The Galapagos Islands are a “must-see” destination for any nature traveler. But how you see them is another question altogether. The vast majority of those who visit the Galapagos do so aboard cruise ships with dozens (and dozens!) of other passengers, all going ashore together and exploring in large groups. For more adventurous travelers who prefer an active experience focused on nature rather than fellow travelers, this trip offers a secluded, eye-level encounter with the Galapagos. In fact, with our kayaking permits and small group size, this active Galapagos adventure is truly in a class by itself. Here’s how:
- Kayaking Permits = An Exceptional Itinerary
Through permits originally arranged by Dr. Olaf Malver, Nat Hab's Chief Exploratory Officer who pioneered kayak expeditions in the Galapagos years ago, we have permission from Galapagos National Park for guided kayaking exploration that goes far beyond the standard land- and sea-based excursions most Galapagos visitors participate in. Kayaking lets us discover the water and shoreline at eye-level — this, and our unparalleled experience in Galapagos kayaking, is our key to ensuring the most immersive Galapagos adventure available!
- The Smallest Groups in the Islands
With a maximum of just 12 guests plus Natural Habitat's highly trained Galapagos Expedition Leader, this trip boasts the smallest group size offered by any major Galapagos tour operator. And that's all the more vital when considering the up-close wildlife experiences we enjoy on this unique itinerary.
- Personal Snorkeling Experiences
With inquisitive sea lions, sea turtles, dolphins and playful penguins abundant in the islands' waters, there's no place on the planet better suited for wildlife snorkeling encounters than the Galapagos. If you're traveling on board a large ship, it can thus be disappointing to enter the water only to find yourself surrounded by more snorkelers than local creatures. With our 12-guest maximum, your secluded snorkeling encounters are guaranteed!
- An Active Itinerary Shaped By World Wildlife Fund
As WWF’s travel partner, we are privileged to work with some of the world's most accomplished environmental scientists to develop the best nature travel adventures possible. This small-group itinerary, arranged in conjunction with WWF, features walking, hiking and kayaking excursions for close-up wildlife viewing in the most personalized manner.
- A Private Stay in Our Highlands-based Treehouse & Safari Camp!
Unique to Nat Hab's Galapagos journeys is a stay at our 'safari-camp' located on private volcanic land in the Santa Cruz highlands. Here, amidst the on-site lava caves and wandering wild tortoises, we stay in safari tents and treehouses overlooking the Pacific Ocean, enhancing the remoteness and special elements of our Galapagos experience.
- Hiking & Kayaking Throughout Our Entire Itinerary
We don't wait till we get to the islands to get out into nature. Our outdoor adventure kicks off with a privately guided hike in the foothills of the Andes. We then enjoy the thrill of specially permitted explorations in the Galapagos by kayak and on foot, getting a perspective on the islands' flora and fauna that simply can't be attained without such special access.
- See More of Ecuador with our Hacienda Stay in the Andean Highlands
Ecuador, though small in size, is one of the world's most geographically and culturally diverse countries. As a complement to your Galapagos immersion, we include a visit to the Andean highlands with a two-night stay at an authentic colonial hacienda, set amidst lavish gardens, in the scenic mountain town of Otavalo. And for those who don't want to miss Quito's historic highlights, we can arrange an optional Quito city tour before or after your trip—inquire with an Adventure Specialist for details.
- Enjoy a Convenient Stay Near the Quito Airport on our Final Night
Accommodations near Quito's new outlying international airport are few. Visitors who stay in central Quito must make a lengthy drive—up to two hours—for their round-trip airport transfers. We, however, have located a charming inn just 15 minutes away. You'll fly in from the Galapagos, enjoy a relaxing final night's stay, and be minutes away from your departing flight.
- The World's Finest Naturalist Guides
Natural Habitat Adventures is known worldwide for employing the finest naturalists on the planet. In the Galapagos, our group of elite Expedition Leaders each average more than 15 years' guiding experience and receive additional resources from WWF’s renowned scientists, an advantage that further enhances our guests' experience. See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
- The Best Gear for Comfort & Safety
If you've ever tried kayaking in basic (cheap) kayaks with subpar equipment, you'll surely agree that it is uncomfortable and, frankly, not very fun. Since Nat Hab Expeditions has pioneered many nature trips by kayak around the world, we know what equipment is required for the best kayaking experience...and we've invested in that equipment specifically for our guests' comfort and safety. You can count on us.
- Our Quality Guarantee Ensures Your Special Galapagos Experience
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee: that we will meet the lofty expectations we establish in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
- Feel Good About the Way You Travel
We all care about the planet, and when you travel with us, you can know that the emissions from your trip are 100% carbon-offset – Natural Habitat Adventures is the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company.
- Natural Habitat Adventures is World Wildlife Fund's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally conscious travel, as well as the outstanding quality of our worldwide adventures, World Wildlife Fund, the world's leading environmental conservation organization, has named Natural Habitat as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Longitude Books has created a custom comprehensive listing of Galapagos hiking & kayaking adventure travel books
for this trip.