This morning you'll catch an early flight to San Cristobal Island to begin your action-packed Galapagos tour. After you’ve settled into your new surroundings, it's time to kayak! You'll paddle along the coastline to Darwin Bay, enjoying the blue-footed boobies, herons and marine iguanas that swim and perch on the surrounding cliffs. Your destination is a clear-water cove where you'll disembark from your kayak to snorkle with marine turtles and sea lions among the coral. After kayaking back to the port, you're free for the evening to dine in one of the many tasty restaurants and enjoy the town's nightlife.
Little compares to a morning paddle along the Galapagos coastline. Sea lions, boobies, frigate birds and sea turtles make for excellent company as you sea kayak to Playa Ochoa. Here, you'll relax along the shoreline or swim in the wildlife-rich waters. Reenergized from lunch, you’ll continue your paddling to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). This enormous rock resembles a sleeping lion and towers over the region, rising 500 feet straight up from the ocean. You’ll spend the remaining afternoon snorkeling Leon Dormido. Share the waters with hammerhead and white-tipped sharks, eagle and golden rays, not to mention the dozens of tropical fish. Tonight, take in the last sights of San Cristobal before you venture to Santa Fe Island in the morning.
After breakfast, you'll boat from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz Island. Your first visit is to the renowned Charles Darwin Research Station, where you'll learn about Galapagos evolutionary history and conservation. You can admire the giant tortoises here, as well as their babies, some the size of mere skipping stones. After lunch, you'll transfer to the Lobos Islet, riddled with marine iguanas, prehistoric lava lizards, frigate birds, sea lions and boobies. The day's adventures conclude with a hike to Tortuga Bay, the archipelago's most beautiful white-sand beach. The trail that leads there weaves through dry-forest habitat (about 6 kms in length).
Your exploration continues into the Highlands of Santa Cruz. This morning you’ll transfer to El Chato reserve. As you hike through the area you can look for pintail ducks, egrets, finches, frigate birds and – with great luck – the rare giant Galapagos tortoise. Your trail takes you through lava caves, tunnels, the collapsed crater Media Luna, and into the Miconia forest. The forest is a major breeding location for the Dark-rumped Petrel. Your return trip is done by mountain bike (about 20 kms, mostly downhill). You'll wind down dirt and paved roads, followed by a support van, enjoying the vistas of highland farms and a quaint village called Bellavista. The ride finishes in lovely Puerto Ayora.
After breakfast you’ll take a boat to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest and the most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. This island has six volcanoes and is well known for the 5 subspecies of giant tortoise that live in the cloudforests. Spend the afternoon visiting the Tortoise Breeding Center and follow a trail along the coastline in search of Galapagos penguins and sea lions. Isabela’s salty lagoons are also home to a wide range of sea birds, offering some of the best birding in all of the Galapagos – so don’t forget your binoculars! Your afternoon is spent relaxing along white sandy beaches. Overnight in Puerto Villamil.
You’ll begin your day with a 6-mile horseback ride to the very rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. The view from this 6x5 mile-wide caldera is sensational. From here you’ll hike to the puffing Chico Volcano on the northeast side of the caldera. During your hike you'll have a good chance of seeing Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and flycatchers. Tonight you’ll spend your last evening in this quiet port town before saying farewell to the Enchanted Islands in the morning.
This morning you'll make your way back to Santa Cruz and Baltra Island where you'll catch your flight back to the mainland. Today is free to enjoy Quito at your leisure and share stories of your exciting Galapagos travel adventures. Overnight in Quito.
*This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, last minute weather conditions and adjustment of Galapagos National Park policy.