Signature Galapagos Wildlife Discovery Tour
A truly privileged way to experience the magic and wonder of the Galapagos Islands, our Premium Wildlife trips have been crafted to be safe and stimulating, enriching and exciting. Drawing on our 26 years of experience, we designed this journey not only as a venture into the unknown, but as an expedition to your heart.
In the company of our expert, bilingual naturalist guides, memorable encounters with amazing, endemic creatures amid an astounding natural world – both on land, on sea and underwater – await across three amazing islands. On our Premium journeys you’re not a mere observer: you’ll be snorkeling, hiking, tasting and feeling the true spirit of the land of Darwin, packing your vacation full of lasting memories.
Enjoy the peace of mind that we’ve thought everything through for you: we will escort you throughout. Avoid sea-sickness causing cruise vessels as you stay in quality Galapagos hotels with eco-initiatives, exceptional service and comfort, all close to the ocean.
Galapagos wildlife is truly one-of-a-kind. Entrust your experience to experts who live their lives for adventure.
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Travel Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
- Enjoy traditional and delicious local food in the comfortable Opuntia hotels.
- Explore San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela in a whirlwind 5-day tour.
- Learn about the incredible flora & fauna from the best naturalist guides.
- Snorkel in crystal clear waters, among sea turtles, tropical fish, sharks, rays, and penguins.
- Relax on the beach with the playful sea lions or the lazy marine iguanas.
- Hike through a diversity of island ecosystems, including coastal and highland hikes.
- Participate in the local economy with a land-based excursion.
- Help protect the fragile ecosystem by staying in our eco-friendly hotels.
WHY TRAVEL WITH US?
- Land-based specialists
- Trips benefit local people, are nature-friendly and minimize carbon footprints
- We are direct managers of the hotels where you stay
- 20 years’ experience in adventure travel
- Safety first: we don’t cut corners
- Top-of-the-line equipment
- We love what we do
WOULD YOU LIKE TO…?
- Flow between islands and activities with minimal transit time and maximum contact.
- Follow Darwin’s footsteps to meet the Galapagos’ endemic wildlife.
- Discover stunning beaches, kicking back alongside iguanas and sea lions.
- Stroll with giant Galapagos tortoises and swim with Pacific turtles.
- Hike through a wide variety of environments and ecosystems.
- Explore an underwater paradise of tropical fish, rays, penguins, and sharks.
- Get to know the local way of life and foodie scene.
- Learn, grown and transform through travel.
Accommodations, all meals as listed (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide, all sea, land, and inter-island air transportation.
Flights to and from Galapagos, entrance fee to Galapagos National Park, Galapagos transit card, tips, hotel & restaurant beverages.
SAN CRISTOBAL NATURE ADVENTURE BY LAND AND SEA
You arrive at the airport of San Cristobal Island after an early flight from mainland Ecuador, where we meet you and accompany you to our hotel. After lunch, the adventure kicks off with a visit to the Galapagos Interpretation Center to discover what the unique archipelago has in store for us: the endlessly fascinating wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics.
Our next stop is Tijeretas, reached by passing through natural paths created in the lava rocks. Along the way, we get our first taste of the astonishing Galapagos flora and fauna, our guides pointing out native plants like Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acacia and cacti, spotting blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds and finches among the foliage and along the sea cliffs. There are picturesque vistas of the craggy coastline and the sleepy town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to enjoy.
Refreshing ourselves from the hike, we snorkel at stunning Carola Beach, sharing the waters with sea turtles, sea lions and marine iguanas, and relish the beginnings of a picture-perfect sunset. Seafood, Ecuadorian or international dishes are on the menu for dinner, after which we venture into the easy-going beach town and wander down the boardwalk to pay a visit to the vocal colony of Galapagos sea lions. (L, D).
NORTHERN COAST OF SAN CRISTOBAL SNORKEL DISCOVERY
Discover the underwater marine paradise of the Galapagos with an entire day dedicated to snorkeling. Our experienced guide takes the lead as we head off to search the nearby coves and cliffs for sea turtles, sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies – the guide knows all the hiding places. Play with curious sea lions, the spirited young pups coming to have a good look underwater. There’s every chance that we’ll come face to face with eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and thousands of tropical fish as we snorkel. Our day under the sea comes to a close and we head back to the hotel, before setting out for a laid- back dinner in town. (B, Box Lunch, D).
We either visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock) or Punta Pitt. The visitor site depends on the day of the week and the Galapagos National Park regulations.
BEACHES, LAGOONS AND ISLETS OF ISABELA
After breakfast, new adventures, and a new island await. We board a small plane that carries us from San Cristobal, across the deepest blue waters and razor-sharp lava spikes of the volcanic archipelago, all the way to Isabela Island. This relatively young island (if a million years old sounds “young” to you) is still evolving and growing with volcanic bursts. In fact, the last eruption was in 2005.
We quickly settle in at the hotel before heading out to discover the colors, the sounds, and the wild soul of Isabela. It’s an easy hike along wooden walkways, observing with ease the island’s natural treasures: giant tortoises heaving across our path, flamingos wading in a lake, finches with a quizzical stare, and the call mockingbirds. You will discover a great variety of coastal ecosystems, from white sand beaches, the alluring poison apple forest, black lava shores specked with red crabs, fairytale mangroves and strange lagoons.
Lunch is a variety of seafood, Ecuadorian and international cuisine. Before you head out again, the call of the nearby beach may be too strong to resist: grab a quick dip in the ocean. We then set out to investigate the Tintoreras visitor site. This collection of little rocky islets is scattered with hidden coves and desert beaches; we can explore them by small boat or with snorkeling gear. The endemic Galapagos penguin is the true star of this variety show, and there’s every chance you’ll swim with them, as well as reef sharks, sea turtles and sea lions. A delicious dinner awaits at the end of an adventurous day, after which the sprawling beach and sandy streets of idyllic Puerto Villamil beckon for an evening stroll. (B, L, D).
PREHISTORIC ADVENTURES ON SANTA CRUZ
It’s an early start as we depart Isabela aboard a speed boat, heading east towards Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Ayora, the archipelago’s most populated port. Smaller groups may opt to fly to Baltra airport on a small inter- islands plane rather than taking the speed boat. If it’s the former option, we welcome you at the dock and accompany you to the hotel.
After a quick turnaround, we head out in search of the Galapagos giant tortoise. We drive up to the highlands where these prehistoric, unwieldly beasts plod around their lush natural habitat, with their comical air of long-suffering melancholy. Their mere presence, and immediate connection to a past that we can only read about, is truly awesome. Watch out for pintail ducks, Darwin’s finches, frigate birds, egrets and the vermillion flycatcher amid this verdant ecosystem. From here, we head towards the bewitching lava tunnels, almost tailor-made dens for the pirates who once roamed the Galapagos. It is said that here lies Inca gold pilfered from Spanish galleons.
We stay in the highlands to lunch at a delightful, traditional hacienda before a walk to Los Gemelos, two cavernous volcanic sinkholes. Here, jagged precipices encircle huge pits of empty magma chambers. Our route leads us through a forest of endemic Scalesia trees; the keen-eyed might spot the elusive short-eared owl, among other emblematic species. Ferns and epiphytes coat the trees, muffling and muting the sounds in this spooky forest. We return back down to Puerto Ayora. Time permitting, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the National Park’s tortoise breeding program. In the evening, enjoy the port’s array of shops, restaurants and bars, and celebrate our once-in- a-lifetime adventure with a farewell dinner. (B, L, D).
Finally, it’s time bid a fond farewell to the Galapagos. We board a transport to take you north over Santa Cruz Island to the Itabaca Channel, where a short hop on a ferry and a short bus ride takes us to Baltra Island’s airport. (B).
Ask us about additional activities and experiences we can organize for you.
Tortuga Bay and local workshops
Transfer out Galapagos , we transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland.
Opuntia Hotels, a network of quality Galapagos hotels with eco-initiatives, exceptional service, comfort, all close to the ocean. Or similar comfort class hotel.
This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, inclement weather conditions, and adjustments of Galapagos National Park policy.
The weight restriction per person for the Inner Island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is 25 pounds in one piece of luggage.
Prices based in fixed departures, in comfort hotels
For private services please ask our travel designers
Minimum Age: 7 years
Accommodation: 4 nights in comfort class hotels.
Deposit: A deposit of 20% of the total cost of the
trip is required immediately upon confirmation.
Full payment 60 days prior to your trip, except for last-minute sales.
All our rates are in US Dollars. 2019 Rates
Additional Costs: Flights to and from Galapagos, entrance fee to Galapagos National Park, Galapagos transit card, Meals not described, tips, hotel & restaurant beverages. Travel insurance.
May 01 – 05
June 11 – 15
July 09 – 13
August 27 – 31
September 25 – 29
October 23 – 27
November 06 – 10
December 22 -26
* Holiday Season supplement: $288.00 net per person “Subject to change” from December 18 to January 3.
Also Daily departures, subject to Availability, please request more information Here
- BOAT TRAVEL TIME: Two hours
- SMALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT TIME: 40 minutes
- SEASON: Year-round
- ALTITUDE: 0 – 3,688 feet (1,124 meters) above sea level
- WEATHER: During the warm season from January to May, air temperature is around 77 to 83 F
- (25 to 28 C) at sea level. During the cool season from June to December, air temperature is around 70 to 75 F (21 to 24 C) at sea level. Temperature decreases with altitude.
- WATER TEMPERATURE: During the warm season from January to May, water temperature hovers around 77 F (25 C). During the cool season from June to December, average water temperature is about 72 F (22 C). Water temperature also varies significantly by location.
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK: Walking shoes, rain jacket, water bottle, non-cotton trekking clothes, sunblock, sun hat, and repellent.