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Day 1 Quito
Touch down in Ecuador and savour the smells, sights and vibrancy of Quito. The gateway to the Galapagos has never been so endearing. Stroll around the streets of the World Heritage Old Town, where it may feel like you’ve been swept back into the city’s colonial heyday.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1
Day 2 Baltra/Santa Cruz Highlands
Fly to the Galapagos Islands in the morning and be greeted by the naturalist guide at the airport. Get to know the group over lunch before embarking on foot across the green carpet that covers the highlands of Santa Cruz. Meet the dome-shelled tortoises of the jungle as well as the camouflaged green warbler-finch.
Day 3 Isla San Cristobal
A seabird haven, Punta Pitt is best explored on foot. Walk around the dramatic volcanic ruins to spot blue-footed boobies and frigates before hitting the water for some snorkelling. Later, take a panga ride to Cerro Brujo to see some spectacular volcanic formations. Spend the afternoon lazing on a sandy beach, watching crabs, pelicans and blue-footed boobies battle it out for food and territory.
Day 4 Isla Santa Fe
Explore the caves, beaches and turquoise lagoons of this naturally beautiful island. With such a dense population of wildlife, Santa Fe is an excellent place to spot all the stars of the Galapagos in a relatively small area. Hike inland to see forests of giant cacti and palo santo trees. Head back to the beach and join the playful seal lion pups and fluorescent fish for a fascinating swim.
Day 5 Isla Baltra
Take a panga ride to Black Turtle Cove, a red mangrove wetland, to spot an abundance of shelled reptiles wade through the water. It is also a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks, so keep your eyes peeled. Later on, sail to Isla Mosquera and wile away the hours watching red Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry back and forth searching for food, boobies making their spectacularly quick headlong dives into the water and playful sea lions gliding through the water. Perhaps grab a snorkel to see what lies on the coral floor.
Day 6 Isla Isabela
Get behind the scenes of one of the archipelago’s youngest islands by exploring the wetlands and observing some of the fascinating migratory birds such as sandpipers, common stilts, plovers and flamingos. Later, hike around the Sierra Negra Volcano for an incredible view from the highest point on Isabela Island.
Day 7 Eden Islet/Cerro Dragon/Isla Santa Cruz
There are around 15 finch species that Charles Darwin studied and made famous in his findings. And there is no better place to spot these birds than on a morning walk around Ballena Bay. Stroll around Cerro Dragon and be rewarded by an inspiring final view of the bay, and be entertained by many fascinating bird species along the way, including pintail ducks, sandpipers and the occasional flamingo.
Day 8 Isla Rabida/Isla North Seymour
Take in the phenomenal sight of Rabida Island’s red-sand beach from both above and below the water. Grab a snorkel or head out on a hike to see more of the incredible wildlife that inhabit the area. On North Seymour, learn a little more about the diverse fauna around the island during a walk with a naturalist, then don a mask and snorkel to explore the island’s underwater world.
Day 9 Charles Darwin Research Centre/Baltra
Santa Cruz is not only the most populous island of the archipelago, but it also has six different vegetation zones. Head to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about these zones, the island’s animals and the conservation strategies that are in place around the islands. The station also offers visitors a chance to get up close and personal with giant turtles.
ACCOM: Hotel - 1
Day 10 Quito
Farewell the bewildering archipelago that make up the Galapagos Islands and fly back to Ecuador in high spirits.
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