Galapagos Islands Tours
12-day Galapagos Adventure
This trip is the same as our 8-day Galapagos, but in addition, we spend three more days aboard ship, visiting the islands of Santa Fe (Barrington), Española, Floreana, and North Seymour. We also spend an additional day in Quito, to visit the outlying countryside and villages, and the Indian town of Otavalo, famous for its craftsmen and weavers.
1st Day: We arrive in the lovely mountain city of Quito, capital of Ecuador. A former Inca capital, Quito boasts an old town area as well as a beautiful modern city.
2nd Day: In the morning, we fly from Quito to the island of Baltra, where we board the yacht to begin our Galapagos journey. After lunch, we visit Las Bachas Beach or Black Turtle Cove, on Santa Cruz Island, where we may see our first blue-footed boobies.
3rd Day: In the morning, we disembark at Rabida, a small island with the best pelican nesting sites. Behind the beach there is a salt-water lagoon with flamingos, white-checked pintails, and a sea lion bachelor colony. At the end of the trail there is a great snorkeling spot. After lunch, we visit Bartolomé Island for a hike among volcanoes. From the beach, we can snorkel near Pinnacle Rock, one of the most photographed sites in the islands.
4th Day: Today we explore the naturalist’s paradise of Tower (Genovesa) Island. We see many bird colonies, including red-footed and masked boobies, lava gulls, and frigate birds, on the white coral sand beach and among the mangroves. There is also an opportunity for some excellent snorkeling.
5th Day: This morning, we visit South Plaza Island, inhabited by land iguanas, Audubon shearwaters, red-billed tropic birds, pelicans, and the ever-present sea lions. In the afternoon we return to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Darwin Institute, where we see the giant tortoises, including “Lonesome George,” the last survivor of his species.
6th Day: In the morning we travel to the nearby highlands, with its miconia bushes, scalesia trees and more species of endemic flora than on any other island in the Galapagos. In the afternoon we visit the island of Santa Fe (Barrington), to see the endemic land iguanas. In the cove, we may also see sea turtles, parrot fish, and manta rays.
7th Day: Today we visit the island of Española. We land at Punta Suarez and are greeted by sea lions perched on lava rocks, marine iguanas and colorful Sally light foot crabs. Further inland is the only nesting site of the huge waved Albatross. In the afternoon, we can relax and swim with playful sea lions on a white coral beach at Gardner Bay.
8th Day: We sail to Floreana Island and land at Point Cormorant. The beach is home to many sea lions and the sand is made up of fine olivine crystals, a glassy volcanic mineral, which gives the beach an olive-green colour. We visit a flamingo lagoon—a great place to watch many species of birds. A short distance from the island is the mysterious Devil’s Crown, an eroded submerged volcanic cone, which is the nesting site for noddy terns, Audubon shearwaters and many tropical birds. This afternoon we visit Post Office Bay, on the northern shore of the island. In 1793 the British whalers set up a barrel to send letters to and from England. Today, visitors use the barrel to send letters back home—no stamps needed!
9th Day: Our morning stop will be the island of North Seymour, which hosts the Galapagos’ largest colony of magnificent frigate birds, as well as nesting blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. We return to Baltra Island for our flight back to Quito.
10th Day: Today we tour Quito, its historical plazas, cathedrals and colonial government buildings, and visit the Mitad Del Mundo, the “Center of the Earth,” where we can stand right on the equator.
11th Day: This morning we travel north to visit Calderon, known for its miniature figurines made of bread. We continue on to Peguche and witness the Otavalo Indians weaving colorful tapestries. Next we arrive at Otavalo, home of the famous Indian Market. Here the prosperous Otavalans barter in silence with piles of hand-woven articles and other colorful handicrafts. On the return to Quito, we have a brief stop at San Antonio de Ibarra.
12th Day: We transfer to the airport for our flight home, or fly on to Lima to begin our Peruvian Adventure.
What’s included: Air travel within Ecuador, transfers, transportation, accommodations, guided tours, national park fee, all meals aboard ship and three additional meals.
Best Time: All Year
Minimum Number of Persons: One