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Galapagos Panorama Overview
Tour Galapagos's wildlife highlights on an adventure from Quito
Inspiring Darwin to formulate his theories on natural selection and evolution, the Galapagos Islands changed the world. This volcanic archipelago is an Eden of flora and fauna; where famously tame animals are yet to fear human presence, and lava-formed landscapes seem to defy logic. Discover why a trip to the Galapagos Islands is like setting foot on the planet for the very first time as you sail through this Pacific constellation of enchanting locations.
What's included in this trip
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Travel to Quito and spend a free day exploring this vibrant capital. Navigate the narrow cobblestone laneways of the Old Town and be transported to a bygone era. Experience the Ecuadorian charm that emanates from guitar melodies on street corners, and overload the senses with treats from lively local vendors.
After flying to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands, step aboard and get ready to sail to Isla Mosquera, a sandy islet that acts as a stepping stone between Baltra and North Seymour. Make fresh tracks on the long stretches of white sand, and get set for an afternoon parade of sea lions and a myriad of marine birds.
Step onto the emerald sands of the olivine beach that await on the bewitching, volcanically-formed Punta Pitt. A trek to the top of the volcanic hill – one of the best tracks in the entire archipelago – will get the heart pumping for a few hours. Retreat to the yacht and relax in the cradle of the gently swaying hull, as the Pacific swell rocks you to sleep.
Set sail from Puerto Baquerizo to Cerro Brujo – another powdery beach on the north coast of San Cristobal. Head to a local lagoon where the birdwatchers in the group are sure to be kept busy. This is also a prime-spot from which to view the rapturous ‘booby two-step’ performed by blue-footed boobies in the tangled throes of courtship. Cruise the waters surrounding the Galapagos’s famous Leon Dormido, and see why they call it Kicker Rock. In the afternoon, a visit to the tiny Isla Lobos provides the perfect opportunity to socialise with the ever-friendly sea lions that inhabit the area.
Since it was the Galapagos Islands that inspired Darwin to formulate his theory of natural selection, and ultimately write On the Origin if the Species, a trip to the Charles Darwin Station is an appropriate homage to his laborious research. Suitably enlightened, take a bus to the Santa Cruz Highlands, where a scene reminiscent of Jurassic Park awaits; volcanic cones rise surprisingly out of lush pastures, and giant tortoises roam, dinosaur-like, though the sprawling grasses.
Awake to the waves lapping at the shores of Isla Isabela, the largest in the Galapagos Archipelago. Visit Las Tintoreras and cross the viewing walkway, where white-tipped reef sharks can be seen patrolling the waters below.
Sail around the shores of Rabida Island, a patchwork landscape of various volcanic formations. Watch the torpedo-like dives of the boobies as they plummet into the surrounding waters in search of breakfast. Fancy joining them? Grab a mask and a snorkel, and get to know some of the aquatic residents in this prime snorkelling location. Later, visit Cerro Dragon, where a trek to the brackish lagoon rewards hikers with a star-studded shoreline of wildlife – stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers and the odd flamingo.
Rise early for an adventure to Caleta Tortuga Negra, and see why this mangrove swamp is known in English as ‘Black Turtle Cove’. Downsize to dinghies and paddle through the unique waterways, watching out for fevers of golden rays, the odd Galapagos shark and the cove’s namesakes themselves – the Galapagos turtles.
Dotted around the north of Santa Cruz, the Daphne Islands are prime locations for getting up close to the rich birdlife in the region. The only way to access the islands is by small boat, so leave yacht and head to the shoreline of one of the islands. Explore the eerie lava formations, peculiarly dotted with nesting boobies and red-billed tropicbirds. After a final day with the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos, bid farewell to feathered friends, and take flight yourself on the return to Quito.
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