Exploring the Galapagos Islands
5 days island-hopping holiday for £2250pp
An island-hopping holiday in the Galapagos gives you the chance to spend quality time on each of the islands you visit so you can explore at your own pace. It also means you have much more chance to wander by yourself, and you have all the comforts of dry land available in the evenings.
This short 5-day island-hopping tour lets you visit three of the major islands in just five days, but of course longer island-hopping holidays are also possible...
- Day One: Arrival and Tour of Santa Cruz
- Day Two: Sea Kayaking and Snorkelling
- Day Three: Isabela
- Day Four: Las Tintoreras and return to Santa Cruz
- Day Five: Back to the Mainland
Day One – Start of Your Island-Hopping Holiday
Your flight from the mainland will touch down on the island of Baltra this morning, and we will pick you up and take you across the Itabaca Strait to Santa Cruz. First of all, we will take you to the secluded and lovely Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge, where you can refresh yourselves and drop your luggage. Then, after lunch at the lodge we will head up into the green highlands of Santa Cruz. After driving up into the highlands, we will leave our vehicles behind as we enjoy a short trek through the endemic scalesia forest to the enormous twin collapsed lava craters called Los Gemelos. Along the way we can hope to see some of the local wildlife, such as Darwin’s finches and short-eared owls. From here we will drive on to a private Giant Tortoise Reserve further up in the highlands, where you’ll be able to enjoy the fantastic experience of walking alongside these iconic creatures in their natural surroundings as well as exploring some of the reserve’s extensive lava tunnels. After a full afternoon exploring the highlands, we will return to the lodge for dinner. (Lunch and Dinner Included)
Day Two - Sea Kayaking and Snorkelling
After breakfast this morning, we will drive you across to the clear waters of the Itabaca Strait. Here those who wish can have a short introduction to sea kayaking with our certified guide before taking to the waves themselves as they kayak around the coast of Santa Cruz. Those who prefer something less strenuous can stay aboard the accompanying boat as we sail around to a popular snorkelling spot, where everyone can enjoy the chance to swim and snorkel along with the local sea lions, green sea turtles and myriad schools of tropical fish.
After returning to the lodge for lunch we will head down to the harbour to sail across to the island of Isabela. This is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and arguably the most impressive of all. Along the way we will hope to see whales, dolphins and manta rays along with many other sea creatures. On arrival here on Isabela we will take you straight to the lovely Isabela Lodge, located right on a beautiful white sand beach and then you will be able to enjoy some relaxation time before an evening briefing from our naturalists. (B/L/D)
Day Three - Exploring Isabela
This morning we will drive up through the humid highlands of Isabela and onto the slopes of the Sierra Negra volcano – the second largest active crater in the world at a colossal 4 miles across. We will leave our 4x4s about 800m from the crater rim and hike up to the top, from where we have spectacular views back across Isabela. From here we will enjoy a further hike along level ground to a beautiful viewpoint where we will stop for a picnic break. Those who wish can continue on to the otherworldly landscape of Volcan Chico, where you can see the fumaroles and exposed lava formations of this subsidiary volcano. We will then head back to the vehicles and drive on to the Campo Duro organic farm, where we will stop for lunch and then either walk in the grounds or take a short siesta in the farm’s hammocks... After lunch we will drive back down to the coast, where you will have some free time to swim, sunbathe and relax. (B/L/D)
Day Four - Las Tintoreras and Return to Santa Cruz
This morning we will take a boat trip out from Isabela to the Las Tintoreras islets, passing colonies of blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins along the way. Here we can walk through jagged lava fields, with their colonies of nesting marine iguanas and sea lions, to a small shallow channel which is a great place to see resting white-tipped reef sharks. The views from here are some of the most beautiful in the Galapagos, with the black lava, the emerald sea and the cloud-capped volcanoes providing some fantastic photo opportunities. At the end of the walk you can swim and snorkel in this warm, shallow bay with the resident sea lions and sea turtles, as well as the (friendly!) reef sharks. After lunch aboard, we will head back to Isabela to collect our things and then sail back across to Santa Cruz. On arrival we will have a short visit to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station, where we can learn more about the islands as well as seeing some of the animals that are part of the Station’s captive breeding programmes. We will then head back to the Red Mangrove Lodge to relax and enjoy your final evening here in the Galapagos. (B/L/D)
Day Five – Back to Ecuador
After breakfast this morning, we will travel back across Santa Cruz to Baltra, where our flight will take us back across the Pacific to Quito. (B)
Galapagos Holiday Options
Diving at Gordon Rocks - Day Tours from £175pp
Gordon Rocks may very well be the best dive site in the Galapagos. It is home to just about every underwater species found in the region, but the real highlight here that you might not see on other Galapagos dives is the hammerhead shark. This site is intermediate to advanced due to the strong currents (the area is nicknamed the washing machine), and the average depth is between 60 and 80 feet. Apart from the fascinating hammerheads, you can expect to see Eagle Rays, Stingrays, Marbled Rays, Mantas, White-Tipped Reef Sharks, Galapagos Sharks, Turtles, Flag Cabrillas, Blennies, Wrasse, King Angelfish, Sea Lions, Yellowtail Surgeonfish, King Angelfish, Barracudas, and more. This is not a dive to be missed if you’re in the Galapagos!
Ecuador Mainland - Packages from £635pp
The Galapagos attracts tourists from around the world, but there are no direct flights to the Islands, so at some point you’ll be stopping off on the Ecuadorean mainland. Our Ecuador Mainland option includes all of your transfers in Quito, your flights between the mainland and the Galapagos, and two nights hotel accommodation in Quito at either end of your Galapagos itinerary, so you can relax safe in the knowledge that everything is organised from end to end.
Enhanced Ecuador Mainland - from £800pp
While the Galapagos is one of the most stunning places in the natural world, what’s the rush? Mainland Ecuador has plenty to offer, and this option offers everything on our ‘Ecuador Mainland’ option plus two extra nights in Quito, a tour of Quito’s beautiful colonial centre, and a full day tour of the beautiful Cotopaxi National Park and its snow-capped volcanoes. You’ll see some of the absolute stand-out sights in South America, and you only need to add two more days to your holiday!
Similar Holidays to South America
Our standard price for this Galapagos Island-hopping holiday is £2250 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin standard room in our chosen lodges.
That price includes all your accommodation and transport in the Galapagos Islands, flights to/from the mainland, all tours and guides, and all the indicated meals. It does not include the US$100 Galapaos National Park fee, or any services on the mainland, although we would be delighted to provide those for you as well.
Services on the Mainland
So with the exception of the National Parks fee, everything in the Galapagos Islands is included. What we don't include as standard are services on the mainland and your international flights, because for both you have a huge range of options.
On the Ecuadorean mainland, you will almost certainly need at least one or two night's accommodation in either Quito or Guayaquil, even if you're not planning to see some more of Ecuador while you are in South America. You will also probably need transfers on the mainland to get to and from the airports. Click the 'Options' tab above for a hassle-free way to include all this.
We can organise our island-hopping holidays for any days or dates you like, and so with the international flights you will have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.
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