Swimming beside sea lions is an incredible and surreal experience, and there are few better places to do so than Isla Lobos: home of the world’s second largest sea lion colony.. You’ll get to know the locals by staying in small hotels on the Galapagos islands, as well as exploring the islands and coves by boat.. Be surrounded by birds like blue-footed boobies and frigates, who land so close, and often have not even the slightest interest you’re there!. Incredible photo opportunities await around every corner – not least of Kicker Rock, the marvellous twin volcanic peaks seen sitting in the ocean from the top of Cerro Tijeratas.
The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the rarest animals on the planet and this trip gives the whole family a unique opportunity to learn about the biology and diversity of this paradise. Everyone will enjoy spotting the myriad animals in their natural environment as they graze, sleep and play on the beaches, mountains and rocks of the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Snorkel beside sea lions, marvel at the plodding majesty of giant tortoises, spot frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and Galapagos crabs, and keep an eye out for marine iguanas, whales, dolphins and sharks as you explore this natural paradise. You’ll experience (animal) life like never before together on this beautiful family-focused expedition to the Galapagos.
Breakfast Included: 7 Lunches Included: 1 Dinner Included:
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador. Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres, under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Your adventure starts with a welcome meeting at 5 pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. If you have time beforehand, take a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This awesome street offers the city's best in one place. You may even wish to arrive a day or two early and explore further beyond the city, visiting Otavalo, Cotopaxi or the Cloud Forest.
After breakfast, explore the historic centre of Quito on a walking tour. Stroll through Plaza Grande (main square) and by the Archbishop's Palace. From here, walk about 800 metres uphill to reach the Basilica del Voto Nacional. Time permitting, you may wish to spend more time exploring this church and its views from the top towers. Finally, walk to La Ronda Street and pass by La Compania de Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) and San Francisco churches From here we travel to the Equator line The famous Mitad del Mundo monument is an impressive 30-metre-tall structure that marks where the equator is located— or, at least, that’s what many people believe. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city more, or simply just relax at the hotel, getting ready for tomorrow’s adventure!
Isla Santa Cruz
Today you will take the short flight to Isla Santa Cruz, one of the main hubs of the Galapagos. Upon arrival, enjoy a walking tour of Purto Ayora, after which you’ll take a walk to Tortuga Bay. The walk to Tortuga Bay beach takes approximately 45 minutes (one way). The rest of the day is free for you to further explore. Perhaps visit the buzzing local fish market, where cheeky pelicans try to get in on the daily catch! You might like to simply stay in Puerto Ayora, soak up the seaside ambience and make some of your own discoveries. The town itself is nice and small, perfect for exploring on foot.
Isla Santa Cruz
After breakfast, head off to the Charles Darwin Research Station. This not-for-profit organisation has been operating since 1959. The station's visitor centre is an essential stop for anyone interested in the archipelago's natural and human history. It's great for learning about the local conservation of the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. It offers the chance for close-up encounters with giant tortoises, and you can see many newborn and young giant turtles too – they're here as part of the breeding program to reintroduce the creatures to their natural habitat. In the afternoon you will venture to the higher part of Santa Cruz to observe giant tortoises roaming around in the wild. These fascinating animals can weigh as much as 400 kilograms and are very popular with kids.
Isla San Cristobal
Today, head by boat to your second island, Isla San Cristobal. Upon arrival, check-in to the hotel and have time to relax before heading to the Interpretation Center to learn about the history of the islands and the challenges local conservationists face. Then you'll head to the Cerro Tijeratas (Frigatebird Hill) which is located 2 kilometres from the centre, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It is a bit of a climb to the top, but your reward is an amazing view of the bay. From here you can see the 140-metre-tall Kicker Rock, its twin volcanic slabs looming large in the ocean. Soon after you will travel to La Loberia to enjoy some snorkelling, perhaps spotting sea lions and sea turtles as you paddle around – they love friends swimming nearby!
Isla San Cristobal
You second day in Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride to Isla Lobos (approximately 1 hour). This island boasts the second-largest sea lion colony in the world, not to mention the tallest lighthouse on the entire continent. Along the way you can observe the abundant sea life that the Galapagos is renowned for. You might be lucky enough to spot nesting frigate birds and blue-footed boobies. On arrival you might want to head out into the water for some quality swimming and snorkelling time. You could find yourself in the midst of turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd Galapagos shark (don't worry – they're harmless!). Then it's time to head back to base and relax.
You will have a free morning to further explore the unique sights of Isla San Cristobal – maybe some last-minute shopping or a visit to the beach one last time. The best thing is, you decide! Late in the afternoon, take a flight back to Ecuador’s capital, Quito.
Welcome back to the mainland! With no activities planned for today, you can depart at any time. Hotel check out is normally at midday. If you would like to spend more time in Quito, good for you! We’ll be happy to organise some additional accommodation (subject to availability).