Galapagos Island Hopping Adventure | Trip Itinerary
Day 1: ARRIVAL IN QUITO. Our local representative will meet you at the airport, and transfer you to your hotel in the city of Quito. Spend the next two nights at a charming boutique hotel near to the the trendy touristic area of Mariscal (upgrades available on request)
Day 2: QUITO COLONIAL TOUR /HALF DAY (AM OR PM)
The place to start exploring Ecuador is Colonial Quito: a city of narrow cobblestone streets lined with whitewashed walls and, rising above, the steeples and cupolas of the city´s many spectacularly decorated historic churches. The city has one of the best preserved colonial centers in all South America, and its integrity was assured in 1978 when the United Nations declared Quito a World Cultural Heritage site.
Morning visit (recommended) to colonial Quito. (Note: if you have a very late flight arrival day 1 we can opt for an afternoon tour) We will walk through the Main Plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, La Compañía, and some of the most important churches built around the XVI and XVII centuries, including the San Francisco Monastery which was started 5 days after the founding of the city in 1534. Then we will visit the city’s famous La Ronda street, where we will learn about traditional work in Colonial Quito.
For our last stop, we will also be visiting the ‘Panecillo’, the hill that dominates the South of the city, and where we will be able to admire the famous statue of Our Lady of the Panecillo and enjoy spectacular views of Quito. Return to your hotel in the early with the remainder of the day free to explore the sites, museums, shops and restaurants of Quito. (B)
Day 3: QUITO-GALAPAGOS ISLANDS/PTO AYORA HOTEL/SANTA CRUZ ISLAND
Early morning transfer from your Quito hotel to the airport with our local driver. Here you'll need to process the through the Galapagos boarding formalities (agriculture screening, Transit Card, etc) before boarding your flight to Baltra Island in the Galapagos Islands. On arrival you'll be met and transferred by bus and ferry across the Itabaca channel to Santa Cruz Island. Your next stop will be in the highlands of Santa Cruz to the El Chato Tortoise Reserve, where you'll have your first wildlife encounter with these iconic creatures. Lunch is included before continuing across the island to to the town of Pto Ayora, where you check-in to your select hotel for a 3-night stay. Depending on timing of your flights, and arrival to Pto Ayroa--it's possible to also include a visit this afternoon to the Charles Darwin Research Station (note current restrictions require a guide for this visit) Or you can opt to relax at your hotel, explore the little town or perhaps have a drink in one of the local cafes. (B, L)
Day 4: BOAT TOUR TO NEARBY ISLAND
Travel by boat with your naturalist guide to visit one of the nearby islands and discover its diverse wildlife. Your trip will include either North Seymour and Bachas, South Plazas, Santa Fe Island or Bartolome, and Sullivan Bay--specific island you can visit is determined by the day of the week. Along the way, we might see leaping rays or other sea life, while enjoying the vastness of the Pacific. The yacht tour lets you see the Islands and their wildlife in their most pristine state. After your walking tour if the island(s) return to the boat for a delicious lunch before returning to Pto Ayora. Shared Tour (B L)
Day 5: WALK TO LAS GRIETAS AND KAYAK
From Puerto Ayora main pier we take a water taxi to the “Other Side Pier”. At this point we start an easy walk for about 1 Km (~0.6 mile) until we reach Las Grietas. This is a stunning geological formation named as fissure where we can see two impressive rock walls with an elongated crystal clear water pond ideal for snorkeling.
Later, visit to Tortuga Bay. After walking through a deciduous forest for 2.5 Km (~1.5 miles) we will reach one of the most beautiful beaches in the archipelago. We will continue walking along this white sand beach for another 1 Km (~0.6 mile) until we reach the Playa Mansa where we can enjoy a special kayaking ride around the Bay. Private Tour (B L)
**Options to visit a local coffee farm and sugar cane plantation; visit another nearby island by boat; or do a more challenging hike/kayak combo (Cerro Meza and Garrapatero kayak) available for an additional charge/on request.
DAY 6: PTO AYORA/SANTA CRUZ ISLAND TO PTO VILLAMIL/ISABELA ISLAND
Today we take an early morning speedboat to Isabela Island where we will check into our hotel. Our adventure begins with a tour of the Tintoreras, a group of small islands close to the town of Puerto Villamil. The islands are named after the white tipped ‘Tintoreras’ reef sharks that swim in these calm waters. On the Tintoreras we will see almost all the archipelago’s iconic wildlife: white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, turtles, rays, penguins, and of course pelicans and blue footed boobies. This is a Galapagos in miniature! After walking on the island, we will have a chance to snorkel in the bay. Don’t be surprised if some of the penguins or sea lions jump in to play alongside you in the water! (B, L)
Day 7: SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO HIKE
Volcanic eruptions created all the Galapagos Islands, and you will have a chance to see this geologic process first-hand as we explore Isabela, one of the archipelago’s youngest and most volcanically active islands.
We have the whole day to explore the Isabela highlands, and we start by hiking up to the crater of the massive Sierra Negra volcano, and then onward to the rim of the Volcan Chico. This fascinating walk usually begins with some morning fog and drizzle, which sometimes persists in the shadow of the volcano, adding to its mysterious character. Despite the drizzle, we may see Galapagos Hawks, finches, flycatchers and Short Eared Owls en route.
When we reach the rim of the Sierra Negra crater, the second largest in the world after the Ngorongoro in Tanzania, we will see the reward for our efforts. The crater is so large, and the views so expansive, photos can’t do it justice, but bring your binoculars and camera anyway!
Later, as we head towards Volcan Chico, we may get the feeling we are walking on Mars due to the alien landscape. And while the land appears to be utterly desolate, a closer look will reveal small lizards scurrying about among the rocks. From the crater’s rim, we will enjoy more amazing views along with lava tubes and fumaroles.
After Volcan Chico and its extreme landscape, we will be able to relax in the shade of a lovely “jaboncillo” tree, and enjoy our box lunch while taking in the spectacular and expansive views over the central and northern parts of the Island. In the distance, we will be able to see Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. We then head back down to complete our day of hiking (16 kilometers / 9,94 miles in total) and enjoy some free time to relax on the beaches of Puerto Villamil. (B, L)
DAY 8: DEPARTURE DAY
Today we take an early morning speed boat back to Santa Cruz and then transfer overland land to Baltra Airport for our onward journey or flight back home. You can continue to your time in Ecuador with a visit to the Otavalo Market, Papallacta Hot Springs, or head south along the Avenue of the volcanoes. (B)
B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner
Daily on request
4 people/2 rooms
From $2650 pp
2 people/1 room
From $3225 pp