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.
Say hello to your new travel pals and get to know each other at a welcome meeting. Learn about local flora, fauna and all things eco during a trip to the Interpretation Center. Get amongst it with a hike up Tijeretas Hill. At the top you’ll be rewarded with awesome views and a protected cove where you can snorkel with cheeky sea lions.
Enjoy a free day on San Cristobal, with plenty of optional activities if you want some structure. Your leader loves the boat ride to Kicker Rock. If you decide to go, you'll have the opportunity to go snorkelling with sea turtles, eagle rays and the harmless Galapagos shark. Or maybe you’d prefer to soak up some rays on Mann Beach, where the sunsets are legendary.
Rise and shine for the 2.5 hour public speed boat ride to Santa Cruz. Have some brekky and settle into the hotel before heading to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here you’ll learn more about the islands unique ecosystem and conservation efforts being made to preserve it. 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.
Head to Isabela Island, the largest in the Galapagos and one of the most volcanically active places on earth. Though there are no formal plans for the day, a worthwhile optional activity 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. Then, 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 the view is unforgettable. 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.
Travel back to Santa Cruz in the morning, where we’ll have breakfast before you do you thing. 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. If you’re short on cash there’s plenty to do for free on the island. One great option is a relaxed afternoon stroll of the pier in Puerto Ayuro, where you can spot bright red crabs against the black volcanic rock under the boardwalk.
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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