Galapagos on a shoestring
The mythical status of the Galapagos Islands is richly deserved. Find out why on a wildlife-filled adventure that’s within everyone’s reach. Isolation from the rest of the world for millions of years has given the islands a unique biodiversity and they’re filled with rare and distinctive species. Cruise between the volcanic islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal and get up close to these animals as you wander alongside giant tortoises in the highlands, glide through azure waters with sea turtles and make friends with sea lions as blue-footed boobies and frigates land on volcanic rocks next to you. You’re sure to feel like a professional naturalist on this unforgettable trip to the Galapagos. 2018 TRIP ITINERARY CHANGE – From January Next year this trip will operate in the reverse order, starting in San Cristobal. Please follow the link below to view the 2018 Essential information.
Your tour to Ecuador includes:
- The Galapagos Islands played a profound role in forming Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Explore the islands on this in-depth adventure, coming face-to-face with some of the most extraordinary wildlife on earth
- Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island
- Get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. These nearly extinct creatures are one of the greatest drawcards to the Galapagos
- Snorkel through underwater worlds replete with colourful wildlife
- Breakfasts Included: 6
- Hostel (2 nts),Hotel (4 nts)
- Speed boat,Private Vehicle,Public bus
- Age: min 15
- Group Size: 1 - 15
- Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
- Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
- Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
- Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
- Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
Day 1 Baltra / Isla Isabela
Welcome to Baltra! Today you'll be joining with other travellers arriving from Quito.
After meeting up, transfer to Puerto Ayora and take a public speed boat Isabela Island (about-two-and-a-half hours). When you arrive at Isabela Island, you'll need to pay a port fee of USD 5. In the afternoon, go for a orientation walk.
Day 2 Isla Isabela
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.
Day 3 Isla Isabela
Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. 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.
Day 4 Santa Cruz Island
Early in the morning, take a two-and-a-half hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. Settle into the hotel and the 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.
Day 5 Isla San Cristobal
This morning you'll have some free time to make the most of your remaining hours on Isla 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.
Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal by public boat for about two and a half hours. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a orientation walk of the island, where you may spot your first sea lions of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Day 6 Isla San Cristobal
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal. Why not do some of the optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, such as make an excursion to Mann Beach or Frigatebird Hill? 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.
Day 7 San Cristobal
On the last day of your adventure, get one last insight into the history of these fascinating islands at the Interpretation Center. Learn about the human and natural history of the Galapagos islands. Afterwards, you'll be transferred to San Cristobal airport, where your trip comes to an end and you're free to make your way onwards.
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