Lodge-Based Galapagos Adventure
Day 1: Quito, Ecuador
Our Galapagos adventure travel vacation begins upon arrival in Ecuador’s capital, where we'll transfer to Hotel Patio Andaluz in Quito's historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is the best-preserved colonial city in South America.
Day 2: Quito / Galapagos – Santa Cruz
Fly to the Galapagos, where we meet our Expedition Leader on the island of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the highest island in the archipelago, and we begin our exploration with a drive into the lush highlands to explore Los Gemelos ("The Twins"), two massive pit craters created when subterranean magma chambers collapsed over a million years ago. At the nearby Tortoise Reserve, we’ll observe the most famous icon of the Galapagos—the giant tortoise—in its natural habitat. These ancient creatures weigh up to 600 pounds and can live to more than 150 years old! We're able to get exceptionally close photographs, revealing every detail of their patterned shells and and wizened faces. Our day's adventures conclude with a lighted walk into a cavernous lava tunnel, more evidence of the islands' volcanic origins.
Day 3: North Seymour
Today we take a boat excursion to North Seymour. This island is home to nesting colonies of magnificent frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, and land iguanas up to three feet long. Snorkel among colorful fish off the white sands of Bachas Beach.
Day 4: Isabela
Transfer by speedboat to Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos, formed when several volcanoes merged into a single landmass. We stay in Puerto Villamil, a fishing village flanked by clear lagoons where penguins and flamingos frolic. Visit the lush mangroves of Humedales and the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, home to 330 tortoises. Observe lagoon flamingos and snorkel the clear waters of Concha de Perla among schools of fish, turtles and sea lions.
Day 5: Isabela
For avid hikers, there’s an optional excursion around the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra. This challenging six-mile hike allows a chance to peer into the vast caldera of the volcano, one of the largest in the world. Others will visit Las Tintoreras, an islet within the bay surrounded by fissures and canals where dozens of white-tip reef sharks, known as Tintoreras, rest along the bottom during the day. Follow the trail past marine iguanas through a sea lion colony. We will have the opportunity to see blue-footed boobies and the unique Galapagos penguins before snorkeling with sea lions and sea turtles.
Day 6: Puerto Ayora
We return to the island of Santa Cruz, where we visit Tomas de Berlanga School, a model for Galapagos education. At the Charles Darwin Research Station we tour the world-famous giant tortoise-rearing center, where we’ll see baby tortoises and learn about efforts to conserve the islands’ iconic denizens. In the laid-back town of Puerto Ayora we stay opposite the harbor, steps from the craft shops and open-air cafés in town.
Day 7: Bartolome
Enjoy a day excursion to Bartolome Island. View glistening orange, black, green and red volcanic rock formations, including Pinnacle Rock, the islands most prominent geologic feature. A mating and nesting site for endangered pacific green turtles, Barolome hosts a plethora of sea life. Snorkel the tranquil waters beside sea lions, penguins and swarms of vibrant fish.
Day 8: Tortuga Bay
Hike through a palo santo forest to Tortuga Bay. Watch for pelicans, white egrets, oystercatchers and blue herons as we swim and snorkel from a pristine beach, and one of the prettiest places on all the Galapagos.
Day 9: Baltra / Quito
Transfer to the airport for our return flight to Quito. Upon arrival at our hotel near the airport, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
Day 10: Quito / Home
Transfer to the airport for flights home or onward excursions to Machu Picchu or the Amazon rainforest.
Please note: This itinerary is meant as a guideline. The activities we are able to participate in and the exact itinerary will be determined by time of year, weather, permits and equipment availability. Island visits on Days 2 & 7 sometimes vary. A minimum number of participants may be required to guarantee private excursions throughout the trip, but all scheduled tours will include the exclusive services of a Natural Habitat Adventures Expedition Leader.