Cloud-high in the Andes and hemmed in by the snow-capped peaks of two active volcanoes, few cities have as dramatic a setting as Quito. The Ecuadorian capital’s 16th-century Centro Histórico (Old Town) is not only the largest and best-preserved colonial center in Latin America, it’s also the world’s very first UNESCO World Heritage city.
A bucket-list destination for good reason: Thanks to a lack of natural predators, friendly wildlife such as playful sea lions and gigantic sea tortoises let visitors get up close and personal. This archipelago of about 19 islands and many smaller islets sprinkled 620 miles off Ecuador’s coast in the Pacific Ocean is a double World Heritage site (both land and sea are protected) and served as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Each island boasts its own unique landscape, ranging from barren black, volcanic rocks to swaths of white sand beaches melting into gemstone-blue waters.
UNUSUAL EXPEDITION’s trips are well known for accomplishing a lot in just a few days. We basically pack a lot of content with different themes in a single trip. This workshop will be no different. Locations shoots each day are dependant on daily weather and lighting conditions.
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Arrival at the Quito International Airport where you will be met by your English-speaking tour guide and transfer to town. First check in at the Hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Today, we will gather in the morning for a Full day city tour in Quito.
Upon arrival to Baltra airport, we will pickup you and transfer your luggages on board.
BACHAS BEACH: This beautiful beach is located in the north of Santa Cruz Island; the beach is one km long.
The site was named during WWII (World War II) when the American army left two barges on the beach. The early colonists couldn’t pronounce barges correctly, so they called the area “Bachas”.
SULLIVAN BAY: wet landing and hiking. Description of the place: all the road and the island is composed of lava flows that still they are virtually without eroding and they cover an extensive area, lava pohoehhoe or of cords, hornitos, mollugo, this plant grows in the lava. Lava Colonizers. Snacks and refreshing beverages expect for you.
BARTOLOME ISLAND: Dry landing, wet landing for the beach. Activities on this island include: walking, swimming, snorkeling, and photography. We will follow a path to the top (114m) where we can see pioneering plants such as tiquilia, chamaesyce, and scalesia. The island has been formed by cones, lava pipes where lava once flowed. Following the wet landing at the beach, we will follow a path through mangrove swamps and sand dune vegetation, to the south beach. At the north beach, guests can enjoy swimming and snorkeling. From the top of Bartolome, we will be able to see the islands of Santiago, Rabida, and Isabela. We will see penguins in the Rock Pinnacle.
HIGHLANDS OF SANTA CRUZ: our first visit is HIGHLANDS OF SANTA CRUZ, where we have a trekking and we will find the giant tortoises in their natural habitat, this is a natural spectacular. For this visit we recommend to use sport shoes, long pants, raincoat, hut and sun block.
Charles Darwin Station: is located in the main port on Santa Cruz Island; we will take a private bus to the entrance of the breeding center where we will see tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. This center is the main breeding site on the islands. Animals that were in danger of extinction on the various islands are maintained in captivity. Thanks to the dedicated work of several institutions, some species are being saved. Here lived Lonesome George, the famous last survivor of the giant tortoise species found on Pinta Island.
PUNTA CORMORANT: wet landing, snorkeling and short trekking. This point is located at west of Floreana Island and it is famous for its dark green beach (due to the great quantity of olivine crystals).You can see many marine invertebrates, as well as sea lions, sea iguanas, the frigates and pelicans.
Second visit: DEVIL´S CROWN: Activities in this place: panga ride and optional swimming. Enjoy a panga ride around a small island, a satellite islet of Floreana Island. Here, we will find a group of rocks that resemble a Crown due to the constant erosion caused by the sea. It is one of the better places to snorkel (shallow diving) in the interior and around the crown. Excellent visibility allows guests to admire a great variety of fish and sea animals.
POST OFFICE (Mail Bay): Wet landing. Activities: short walk, swimming, snorkeling, explanation of the mail system. Description: Mail Bay is located on the north side of Floreana Island. Captain James Colnett installed an empty barrel to be used as a post office for the whaling fleets that stopped at the Galapagos Islands. You can leave postcards to your friends and relatives here and/or pick up mail to deliver. Back at the ship, Delicious snacks and beverages are waiting for you.
SUAREZ POINT: Dry landing. Activities: Walking, sight-seeing. We recommend sports shoes, hat or cap, and sunscreen. There is no color more amazing and outstanding in this tropical desert island, than that of the blue-foot boobies. These birds have an impressive form of “greeting” and it is a real thrill to see their mating dance. The blue-footed booby can be seen on several of the islands as nesting grounds and feed are located in several coastal locations. The albatross, an aristocratic bird weighing up to four kilograms, can be observed here. One of the largest birds of the islands, approximately 12,000 couples nest on Espanola Island and a smaller number nest on Silver Island, near mainland Ecuador. This species is considered endemic to this island; during our walk, we will observe these fantastic birds while taking in the beautiful landscapes offered by this island. It is important to note that albatrosses will not be seen between January and March (non-breeding) season. We will also see colonies of marine iguanas, zayapas, masked boobies, finches, Espanola cucuves, and seagulls unique to the islands. Our walk will be on lava rock where we will be able to see lava tubes. Red mangroves are found here. Delicious snacks and fresh beverages are waiting for you on the ship.
GARDNER BAY: wet landing, activities for this visit: short walk, swimming, snorkeling, and observation of seal colony. The sea lion is one of the animals in Galapagos which gets the total attention of the visitors in the Galapagos: they are curious and playful, but at times aggressive; they are nice and loving, but also lazy. In Gardner Bay, we are going to find many of them relaxing on the beach enjoying the sun. In addition to observing these fascinating animals, while snorkeling, we will be able to swim with sea lions, sea turtles, a diversity of tropical fish, marine iguanas, etc. We will return to the ship and sail to Gardner and Osborn Islets.
INTERPRETATION CENTER: Dry landing. This center is location in the main port. After breakfast, our first visit is to the Interpretation Center of San Cristobal. This modern and sophisticated architectural space was designed for the natural interpretation of the Galapagos. You will learn about the volcanic formation of the islands, the evolution of the species, the history of human settlement, and complex systems and management models.
LOBOS ISLAND: Panga Riding, swimming and snorkeling. Here, we can walk, swim and snorkel among the seals, frigates, marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the small endemic Galapagos snake. Here, we can swim and snorkeling in the same place it.
Wet landing, activities for this day: hiking, swimming and snorkeling. With 24 km2 and 60 m of height above sea level, this central island is a unique place to visit. It has an incredible bay of turquoise water, protected by a natural barrier of rocks. You will see colonies of seals as hawks fly overhead. This island is home to one of the two species of land iguanas found in the Galapagos. Their main food source is the leaves and fruit of the large, thick cactus found here.
Crabs, nocturnal herons, marine iguanas, cucuves and land doves are seen frequently. The Bay is excellent place to swim and to do snorkel. Marine tortoises, rays, sea lions and tropical fish are an amazing attraction! Snacks and refreshing beverages are waiting for you on board.
SOUTH PLAZAS: are two small islands, created by an uplifting of the land. The land iguanas are smaller here; they nest during the warm season. The hike goes along an extraordinary cliff where sea birds nest. There are approximately 1000 sea lions (Zalophus Wollebaeki) located on the south side of the Plazas.
NORTH SEYMOUR: dry landing. Seymour was formed by the lifting of volcanic marine lava. Marine fossils dating back to the Pleistocene period were found on this island.
In 1932, Captain Alan Hancock and his crew took 72 malnourished land iguanas from Baltra Island to North Seymour Island so that the iguanas could live in better conditions. In 1934, colonists verified that the iguanas were in good condition.
The vegetation of North Seymour is bushy and is host to nesting Real Frigates of the Galapagos. Return to boat.
MOSQUERA ISLET: This islet is located between Baltra Island and North Seymour. Here, we find the biggest sea lion colony; it is also possible to observe several species of birds.
DARWIN BAY: wet landing, coral beach, activities for this day: short walks, photography, swimming, snorkeling. Genovesa is a small island in the north of the Galapagos. Our unloading in Darwin Bay will be wet. Near the beach is a mangrove swamp where we will find a colony of frigates, marine iguanas, red-footed boobies and mask boobies, the great terrestrial finch, seagulls, herons, and cactus finch. Following the land visit, our passengers can enjoy a swim in the bay. Snacks and refreshments are available.
BARRANCO: dry landing, activities: hiking. Also known as Prince Felipe’s stairs. Here, we will have a walk for the Barranco path. In our journey we will observe tropical birds, petrels, common frigate, red-foot boobies, mask boobies, dove, and finches.
Where we have a trekking and we will find the giant tortoises in their natural habitat, this is a natural spectacular. For this visit we recommend to use sport shoes, long pants, raincoat, hut and sun block.
In the afternoon, we will take a flight from Galapagos back to Quito.
After breakfast, we check out from the hotel and check in for your flight, depending on your flight departure time. We hope your trip was a memorable one and we would like to see you in future in one of our tours again. Have a nice trip back home, this is the end of our expedition!
Land transportation in destination
Group transfer to airport
All meals as stated in itinerary
Return International Air Ticket
Return Domestic Air Ticket (If Any) – US$500
Guide & Crew Tips – US$15 per day
Any Private Expenses, Room Service, Porter Service
Visa Fees (If Applicable)
Beverages / Alcohol Drinks during Meals
Personal Travel Insurance (Compulsory – Self Purchased)
Photography Setup Fee (If applicable)
Galapagos Transit Card – US$20
Galapagos Entrance Fee – US$100
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