Visit the Wondrous Galapagos!
Sunday through Friday following each Chautauqua.
Time to get up close and personal to some amazing animals. This is a Five Night, Six day tour visiting two of the Galapagos Islands, Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands.
Our first stop is Santa Cruz Island and it's main town Puerto Ayora which is located on the southern end of Isla Santa Cruz. It is the largest and most visited place in the Galapagos Islands. Puerto Ayora is a bustling port town full of charm and it is also the headquarters to the world-renowned Charles Darwin Research Station.
Isabela Island is the largest and the least populated of the archipelago islands and is more than 9/10 National Park. You will stay in the town of Puerto Villamil where you can explore it's three miles of White Sandy Deserted Beaches and the largest Giant Tortoise Breeding Center in Galapagos. Isabela Island is also unique because it grew not from one volcanic eruption, but by the integration of six separate underwater volcanoes, five of which are still active. It is the largest land mass in the island system, accounting for 60% of the total land area.
Your Week in the Galapagos
Saturday Night Stay at Hotel near the airport included in the price. You can join the Quito Tour Saturday if you like.
Day 1: Sunday: Leave Quito. This day will be quite the travel day. The Galapagos is not easy to get too, but worth every step of the way. We fly from Quito to Baltra Island Airport in the Galapagos. On arrival you will pay $100 Park Entrance Fee (cash only.) We will then take a 10 minute bus ride to a ferry which takes 5 minutes to cross to Santa Cruz Island. From here we will begin the 40 minute taxi ride to Puerto Ayora making a few stops along the way.
Los Gemelos (the twins) on Santa Cruz Island are two large craters that were once underground magma chambers. When the magma chambers caved in they left two huge beautiful craters filled with different types of bird and plant-life.
After visiting the craters, we will head up the road to the amazing underground lava tubes that extend for several kilometers. The tubes formed when the cooler outer parts of lava flow hardened into thick walls which provided protection while the hot flow continued inside. When the flow subsided it left behind long empty tunnels that you now get to explore.
El Chato Giant Tortoise Reserve. At this private reserve you will get to see the giant tortoises in the wild. The owners have planted the guava plant and poison apple trees and the wild giant tortoises come and go as they please to their favorite treats.
Check into Deja Vu Hotel, Puerto Ayora.
Day 2 Monday: Bahia Tour: Today is the day to experience some of the fantastic sea life. Stopping first at Las Grietas, you will swim in the clear blue fresh water. You will then visit the Lobería, a huge rock formation where the sea lions hang out. Then it is time to jump in the water and snorkel the calm waters where white tipped reef sharks can be observed along with other sea life. ($45)
In the afternoon we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Center is an active conservation program and a visitor education center. Volunteers and workers collect giant tortoise eggs from the wild and take them to incubate at the center. The tortoises can no longer reproduce in the wile because of species introduced by humans such as dogs, pigs, and rats that destroy the eggs. The baby tortoises are raised at the center until they are old enough to survive in the wild. You will observe baby tortoises, various species of tortoises, and learn all about the conservation efforts. (Included in Park Entrance Fee.)
If you still have energy, you can make your way to Tortuga Bay. one of the Galapagos most beautiful beaches known for it's white sand crescent shape and a mangrove-bordered lagoon. Because it is a half hour walk to this secluded beach, you will most likely have it all to yourself.
Day 3 Tuesday: Breakfast and then transfer by boat to Isabela Island. Settle into the Albemarle Hotel. Bicycle Ride to the Wall of Tears. The Galapagos Islands were at one time a Penal Colony. The prisoners were made to build a stone wall as part of their punishment. Many perished during this harsh manual labor and the remains of the wall still there to see. On the way back you can climb up to an overlook to see the entire port and the Sierra Negra Volcano. You will also see the Giant Tortoises in their natural environment and you can make a stop at one of the many secluded beaches along the way to swim or sunbathe. ($20 Bicycle Rental.)
Day 4 Wednesday: We will take a trip to the #1 visited site for snorkeling, Los Tuneles. You will snorkel in Crystal clear waters brimming with Marine Life around Volcanic Tunnels. You will swim near lava caves where we will see Penguins, reef sharks, rays, giant sea turtles, sea horses, blue footed boobies and sea lions. Lunch is provided on the trip. Price $90 per person with lunch included.
Day 5 Thursday. Trekking Day! We will hike up the Sierra Negra Volcano, the second largest volcanic crater in the world. This is a long hike of about 11 miles round trip but you are rewarded with amazing views at the top. The volcano is believed to be about 535,000 years old, and probably the oldest of Isabela’s volcanoes. From Sierra Negra, you can travel on about an hour more to reach Volcán Chico which is a fissure of parasitic cones composed of slag and lava. It feels like another planet! Price $45 with lunch included.
Day 6 Friday: Return to Quito the same way we got there!
Deja Vu Hotel, Santa Cruz and Hotel Albemarle, Isabela Island
Deja Vu Hotel is located in the town of Puerto Ayora, giving you time to explore this busy Galapagos hub. With a roof top terrace, swimming pool, it has all the modern comforts you will need.
Albemarle Hotel is located directly on the pristine white sand beach of Galapagos' most beautiful and peaceful island, Isabela. Hotel Albemarle offers guests a chance to explore an array of natural wonders from the comfort of its most luxurious hotel. The hotel's subtle Portuguese-Mediterranean architecture perfectly accompanies the towering palm trees and fine white sand on its doorstep, while the central courtyard has a freshwater swimming pool and optimizes the flow of equatorial sun and pure pacific air.
Galapagos Down Payment: $500
(If you are a couple, place two down payments.)
Six nights hotel including Quito, Double Occupancy with breakfast, all ground and sea transportation, Guide beginning from Quito, Port Taxes and Fees.
$1200 per person if we fill 10 rooms.
$1300 per person for 1-7 people.
What is not included: Airfare to the Galapagos (I will help with booking you together. Cost is typically around $400 to $500)
$100 Entrance Fee to the Galapagos Islands to be paid in Cash on arrival in the Galapagos.
Meals: Breakfast is included. You will have access to the full kitchen so you can buy sandwich stuff for lunches, cook dinner if we want or go to town to eat. Most meals in town cost between $8 and $12.
Prices of Activities on the Island are listed above. $200 per person if you do them all.
Tips and personal expenses