Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin as you sail the turquoise waters of the Galapagos Islands in search of wildlife and wild landscapes.
Snorkel the clear blue waters, looking out for stingrays and reef sharks, hike the forests and spot iguanas and giant tortoises. Discover the varied and exciting world of Galapagos Islands’ colourful birdlife.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Walk with the wildlife in Isla Santa Cruz’s misty cloud forests
- Snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks in Isla North Seymour
- Get your binoculars ready for some of the world’s best bird watching
- Learn about the importance of wildlife conservation at the Charles Darwin Research Station
- Get up close and personal with the iconic giant tortoises
- Watch the Galapagos penguins frolic on Isla Rabida
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- Small Group Journey with maximum group size 16
- All authentic local experiences mentioned except where specified optional
- All international & internal flights
- 2 nights in 4* hotels
- 7 nights aboard the luxury Queen Beatriz catamaran
- 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
- Arrival transfers & all internal transport
Need to know+
- Arrives: Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre (UIO)
- Time difference: GMT-5
- Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require a tourist visa
- Language: Spanish
- Currency: US Dollar (USD)
- Flying time from UK: around 15 hours
- Plug type: 2 flat pins
- Voltage: 110V
- >Please note a USD£105 national park fee is payable locally<
It’s a very early start today as you catch your flight to Baltra, then board your catamaran, M.C. Queen Beatriz, where you’ll meet your crew, guide and of course fellow travellers over lunch. Sail to Santa Cruz and head into the Highlands – lush misty forests, home to Darwin finches, woodpeckers, warbler finches and vermillion flycatchers. Take a walk through the cloud forests and look out for giant tortoises, which come to these raised hills to escape the heat of the sun down at sea level.
Take a walk with the wildlife on Isla North Seymour, home to iguanas and sea lions as well as numerous bird species. The highlight here is the blue-footed boobie and the swallow-tailed gull, but there are also both land and marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions, and incense trees. After a walk around, it’s time to go snorkelling, hopefully spotting various colourful fish as well as white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lions. Sail to Isla Mosquera and watch out or boobies diving into the water, and keep your eyes peeled for the distinctive red lava crabs, their bright red shells contrasting with the black lava rocks.
Isla Santa Cruz
Explore the mangroves of Caleta Tortuga Negra by panga, a type of small boat. These red mangroves are a breeding area for green turtles and are home to a variety of birdlife such as the yellow warbler and the lava heron. Next, sail to pretty Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) to look for iguanas and various birds including Galapagos mockingbirds, Darwin’s finches and Galapagos flycatchers. Take a walk along the trails for fabulous bay views, and look out for land iguanas, which are monitored by the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Sail on to Sombrero Chino, a mini volcano that looks like a Chinese hat, giving it its name. It has a beautiful crescent-shaped sandy beach where sea lions bask and crabs scuttle. Take a walk around the cove, visit a sea lion colony and look out for Galapagos penguins. Head on to Isla Rabida, whose sands are red due to iron, take a shore walk and look out for flamingos, penguins, sea lions and pelicans before snorkelling among the starfish.
Isla Santa Cruz
Snorkel with the turtles on Isla Santa Cruz, and keep an eye out for marine iguanas. There’s a lovely beach here at Las Bachas, just right for snorkelling, swimming or sun lazing. Snorkel in the shallow waters of Punta Carrion, looking out for rays and white-tipped reef sharks. Visit Bachas Beach, nesting site for the Pacific green turtle. Walk along the soft, bright white sands, and snorkel among the Sally Lightfoot crabs, keeping a look out for flamingos and blue herons. There are also the ruins of a floating pier left over from the US presence in the Galapagos in World War II.
Sail on to Isla Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, and the only one crossing the equator. Visit the Las Tintoreras Peninsula to see the white-tipped reef sharks and sea lions and wander among the strange lava flows. Turtles, penguins, iguanas and blue-footed boobies also live here. Meet Isla Isabela’s tortoises at the Arnoldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Centre and see the five sub-species of tortoise from the island, some of which are bred here.
Snorkel the clear waters of Isla Floreana at Devil’s Crown, watch the sea lions frolicking and visit a turtle nesting site. Discover the history of Post Office Bay, and continue the tradition of posting a stamp-free letter into the barrel, a process begun in the 19th century by whalers. Take a look through the letters to see if there are any you can deliver back home, and hope that someone will deliver yours. Explore the lagoons and look out for stingrays in the turquoise waters and snorkel in the Devil’s Crown, an eroded volcanic cone.
Visit the small town of Puerto Ayora, the most populous town in the Galapagos and a good place to see what life is like for the Galapagos locals. You’ll have time to stop by a local café or bar if you like, and also visit the Charles Darwin Research station on Isla Santa Cruz, and learn more about conservation on these islands. You can get close to a giant tortoise and see the new-born giant turtles as part of a breeding program. Finally, fly back to Quito for your last night.
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