Kick off your Galapagos adventure in San Cristobal, where not much happens, so it’s lucky we’re not sticking around for long. Head on over to Isla Isabela, where tortoises roam free and sharks have their very own alley to chill in, go iguana spotting in Tortuga Bay, splash about with a raft of sea lions and pay your respects to the late, great Lonesome George, who was the world’s last Giant Pinta tortoise, in Santa Cruz.
Welcome to San Cristobal! Today you'll be joining with other travellers arriving from Quito. This afternoon take an included visit to the Interpretation Centre and learn about the human and natural history of the Galapagos islands. Afterwards perhaps hike up to Frigatebird Hill or head to Mann beach and chill.
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal. You may also like to take an optional boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos. This is one of your leader's favourite optional activities. You'll be able to observe the famous Galapagos marine life along the way, and have the opportunity to go snorkelling with sea turtles, eagle rays and the harmless Galapagos shark, just to name a few.
Early in the morning, take a two-and-a-half hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. Once in Santa Cruz have breakfast and Settle into the hotel. Mid-morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museums contain information about the islands and the conservation efforts being made to preserve the unique ecosystem here. It's also a great place to have close encounters with giant tortoises. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe these giants roaming in their natural habitat.
Travel to Isabela Island. Check-in to the hotel and enjoy breakfast. The island is the largest in the Galapagos and one of the most volcanically active places on earth. A worthwhile optional activity today is an excursion to Tintoreras Island, home to the rare Galapagos penguin. The excursion will then take you to "shark alley", where white-tipped sharks rest during the day. This is also a popular nesting site for the endemic marine iguanas.
Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well learn about the preservation program of this unique species. Take a bus to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between five and six hours both ways, but at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the rocky climb. During the rainy season it can get quite muddy. There is an option to hire gumboots locally, should you wish to do so. During the hike it can get quite hot, there isn't much shade along the way so be sure to come prepared with your hat and sunscreen etc. After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner. Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you.
Travel back to Santa Cruz in the morning. We'll enjoy breakfast back in Santa Cruz. Consider taking part in some of the optional activities available, such as an excursion to Tortuga Bay, an immaculate natural paradise where you can go kayaking, observe marine iguanas and birds or swim with harmless sharks in an alcove. You may also like to rent some snorkelling gear while you're here.
This morning your Galapagos adventure comes to an end. Say goodbye to your fellow travellers who may be continuing on to Quito to finish their trip. Departing airport: The closest airport is Baltra. Passengers ending this trip in Quito will be taking their included flight at around 10am. Should you wish to join this transfer to Baltra airport it will be leaving the hotel at approximately 7am. If you be making your own way to the airport later in the day, the easiest way is to take a taxi followed by a ferry which will cost approximately USD26. This can be arranged locally.
Minimum: 1 Maximum: 15
Get a quick and dirty taste of Galapagos... well, maybe not dirty, but this short trip is jam-packed with adventure
Collect solid gold bragging rights after climbing Isla Isabela's volcano. The views don't get much better than this
Get up close and personal with the stars of the show: the Galapagos giant tortoises
Snorkel through underwater realms of freaky looking fish and sharks that don't actually bite
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