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GALAPAGOS LUXURY EXPERIENCE

GALAPAGOS LUXURY EXPERIENCE

$4875 per person

Experience the famed volcanic Galapagos Islands with this luxury trip! The islands offer endless opportunities to witness a unique abundance of wildlife in a setting unlike any other on the planet. 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!


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12+ Age
8 Days
  • Departure
    Quito / Ecuador
  • Included
    Activities
    Land Transportation
    Meals detailed in the itinerary
  • Not Included
    Domestic flights
    Fees and entrances to parks and museums
    Airport tranfer in & out
    International flight
1
DAY 1: GALAPAGOS ARRIVAL DAY

Today we get ready to explore the most amazing archipelago on the Pacific coast and the place where Charles Darwin based his theory of the evolution of species. We will board a morning flight from Quito to the island of San Cristóbal. Once arrived, we have a transfer to the hotel in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and a short briefing about the next days, before the adventure begins. In the afternoon we will head to "La Loberia", which is both a home beach for large Galapagos sea lions, we can spot them while snorkeling, as they are very curios and approach to swim next to you underwater. They may also be laying over rocks or just lazy dozing in the sand. We also get to see yellow warbler birds, frigate birds, and several species of Darwin’s finches along the beach. In between the rocks we can find marine iguanas, which you can only see in Galapagos. We also have the time to go for a refreshing swim, explore the waters with our snorkel equipment and enjoy the beach.

Accommodation: Golden Bay Galapagos Hotel & Spa

Meals included: Dinner.

2
DAY 2: SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND - ISLA LOBOS OR KICKER ROCK

Option 1.- Isla Lobos (easy)

Today after breakfast, we will go by private boat to Isla Lobos, during this boat trip, we will observe many marine animals before even setting foot on the island. Upon arrival, enjoy a guided tour where you will have the chance to observe frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, manta, sea lions and sometimes sharks that all inhabit the island and its surrounding waters. The white coral beaches of San Cristóbal are great to walk around, relax and swim at before you return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Option 2.- Kicker Rock (moderate to challenging)
Today after breakfast, we will take a private boat to Kicker Rock, located off the coast of San Cristóbal, also known as the Sleeping Lion (Leon Dormido) because of some resemblance. This is the remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea, two vertical rocks rising 500 ft (150 m) above the ocean form a small channel that is navigable by small boats. This Galapagos Island’s natural monument has become a spectacular site due to the many tropic birds, frigate birds and boobies that fill the sky in this area. Beneath the sea, the crystal waters offer a brilliant show of colorful fish, such as rainbow fish and sharks, like the hammerhead and white tip. After lunch, we will spend some time on the beach and travel back to the hotel.
Accommodation: Golden Bay Galapagos Hotel & Spa

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

3
DAY 3: ISABELA ISLAND – BIKE AND KAYAK

In the morning, we take a flight to Isabela Island, 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.  

Once we arrive on the island, we will explore the beautiful coastline on an exclusive trail on our bikes, taking us through an incredible ecosystem with a wide variety of wildlife including flamingos, marine iguanas and giant tortoises. We start with a visit to the Wall of Tears, a massive wall built with lava rocks. This site dates back to the 1950s, when Isabela was used as a penal colony and prisoners were forced to build the wall to keep them from going mad, because of the isolation they experienced. As we continue our ride along the coast, we will explore pristine, white sand beaches, mangrove forests and lagoons. This area is filled with a plethora of bird life, including American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos, finches and many other shore birds, as well as the ubiquitous sea lions and marine iguanas.
In the afternoon we will visit Tintoreras Islet by kayak, 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.
Before dinner we can enjoy a breathtaking sunset on the beach of Puerto Villamil.
Accommodation: Iguana Crossing

Meals included: Breakfast.

4
DAY 4: HIKE IN SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO

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 June 2018. 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.

You will have the afternoon at leisure to explore the town by your own and enjoy the surroundings of this amazing island.
Accommodation: Iguana Crossing

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

5
DAY 5: 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. Before or after the trip, you can enjoy some optional activities such as snorkeling at "Concha de Perla", biking or just relax on the exotic white-sand beaches of Isabela Island.

Accommodation: Iguana Crossing

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

6
DAY 6: SANTA CRUZ ISLAND - HIGHLANDS

Today after a delicious breakfast in front of the Ocean, we will take a private boat to Santa Cruz Island. Once over there we will 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. After this, we will continue by car to the highlands of Santa Cruz. This area is home to the iconic giant Galapagos tortoises. Here while hiking short distances we will be able to find them along the pathway, we also have the opportunity to explore and go across a lava tube, our guide will explain how this amazing formations where created.

Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure to relax and introduce yourself to this beautiful Island.
Accommodation: Finch Bay Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

7
DAY 7: NAVIGABLE TOUR (UNDER AVAILABILITY)

North Seymour Island

North Seymour Island is regarded as a true highlight of any Galapagos travel itinerary. It’s easily reached from the north side of Santa Cruz Island and the Itabaca Channel, with a wealth of wildlife encounters in store.

This rocky island is home to one the most impressive colonies of different species of animals in the archipelago. While exploring, we encounter Great frigate birds which spend hours handing nesting materials to each other during courtship. We also find blue footed boobies cleaning the ground and transporting some twigs here and there, but never actually constructing a nest. The area where these birds lay their eggs is marked instead by a simple ring of white guano.

As we explore the shoreline, we cross a wide expanse of sand which is home to nests or black marine iguanas. Some of the islands' finest waves pound a boulder beach nearby – young sea-lions often body-surf here. Looking west, the two Daphne islands, Major and Minor, lie in the distance.

After a delicious lunch onboard the yacht, we head to Bachas Beach, a beautiful white coralline expanse. This is the perfect place for practicing snorkeling, swimming or to simply enjoy the white soft sand. Several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea provide feeding grounds for various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos.
Bartolome & Sullivan
Bartolome is a small Galapagos Island located 18 miles northwest from the Itabaca Channel. It’s among the most famous of all the islands, due to its fascinating volcanic landscapes and the wildlife encounters it promises.
Arriving in Bartolome is to enter an other-wordly landscape, witness to the islands’ volcanic origins. The summit trail begins with a dry landing, though accompanying sea-lions can make the purpose-built dock more exciting. The trail winds its way uphill over volcanic ash and past craters. The only vegetation is the pioneer Tiquilia plant and the greenish Chamaesyce.
Bartolome is considered one of the best snorkeling sites in the central islands of the archipelago. Here, we swim at the foot of the famous Pinnacle Rock and around its base, observing many species of parrot fish, marine turtles, sea lions and, if we’re lucky, Galapagos penguins.
After a lunch on board, we motor to Sullivan Bay, located on the eastern coast of Santiago Island. Sullivan Bay is the most interesting lava field in the Galapagos. A short walk on lava is a unique chance to experience the volcanic origins of the islands. “Pahoe hoe” and “AA” lava are the predominant shape in this moon scape. After a land visit we have time to snorkel and enjoy the amazing white sand beach, where it’s easy to observe many different species of fishes, some turtles, sea lions and hopefully Galapagos Penguins.
Accommodation: Finch Bay Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.

8
DAY 8: FLIGHT BACK TO MAINLAND

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.

Meals included: Breakfast.

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Accomodation
Destination
Value For Money
Overall
Transport
Meals

What's Included?

  • Transportation: Airport transfers, Interisland flight from San Cristobal to Isabela & to Baltra Island, sea transportation, comfortable land transportation.
  • Accommodation based in double occupancy:  Luxury hotels in San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz islands.
  • Meals: Included: 7 breakfasts, 5 lunches and 1 dinner.
  • Activities: Snorkeling in Isla Lobos, La Loberia and the Lava Tunnels, Biking to the Wall of Tears, 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.
  • Gear: Snorkeling mask and fins, life vest.
  • Trip Leader: Certified AJ expert English-speaking adventure leader and naturalist local guides in Galapagos National Park.

What is not included?

  • Airfare Quito - Galapagos - Quito round trip - estimated budget USD $535.
  •  My Own Room supplement cost USD.
  • Airfare International flights.
  • Travel insurance (mandatory).
  • Meals not described in the itinerary - estimated budget USD $180.

  • 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.

  • Tips for guides and drivers - estimated budget USD $120.

IMPORTANT DETAILS

ITINERARY DISCLAIMER: 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 to specific wildlife in the itinerary or trip details is not a guarantee that it will be seen during the trip.

FLIGHT TIME: 2h 45 min each way from Quito to Galapagos. Regular size aircraft. About 140 passengers. 45 minutes from San Cristobal to Isabela. Small size aircraft. 9 passengers.

DRIVING TIME

  • 45 minutes Airport transfers in Quito.
  • 45 minutes Airport transfers in Galapagos.
  • 45 minutes each way to Sierra Negra.

WATER: The waters of the Galapagos Islands are a unique mixture of warm and cold water, ranging between 65ºF and 85ºF

WEATHER TEMPERATURES: 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

AVG. TEMP.: Day 15-34ºC / 59-93ºF - Night 12-17ºC / 53-62ºF

ACCOMODATION: All prices are based on double-occupancy. If you are travelling 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.

MEALS: 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.

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 interpretation and education about the ecology and conservation of the Andes, Amazon Rainforest 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.