Natural Essential Galapagos Island Hopping - 7 Days
DAY 1: SAN CRISTOBAL ADVENTURE
Your morning flight from the Ecuadorian mainland will arrive at San Cristobal Island, from there you can make your way to your hotel. Wander around the town and choose somewhere to have lunch. Once you’ve eaten, your Galapagos wildlife voyage begins with a self-guided walk to explore the local Interpretation Center, delving deep into unique wildlife, geology, natural history, and human history of these amazing islands. In the evening, you’re free to taste some of San Cristobal’s legendary seafood in the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno by yourself. (-)
Day 2 - SNORKEL THE NORTHERN COAST OF SAN CRISTOBAL
A day dedicated to discovering the astonishing underwater world of the Galapagos, snorkeling in crystal waters! Our knowledgeable guides lead a shared group in search of sea turtles, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies around the nearby coves and cliffs. It’s likely you’ll find yourself playing with sea lions – the young pups are ever-curious and mischievous. There’s every chance that we’ll be sharing the seas with eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and thousands of tropical fish as we snorkel. When the afternoon sun begins to fade, we come back to the hotel for a peaceful evening enjoying the sleepy island town. (B, Box Lunch).
Day 3.- DISCOVER ISABELA’S BEACHES, LAGOONS, AND ISLETS
We breakfast, then bid farewell to San Cristobal to board our light aircraft for an inspiring journey across the islands’ crystal seas and jagged scenery to Isabela Island, one of the most volcanically active spots on the planet. In fact, many locals witnessed the last major eruption in 2005. Once checked into your hotel, set out on a one-of-a-kind, self-guided easy hike. Isabela is a true treasure trove. As you explore along wooden walkways, observe an incredible variety of fauna and flora, including giant tortoises, flamingos, finches and mockingbirds.
Continue through coastal ecosystems including white sand beaches, the alluring poison apple forest, a gaping lava tube, dark mangroves and brackish lagoons. Seafood, Ecuadorian and international cuisine are all available in the small beach town of Puerto Villamil, and you’re free to sample them by yourself.
You can grab a quick dip in the ocean, or a swing in a hammock, before setting out to explore the Tintoreras visitor site, as part of a shared basis boat tour. It’s a group of small rocky islets filled with hidden coves and isolated beaches, explored by small boat and with snorkeling gear. Get ready for close encounters with the endemic Galapagos penguin, as well as reef sharks, sea turtles and sea lions. At the end of the day, your evening is free and easy. (B).
Day 4 - HIKING IN ISABELA’S HIGHLANDS
We leave the coast, and with a shared group drive up to the great Sierra Negra volcano, continuing on foot when the road turns into a walking trail. We walk through the captivating highland environment; sometimes our path is surrounded in other-worldly mist. At the top, at the volcano’s edge, centuries of volcanic activity reveal themselves to us, as we drink in the astounding sight of different tones of lava, pristine landscapes and a stunning ocean backdrop. We take a break and enjoy the views, then hike the rim to the caldera. Groups who are not yet tiring can continue on to the caldera of Volcan Chico (“little”), a mystical panorama of sulphur deposits, remarkable lava formations and even wheezing fumaroles of vapor.
Coming back to the lowlands, we pass our final afternoon on Isabela unwinding on the pristine beaches and absorbing the laidback vibe. You choose your dinner arrangements among the various restaurants and bars by yourself. (B, Box Lunch)
Day 5.- CROSS TO SANTA CRUZ FOR A HIKE IN THE HIGHLANDS We take an early morning public speed boat out of Isabela, heading for Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Ayora, the Galapagos’ largest settlement. We’ll be waiting for you at the dock to show you to your hotel. After a quick turnaround, we head out in search of the famous Galapagos giant tortoises. We make our way up to the highlands where these hulking creatures make their way through the territory they made their home many centuries ago. It is truly an honor to walk in the stately presence of these gentle giants. Look out for pintail ducks, Darwin’s finches, frigate birds, egrets and the vermillion flycatcher in this exuberant, verdant ecosystem. Lunch is served at a traditional hacienda in the highlands.
We head back to the coast at Puerto Ayora. You’re free to enjoy the port’s array of shops and restaurants, before perhaps visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station and the National Park’s tortoise breeding program on your own. In the evening, there are plenty of options in town for dining on your own and a handful of bars. (B, L).
Day 6 - BAY TOUR, SNORKEL AND TORTUGA BAY ADVENTURE
A whole day to investigate Puerto Ayora’s amazing ecosystems. A naturalist guide joins us after breakfast and with a shared group we take a boat and head west from the port, pausing by the Lobería where we can observe sea lions. We arrive at the islet of Punta Camaño, a perfect spot to put on our snorkels, masks and fins to swim with sea lions and brightly colored fish. Getting romantic in the Canal del Amor, we then come to shore at Playa de los Perros, where inky-black marine iguanas warm themselves on the rocks.
You can have lunch on your own in Puerto Ayora – where there are options aplenty for you to choose from – before taking a short hike to one of the world’s most splendid beaches: Tortuga Bay. If you’ve got energy to spare, rent a surf board at the first beach you come to, or a kayak at the second. The second beach is a calm spot for those wishing to relax, surrounded by mangroves and perfect for spotting wildlife or taking a dip. You can choose your dinner arrangements on your own. (B).
Day 7 - TRANSFER OUT
Finally, it’s time to bid a fond farewell to the Galapagos. You board a transport to take you north over Santa Cruz Island to the Itabaca Channel. At this point we leave you to continue your journey alone: all that remains is a hop on a ferry and a short bus ride to take you to Baltra Island’s airport. (B)
2021 Prices per person, double occupancy, in US$:
comfort class hotel = $1978 per person
premium class hotel = $2834 per person
HOTELS (subject to availability):
Comfort: Opuntia, Casita de la Playa and Fernandina
Premium: Golden Bay, Iguana Crossing and Angermeyer Waterfront Inn
Accommodations in Comfort or Premium Class hotels
shared services throughout the program
meals as listed (B = breakfast / BL = Box Lunch)
bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide
all sea and land transportation during the tour
24-hour telephone assistance
coordinator staff on San Cristobal and Isabela islands.
Air Tickets from/to Galapagos
Galapagos National Park Entry Fee – $100.00 US per person.
Migratory Control Card – $20.00 US per person.
Soft-drinks and alcoholic beverages.
**Itinerary subject to change without prior notice depending on seasonal changes, weather conditions, and adjustments in policies set by the Galapagos National Park, or other unforeseen circumstances that may arise **
BOAT TRAVEL TIME: Two hours
SMALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT TIME: 40 minutes
The weight restriction per person for the interisland flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is 25 pounds in one piece of luggage.
ALTITUDE: 0 – 3,688 feet (1,124 meters) above sea level
WEATHER: During the warm season from January to May, air temperature is around 77 to 83 F (25 to 28 C) at sea level. During the cool season from June to December, air temperature is around 70 to 75 F (21 to 24 C) at sea level. Temperature decreases with altitude
WATER TEMPERATURE: During the warm season from January to May, water temperature hovers around 77 F (25 C). During the cool season from June to December, average water temperature is about 72 F (22 C). Water temperature also varies significantly by location.
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK: Walking shoes, rain jacket, water bottle, non-cotton trekking clothes, sunblock, sun hat, and repellent.