Hidden Galápagos Private Adventure | Mountain Travel Sobek

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Hidden Galápagos Private Adventure

Trip Length 9 days

From $4,395

  • Kayak and snorkel among sea lions, marine iguanas and Galápagos penguins in the world’s top nature destination
  • Hike on an active volcano (whose last eruption was just a few years ago!)
  • Experience up close and personal encounters with wildlife
  • A perfect alternative to our yacht-based adventures

We’re offering a way to see another side of the Galápagos, not from a boat, but 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.

These islands are 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. On one of 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!

Day 1: Arrive in Quito

Arrive in Quito. A Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to the elegant Swissôtel, a five-star hotel with many amenities, including a beautiful spa and indoor/outdoor swimming pools.

  • Accommodation:Swissôtel

Day 2: Quito

After breakfast, enjoy a half-day guided sightseeing tour of colonial Quito, the oldest part of the city (residents call it “old town” or simply “downtown.”) Your tour may include Independence Plaza, surrounded by important buildings such as the government palace, the archbishop’s palace, and the cathedral built in the 16th century. Among the churches you may visit are El Sagrario, San Francisco, and La Compañia, one of the finest examples of Baroque churches in all the Americas as well as a showcase of the Quito School period. Your guide will explain the history and traditions of Quito and offer special insight into everyday life during the colonial period. After lunch in an area restaurant, the afternoon is free to relax, shop, or explore on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Swissôtel

Day 3: To the Galápagos Islands – Isabela Island

After breakfast at the hotel, you have an early transfer to the Quito airport. You’ll fly to Baltra Island in the Galápagos. From here you’ll connect with a local flight to Isabela Island, the largest of the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival, transfer to your beachfront lodge in Puerto Villamil, and have the remainder of the day to swim and snorkel at the beach, and to explore the village.

Casa Marita sports the charm and atmosphere of a large country home. Its 16 rooms—with ocean or garden views—are individually decorated with fanciful flair.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Casa de Marita or similar

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 for an additional cost.) You’ll be transferred to the trailhead at Santo Tomás, and from there it’s a 5- to 7-hour roundtrip hike to the rim and back. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route. Among the bird life you may see are the endemic Galápagos martins (large swallows noted for their flight patterns,) vermilion flycatchers, and Galápagos hawks. (Note: the weather here is often rainy. We advise bringing your rain gear.) Return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Casa de Marita or similar

Day 5: Explore Isabela Island

Enjoy a full day to explore the sites of Isabela. After breakfast head to Tintoreras islet, located very close to Puerto Villamil and accessible only by small boats. The walk on Tintoreras is easy and a great opportunity to observe lots of marine iguanas, as well as sea lions, penguins, boobies, herons and, of course, “tintoreras” which is the Spanish word for “reef shark.” Young reef sharks often use the natural channels here to rest in the shallow waters. The water is very clear and calm here so keep your eye out for sea turtles and rays! After the walk, it is time for snorkeling. Your guide will assist you and will try to find tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and, if you are lucky, even penguins!

Return to town for lunch. In the afternoon, you will have time to explore the wetlands of Villamil where flamingoes are often found. You can choose to visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you’ll see tortoises of all ages and sizes, and learn about how giant tortoises are reproduced in captivity then returned back to their natural habitat. Or, feel free to simply relax at your hotel, enjoy the pool, or swim from the beach.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Casa de Marita or similar

Day 6: Highlands of Santa Cruz & Puerto Ayora

Awake early this morning to swim or take a nature walk before your transfer to Puerto Villamil airport for the short flight to Baltra. From Baltra, transfer to Santa Cruz Island stopping to visit the lush highlands to 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, sinkholes, lava tubes, marshy lakes and mud holes where the giant tortoises like to wallow. Explore a lava tunnel and enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the highlands. Later, continue the drive to the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in Galápagos. Check-in to your hotel with time to relax or explore town.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar

Day 7: Explore Santa Cruz Island

Enjoy a full day to explore the surroundings of Puerto Ayora. Start your day with a short hike to Tortuga Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of the Galápagos. You will arrive to Tortuga beach after an easy 30 minute 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. Kayak or swim in the calm waters of the bay with opportunities to spot green sea turtles, Galápagos sharks, and stingrays.

In the afternoon you can visit the Charles Darwin Station or one of the nearby beaches. At an additional cost you can choose to go horseback riding on a private ranch in the highlands, take a day dive trip to a nearby island (this should be scheduled ahead of time,) or go on a day-tour boat trip to a nearby island with a naturalist guide to view wildlife (North Seymour, South Plaza, or Bartolomé on a space available basis.)

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar

Day 8: Santa Cruz to Quito

Awake early to swim or take a nature walk before your transfer to Baltra airport for your flight to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel. Dinner is on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Swissôtel

Day 9: Fly home

You will have a private transfer to the airport for departure on your homeward-bound flight, or embark on an extension to Sacha Lodge, Otavalo & Hacienda Zuleta, or Machu Picchu in Peru.

  • Breakfast

Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.

pricing

2017 Prices
$4,795   2-3 members, double occupancy
$4,395   4+ members, double occupancy
$1,200   single supplement
$940      internal airfare (age 12 and older)
$820      internal airfare (age 11 and younger)
$20       Galapagos Transit Control Card, required

Mimimum age: 6 years old

11-day option available. Please call for details: 1-888-831-7526

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Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar — Puerto 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 Marita or similar — Puerto 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. 

Swissôtel — Quito, Ecuador

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.

"We have traveled extensively and to many parts of the world. We just want to say that after reviewing our trip together neither of us could think of ANYTHING that we would have wanted to do different and NOTHING could have been improved on or have been run smoother. Our personal guide, Steve Devine, was outstanding and definitely tailored the trip for us since we were more active than the average tourists." Craig B

  • Kayak and snorkel among sea lions, marine iguanas and Galápagos penguins in the world’s top nature destination
  • Hike on an active volcano (whose last eruption was just a few years ago!)
  • Experience up close and personal encounters with wildlife
  • A perfect alternative to our yacht-based adventures

We’re offering a way to see another side of the Galápagos, not from a boat, but 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.

These islands are 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. On one of 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!

reviews

"We have traveled extensively and to many parts of the world. We just want to say that after reviewing our trip together neither of us could think of ANYTHING that we would have wanted to do different and NOTHING could have been improved on or have been run smoother. Our personal guide, Steve Devine, was outstanding and definitely tailored the trip for us since we were more active than the average tourists." Craig B

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito

Arrive in Quito. A Mountain Travel Sobek representative will meet you outside the customs and immigration area at the airport. He or she will answer questions, brief you on the immediate arrangements, and escort you to the elegant Swissôtel, a five-star hotel with many amenities, including a beautiful spa and indoor/outdoor swimming pools.

  • Accommodation:Swissôtel

Day 2: Quito

After breakfast, enjoy a half-day guided sightseeing tour of colonial Quito, the oldest part of the city (residents call it “old town” or simply “downtown.”) Your tour may include Independence Plaza, surrounded by important buildings such as the government palace, the archbishop’s palace, and the cathedral built in the 16th century. Among the churches you may visit are El Sagrario, San Francisco, and La Compañia, one of the finest examples of Baroque churches in all the Americas as well as a showcase of the Quito School period. Your guide will explain the history and traditions of Quito and offer special insight into everyday life during the colonial period. After lunch in an area restaurant, the afternoon is free to relax, shop, or explore on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Swissôtel

Day 3: To the Galápagos Islands – Isabela Island

After breakfast at the hotel, you have an early transfer to the Quito airport. You’ll fly to Baltra Island in the Galápagos. From here you’ll connect with a local flight to Isabela Island, the largest of the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival, transfer to your beachfront lodge in Puerto Villamil, and have the remainder of the day to swim and snorkel at the beach, and to explore the village.

Casa Marita sports the charm and atmosphere of a large country home. Its 16 rooms—with ocean or garden views—are individually decorated with fanciful flair.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Casa de Marita or similar

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 for an additional cost.) You’ll be transferred to the trailhead at Santo Tomás, and from there it’s a 5- to 7-hour roundtrip hike to the rim and back. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route. Among the bird life you may see are the endemic Galápagos martins (large swallows noted for their flight patterns,) vermilion flycatchers, and Galápagos hawks. (Note: the weather here is often rainy. We advise bringing your rain gear.) Return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Casa de Marita or similar

Day 5: Explore Isabela Island

Enjoy a full day to explore the sites of Isabela. After breakfast head to Tintoreras islet, located very close to Puerto Villamil and accessible only by small boats. The walk on Tintoreras is easy and a great opportunity to observe lots of marine iguanas, as well as sea lions, penguins, boobies, herons and, of course, “tintoreras” which is the Spanish word for “reef shark.” Young reef sharks often use the natural channels here to rest in the shallow waters. The water is very clear and calm here so keep your eye out for sea turtles and rays! After the walk, it is time for snorkeling. Your guide will assist you and will try to find tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks and, if you are lucky, even penguins!

Return to town for lunch. In the afternoon, you will have time to explore the wetlands of Villamil where flamingoes are often found. You can choose to visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you’ll see tortoises of all ages and sizes, and learn about how giant tortoises are reproduced in captivity then returned back to their natural habitat. Or, feel free to simply relax at your hotel, enjoy the pool, or swim from the beach.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Casa de Marita or similar

Day 6: Highlands of Santa Cruz & Puerto Ayora

Awake early this morning to swim or take a nature walk before your transfer to Puerto Villamil airport for the short flight to Baltra. From Baltra, transfer to Santa Cruz Island stopping to visit the lush highlands to 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, sinkholes, lava tubes, marshy lakes and mud holes where the giant tortoises like to wallow. Explore a lava tunnel and enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the highlands. Later, continue the drive to the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in Galápagos. Check-in to your hotel with time to relax or explore town.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar

Day 7: Explore Santa Cruz Island

Enjoy a full day to explore the surroundings of Puerto Ayora. Start your day with a short hike to Tortuga Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches of the Galápagos. You will arrive to Tortuga beach after an easy 30 minute 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. Kayak or swim in the calm waters of the bay with opportunities to spot green sea turtles, Galápagos sharks, and stingrays.

In the afternoon you can visit the Charles Darwin Station or one of the nearby beaches. At an additional cost you can choose to go horseback riding on a private ranch in the highlands, take a day dive trip to a nearby island (this should be scheduled ahead of time,) or go on a day-tour boat trip to a nearby island with a naturalist guide to view wildlife (North Seymour, South Plaza, or Bartolomé on a space available basis.)

  • Breakfast
  • Accommodation:Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar

Day 8: Santa Cruz to Quito

Awake early to swim or take a nature walk before your transfer to Baltra airport for your flight to Quito. Upon arrival in Quito, you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel. Dinner is on your own.

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accommodation:Swissôtel

Day 9: Fly home

You will have a private transfer to the airport for departure on your homeward-bound flight, or embark on an extension to Sacha Lodge, Otavalo & Hacienda Zuleta, or Machu Picchu in Peru.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar — Puerto 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 Marita or similar — Puerto 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. 

Swissôtel — Quito, Ecuador

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.

Dates and Pricing

Private departures are available on the dates of your choice, pending availability. Call us for details.

pricing

2017 Prices
$4,795   2-3 members, double occupancy
$4,395   4+ members, double occupancy
$1,200   single supplement
$940      internal airfare (age 12 and older)
$820      internal airfare (age 11 and younger)
$20       Galapagos Transit Control Card, required

Mimimum age: 6 years old

11-day option available. Please call for details: 1-888-831-7526

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Got questions?

Call us at 1-888-831-7526
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