-20, July 2-6, Aug. 4-8, 20-24, 27-31, Sept. 10-14, 22-26, Oct. 1-5, Nov. 3-7, 5-9, 7-11, 21-26, Dec. 3-7, 15-19, 17-21
· All services described on the detailed program,
· All excursions with English/Spanish speaking guides
· All services on group basis
· Accommodations as per the itinerary,
· All transfers to/from the airports with local driver/guide,
· All entrance fees,
· Meals included in the program: daily breakfast and meals listed on the itinerary
· All airline tickets (domestic or international),
· Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US $100 per adult/$50 per child under 12)
· Tourist transit card (US $20 per person),
· Meals not mentioned in the program,
· Soft and alcoholic during meals and in general,
· Tips at airports, hotels and restaurants as well as tips in general,
· Personal expenses and other services not mentioned in the program,
· Early check-inn or Late Check-out
** Christmas and New Year Season surcharge (December 17 to January 05)
· Rates are only valid for the listed departures,
· Departures on mentioned dates are provided on sharing basis,
· Reservations with minimum 2 passengers,
· Limited spaces available on each departure,
· 10 passengers maximum on each departure in Ecuador
· Similar hotels will be confirmed in case of limited availability
· Prices are based in standard or interior rooms,
· Triple rooms are usually: double room plus additional bed or sofa bed (some hotels do not offer the possibility of triple rooms),
· All routes are subject to change without previous notice due to unexpected circumstances or weather conditions,
· Services not taken by the passengers will be subject to no refund,
· Rates are subject to change for which it will be reconfirmed at the time of reservation
Magic Galapagos is a million miles from the world’s hustle and bustle. Set in the highlands of Santa Cruz (and away from the waterfront crowds), this totally unique property surprises and delights. All six safari tents and four tree houses have gorgeous views, and guests are surrounded by nature as they sleep. Magic is a place to relax, walk the beautiful mountainside, turn your gaze to the beautiful heavens and to admire nature. Giant tortoises call Magic Galapagos their home much of the year, and guests might see a handful slowly moving through the grounds or many dozens dotting the meadow.
Sunsets from Magic are, well, magic! Enjoying the last light of day with a cocktail on the meadow deck is a relaxing pastime, as is sharing stories of the days’ adventures in front of the open-air main lodge’s crackling fire. Magic serves sumptuous, three course dinners. The chefs use their culinary skills in the open kitchen to turn local ingredients into creative and elegant dishes. An after dinner stroll to the ‘Lava Lounge’ for a nightcap is the perfect way to end the day.
Screened tree houses are equipped with a flush toilet and a basin/vanity with running water, as well as a small deck and bench. Twin beds are comfortable and windows allow guests to look at the stars as they fall into a peaceful sleep. Magic’s raised, walk-in safari tents are similarly equipped. There are two shared bathhouses with flush toilets and hot showers.
Hotel Isamar Isabela Island, galapagos, EcuadorIsaMar Hotel is idyllically located on Isabela’s beautiful white sand beachfront. Its setting gives guests sweeping views of Pacific waves, swaying palm trees and boats bobbing on the water.
The beautiful Galapagos retreat is walking distance to the tortoise breeding center, the flamingo lagoon, water activities and to the sandy streets of town where guests will find bakeries, restaurants and bars.
IsaMar’s rooms are the perfect base for exploring Isabela’s wonders. Hearty meals are available to keep visitors going on hikes and water activities, and outdoor social areas are ideal for taking a siesta, reading a book or stargazing late into the evenings.
Capacity – 10 rooms in five blocks
Full service restaurant and bar
Outdoor social areas
hot and cold water
one queen bed and one twin bed