5 Day Galapagos Adventure
"The Galapagos Islands are probably the most famous wildlife-watching destination in the world. And no wonder - it's almost impossible to exaggerate the sheer spectacle of the place that provided inspiration for Charles Darwin's ground-breaking theory of natural selection". Mark Carwardine
- Sea kayak with sharks, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and sea lions
- Relax on beautiful beaches with sea lions and marine iguanas
- Walk among giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat
- Snorkel with tropical fish, rays, sea lions, and sharks
- Hike through a wide variety of environments and ecosystems
- Discover extraordinary lava formations
- Bike along pristine coastlines
- Explore local food and drink scene
Experience everything the Galapagos Islands has to offer by getting up close and personal and immersing yourself in the unique environment. Get to know this incredible place by hiking and biking through volcanic landscapes, kayak over crystal seas teeming with marine life and snorkel among extraordinary endemic species. Galapagos islands are ripe for adventure and we have brought our expertise, and top-of-the-line equipment, to make the most of them. Expand your knowledge and understanding with top naturalist guides and relax in charming hotels that work hard each day to minimise their environmental impact. We have taken care of everything for you with our, well-thought-out itinerary with activities that don’t require any former experience or training – all you need is your sense of adventure and enjoyment of this awesome thing we call life.
DAY 1 SAN CRISTOBAL KAYAK ADVENTURE
After a morning flight from the Ecuadorian mainland to San Cristobal Island, you will arrive at the airport and head to your hotel. You can explore the town and have lunch by yourself. Early in the afternoon, we give you a quick introduction to the island before heading to the coast, where our kayaks will be waiting for us for our first taste of Galapagos magic: we paddle along the coastal bays and coves of San Cristobal’s north coast, a world of comic-looking blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions and sea turtles. If we’re lucky, we may see rays underwater, marine iguanas perching on lava rocks. Back at the hotel, you’re free to enjoy some island seafood specials in the port of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on your own.
DAY 2 SNORKEL THE NORTHERN COAST OF SAN CRISTOBAL
A whole day to snorkel amid the underwater wonders of the Galapagos. In the company of our experienced guide as part of a shared group, we search the nearby coves and cliffs for sea turtles, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies. There’s also the chance to get up close and personal with sea lions – the young pups are ever-curious and playful. As we snorkel, we might spot eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and thousands of tropical fish. With luck, we may even come across hammerhead sharks. As the sun sets on our day under the waves, we return to the hotel for a relaxed evening at the coastal town. (B, Box Lunch).
DAY 3 DISCOVER ISABELA'S BEACHES, LAGOONS, AND ISLETS
After breakfast, we say goodbye to San Cristobal to board our small plane for a thrilling flight across the archipelago’s azure waters and volcanic landscapes to Isabela Island. Amazingly, it is still in the throes of creation, formed by six active shield volcanoes. In fact, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active spots on the planet. Upon arrival, we head to the visitor site known as Tintoreras to explore this beautiful marine world by kayak, weaving between a set of small islets filled with hidden coves and beaches. Here, meet an unexpected denizen of the Tropics: the endemic Galapagos penguin. Spot reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions as we paddle. Seafood, Ecuadorian and international cuisine are all available in the small beach town of Puerto Villamil and you’re free to try them by yourself. You can grab a quick dip in the ocean, or a swing in a hammock, before our local guest experience coordinator briefs you on your next adventure: a self-guided bike ride through a succession of Isabela’s white sand beaches, mangrove forests, and brackish lagoons. The ride is fun and easy, and as ever in Galapagos, there are plenty of birds to spot and wonders to take in. Your evening is free to explore or relax. (B).
DAY 4 CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION - SANTA CRUZ BAY TOUR
We leave Isabela early aboard a public speed boat, for our ride east to Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Ayora, the archipelago’s largest settlement. We meet you at the dock and head to the hotel. Visit the heart of scientific research and conservation in the Galapagos on your own: the famous Charles Darwin Research Station and the National Park’s tortoise breeding program. Following lunch on your own in Puerto Ayora – where there are plenty of options for you to choose from – we join a naturalist guide and shared group to make our way west from the port, stopping by the Lobería where sea lions can be observed. We come to an islet called Punta Camaño, a great place to don our snorkels, masks and fins to meet sea lions and schools of fish. Passing through the romantically-named Canal del Amor, we disembark at Playa de los Perros, where, after a short walk, groups of jet-black marine iguanas bask beneath the sun’s rays, occasionally slipping off into the sea to feed. Once back on land, you’re free to wander on your own through the port’s streets with its shops, restaurants, and bars in the evening. (B)
DAY 5 TRANSFER OUT
Sadly, it is time to bid a fond farewell to the Galapagos. Accompanied by a guide, you board a transport to take you north over Santa Cruz Island to the Itabaca Channel. At this point we leave you to continue your journey alone: all that remains is a hop on a ferry and a short bus ride to take you to Baltra Island’s airport. (B)
BOAT TRAVEL TIME 2 - 3 hrs
SMALL AIRCRAFT FLIGHT TIME 50 min
PADDLE, HIKING, OR ACTIVITY DURATION 2 to 4 hours per activity
AVERAGE TEMPERATURES December to May: 80F to 90F / 25C to 30C. June to September: 60F to 70F / 15C to 20C. October to December: 70F to 80F / 15C to 25C.
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO PACK
Hiking shoes, water sandals, rain jacket, flashlight, water bottle, non-cotton trekking gear, sun block, hat, bathers and mosquito repellent.
If our expedition dates don't suit please let us know and we will try to accommodate your requirements.
You can receive a Visa on arrival for Ecuador and Peru and enter for 90 days. You will need evidence of an onward flight ticket out of these countries.
If you are travelling to Ecuador through the United States of America (USA), or if you are transiting in Honolulu or other USA points of entry, you are required to meet USA entry/transit requirements. Make sure you check with your nearest Embassy or Consulate of the United States your visa requirements well in advance of your travel.
If you are travelling from a yellow fever endemic country, a valid Yellow Fever Certificate is required for entry into Ecuador. The World Health Organization (WHO) can provide a list of yellow fever endemic countries.
Ecuador is listed by the World Health Organization as endemic for yellow fever. Some airlines flying out of Ecuador require evidence of a valid yellow fever vaccination before allowing passengers to board. In the case of at least one airline, evidence of a valid yellow fever vaccination is required if the passenger is travelling to Australia within six days of departing Ecuador. If in doubt, check with your airline.
If you have visited Ecuador in the last six days prior to your date of return to Australia, Australian Customs officials will ask you to present a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate on entry into Australia. British citizens must have a passport valid for six months beyond the date of their arrival in Ecuador. No visa is required for stays of up to 90 days.
Ecuador's official currency is the US$
Health and Safety
A yellow fever certificate is required from those arriving from infected areas, and is recommended for everyone entering Ecuador, particularly for those travelling to the regions of the Amazon basin. There is high risk of malaria and dengue fever in areas below 5,000ft (1,500m). The best prevention is to cover up and use mosquito repellent liberally throughout the day. Tap water should not be consumed; bottled water is available.
Adequate travel insurance is mandatory for everyone who participates in a Pioneer expedition. We strongly recommend that you take out baggage loss and accident insurance. Please bring a copy of your insurance policy and contact numbers to give to your expedition leader in case of illness or accident.
This Galapagos trip is a land-based program, rather than a liveaboard boat trip. The reason for this is that land programs directly benefit the sustainable development of the small Galapagoscommunities. These traditional fishing and small merchant towns have unsuccessfully struggled to forge a living amongst strict commercial and national park limitations. Although tourism is the logical development alternative, the great majority of Islanders have not been able to participate or benefit from offshore boat operators. Land tours are now revitalizing the local economy and allow Islanders to integrate themselves in the tourism economy.
Our local team is socially and environmentally committed to sustainable ecotourism practices. They proudly preside over ASEC (Ecuadorian Ecotourism Association), where they have the opportunity to contribute to Ecuador's tourism industry both at an operational and political level. ASEC looks after the welfare of local communities through development initiatives and environmental conservation practices.
Galapagos Weather - when to travel
Due to their equatorial location, the Galapagos Islands are blessed with pleasant weather all year round so can be visited throughout the year. There are slight climatic changes though - from June to December, it is the 'dry season', with blue skies, midday showers, cooler winds and the water is cooler. This is the time when sea and land birds are most active (although wildlife activity is always good whenever you visit).
The warmer waters head towards the Galapagos around December, so warmer for swimming and snorkeling. December to May is the 'warm season' when the climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies and no wind.
Flights from Quito Airport Code UIO to San Christobel at extra cost. Flights back to Quito MUST be taken from Baltra Island. Total return cost approx US$570. Flights to Quito from Australia are done with a 1 stop flight via USA Atlanta or Los Angeles.
The weight restriction per person for the inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is 12 kgs in one piece of luggage.
We provide a wetsuit on Day 2 free of charge. If you would like to hire one for other times, this can be done directly with the guide for US$10 per day
- Accommodations in Comfort Class hotels
- Meals as listed (B = breakfast / BL = box lunch)
- Shared services throughout the program
- Bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide/adventure guide
- All sea and land transportation during the tour
- 24-hour telephone assistance
- Coordinator staff in San Cristobal and Isabela islands
- Flights to and from Galapagos approx US$570
- Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park US$100
- Galapagos transit card US$20
- All meals not listed as included
- Hotel & restaurant beverages