A Private Adventure to the Enchanted Islands
Here’s a unique land-based perspective of the Galápagos Islands! The Galápagos inspired Charles Darwin as no other place he visited on his long journey in the 1830s, and led to his extraordinary vision of the theory of evolution. Today these islands are still a living laboratory and a renowned paradise for nature lovers. Their all-but-tame wildlife and extraordinary landscapes never fail to impress—it’s a “must-see” destination for young and old alike.
Most people visit the “Enchanted Isles” aboard an expedition yacht that stops at designated visitor sites among the islands. We’ve been offering such excursions since 1970—adventurous cruises aboard small expedition yachts that carry a maximum of just 12-16 passengers. They are extraordinary journeys that are “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences.
But now we’re offering a way to see another side of the Galápagos: based at comfortable hotels and lodges on Santa Cruz Island, home to the famous Charles Darwin Research Station—and Isabela Island, the largest island of the archipelago. You’ll set off each day to explore various facets of the islands not usually visited by tourist boats. Excursions include a hike up Sierra Negra Volcano—a chance to see fumaroles and a huge caldera, plus panoramic views of the ocean; snorkeling with Galápagos penguins and marine iguanas at a little-visited site off Isabela Island; and many other activities that can be arranged from the hotel.
On our Private Adventures, you will travel with an intimate group of close friends or family. You will pick the itinerary and the activities, we'll do everything else including provide the expertise of your dedicated guide!
Nature walks, swimming, snorkeling, sea kayaking, hiking
- Kayak and snorkel among sea lions and marine iguanas in the world’s top nature destination
- Hike on an active volcano (whose last eruption was just four years ago!)
- Experience up close and personal encounters with wildlife
- A perfect alternative to our yacht-based adventures
Duration: 9 days Start Location: Quito End Location: QuitoDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Quito
Arrive in Quito.
Day 2 : Quito
Enjoy a half-day guided sightseeing tour of colonial Quito, the oldest part of the city (residents call it "old town" or simply "downtown"). After lunch in an area restaurant, the afternoon is free to relax, shop, or explore on your own.
Day 3 : To the Galápagos Islands – Isabela Island
You’ll fly from Quito to Baltra, Santa Cruz Island, in the Galápagos Islands. Meet your guide and connect with a local flight to Isabela Island. Transfer to a beachfront lodge in Puerto Villamil, and have the remainder of the day to swim at the beach and explore the village.
Day 4 : Sierra Negra Volcano
Today you’ll have a full-day guided nature hike up Sierra Negra (4,890’) to see its 30-square-mile caldera, petrified lava formations, and fumaroles, and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding islands. (You can also go by horseback at additional cost.) You’ll be transferred to the trailhead at Santo Tomás and from there it’s a 6- to 8-hour roundtrip hike to the rim and back.
Day 5 : Isabela Island
A full day to explore the flamingo mangrove lagoons, swim at Estuary Beach among the mangroves, snorkel with Galapagos penguins and marine iguanas at Las Tintoreras, a small island off Puerto Villamil, visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, where you’ll see tortoises of all ages and sizes, kayak, or relax and swim from the beach.
Day 6 : Isabela Island – Santa Cruz Island
Early morning to swim or take a nature walk before a transfer to Puerto Villamil airport for the local flight to Baltra on Santa Cruz Island. Transfer to the main town of Puerto Ayora, stopping to visit the highlands and search for giant tortoises in their natural environment as well as a variety of finches and other specialties of the lush fern- and bromeliad-laden forests, lava sinkholes and tunnels, and marshy lakes and mud holes where the giant tortoises wallow.
Day 7 : Santa Cruz Island
Choose from a variety of optional activities: a guided hike to Tortuga Bay; bike; swim, snorkel and kayak in Finch Bay; explore the town of Puerto Ayora; or visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, famous for its ongoing conservation research in the islands, especially protecting tortoises and land iguanas.
Day 8 : Quito
Early morning to swim or take a nature walk before your transfer to Baltra airport for your flight to Quito,
Day 9 : Fly home
Private transfer to the airport for departure on homeward-bound flight, or embark on an extension to Sacha Lodge, Otavalo & Hacienda Zuleta, or Machu Picchu, Peru.
DATES: Best time to go: Year round Departures: Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.
Mimimum age: 6 years old
Call for 2014 prices
11 days option available. Please call for details: 1-800-282-8747
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.
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.
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.
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.
Luis Die was born in Seville, Spain, and is a graduate of the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid with a degree in environmental biology. He is fluent in Spanish, English, and French and has guided in Galápagos for more than a decade. In addition to being a professional nature photographer, Luis is working on a Master’s Degree in geographical ecology and is active with conservation groups on the mainland. Luis is a born teacher and enthusiastically shares his knowledge of Galápagos with people of all ages. He lives in Quito with his wife and twin sons and is our head naturalist guide, working exclusively with Mountain Travel Sobek.