Take a thrilling sojourn around the highlights of the unique flora- and fauna-rich islands of the Galapagos. From rubbing shoulders with prehistoric-looking giant tortoises and marine iguanas, 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. There are also heaps of opportunities to explore the underwater world of the Galapagos by snorkelling and diving in the surrounding waters - usually in the good company of playful sea lions and sea turtles. With just the right amount of relaxation, adventure and wildlife-filled awe, this Galapagos Venture is the way to see the very best of the Galapagos.

Start
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Countries
Ecuador
Themes
Explorer
Code
GGRR
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 15
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Arrive early and discover Quito’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage, filled with colonial era buildings, boulevards of multicoloured mansions and gracefully ageing cathedrals
  • Learn about the unique habit of the marine iguana. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands
  • 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
  • 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
  • Get your blood pumping as you scale Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
If you're going to be late, please contact our 24 hour emergency number which is located on these trip notes.
We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
At the meeting you will be offered a duffle bag to use for the duration of your time in the Galapagos, please see the packing section in the trip notes for more information.
Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha. With Colonial style buildings, a cosy Old Town and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore, you may like to take a stroll this evening and see some sights. We will however be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city, depending on when you are flying out ofcourse!

Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for detailed information.
Today we have a long travel day ahead and it begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight of about three hours to Baltra Island, Galapagos. Once you arrive at the airport, you’ll need to purchase a Transit Control Card before checking in to your Galapagos flight. This card costs about USD 20 and grants you access to the islands. Departure time will be between 8.20 am and 10.30 am depending on flight schedule time. Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil for a about 45 minutes to pick up more passengers.
When the flight lands in Balra, you’ll go through immigration and need to pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of USD 100 in cash (small bills please). We then transfer from Baltra to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island, which takes about two and a half hours. Once we arrive at Isabela Island, you’ll need to pay an additional port fee of USD 5. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on an orientation walk of Isabela Island. The rest of your evening is free.

Important Notes:
Please note, there are no ATM's on Isabela Island so it's important you bring along enough cash for the next few days.
Please note that this trip is a combination trip, therefore there may be some passengers joing the trip in the Galapagos.
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.
Next is a visit to the Sierra Negra Wetlands where you can observe exotic migratory birds like sandpiper, common stilt, plovers, flamingos and American oystercatcher. Soon after 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 five and six hours, but at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the rocky climb.
During the rainy season it can get quite muddy. There is an option to hire gumboots locally, should you wish to do so. During the hike it can get quite hot, there isn't much shade along the way so be sure to come prepared with your hat and sunscreen etc.
Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. You may like to visit Las Tintoreras one of the highlights of the Galapagos and where you are likely to see the rare Galapagos penguin and "shark alley" where white tipped sharks hang out. You can also see marine iguanas here, as this is a popular nesting site. There’s also the chance to go snorkelling, relax on the beach or visit the Wall of Tears which was built by the prisoners once kept here.
Wake up early for a morning speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two and a half hours. After settling into the hotel, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Learn about the repopulation of the islands once-endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat.
Return back to town where you'll have some free time.
In the morning, you’ll have some more free time to make the most of Isla Santa Cruz.. You’ll have some free time to pursue optional activities of your choosing, such as snorkelling with rented equipment or taking at dip in the pure waters of Tortuga Bay.
Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal, which takes about 2.5 hours. In the afternoon, go on a casual orientation walk of San Cristobal.
Today is a free day to experience the best of San Cristobal Island. Perhaps go for a hike to Frigate Bird Hill for panoramic views of the Pacific Islands and some bird watching. You may find it hard to leave Mann Beach, with its luscious setting and the opportunities to swim with adorable sea lions. Perhaps the most popular optional activity is an excursion to Kicker Rock. Go snorkelling and see swarms of Galapagos colourful marine life. Sea turtles, eagle rays and harmless sharks all live in these waters.
Our last excursion today is a guided visit to the Interpretation Center, which houses exhibitions on natural history, human history and conservation. Learn more about the conservation movement and the process of sustainable tourism on the Galapagos Island. After the visit, say goodbye to these enchanting islands. The flight back to Quito leaves at midday, we get back to Quito in the late afternoon. A representative from Intrepid will take you from the airport to your hotel, then you’ll be free to explore more of Quito. You may like to get out and enjoy the nightlife of this vibrant Latin city.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you're able to depart our accommodation at any time. Please check the 'Finishing Point Hotel' section for checkout times and luggage storage possibilities.

As there's little time spent in Quito, we recommend staying a few extra days to make the most of your time in here. Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Compania de Jesus which is decorated with seven tonnes of gold and the pale art filled La Merced. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, including tours of the town, markets and culinary delights (see urbanadventures.com).
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
3 breakfasts
Transport
Bus, Private vehicle, Speed boat
Accommodation
Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights)
Included activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing

Dates

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For information about altitude sickness click here


Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS
A single supplement is available on this trip.

STARTING IN THE GALAPAGOS
This trip has a shorter version GGRX which doesn't include flights to and from Quito and starts in the Galapagos.

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA PORT FEES
A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
When booking, please ensure that your details are correct and they match your passport.
Your passport must match the booking details provided to us; otherwise it could cause issues with your transit card and internal flights resulting in purchasing a new
card and flights at your own expense.

INTERNET IN THE GALAPAGOS
Some of the hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections however it's often very slow and and may not always be functional.

DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS
We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Galapagos Venture trips score an average of 4.69 out of 5 based on 70 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos Venture , April 2016

Galapagos Venture , April 2016

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