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Visit the world’s number one bucket list destination, the Galapagos Islands, from the comfort of a hotel room on two different islands. There will be no shortage of adventures to explore the incredible and unique flora and fauna of the islands, accompanied by your Certified Galapagos National Parks Guide. Discover giant tortoises, incredible landscapes, and the endemic species that the Galapagos Islands are famous for, such as marine iguanas, sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies and so much more. You will be astonished by how friendly and unafraid all of the animals are. It really is like being in a nature documentary!
*dates run back-to-back with the Barrie Chamber of Commerce trip through Ecuador’s Andes
*This group size allows for an enhanced cultural and wilderness experience and forms part of EarthTreks’ sustainable tourism practices.
*After which time prices may increase and seats on the same flight cannot be guaranteed.
*A non-refundable deposit of $1,750 CAD will be required at the time of booking.
* Includes: all taxes; return economy airfare Toronto-Quito; return flight from Quito to Galápagos; all meals while in Galápagos, breakfasts in Quito (8 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners); all accommodations (8 nights – 5 in the Galapagos & 3 nights in Quito); all activities & entrance fees outlined in the itinerary; full-time certified Galapagos National Parks Guide in the islands; all transportation, including airport transfers, private taxis to specific sites, and boat rides between islands; carbon offsets to counter the environmental impact of your flight.
* Price does not include compulsory Galápagos park entry fee of $100 USD, Transit control card fee of $20 USD, Isabela Island port fee of $5 USD (as these must all be paid upon arrival); any tips or alcoholic beverages.
* $795 CAD single supplement (or we can try to match you up with someone of the same gender).
Meet with your Galapagos Tour Leader at your hotel in late afternoon, for an orientation meeting to go over all of the planned activities in the coming week. Accommodations: Casa Montero (Quito).
This is Carnival weekend in Ecuador, and you will be positioned in the centre of the action at the Casa Montero. Although there are many aspects of Carnival, let’s start with the fact that it includes a country-wide water fight with other street performers and entertainment happening. You can also choose to do a multitude of other activities today – after our orientation meeting following breakfast, the day is yours to take where you wish, and we will be full of lots of suggestions for you (including how to stay dry, if you’d rather).
Early in the morning you will be transferred to the Quito airport for your flight to Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos (approx 3.5 hours in total). Departure time will be between 8:20 AM and 10:30 AM, depending on the flight schedule. You will likely not have time to have breakfast in the hotel, but there will be options for a quick snack at the airport.
The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card, which costs $20 USD and must be purchased by every individual travelling to the Galapagos Islands. You will need to purchase this card upon arrival to the domestic airport, prior to checking in to your Galapagos flight. Our flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers and last about 3 ½ hours in total. Upon arrival, we will need to go through immigration and pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of $100 USD each in cash (please have small bills of $20 or less ready to pay this fee). Upon arrival in the airport on Baltra Island, your guide will welcome you and transfer you to Puerto Ayora to take the speed boat (2.5 – 3 hrs) to Isabela Island, the largest island on the Archipelago. This trip can sometimes be on the bumpy side (and sometimes very bumpy). Therefore, if you are prone to sea sickness, this would be a good time to start taking medication to prevent being sick.
Upon arrival to Isabela Island you will need to pay the $5 USD docking fee collected by the Galapagos National Park. Then we will get you settled into your rooms at the hotel, and when you are ready, your guide will take you on an orientation walk. As with everywhere you go on the Galapagos, keep your eyes wide open, as you never know what species you will run into. Enjoy a sunset drink on the beach. Isabela’s sunsets are arguably the most beautiful of all the islands! Accommodations: San Vicente (Isabela Island).
This morning we will visit Isla Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre, where we will see giant tortoises at all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life in the wild! Then in the afternoon, we will visit the Flamingo Lagoon, the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and one of the main reproductive sites for the flamingos. The Great Galapagos Flamingos are a small, isolated population (approximately 300) and do not migrate, which is why they are considered endemic to the islands. Then we will board small pangas for Tintoreras or Shark Alley. On the way, keep on the lookout for Blue-footed Boobies, pelicans, sea lions, Eagle Rays and the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found close the equator. We will hop off for a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas. We will be able to observe their unique ability to forage in the sea. Next we will go snorkeling in a calm inlet that’s home to a variety of colourful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is often frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom. Even the sea turtles have no fear of people in the Galapagos, so you may be lucky enough to swim along with one of them. Underwater cameras are highly recommended! Accommodations: San Vicente (Isabela Island).
Lace up your hiking boots for a spectacular hike this morning, when we will visit the unique geological formations of Sierra Negra Volcano and the lava fields of Volcano Chico – one of the most active volcanoes in the region. We will see smoking fumaroles and the “sulphur volcano” (large amounts of sulphur deposited around the fumaroles) along the way. Be prepared for a hike that will take you through magical landscapes and a spectacular view of the crater, with the hope of seeing the rare vermillion flycatcher. You will be hiking for approximately five to six hours along a rocky trail (about 13 km long), so make sure to have comfortable, supportive footwear, sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water with you. The first six kilometers are on a landscape surrounded by green, Guayaba trees and beautiful landscapes of the volcano cauldron (which is 11km of diameter and has impressive views if the day is clear). The two last kilometers are walking on the actual lava (now cooled…). Observe the different formations created by lava flows and tubes, search for steam vents, and admire the stark, yet, beautiful landscape. Sierra Negra boasts the second-largest crater in the entire world and this hike will not disappoint! Upon return to the hotel, enjoy some time to relax, swim, or enjoy a cold drink on the beach before dinner. Accommodations: San Vicente (Isabela Island).
This morning you will have your next opportunity to snorkel and explore the underwater world of the Galapagos (noting that if snorkeling is not your favourite activity, you can choose to just swim, relax on the beach, or even rent a kayak). You won’t believe how playful the young sea lions are when you swim together. You may have a chance to see the Galapagos Green Turtle, Manta Rays, Eagle Rays as well as a variety of colourful fish – it depends on the water, the day and your luck. Make sure to make time to pack up before lunch, as after lunch we head off on a 2 ½ hour speed boat to our new hotel in Puerto Ayora. Upon arrival, we will settle into our rooms and do a short walking tour of Puerto Ayora, to allow for any additional exploring you may want to do on your own later. Then we will visit the local fish market, where fishermen bring in their catches of the day to this small dock, and where pelicans wait patiently for any extras. Here you will get a chance to view some typical Galapagos Island life. Although Puerto Ayora is the most populated urban centre in the Galapagos, it remains the small, sleepy town it has always been. Charles Darwin Avenue is dotted with typical restaurants and fine boutiques on either side, offering locally-made goods for sale. Accommodations: Lobo de Mar (Santa Cruz Island).
After breakfast, we will head to the Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, where we will be able to observe giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat! We will also see the amazing lava tunnels that have created a unique habitat for wildlife. Then after lunch, we will take a walk to Tortuga Bay, a gorgeous beach accessible only by foot, where you will have your option of swimming, relaxing on the beach or snorkeling. While there, you might have a chance to see Darwin’s finches, mockingbirds, lava lizards and possibly blue-footed boobies. Accommodations: Lobo de Mar (Santa Cruz Island).
On our last day on Isla Santa Cruz, we will have the opportunity to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we will be able to learn about the success they have seen in repopulating the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. This research station works to preserve the Galápagos’ ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. It also provides a study location for international scientists
and training for naturalist guides. The station is also a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity, brought back from the brink of extinction. Afterwards you will be transferred from Santa Cruz to Baltra Island for your return flight to Quito. Flight departures from Baltra to Quito are usually mid-morning. You will arrive back at your hotel in Quito around 5:00 p.m., in time for one last night on the town. Accommodations: Casa Montero (Quito).
Depart Quito any time.