The Galapagos Islands, an isolated rocky archipelago lying roughly 1000km off the coast of Ecuador, are neither easy nor cheap to get to, but they are justifiably world-renowned for their unique wildlife and incredible biodiversity. They are also inextricably linked to Charles Darwin, whose later Theory of Evolution owed a great deal to his observations in these volcanic islands.
Known as one of the best places to view wildlife on the planet, many of the species here can be found nowhere else, and the marine habitat is fiercely protected. The creatures are largely unbothered by human presence, allowing for the unparalleled close-up encounters which make the Galapagos so special.
Our week’s exploration is active and packed with highlights, including snorkelling, kayaking, and walking as we discover these volcanic islands and see the famous giant tortoises, as well as penguins, turtles, sea lions, marine iguanas and a rich array of birdlife. We also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on the small island of Santa Cruz.
This tour is not private to our group, which has the advantage not only of assuring guaranteed departures, but also making the costs of visiting this bucket-list destination more realistic for our customers.
An extra day to make the most of this magical location. You are free to relax in the hot springs, or explore the surroundings – there are plenty of things to do. There’s also a hummingbird farm a short distance away, where over twelve species of hummingbird and other exotic birdlife can be seen (activities at your own cost).
We take a morning flight from Quito to the Galapagos, and travel by bus and boat to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago, and home to most of the volcanic activity. On arrival we settle in to our hotel and relax!
Today our adventure gets going! We explore the labyrinth of lava arches on Isabela’s coast, formed by cooling lava flows over and under the water into a series of striking natural bridges and arcs. It’s a haven of clear, calm water for many marine creatures which use it as a natural highway from the coastal mangroves to the open sea. Snorkelling allows us to appreciate these unique rock formations underwater, as well as swim among creatures such as sea turtles, sea lions and eagle rays.
Another active day, at a relaxed pace! An easy hike takes us to the rim of Sierra Negra, Isabela’s most active volcano. Situated on the south-easterly tip of the island, the caldera is over six miles across at its widest point. This is a wild landscape with colourful volcanic terrain and plenty of bird life. In the afternoon we visit Tintoreras Islet, home to marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, turtles, sea-lions and, most famously, white-tipped reef sharks. A relaxed paddle in two-man sea-kayaks allows us to enjoy the wildlife and surroundings.
Today takes us to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here we can learn about many of the endemic wild creatures, as well as the ongoing efforts to protect them. Afterwards, we head to the El Chato Reserve, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with communication devices (eg phones, radios and/or emergency satellite phones), medical kit and other safety apparatus appropriate to the destination. Our leaders always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. They are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary, should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration - such as medical questionnaires and travel insurance as appropriate - is all done with your safety in mind.
We plan our trips around the optimal weather conditions, but could still be exposed to bad weather at any time. It is vital you are prepared for all conditions. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
If you are still to buy some kit don’t forget that Cotswold Outdoor, Snow and Rock, Cycle Surgery and Runners Need offer all Discover Adventure participants 15% off any purchases you make with them. Please ask us for the code if you do not have this already.