Experience the renowned wildlife of the Galapagos while based in comfortable, intimate accommodations ashore.
Overnight at some of the newest and finest private lodges in the islands, including a luxury safari camp.
Snorkel and hike with our Expedition Leaders in wild areas that yacht-based Galapagos.
Contact us to discuss a perfect wildlife adventure holiday for you!
GALAPAGOS BY LAND
Day 1: Quito, Ecuador
Arrive in Ecuador’s capital and transfer to Hotel Patio Andaluz in the historic Old City.
Fly to the Galapagos, where we meet our Expedition Leader and begin our exploration of the islands with a boat excursion to North Seymour. The 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.
Today we learn about sustainable farming at the Lava Java coffee plantation in the lush highlands. At the Tortoise Reserve, we’ll observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. A short hike to the breathtaking Los Gemelos Pit Craters reveals two massive sinkholes created when subterranean magma chambers collapsed over a million years ago. Tour the organic Trapiche Farm, watching as sugar cane is processed into traditional liquor.
Transfer by speedboat to Isabela Island, 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 view the Muro de las Lágrimas, or “wall of tears,” constructed from huge lava blocks in 1946 by Isabela’s prisoners. Snorkel the clear waters of Concha de Perla among schools of fish, turtles and sea lions.
For avid hikers, there’s an optional excursion around the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra. This challenging 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, to snorkel with sea lions and see white-tip reef sharks before touring the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, home to 330 turtles. Nearby, visit a breeding site for a large colony of marine iguanas.
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.
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.
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.
Transfer to the airport for our return flight to Quito. Upon arrival at our hotel, enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure.
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.
Dates and Costs
May 4 - 13
Aug 3 - 12
Dec 18 - 27
Mar 22 - 31
May 3 - 12
Dec 18 - 27
Customized independent departures can be arranged for this destination. Please contact us for more information and we'd be happy to assist you.
We have scheduled family trips which are specially designed so parents, children and grandparents can enjoy the wonders of the Galapagos in a manner that best meets families' needs. For Family Departures in Summer 2012, please see our "Family Galapagos Adventure
Single Supp.: $1,095
INTERNAL FLIGHTS (subject to change)
Children 11 & under $230
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in US Dollars.
2013 dates and fees may change slightly.
Location of Adventure
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Group Size Limit
Approximately 14 Travellers
A very important feature of our trips is the limited group size as nature expeditions are best experienced with smaller sized groups of travellers.
Accommodations, all meals from breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on final day (except dinner on Day 9), bottled water, services of Expedition Leader and local staff, some gratuities, airport transfers, permit fees, all taxes.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip, Return flight from Quito to Galapagos (to be added to your invoice), dinner on Day 9, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, Galapagos tax and transit card (approx. $110 for adults, $60 for children under 12, collected in advance), items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport departure tax (approx. $40), optional travel insurance.
Easy / Moderate
This trip does not require a high degree of physical fitness. However, we do ask that travellers be of sound health and able to maintain a positive attitude in a wild setting. Guests should be able to walk at least one mile over uneven terrain and sometimes slippery rocks, as well as get in and out of rubberized rafts, which can be very unsteady in rough water. This trip has a couple of wet landings, where we exit the rubberized raft directly into the water on the beach. Daily activities include hikes, snorkeling and swimming. Not every activity is required. At least one longer hike several miles in length will be offered for those interested in more challenging excursions.
This adventure gives guests an opportunity to explore the Galapagos Islands from a base in remote and lovely hotels rather than from a ship. It differs from ship-based trips in that we can access some areas that ships cannot, as well as the more typical national park areas that ships can go.
Getting There & Getting Home
Arrive in Quito, Ecuador anytime on Day 1, and depart anytime on Day 10. We are prepared to handle all your round-trip travel arrangements, including flights for your extensions. We can serve you best if The Independent Traveller makes these reservations for you, as they are intimately familiar with the special requirements of this program and can arrange the most efficient and cost effective travel for you.
Patio Andaluz in Quito is a luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of historic “Quito Antiguo.” Enjoy myriad Ecuadorian cultural charms surrounded by churches, museums, and national monuments, just steps away. Featuring elegant 16th century colonial architecture, guests experience unique balconies, archways and patios throughout the hotel. A 63-guest maximum ensures comfort while relaxing in the restaurant, cava-bar and library or lounging on the spacious verandah. Each room is well appointed with hardwood floors, en suite baths and custom artwork.
GALAPAGOS SAFARI CAMP
Location Santa Cruz, Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Safari Camp is an eco-luxury tented camp reminiscent of the African safari tradition in which guests enjoy total comfort under canvas while experiencing nature in its purest form. Bordering the National Park in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the camp sits along a ridge with sweeping views of seven other islands, dotting the Pacific. Erected above ground on wooden platforms, the nine luxury tents contain custom-made furniture, queen beds, en suite baths and large balconies. Take a stroll around the farm listening to warblers, mockingbirds, and egrets singing before taking a dip in the infinity pool. Keep a watchful eye for tortoises sauntering through the grounds
Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, has a mere 2,000 inhabitants. The secluded, eco-conscious Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge sits peacefully along a white sand, palm-filled beach and features a beautiful wooden deck and roof top terrace for expansive ocean views. Rooms offer two queen beds, en suite baths and air conditioning. Enjoy dining in the cozy restaurant with instant beach access via French doors. The lodge provides a prime location for exploring the island’s lush mangrove trails and diverse wildlife.
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge intersects seamlessly with Puerto Ayora’s sparkling bay and dense mangrove forests. Enjoy scenic ocean views from your private balcony before dining in the waterfront restaurant serving Galapagos and Japanese fusion cuisine. Rooms feature en suite baths, air conditioning and queen sized beds. The lodge is committed to protecting its local environment providing complimentary bicycles to guests for local touring. Take a stroll down to docks amazing views of the sun setting behind the pacific’s blue horizon before grabbing a candlelight drink on the patio.