As the basis of Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Galapagos has a bit of a reputation. And boy does it live up to it. Y’know, if you’re into massive tortoises, swimming lizards, more birds than you can shake your binoculars at, and volcanoes. Let’s be honest – who isn’t into all of that?
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5 or 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
Transfer to Quito airport early this morning for your flight to San Cristobal. Take an afternoon 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, 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.
Take a two-and-a-half-hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz where you'll have breakfast and settle into the hotel. Mid-morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where the 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 the 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. It can get quite muddy during the rainy season and there is the option to hire gumboots locally should you wish to do so. It can get quite hot during the hike and there isn't much shade so be sure to come prepared with your hat and sunscreen. 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 where we'll enjoy breakfast. 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.
We bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands and all its inhabitants and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of our tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay. Hit the tiles in Quito to talk about all those giant tortoise you saw whilst knocking back a couple of Canelazos. Heavenly.
Our tour ends today after breakfast.There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time here before, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito. Please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.
Minimum: 1 Maximum: 15
Say hello to Quito, its prettyful churches and beautilicious boulevards
Collect your 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
Go snorkelling through underwater realms of freaky fish and sharks that don't actually bite
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