We dive into adventure just after we arrive! We will enter the airport through a special VIP lounge where you will have a chance to change clothes, put on some sunscreen and get a cool drink before we transfer to the Itabaca Channel to explore its turquoise waters. We will have a chance to kayak, snorkel and stand up paddleboard (SUP) where we will see some of the famous Galapagos wildlife such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, brown pelicans, a variety of herons and white-tipped reef sharks. There’s no better introduction to the Galapagos than to get on the water upon arrival! We will glide through beautiful red mangrove forests and along lava rock cliffs on water so clear we can see sea life in the shallows. Our ocean (sit on top) kayaks come in doubles or singles, and life jackets are provided. A support boat escorts us throughout the water activities to ensure safety and to provide water, snacks, and towels between activities.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Kayak: 1.5-2 hours depending on fauna activity and skills of kayakers
Transportation: boat, swimming, kayak, stand up paddleboard
From Itabaca Channel we head up to the Santa Cruz highlands to one of the private reserves that border the national park where the famous giant tortoises inhabit in the wild. Lunch at the reserve. Afterward, we drive to our exclusive giant tortoise reserve and tented camp. Perched high on a hillside overlooking the ocean, Magic Galapagos Tented Camp will be our home for the next two nights. The sounds of nature will be our lullaby in the evenings, and the Milky Way will be our night light. We’ll be able to feast our eyes on the mountains and forest surrounding the lodge and enjoy the peace of having the entire hillside to ourselves, with the exception of seasonal resident giant tortoises.
Watching the colorful sunset from Magic’s western perch is the perfect segue into the evening. Dinners are sumptuous three-course affairs, prepared by expert chefs in an open-air kitchen in the main lodge. A favorite post-dinner activity is a short walk to the natural lava tubes on the reserve for a nightcap in the one-of-a-kind ‘Lava Lounge!’ It’s the perfect spot to relax around the fire and share stories from the day’s adventures.
Day 4 – Santa Cruz Island: Embark our motor yacht and enjoy of a daily excursion with welcoming crew members and knowledgeable naturalist guide and experience the remote islands in comfort and style.
NOTE: These excursions are subject to availability and change without prior notification
Day 5 – M/Y La Pinta: After breakfast, you will be transferred to the cruise terminal to board your four-night cruise of the Galapagos! You will have a welcome introductory briefing, boat drill, cabin assignment and then lunch. We weigh anchor and start sailing for our first-afternoon outing. The turquoise waters of the channel here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by yellow-grey land iguanas. Along the coastline, one finds sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but spectacular island.
Day 6 – M/Y La Pinta: Today’s activities include –
Santa Fe Island – We take the dinghy over to this idyllic sandy-white beach populated by colonies of sea lions. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The Santa Fe land iguana, unique to just this island, may be spotted during the walk. Following the walk, we can snorkel and swim along a natural wave barrier or ride the glass-bottom boat.
Cerro Colorado Tortoise Habitat – After lunch, we disembark at Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the island’s capital, and drive 40 minutes to the island’s southern shore. At Cerro Colorado, we visit the breeding center for highly endangered giant tortoises in the midst of a fantastic deciduous forest, home to dozens of bird species, including the San Cristobal mockingbird, and the San Cristobal lava lizard, both island endemics.
Day 7 – M/Y La Pinta: Today’s activities include –
Punta Pitt (San Cristobal Island) – We land at the eastern tip of San Cristobal Island this morning. The trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline; we can observe frigates, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions. After the walk, if conditions are favorable, there is a chance to swim from the beach and snorkel.
Cerro Brujo – In the afternoon following lunch on board, a dinghy ride along the shores of tuff-stone layers takes us to Cerro Brujo’s expansive, white coral beach, great for walking, with rewarding bird-watching featuring seabirds and shorebirds. Also, look out for Galapagos sea lions. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835.
Day 8 – M/Y La Pinta: Today’s activities include –
Punta Suárez – Our morning outing at Punta Suárez provides an exciting walk on lava/boulder terrain to visit its unique sea bird colonies, including the waved albatrosses (April – January), boobies, swallow-tail gulls, and the famous “blowhole” lava formation. Also, look for red-green-black marine iguanas. Many regard this site as the best in the Galapagos. Back on board for lunch.
Gardner Bay – In the afternoon, we set down at this beautiful, white coral beach for a short walk to observe the sea lions, mockingbirds, finches, or enjoy the beach. There is great snorkeling in this area, or else there’s time to kayak or ride the glass-bottom boat.
Day 9 – End Of Itinerary: Disembarking in the morning, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the captive rearing program for the giant tortoises. Here, we witness the efforts and results of Galapagos fieldwork and study done in the name of science. We transfer via bus across Santa Cruz Island and a short ferry ride to Baltra. Our journey ends at Baltra Island, where we transfer to the airport to take the flight back to the mainland. Baltra’s flat substrate (due to its uplifted origin) is the reason why the island was chosen back in the 1940s as the construction site for an airport. Day Use Hotel: Wyndham Quito.
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