Six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador, surrounded by open ocean, a volcanic archipelago straddles the equator. The Galapagos Islands, forged of black lava and named for the giant tortoises that are among its most noted inhabitants, are like nowhere else in the world. Home to a profuse array of wildlife, the islands offer an immersion in nature that feels primeval, where lizards and penguins and blue-footed boobies share the beaches with us, unconcerned by our presence.
This wildlife adventure holiday is a trip of a life time - make sure you don't miss out.
GALAPAGOS WILDLIFE ADVENTURE
Herman Melville called the Galapagos “Las Islas Encantadas,” or The Enchanted Isles, an apt moniker for a realm that remains otherworldly, even today.
Upon your arrival in Quito, you will be met at the airport by our local representative and transferred to the Hilton Colon, located in Quito’s central district. Dinner is on your own this evening.
Day 2: Quito/Otavalo Market
Today we enjoy a visit to the famed Otavalo Marketplace, which is at its peak on Saturdays*. This fascinating excursion to South America's largest outdoor market is included on our scheduled departures on the M/Y Letty. For those who choose, a city tour of Quito is available as an alternative to the market. This evening, we will gather for an orientation and welcome dinner. We will overnight at the Hilton Colon. *If you are not on a scheduled Letty departure please contact our office if you would like additional information on available Quito activities, or to make day tour arrangements.
Day 3: Quito / San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands
Fly to the Galapagos where we meet our Expedition Leader and board our yacht. We quickly discover the magic of the islands, with a chance to snorkel with sea lions at Playa Ochoa. A sunset cruise around Kicker Rock affords views of blue-footed boobies perched on its 500-foot high cliffs and frigate birds soaring overhead.
Day 4: Genovesa
Genovesa Island is a collapsed volcano that attracts vast numbers of seabirds that come here to nest. Inside the flooded crater we are surrounded by a cacophony of red-footed boobies, lava gulls, storm petrels and yellow-crowned night herons. At Darwin Bay, we swim again with sea lions.
Day 5: Bachas Beach/North Seymour
Snorkel and sunbathe at Las Bachas, a fabulous white sand beach on Santa Cruz. The powdered coral is a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Bright orange Sally Lightfoot crabs pepper the black lava at water’s edge. On North Seymour we find a large nesting colony of magnificent frigate birds and land iguanas that display an intense yellow color during mating season.
Day 6: Fernandina / Isabela
Fernandina is the youngest and most active volcano in the Galapagos. We land at Punta Espinoza, where flightless cormorants nest on barren lava while colonies of marine iguanas bask nearby. Cruising across Bolivar Channel, keep watch for whales and dolphins. On the largest island, Isabela, we explore Tagus Cove by panga (motorized rafts), finding penguins, pelicans and graffiti dating to the 1800s when the names of ships were carved into the rock above a historic anchorage for pirates and whalers.
Day 7: Isabela
Elizabeth Bay on Isabela’s west coast is a marine sanctuary – no landings are permitted. We explore the small islets in the bay by panga, where we’re likely to see penguins and blue-footed boobies perched on the rocks and diving for pompano and dorado. As we cruise through a giant red mangrove cove, look for brown pelicans, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, golden rays and sea lions. At Urbina Bay, we step ashore on a white sand beach to witness one of the best examples of geological uplift in the Galapagos, a phenomenon that occurs when molten rock beneath the surface suddenly shifts. In 1954 the shoreline was uplifted nearly 15 feet (4 meters). The coastline was driven 3/4 of a mile further out to sea, exposing giant coral heads and stranding marine organisms on what was now on shore. Urbina is also home to a colony of some of the largest land iguanas in the islands.
Day 8: Santiago / Santa Cruz
At Puerto Egas on Santiago we search the tidepools for octopus, starfish and marine iguanas feeding on algae. This afternoon we continue to Santa Cruz, the highest island in the chain. Those who wish to participate in our unique camping opportunity will disembark and transfer to the remote highlands of Santa Cruz for the night. Our private camp, with views of the ocean, is tucked among lush vegetation that attracts giant tortoises. A bus returns us in the morning to rejoin our boat for the day's activities. Please note: At times, the camp may be closed due to poor weather conditions.
Day 9: Santa Cruz / Darwin Station / Santa Fe
In the misty craters of the Santa Cruz highlands, we search for giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Lava tubes lace the ground beneath the scalesia forest, and we may venture into one of the caverns. We also visit Puerto Ayora, the main town on Santa Cruz, and tour the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station. At the tortoise-rearing facility, we’ll see tiny babies bred to help increase the depleted population as part of the station’s conservation mission. This afternoon we cruise to Santa Fe, where we find one of the most scenic turquoise lagoons in the Galapagos as well as a host of endemic species including the Galapagos hawk and mockingbird, a variety of Darwin’s finches, and land iguanas that feast on the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. We’ll have a chance to snorkel from the beach, perhaps enticing some of the resident sea lion colony to swim with us.
Day 10: San Cristobal / Quito
At Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos, we visit the National Park Interpretation Center. Late this morning we fly back to Quito and transfer to our hotel.
Day 11: Depart Quito
Transfer to the airport for flights home or for extensions to the Amazon rainforest or Machu Picchu
Dates and Costs
2012 Dates Scheduled Departures
Jan 20 - 30 (low season)
Feb 17 - 27
Mar 16 - 26
Mar 30 - Apr 9
Apr 13 - 23
Apr 27 - May 7
May 11 - 21*
May 25 - Jun 4
Jun 8 - 18
Jul 6- 16
Aug 3 - 13
Aug 31 - Sep 10 (low season)
Oct 12 - 22 (low season)
Nov 23 - Dec 3 (low season)
Dec 21 - 31**
2013 Dates Scheduled Departures
Jan 18 - 28 (low season)
Feb 15 - 25
Mar 15 - 25
Mar 29 - Apr 8
Apr 12 - 22
Apr 26 - May 6
May 10 - 20*
May 24 - Jun 3
Jun 7 - 17
Jul 5 - 15
Aug 2 - 12
Oct 11 - 21 (low season)
Nov 22 - Dec 2 (low season)
Dec 20 - 30**
* Photo Departures with Cassiano "Zapa" Zaparoli
** Holiday Departure, $400 surcharge.
Please note: In some cases a minimum number of travellers may be required to maintain exclusivity of our scheduled departures. Independent Departures For those travelers whose schedules require travel at a time when we do not have a scheduled departure, we can book you on similar ships on alternate dates. Trips begin in Quito every Thursday, Friday or Saturday depending on the ship chosen. The fees are similar and dependent on ship and date selected. Please call us at 44 1628 522772 for more information
Iguana (Category 1) $5,495
Booby (Category 2) $5,795
Dolphin (Category 3) $6,095
Iguana (Category 1) $5,295
Booby (Category 2) $5,595
Dolphin (Category 3) $5,895
INTERNAL FLIGHTS (subject to change)
Children 11 & under $230
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and are given in US Dollars.
Prices may increase for 2013.
Location of Adventure
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Group Size Limit
Approximately 20 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, meals from breakfast on Day 2 to breakfast on Day 11 (except lunch and dinner on Day 10- no lunches or dinners included in Quito for independent trips), safe drinking water, services of professional Expedition Leaders, local guides and boat crew, some gratuities, airport transfers, Otavalo Market or Quito City Tour excursion, use of wetsuits and snorkel gear on all scheduled departures, permit fees.
Travel to and from Quito, Return air Quito to Galapagos (to be added to your invoice), most gratuities, alcohol, Galapagos tax and transit card (approx.$110 for adults, $60 for children under 12, collected in advance), airport departure tax (approx $40), items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc.), travel insurance, optional activities.
The activities on this trip consist of island walks, swimming and snorkeling. Trails can be rough and uneven, and walking over slippery rocks is sometimes necessary when coming ashore. Passengers must be able to walk one mile to participate in this trip, and be able to get in and out of our motorized pangas, which can be very unsteady in rough water. A few wet landings, where we disembark from the panga directly into the water and walk up onto the beach, are included. Snorkeling can be a big component of this trip with nearly daily excursions offered (no experience required). Travellers are not required to participate in every activity.
Perhaps nowhere else on earth is a more appropriate destination for lovers of wildlife than the Galapagos Islands. With rare and friendly wildlife found at every turn, the Expedition Leaders are able to unveil the beauty and intricacies of nature in a warm and intimate manner. The key to the success of our Galapagos adventures is the small group size. On The M/V Letty we accommodate just 20 guests and two Expedition Leaders. We break down into even smaller groups when on land. The splitting of the group also serves to allow our guests to move at their chosen pace, although it is important that guests be able to walk on some uneven terrain up to a mile or two, as well as disembark the panga in sometimes rough conditions. In addition to land excursions, we will have the opportunity to snorkel almost every day while in the islands.
Another very important and exciting element of this trip is that we are afforded a unique option to stay in the highlands of Santa Cruz at our firstclass camp, a private property with walk-in safari tents and classic outfitted tree houses (shared bath houses) overlooking the Pacific. On this private land the islands’ famed tortoises roam freely and give us a unique look at the islands in days gone by.
Please note: The itinerary provided is meant as a guideline, and is subject to change without notice. On rare occasions, it may be necessary to deviate from our regular itinerary for reasons beyond our control. In these instances we will provide the best available alternative