Explore two of the world’s most unique ecosystems by land and by sea with the Galapagos’ adventure experts
The exotic Galapagos Islands and the great Amazon Rainforest are home to two of the world’s most celebrated and incredibly rare ecosystems. As the birthplace for the Darwin’s theories on natural selection, the diversity of wildlife on each of the Galapagos Islands is second to none—a wealth of highly adapted life forms. The Amazon is one of the planet’s most precious biological treasures, responsible for 20% of its entire production of oxygen. Visiting two of nature’s most unique places on one trip is any nature-lover’s dream come true. Come kayak, snorkel, and hike through unspoiled habitats and see a cavalcade of diverse wildlife and plants while learning about the fragility of these pristine environments from your expert, Galapagos National Park-certified MTS guides. Stay in the remote, private preserve of Sasha Lodge in charming thatched hut cottages set in the heart of the rainforest. Witness the volcanic activity of the islands on a visit to a lava tunnel. Walk side by side with the giant Galapagos tortoise, swim with playful sea lions, and fish for razor-toothed piranha! This is one action-packed, multisport adventure that can’t help but inspire the conservationist in you.
Kayaking, snorkeling, hiking
- Experience two of the world’s most celebrated and incredibly rare ecosystems—the Galapagos Islands and the great Amazon Rainforest—in this multisport adventure that’s perfect for families
- Kayak, snorkel, and hike through unspoiled habitats and see a cavalcade of diverse wildlife and plants while learning about the fragility of these pristine environments from your expert MTS guides
- Stay in the remote, private preserve of Sacha Lodge in charming thatched hut cottages set in the heart of the Amazon Rainforest
- Walk side by side with the giant Galapagos tortoise, swim with playful sea lions, and fish for razor-toothed piranha
- Visit a lava tunnel and learn about the volcanic activity of the Galapagos Islands
Duration: 11 days Start Location: Quito, Ecuador End Location: Quito, EcuadorDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrival in Ecuador
Upon arrival in Quito, a Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you outside of the customs and immigration area at the airport and transfer you to the hotel.
Day 2 : Flight to Coca
In the morning, we will fly to the town of Coca located in the Amazon Basin. From Coca, we will take a two hour speed boat ride along the Napo River, a large tributary of the Amazon, and hike for a half an hour through the rainforest to Lake Pilchicocha where Sacha Lodge is located. This outstanding 5,000-acre preserve is located in the heart of Ecuador's Amazon rainforest, providing a terrific up-close experience with animals in their native habitat. This afternoon, we will kayak through the lake and creeks around the lodge and begin becoming acquainted with our wild neighbors.
Day 3 : Amazonian River and Lagoons
Today we will kayak in the pristine igapo of the rainforest. These blackwater lagoons flood the forest floor, creating a terrific habitat for some of the world's rarest birds. The preserve land of the Sacha Lodge is home to an incredible 500+ species of birds, representing some 33% of the entire Amazon's species! We will keep on the look-out for such species as the zigzag heron, the Amazonian umbrella bird, the fiery topaz, the black-banded owl, and the paradise tanager. We may also sight a charapa, common otter, and if we are lucky, we may kayak alongside endangered freshwater pink dolphins, said to top the human brain capacity by 40%!
Day 4 : Pilchicocha Lake and Canopy Walk
Early in the morning, we will take our kayaks and will paddle through one of the creeks, we will have the opportunity to see the common squirrel monkey, the white-belled spider monkey, and many new species of birds.Then we will walk to the canopy bridge and continue along the trail to our kayaks so we can paddle back to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon, our native guide will teach us how to fish the infamous razor-toothed piranha!
Day 5 : Sacha Lodge - Coca - Quito
As our Amazon adventure winds down, we begin gearing up for the famous Galapagos Islands! We'll leave the rainforest and embark on a two-hour boat ride to El Coca. From there, we'll take a short 40-minute flight to Quito. Once arriving at the renovated 17th-century colonial hacienda, the Hosteria San José, we will have the afternoon free to enjoy its many amenities (spa, gardens, trails, and pool) or simply rest and write a few postcards.
Day 6 : Fly to the Galápagos Islands
From Quito, we'll fly to Baltra Island in the Galápagos archipelago. A 10-minute drive from the airport to Itabaca Channel brings us to our boat. After a short boat ride, we'll disembark on the beautiful Enchanted Beach where we can snorkel for a glimpse of green sea turtles, manta rays, and multi-colored fish. If time permits, we will visit Bachas Beach for another opportunity to snorkel with fish and possibly spot some nesting pelicans!
In the afternoon, we'll shuttle to a farm where the famous giant Galápagos tortoises wander freely. Walking along the farm's trails, we'll get a chance to photograph these amazing reptiles from up close. The tortoises of Santa Cruz belong to a group best known for their dome shape shell, gigantic size, and long lifespans. After leaving the farm, we will explore a 1300-foot-long lava tunnel to uncover the volcanic origins of the island.
Day 7 : Divine Bay - Cerro Crocker
Today, an exciting 3-mile sea kayaking excursion awaits! We'll begin at busy Academy Bay in Puerto Ayora and paddle close to the cliffs were blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas are nesting. Once we reach beautiful Divine Bay, we will paddle close to mangroves where we can see golden cow rays, sally light foot crabs, and lava herons. Here, we will enter a lovely, tranquil canal from were we can appreciate prickly pear opuntia cactus growing from the solid rock of the cliffs and spot common noddy birds.
In the afternoon, we will hike to the top of Cerro Crocker, the highest peak of the island formed volcanically by splatter cones into tuff. During our walk, we may see the Galapagos petrel or Galapagos rail—two endemic residents of this hill.
Our day ends back in Puerta Ayora.
Day 8 : Santa Fe to San Cristobal
Today, we will cross from Santa Cruz by boat to San Cristobal, via a stop-over on Santa Fe Island. The unusual flat island of Santa Fe was formed by volcanic uplift (rather than the volcanic cone shape of the other islands of the archipelago). It is famous for its beautiful coves—perfect places to snorkel with sea lion pups, marine turtles, and vibrantly-colored fish.
Later we will continue on to San Cristobal Island, where we will embark on a six-mile sea kayaking excursion from Punta Basoa to Punta Finger. Depending on the weather conditions, we will be paddling northward for 3 to 4 hours, passing in between the 500-foot eroded volcanic cone of Kicker Rock (also known as "the sleeping lion") and San Cristobal Island.
Day 9 : Manglecito - Isla Lobos - Kicker Rock
We'll begin the day paddling from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Punta Basoa, passing by Lobos Island. Paddling close to the coast will give us easy access to the local wildlife, and we will have the chance to jump in the water to snorkel. Swimming with playful sea lions is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that makes any trip to the Galapagos a truly special experience.
Later, we will take a 25-minute minute boat ride back to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock) to enjoy ideal snorkeling conditions!
Day 10 : San Cristobal and flight back to the Mainland
Enjoy a last stroll around town or by the beach before heading to the airport for your flight back to Quito. Transfer to the hotel with the rest of the day free to explore or last minute shopping. Farewell dinner with fellow travelers at a local restaurant.
Day 11 : Depart for Home
DATES: Best time to go: January - July, December Departures: Dec 19 - 29, 2014
$750 internal air (Quito/Sacha/Quito/Galapagos/Quito—subject to change. Mountain Travel Sobek will book and issue these tickets for you.)
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.
The lodging at Sacha was carefully designed to offer comfort to the traveler yet preserve the environment and rainforest ambience. All of the cabins, with high thatched roofs and private shaded terraces, are constructed with traditional materials and nestle well concealed into the lush surroundings. Each of 26 the rooms feature a private bathroom with flushing toilet and hot shower. All cabins are screened against insects, and contain ceiling fans above two comfortable double beds. During free time, visitors may overlook the jungle from hammocks and often report seeing wild fauna such as toucans, agoutis and monkeys right from their own cabin!
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.
Hosteria San JosePuembo, Ecuador
Hostería San José is located in Puembo Valley, only 15 minutes from new airport in Quito. THe current building is of a rustic colonial style, the result of a painstaking restoration project to recover the old farmhouse of Hacienda San José that dates back to XXVIII century.
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.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.