Land exploration of the Galápagos Islands
Prefer land-based over yacht-based? Settle into comfortable hotels and lodges on the Galápagos Islands and explore facets of the Islands not usually visited by tourist boats. Kayak and snorkel in coastal waters, hike up Sierra Negra volcano, and visit a tortoise breeding center.
Galapagos Travel & Adventures: See all trips
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Moderate hiking, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling, wildife viewing; minimum age is 10
- Kayak, snorkel and hike in the world's top nature destination
- Hike on an active volcano (whose last eruption was just five years ago!)
- Experience up close and personal encounters with wildlife
- A perfect alternative to our yacht-based adventures
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Quito End Location: QuitoDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrive in Quito
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador.
Day 2 : Quito Colonial City Tour & Equatorial Monument
After a full buffet breakfast at the Swissotel this morning, meet your guide for a tour of historic Colonial Quito for a taste of rich culture of Ecuador. Following your visit, take a 40 minute drive to the ecuator and the official Equatorial Monument and Intiñán Museum, an eclectic private outdoor museum, right at the Equator, only a few hundred yards from the official monument and a more interactive experience than the official Equatorial monument museum. Here visitors can observe several aspects of Ecuadorian native culture and perform experiments with unique results because of the location at the equatorial line. Lunch at El Crater, located on the rim of Pululahua Crater, close to the Equatorial line. Dinner on your own tonight.
Day 3 : To the Galápagos –San Cristóbal Island
After breakfast at the hotel, an early transfer to the airport for your flight from Quito to the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival on San Cristóbal Island, you will need to pay your Galápagos National Park entrance fee ($100) and meet your Galapagos Naturalist Guide. Collect your bags and transfer to your hotel, the take your first hike in Galápagos through a typical dry forest to Cerro Tijeretas and an outlook famous for its frigate birds and other shore birds. Return to town for lunch on your own. This afternoon, take a van ride to visit El Junco, the only fresh water lake in the Islands. If desired, we can bring bicycles for a ride back town through the beautiful landscapes in the highlands of San Cristóbal or continue by van to Puerto Chino on the southern side of the Island. Dinner on your own this evening.
Day 4 : San Cristóbal Island and beyond – Cerro Brujo, Kicker Rock, Isla Lobos – Snorkel & Hike
After breakfast we’ll depart for a snorkeling excursion and explore Cerro Brujo,home to blue footed boobies, brown pelicans, marine iguanas, sally lightfoot crabs, sea turtles, sea lions, and rays. Then we're off to Kicker Rock—a towering vertical rock formation off the coast of San Cristóbal.
Day 5 : Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island
After breakfast at the hotel you’ll take a short flight to Isabela Island and to the small village of Puerto Villamil. Upon arrival, contiue on to your beachfront inn in Puerto Villamil, and have the remainder of the morning to swim and enjoy the white sand beach in front of your hotel and explore the village. After lunch at the hotel, we will swim & snorkel nearby looking for sea turtles and other marine delights!
Day 6 : Hiking on Volcán Sierra Negra
Hike up Sierra Negra volcano (4,890'), which most recently erupted in October 2005, to see its 30-square-mile caldera, petrified lava formations, fumaroles, and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding islands.
Day 7 : Tintoreras Islet- Isabela Island
A full day to explore the flamingo mangrove lagoons, swim at Estuary Beach among the mangroves, snorkel with Galápagos penguins and marine iguanas at Las Tintoreras, a small island off Puerto Villamil, and visit the nearby Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where you’ll see tortoises of all ages and sizes, raised in captivity , to be reintroduced in the wild. Or relax and swim from the beach.
Day 8 : Santa Cruz – Highlands and Tortoises of Santa Cruz Island
Say good bye to Isabela this morning and head to Santa Cruz, by speed boat, to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. After the brisk 2 1/2 hours boat ride, you will drop your luggage at the Angermeyer Waterfront Hotel overlooking the harbor in Puerto Ayora. Continue on to town and a van will be waiting to take you to the Santa Cruz Highlands – home of the endemic giant tortoises for which the region is famous. Santa Cruz Island hosts a population of nearly 3000 tortoises! After lunch at a local restaurant in the Highlands, take a hike in the open looking for tortoises in their natural environment. Back to town in the late afternoon. Dinner on your own this evening.
Day 9 : Santa Cruz – Tortuga Bay & Charles Darwin Station, Santa Cruz Island
Full day to enjoy the surroundings of Puerto Ayora. In the morning, we can kayak to Las Grietas, a beautiful calm bay near Puerto Ayora, where natural fissures in the lava cliffs have formed channels often visited by sharks and rays. Or, you can have a full morning visit to Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches of the Galápagos . You will arrive to Tortuga beach after an easy 30 minutes walk through a dry forest dominated by giant prickly-pear cactus. Once at the beach, you will be amazed by the beauty of this white-sand beach, one of the best of Galápagos . Return to town for lunch on your own. In the afternoon you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station or one of the nearby beaches.
Day 10 : Fly back to Quito
After your last breakfast in the Islands, transfer to the island of Baltra for your commercial flight back to Quito, arriving in Quito around 3pm. A Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you at the airport in Quito and transfer you from the airport to the Swissotel, Quito. Lunch is included on the flight and dinner in Quito is on your own this evening.
Day 11 : Depart
Transfer to the airport for your flight home, or join one of our extensions in Ecuador’s highlands, Amazon, or Peru’s Machu Picchu!
DATES: Best time to go: December Departures: Dec 16 - 26, 2013 Dec 21 - 31, 2013
$300 Holiday Surcharge
This luxury hotel offers comfort and professional service in an excellent location close to the Old Town and the airport. Large, comfortable rooms and great views of the surrounding area from the top.
Casa OpuntiaSan Cristóbal
A fun waterfront guesthouse, Casa Opuntia offers comfortable accommodation on San Cristóbal Island. Its airy, mediterranean architecture, spacious patios with excellent views, adjacent cactus gardens, and easy access to Playa de Oro Beach lend it a relaxing feel. The Opuntia Waterfront Restaurant offers some of the island's best seafood dishes, which pair perfectly with beautiful ocean vistas.
Angermeyer Waterfront InnPuerto Ayora
Located on the "Punta Estrada" waterfront, this quiet inn is built around Gus Angermeyer's legendary cave. Lava rocks and drift wood form some of the construction materials for this uncommon piece of Galapagos history. The inn has its own beach, and is within easy reach of downtown Puerto Ayora and the beach at nearby Finch Bay. Its comfortable guest rooms all have en suite bathrooms, and the inn features a guest lounge with full bar service, generous buffet breakfast on the patio each morning, and, of course, excellent views of Academy Bay and Santa Cruz Island.
Hotel Casa MaritaIsabela Island
This custom hotel on the beach of Puerto Villamil sits on some of the best stretches of Isabela Island, only a short walk to the village center but exposed to all the island's natural beauty. Rooms with balconies that overlook the beach, and expansive ocean views from the dining room.
Casa de MaritaPuerto Villamil, Isabela Island
A comfortable, beach front inn, Casa de Marita, on the island of Isabela, offers incomparable views and access to one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Galapagos Islands. Guests are invited to share the comfortable lounge, library and bar areas - your home while in the Galapagos.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
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