A stunning trip that allows you to experience the best the Galapagos has to offer. As you kayak, mountain bike, trek & snorkel, you will experience incredible close encounters with sea lions, iguanas, giant tortoises, boobies, and a myriad of tropical fish.
I had an amazing time on this once in a lifetime trip, please could you send my thanks to all the people who made my trip so incredible.
Discover the southern Islands of the Galapagos Archipelago on an active adventure that will deliver to you the most extraordinary experience in this world-class naturalist haven. The Galapagos multi-activity adventure is a land tour that combines daily active excursions with first class hotels. As you kayak, mountain bike, trek or snorkel you will experience incredible close encounters with sea lions, iguanas, giant tortoises, boobies, rays, a myriad of tropical fish and even sharks. This is a socially and environmentally responsible tour that provides many benefits to local island communities. Learn and enjoy from top adventure and naturalist guides that will immerse you in the realm of natural history and evolution.
DAY 1 : TRANSFER, HIKE TO EL JUNCO, SEA TURTLES & SNORKEL LOBERIA(B, L)
After a morning flight from Quito to San Cristobal Island (this is not included but we are happy to book this for you).
Upon arrival we have a welcome lunch and briefing before the adventure begins. We will start our adventure with a visit to El Junco, the only permanent fresh water lake in the islands. It is located at 615 meter above sea level and has an amazing 360 degrees view of the island. The frigate birds from the coast take baths on this lake to clean the salt on their feathers while you hike around enjoying the unique Miconia tree that grows in the area. After short drive we stop at “Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado”, a free range tortoise breeding center. We’ll walk the grounds in search of wild Giant Tortoises and learn about the efforts this center does to support their conservation. We stop at a local agricultural enterprise called Hacienda Tanquila for lunch. We walk the interpretative trails of the Hacienda and learn about the local agricultural practices in the Galapagos highlands. We’ll have a chance to try exotic fruits before driving back to town. This afternoon you can head for the beautiful beach of Loberia, where you can swim and snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles until sunset.
Optional: If you feel energetic and curious to explore, you can hike to Las Negritas Cliff to spot marine birds and amazing views of the coastal line.
DAY 2: SNORKEL IN SAN CRISTOBAL’S NORTHERN COAST – SAN CRISTOBAL (B,L)
Today’s journey will take us to some incredible offshore snorkeling sites and along the best diving sites in the Galapagos! This is a known feeding area for sharks and a great variety of tropical fish. Amaze yourself in this natural aquarium with its geological beauty and incredible marine life.
We continue our journey and disembark at one of the calm and pristine beaches of the northern coast for a picnic lunch. Relax, walk, swim or snorkel and soak in the natural beauty this place has to offer.
Optional: Diving for an extra fee. Highly recommended.
DAY 3: MOUNTAIN BIKE, SANDY BEACHES AND TORTOISES– ISABELA (B,L)
In the morning we board a small plane for an inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest Island in the archipelago, formed by 6 shield volcanoes – Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Ecuador, Sierra Negra and Wolf. All of these volcanoes except one remain active, making this island one of the most volcanically active places on earth. When we arrive we set up our mountain bikes to explore the beautiful coastline for its scenery and wildlife treasures. We begin with a visit to El Muro de las Lágrimas which means Wall of Tears, a historic site that dates back between 1946 and 1959 when Isabela Island was used as a penal colony. The wall was bilt with lava blocks and had no other purpose than that of keeping prisoners busy from the madness of isolation.
After our historic stop, we cross the wetlands and reach beautiful sandy beaches, pink lagoons and amazing photography spots like Orchilla. In the afternoon, we take a walk through mangrove trails, passing “manzanillo” trees and other native plants. We arrive to the “Arnaldo Tupiza” Giant Tortoises Breeding Center and learn about how the Galapagos Park has invested years of research and dedicated patience to the recovery of these giant creatures, promoting their slow population growth.
DAY 4: SEA KAYAK IN TINTORERAS & SNORKEL (B,D)
Get ready for an incredible day of kayaking and snorkeling. We kayak through a maze of rocky mangrove areas at a place called Tintoreras, a set of small Islets within Isabela bay. The Islets are filled with wildlife and are home to the Galapagos Penguin, the only penguin that lives in equatorial region. We will also see sharks, marine turtles, sea lions and much more wildlife as we explore its many small coves and beaches.
Concha y Perla is a favorite local spot for snorkeling and searching for rays, sea turtles and reef fish. This is where we’ll spend the rest of our day.
DAY 5: VOLCANO DISCOVERY HIKE IN THE ISABELA HIGHLANDS & LOCAL HACIENDA (B,L)
From Puerto Villamil, we drive to the Isabela highlands up to where the road ends. Here we prepare our day backs and walk into a world of recent geological history. We walk on dirt trails until we arrive to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. Sierra Negra is an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005. We explore along the rim of the huge 6×5 mile-wide (9×8 kilometer) lava-filled crater. We may also get views to the other Isabela volcanoes and the Perry Isthmus and beyond. We take off to enjoy a local “criollo” lunch at one of the best local farms in the highlands. We’ll spend our afternoon visiting the grounds and collecting different fruits and vegetables to sample later on. Agriculture practices, animal farming, coffee plantations, sugar cane products made by the owners await us along with tales and legends of the first settlers.
DAY 6: HIKE TO TORTUGA BAY, SEA KAYAK PUNTA ESTRADA (B,L)
In the morning we embark in a fast boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz. We will hike to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful white sand beach area, nesting site to thousands of marine turtles. This trail is 3½ miles (6 kilometers) long and crosses through a dry forest lava habitat home to hundreds of iguanas. In the afternoon, we take to our sea kayaks and paddle around Divine Bay and Punta Estrada, through calm turquoise waters that wind through high-walled lava channels. Within the channels, white-tipped sharks and rays tour beneath the clear water, while colonies of blue-footed boobies, tropic birds, herons, crabs and marine iguanas perch along the jagged cliffs. At sunset, we return to Puerto Ayora to visit the local workshops and learn about tempered chocolate, glass art, recycled art and much more. This is an excellent opportunity to purchase souvenirs that make a difference in the local community.
DAY 7: HIKE EL CHATO RESERVE & GARRAPATERO BEACH (B,L)
We will transfer to El Chato reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island which is the natural habitat of the incredible Galapagos tortoise. We hike in this reserve to learn about these lumbering giants. We also come across highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches, and frigate birds bathing in freshwater lakes.
We continue on to a highland farm for a locally prepared lunch with the people of Galapagos. After lunch we drive down to “Garrapatero” beach to swim, enjoy amazing landscape and bird watching at the ponds next to the sandy area.
DAY 8: TRANSFER OUT (B)
Transfer to Baltra Island for your flight back to the mainland.
Please note, this trip ends at the Itabaca channel; you will be transported here, where you take the ferry across to Baltra Island ($1). Here you pick up the free public bus to the airport where you will get your flight from Quito – the reason we do not include this guided transfer is that Galapagos guides only have full day rates (even for a 20 minute service). This procedure is very easy (you can see the buses waiting for you at the dock once you arrive at the Itabaca channel). If you prefer a guided transfer this would cost an additional £185.