The Best of Galapagos Adventure 7 days
Discover the enchanted Galapagos Islands through this island-hopping tour! The islands offer endless opportunities to witness a unique abundance of wildlife in a setting unlike any other on the planet. Due to it’s isolation, the Galapagos formed a natural sanctuary that preserves species, allowing them to evolve over countless millennia. This is one of the few places on earth that allows such close and intimate contact with the 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’ 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
SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO
SNORKELING WITH SEA TURTLES, RAYS, PENGUINS AND SEA LIONS
KAYAK TO VIEW WILDLIFE
TINTORERAS AND LAVA TUNNELS
CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION
ENCOUNTER WITH WILD GIANT TORTOISES
Day 1: Arrival day
Meet your AJ trip leader and group at 6:00pm.
Welcome to Quito! The largest, best-preserved colonial city of America - declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. The city is considered the Cultural Capital of South America and is located on the equator in a valley at the foothills of the Pichincha volcano.
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 request 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. At this time we will discuss the details and questions you may have regarding the adventure. Our first day is an acclimation and information day.
Accommodation: Dann Carlton or similar visite website
Day 2: Galapagos - Isabela
Today we get ready to explore the most amazing archipelago in the Pacific coast and the place where Charles Darwin based his theory on the evolution of species. We will board a morning flight from Quito to the island of Baltra. Once we arrive, we head to the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galapagos. From here we will take a quick boat to the largest island in the archipelago and where the most of the volcanic activity in the Galapagos is reported. The island was formed by six shield volcanoes, Alcedo, Cerra Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf; five of them are still active which makes the island one of the most volcanically active places on earth. During our island crossing, be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October).
The Galapagos Islands is located 600 miles (965.6 km) from the coast of Ecuador, it is really important to understand that you will have to take air, road and sea transportation to get there.
Flying time: 3 hours (including the stop at Guayaquil city on the way to Baltra airport)
Speed boat 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: Snorkel at Lava Tunnels
Explore the amazing formations of lava created by the last eruptions of the volcanic island along the seashore. This magical place has historically been filmed by BBC and National Geographic for their documentaries. It is a labyrinth of lava arches comprised of crystal clear water full of sea turtles, eagle rays, sea lions, sharks and more. The turtles navigate their own highway from the mangroves to the open sea through "Los Tuneles". Here, we will have the best snorkeling opportunity with all these beautiful animals, including the curious Galapagos penguins playing around.
This will be 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: Hike and Kayak
After driving up from Puerto Villamil to the trail head, we will prepare our backpacks for the 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, a caldera that is 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 formed 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, marine 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 (9.6 km) (10 miles -16 km- optional to Volcan Chico)
Hiking elevation gain: 950 feet (289.5 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: Charles Darwin Station
In the morning, traverse from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. During our island crossing, we will be on the lookout for dolphins and whales (July to October). Once we arrive, we will check in at the hotel. We will then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to Learn more about many of the endemic species seen in the wild, as well as the ongoing conservation and management efforts on the Galapagos Islands. In the afternoon, we will head to the 'El Chato' reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises. Hiking through El Chato's beautiful landscape with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience! We will also see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigatebirds, which gather to wash the salt off their feathers at a fresh water lake. Afterwards, return to Puerto Ayora to spend the evening in Galapagos' most populous town.
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: 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: Dann Carlton or similar visit website
Day 7: Quito - Departure
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: Comfortable land and sea transportation.
- Accommodation based on 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: 6 Breakfasts & 2 lunches
- Allow USD 180 for meals not included.
- Gear: Snorkeling mask and fins, life vest
- Staff & Trip Leader: Certified AJ expert English-speaking adventure leader and 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.
Traveling 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.
Vegetarians, Vegans and Gluten Free people are very welcome in our trip, our guides are always ready to coordinate with chefs and restaurants for substitute meals for them, as Ecuador is very well known for its great diversity of gastronomy.
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 from the Tourism University to operate in Ecuador and certified as Wilderness Adventure First Aid respondents. They all have approved several extra training courses for kayaking, rafting, biking and horse riding, besides this they all are Ecuadorian and have a fantastic personality. We always carry a complete first aid kit in our trips.
In some locations and for some activities, local guides join the trip leaders to provide an added service and make sure we practice sustainable tourism involving local indigenous people in our operation.
In the Galapagos Islands, minimum 4 participants for the AJ trip leader service are required.
SUSTAINABLE ECO AND CULTURAL TOURISM
Clients receive interpretation and education about the ecology and conservation of the Andes, Amazon rain forest and Galapagos Islands, and learn about the factors that threaten it. We aim to promote long-term conservation of both local people cultural identity and the environment. We transport out and recycle all non-organic garbage and we prefer to work with local suppliers. Your visit will encourage the local communities to support responsible eco-tourism as a sustainable alternative for their living.
Please inform AJ of any existing medical conditions (i.e. pregnancy, diabetes, etc). Yellow fever, Hepatitis B vaccination and Malaria Medication are mandatory for this trip. We strongly recommend to ensure that routine immunizations such as tetanus and diphtheria are up to date and to consider Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations. Please ask your doctor for advice.