The Best of Galapagos Adventure 7 days
Discover the enchanted Galapagos Islands through this island-hopping tour! The islands offer endless opportunities to explore a unique abundance of wildlife in a setting unlike any other on earth. The Galapagos form a natural sanctuary that preserves species, allowing them to evolve since countless millennia. This is one of the few places on earth that allows such intimate contact with so much wildlife. The tour also provides many benefits to local communities and is socially and environmentally responsible. Be part of an educational and inspirational journey of a lifetime in one of the most fiercely protected marine wilderness areas in the world!
- Snorkel through lava formations with sea turtles, penguins, sea horses, sea lions and sharks at Lava Tunnels
- Hike to the top of Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island and admire the surrounding moon-like landscapes
Snorkel with Sea Lions
Sea lions are a common sight in the Galápagos, be they flopped out on a sandy shore or darting through the ocean with their rubberized twists and turns. Even on a short trip to the Galápagos, then, you should see their muzzles popping up near your boat or, better still, be able to wander among their beached forms, especially on Santa Cruz, Isabela and Española.
This is the largest Island of The Galapagos by having about the 50% of the whole Archipelago, it is also one of the youngest and has the most incredible wildlife easily seen while walking along the beach, snorkeling or kayaking in the different allowed spots, or just while sitting and having a drink at the outside of your hotel.
Los Tuneles is an area of naturally occurring underwater stone tunnels, they are the remainder of lava tubes and make the landscape look like something out of a different world, here while snorkeling you can spot some of the best wildlife of the Archipelago.
Staying in the Islands
This is really nice because you will spend time learning about the local people, have the chance to go see how the fishermen arrive with the fresh seafood, and also experience the local gastronomy while having a delicious dinner at family-run restaurants, all this plus staying on beautiful hotels and practicing sustainably travel.
Charles Darwin Research Station
Is it a very important visit to have an educational walk while seeing many different species of tortoises, as well as learning about the trip of Charles Darwin and to have a better understanding of the evolution of the species.
This is the most representative animals of the Galapagos Islands, These tortoises can weigh as much as 417 kg (919 lb) and can grow to be 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) long. These amazing reptiles originally made their way to islands from the mainland; while doing this trip you will have the opportunity to be really close to these creatures in their natural habitat.
Sierra Negra Volcano
This is a large shield volcano at the southeastern end of Isabela Island that rises to an altitude of 1.124m. It is one of the most active of the Galapagos volcanoes with the most recent historic eruption in October 2005.
Day 1: Quito
ARRIVAL IN QUITO CITY
Welcome to Quito! The biggest, best-preserved colonial city of America was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and the second most important city of the old Inca Empire.
Depending on arrival time, you can spend your day exploring the old town of Quito and the surrounding area. Adventure Journeys can help you to organize a day trip, please do a request with time in advance. In the evening, one of our trip leaders will meet you at the hotel’s lobby for a welcome briefing at 18:00 hours, and there will be plenty of time to discuss details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an informational and acclimation day.
Accommodation: Mercure Alameda or similar visite website
Day 2: Galapagos - Isabela
TRAVEL DAY TO GALAPAGOS
Today we get ready to explore the most amazing archipelago in the Pacific coast and the place where Charles Darwin based its theory of the evolution of species. We board a morning flight from Quito to the island of Baltra.Once arrived, we head to the town of Puerto Ayora, the biggest town in Galapagos. From here we take a fast boat to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago and the place where the most volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. The island is formed by six shield volcanoes, Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf, five of them still active, and therefore the island is one of the most volcanically active places on earth. During our island crossing, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October).
The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador, it is really important to understand that you will have to take different air, road and sea transportation to get there.
Flying time.- 3 hours (including the stop at Guayaquil city on the way to Baltra airport)
Speedboat time from Santa Cruz to Isabela.- 2 hours (If you normally get seasick is very important to take medication before getting on the boat)
What to wear today.- Light pants, t-shirt, fleece top, tennis shoes, hat, sun cream.
Accommodation: Cormorant Beach house or similar
Day 3: Isabela Island
SNORKEL IN LAVA TUNNELS & FREE TIME
Today, we explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the Volcanic Island along the seashore. This magical place is been used by the staff of BBC /National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches inside the breakers with crystal clear water full of huge sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, fish, white-tipped reef sharks and more. Turtles navigate their own highway from the mangroves to the open sea through "Los Tuneles".
Over here, we will have the best snorkeling opportunity with all these beautiful animals, including the curious Galapagos penguin playing around. Before or after the trip, you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkeling at "Concha de Perla", taking surfing lessons, biking or just relax on the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island. We recommend you to take some time to visit the giant tortoise breeding center located walking distance from the hotel.
Boat ride to the Lava Tunnels time: 1 hour each way
Snorkeling time: 2 times of 1 hour each
What to wear today.- shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, sandals or tennis shoes, bathing suit, hat or baseball cap, sun cream, mosquito repellent, buff.
Accommodation: Cormorant House or similar
Day 4: Sierra Negra
HIKING SIERRA NEGRA & KAYAKING IN TINTORERAS
After driving up from Puerto Villamil to the trailhead, we prepare our backpacks and hike into a young forest ecosystem, a world of recent geological history, our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra Crater, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005.
Upon arrival, we take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive, lava-filled crater, over six miles across at its widest point. If we feel energetic enough, we can continue our hike to Volcan Chico, a secondary crater that has a wild landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations, great examples of the dramatic geological events that have forged the Galapagos Islands over millennia.
In the afternoon we will visit Tintoreras Islet, located at a short distance from Puerto Villamil and home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, turtles and sea lions. One of its beaches surrounded by mangroves is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can reproduce successfully.
Hiking time.- 4 hours both ways
Hiking distance.- 6 miles (10 miles optional to Volcan Chico)
Hiking elevation gain.- 950 feet, 289 meters
Maximum elevation while hiking.- 3687 feet, 1124 meters
Kayaking time.- 2 hours
Snorkeling time.- 1 hour
What to wear today for hiking.- shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes, rain jacket, hat, buff, sun cream, mosquito repellent.
What to wear today for kayaking and snorkeling.- sandals, shorts, water long sleeve t-shirt, bathing suit, hat, sun cream, mosquito repellent.
Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island
SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS & CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION VISIT
In the morning we embark on a fast boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. During our island crossing, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October)
We will have time to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about many of the endemic species we met during our adventure, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands, lunch is on your own and in the afternoon, we head to the 'El Chato' Reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoise, hiking through this beautiful scenery with those lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers and finches on our hike.
We can also observe frigate birds which gather to wash the salt off their feathers at a freshwater lake. We return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town, your guide will help you organize a great last dinner on the Islands.
What to wear today.- shorts, t-shirt, tennis shoes or sandals, hat, rain jacket (for the boat ride), sun cream.
Accommodation: Hotel Silberstein or similar visite website
Day 6: Quito
TRANSFER TO BALTRA AIRPORT - FLIGHT BACK TO QUITO
After our final breakfast on the Galapagos Island and the last photos taken of sea lions, we have a transfer to Baltra's airport in time to catch the flight back to the mainland.
What to wear today.- Pants, t-shirt, fleece top, tennis shoes, hat.
Accommodation: Mercure Alameda or similar visit website
Day 7: Quito - Departure
DEPARTURE DAY END OF SERVICE
Today our trip will end and you will have your International departures. Take with you your memories and photos and leave a piece of your heart, as you will want to return to Ecuador soon to experience more of this enchanted land. We wish you a "buen viaje"!
- Transportation: Airport transfers (domestic flights), sea transportation Santa Cruz - Isabela islands round trip, comfortable land transportation.
- Accommodations based in double occupancy: First Class hotel in Quito, 4-star hotels in Galapagos
- Activities: Snorkeling in the Lava Tunnels, Trekking to the top of Sierra Negra active volcano, snorkeling, and kayaking in Tintoreras, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, hiking in Santa Cruz highlands.
- Meals Included: 6 breakfasts and 2 box lunches
- Gear: Snorkeling mask and fins, life vest
- Trip Leader: Certified EPL expert English-speaking Adventure Naturalist local guides
- My Own Room supplement: USD $610
- Airfare Quito - Galapagos - Quito round trip (Estimated Budget $610)
- International flights
- Airport transfer (international flights)
- Travel insurance (mandatory)
- Meals not described in the itinerary - estimated budget USD $180 USD
- INGALA transit card: USD $20 per person, cash only (subject to change)
- Galapagos National Park fee: USD $100 per person, cash only (subject to change)
- USD $10 pier-use fee at Puerto Villamil
- Snorkeling gear (mask and fins) for optional activities: USD $8 per day per person
- Wetsuit for rent: USD $10
In this journey, you will experience a great diversity of Island ecosystems, including cloud forest, dry forest and with sandy beaches. So please see the list below for what we recommend as the packing list.
We recommend the use of a duffel bag (60 liters) for the main luggage and a daypack (20 liters) with rain cover for activities.
REMEMBER: IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO TRAVEL LIGHT!
- Travel insurance
- Airline tickets
- Credit or debit card
- 1 Buff
- 1 Fleece top
- 1 Rain jacket
- 4 Shirts/t-shirts
- 2 Long sleeve water t-shirt for snorkeling
- 3 Shorts
- 1 Long trousers or light hiking pants
- 2 Swimming suit
- 2 Extra formal clothing for the nightlife
- 1 Sport sandals (Chacos, keens or similar)
- 1 Flip flops
- 1 Tennis shoes
- 1 Watch or alarm clock
- 1 Binoculars
- 1 Insect repellent
- 1 Sun cream 50 SPF
- 1 Sun hat or baseball cap
- 1 Camera – waterproof if possible
- 1 Water bottle
- 1 Sunglasses
- First-aid kit(should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
It is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described; however, due to our travel style, on occasions, it may be necessary or desirable to make small changes. Weather conditions and unpredictable local circumstances may lead us to make alterations to the route and/or travel times. Hotels and flight schedules might change according to availability. Any mention of specific wildlife in the itinerary or trip details is not a guarantee that it will be seen during the trip.
2h 45 min each way from Quito to Galapagos. Regular size aircraft. About 140 passengers
BOAT TRAVEL TIME
2 hours each way from Isabela to Santa Cruz
45 minutes each way - Lava Tunnels
15 minutes each way - Tintoreras
45 minutes Airport transfers in Quito
45 minutes Airport transfers in Galapagos
45 minutes each way in Sierra Negra
Tintoreras: 1 hour.
Lava Tunnels: 2 times of 1 hour each.
Sierra Negra: 30 minutes easy uphill; 1 and a half hours on flat terrain; 30 minutes downhill; 2 hours same way back
December to May: 80ºF to 90ºF / 25ºC to 30ºC. June to September: 60ºF to 70ºF / 15ºC to 20ºC. October to December: 70ºF to 80ºF/ 15ºC to 25ºC
The waters of the Galapagos Islands are a unique mixture
of warm and cold water, ranging between 65ºF and 85ºF
From sea level to 600m (1900ft)
Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF - Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF
Moderate to Challenging the hiking in Sierra Negra is moderate but long and muddy during the wet season (from July to November); snorkeling is easy.
Travelling with Adventure Journeys you will have the possibility to experience and taste local food and snacks. Your guide will help you identify typical food and suggest the best places to enjoy it. Some meals are not included in order to give you some flexibility about where what and with whom to eat. You have the option to share these meals with the group, however, there is no obligation to do this. If you have any allergies or food restrictions, please inform AJ prior to your departure.
All prices are based on double occupancy. If you are traveling solo, you will be matched with another participant of your same sex. If you prefer to have a single room, please contact AJ prior to your departure to arrange your accommodation at an extra cost.
YOUR TRIP LEADERS AND GUIDES
All AJ guides and trip leaders are highly experienced, licensed to operate in Ecuador and certified as Wilderness Adventure First Aid responders. We always carry a complete first aid kit in our trips. In some location and for some activities, local guides join the trip leaders to provide an added service. In the Galapagos Islands, minimum 4 participants for the AJ trip leader service are required.
SUSTAINABLE ECO AND CULTURAL TOURISM
Clients receive a conservationist interpretation of the ecology of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands with the factors that threaten it. We aim to promote long-term conservation of both Local People cultural identity and their environment. Your visit will encourage them to support responsible ecotourism. We transport out and recycle all non-organic garbage.