Get your blood pumping as you scale Sierra Negra Volcano during an epic hike, then cool off with a swim in the perfect waters of Isla Isabela’s beaches.. Many come to Isla Santa Cruz just for the giant tortoises. Get up close and personal with these enormous animals as they drag themselves through the sand.. Learn about the unique habits of the marine iguana. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands.. Birdwatching at the Galapagos is quite an experience. Watch the aerobatic routines of blue-footed boobies and the death defying stunts of the frigate birds as they whizz through the air.
Take in the highlights of the unique flora- and fauna-rich islands of the Galapagos on this eight-day Lonely Planet Experience powered by Intrepid. From rubbing shoulders with giant tortoises to gazing up in wonder at the spectacular blue-footed boobies’ synchronised fishing technique, the Galapagos offers the chance to see an abundance of rare creatures at close range. We’ll show you the best islands, coves and natural wonders, and give you plenty of time to explore (with local advice!) so you can spend your time the way you want. Snorkel with sea lions, swim with sea turtles and relax in paradise.
Breakfast Included: 5 Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your Lonely Planet Experience begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive with some time to spare before the meeting, consider exploring the city on an Urban Adventure like the Quito Market Discovery.
Isla San Cristobal
Transfer to the airport and board your flight around midday (an Intrepid representative will provide detailed flight times on the evening of Day 1 during the welcome meeting). Arrive in Isla San Cristobal and meet your leader at the arrivals lounge. Meet the travellers who began their journey in the Galapagos Islands and get straight into it with a visit to the Interpretation Centre to learn about the human and natural history of the archipelago. Afterwards, go for your first snorkel at Tijeretas, a small cove where you can swim with sea turtles, rays, and sea lions!
Isla San Cristobal
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal. You may also like to take an optional boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos – one of the most recommended activities. You'll be able to observe the famous Galapagos marine life along the way as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling with sea turtles, eagle rays and the harmless Galapagos shark, just to name a few.
Isla Santa Cruz
Early in the morning, take a 2.5-hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. On arrival, have breakfast and settle into the hotel before a mid-morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museums contain information about the islands and the conservation efforts being made to preserve the unique ecosystem here. It's also a great place to have close encounters with giant tortoises. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe these giants roaming in their natural habitat.
Today you’ll travel to Isla Isabela where you’ll check-in to the hotel and enjoy breakfast. The island is the largest in the Galapagos and one of the most volcanically active places on earth. You have a free day here to explore at your own pace. A worthwhile optional activity today is an excursion to Las Tintoreras, where white-tipped sharks rest during the day and marine iguanas nest.
Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well learn about the preservation program of this unique species. Take a bus to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between 5—6 hours, but at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
Isla Santa Cruz
Travel back to Santa Cruz in the morning and enjoy a free day. Consider taking part in some of the optional activities available, such as an excursion to Tortuga Bay, an immaculate natural paradise where you can go kayaking, observe marine iguanas and birds or swim with harmless sharks in an alcove.
Say goodbye to these enchanting islands. The flight back to Quito leaves at midday and should arrive in the late afternoon. A representative from Intrepid will take you from the airport to your hotel. Enjoy a free evening in Quito.
There are no activities planned for the final day. If you want to spend more time in Quito, speak to an Intrepid booking agent to secure extra accommodation (subject to availability). You can get to know the city on an Urban Adventure. See urbanadventures.com for details.