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Signature Galapagos: Island hopping

10 days from £4,331pp

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Signature Galapagos: Island hopping

10 days from £4,331pp

Price excludes international flights at the beginning and end of the trip

 

Private Journey

 

Day 1

Arrive in Quito, capital of Ecuador.
 
Quito, Ecuador

Upon arrival at high altitude Quito airport in the Andes you will be met and escorted to your boutique hotel in the historic centre of the city. 

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Quito, Ecuador

Day 2

Guided walking tour of colonial Quito
 
quito

Explore Latin America's largest and best preserved colonial quarter through the intimate lens of a guided walking tour. Quito was the first city ever to be listed as a World Heritage Site. Narrow cobblestone streets are lined with whitewashed walls and rising above are the steeples and cupolas of the city´s numerous spectacularly decorated historic churches.

Walk through the main plaza, where you will see the Government Palace, the Cathedral and churches built in the 16th and 17th centuries including the richly ornamented San Francisco Monastery, considered one of the most impressive religious buildings in Latin America and Basilica del Voto Nacional, most famous for its quirky gargoyles.  View the church of Compania de Jesus, bedecked entirely in gold.

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quito

Day 3

Fly to the Galapagos; light aircraft flight to Isabela Island.
 
Isabela Island

Transfer to the international airport and fly by commercial jet to Baltra in the Galapágos Islands (2-3hrs). Connect to your inter-island twin engine light aircraft – which accommodates 5-9 passengers – to continue to Isabela Island.This is a scenic, mind-blowing start to your adventure. (If the flight departure has to be cancelled the journey will be made by speedboat.)

Transfer by road to Scalesia Lodge – it’s just a 20 minute drive. In the afternoon, you begin to get to know this, the youngest side of the archipelago, exploring wetland lagoons and the giant tortoise-breeding centre.

Visit Sucre cave, in an area of farmland where there'll be a short guided walk to survey and learn about the endemic plants. Continue to Mango Gazevo with views over the cultivated landscapes of southern Isabela. You will be able to spot finches there too. Wrap up your day at the stunning white beach of Puerto Villamil before returning to the lodge for dinner. 

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Isabela Island

Day 4

Excursion to explore the vast crater of Sierra Negra volcano.
 
Sierra Negra

Enjoy an early breakfast before setting out to explore Isabela Island and its most stunning feature: Sierra Negra volcano. Walk along the rim of the world’s second largest caldera (its diameter is a staggering 10km) to observe recent volcanic activity and the resulting fascinating formations.  The rim is smothered in vegetation which clambers down the sides of the rim until it reaches the floor of the caldera.

You'll also visit Volcán Chico, which too is active: sulphur vents can be observed steaming in its vicinity. This volcano is bald of foliage, the rust-red lava tubes with across the barren lunar landscape. You’ll have a guided walk across the lava fields and volcano slopes

Back at the lodge, stroll along the beach at Puerto Villamil, explore the little port or just take it easy in the afternoon. Enjoy an evening drink while catching the sunset – a veritable artist’s palette of pinks, lilacs and golds. 

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Sierra Negra

Day 5

Wildlife watching and snorkelling in the National Park and Marine Reserve
 
Wall of Tears, Isabela Island

Today will feature exploration of both the Galápagos National Park and the Marine Reserve. From Puerto Villamil it's just a short boat ride to the islets of Tintoreras, ringed by coves and hidden beaches. You take a guided walk to observe marine iguanas, various species of sea birds and sea-lions, and basking white-tipped reef sharks.

There will also be a boat ride where you can look out for penguins. Your guide will then take you to the aquamarine waters of La Calera or Loberia Chica for some snorkelling among marine turtles, rays, reef fish, starfish and octopus.  There's also a visit to the turtle breeding centre.

In the afternoon you can discover a melancholy bit of the history of Isabela Island at the Wall of Tears, constructed between 1945 and 1959 by prisoners in the now defunct penal colony on the island. 

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Wall of Tears, Isabela Island

Day 6

Visit North Seymour and continue to Finch Bay on Santa Cruz Island.
 
frigate birds

After breakfast, you’ll be escorted back to Puerto Villamil’s airport. A short flight will take you back to Baltra, where you board the motor yacht Sea Lion for a short cruise to North Seymour Island. Marvel at the sight of Galápagos sea lions and fur seals, blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. Torchwood trees and prickly pears, pillow lava boulders and white sand add to an unforgettable landscape.

In the afternoon cruise to Itabaca Channel and drive across the island Santa Cruz to reach Puerto Ayora, the islands’ largest settlement, a lively town with many shops, bars and restaurants. Just a short dinghy ride away, set in a peaceful beachfront location among mangroves is the top-of-the-range Finch Bay Eco Hotel. Your choice for dinner is up to you: choose the hotel´s high class, signature cuisine or one of the many options in town. 

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frigate birds

Day 7

Explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and spot giant tortoises.
 
Santa Fé

After breakfast, you set off for El Manzanillo. Situated in Santa Cruz’s rugged highlands, which are blanketed in grassland dotted with palms, Manzanillo is within the natural path of one of the species of giant tortoise. A short walk will lead you to the grazing areas and water ponds where these giant reptiles roam at liberty and wallow in pools. The cooler uplands are also home to many interesting land birds, plants and trees exclusive to the archipelago.

You will stop briefly at the volcanic ‘Gemelos’, or Twin Craters (actually collapsed magma chambers surrounded by Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses and orchids, where there is a good opportunity to observe Darwin's finches). In the afternoon, you will stop briefly at a farm where tropical crops such as sugar and cocoa are cultivated before returning to enjoy the hotel facilities. 

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Santa Fé

Day 8

Cruise to Santa Fé Island, snorkelling opportunities.
 
Sea lion

After breakfast, board the yacht Sea Lion and cruise to Santa Fé, an impressive volcanic island 16nm from Puerto Ayora. After a wet landing on a pure white sandy beach among basking sea lions, you take as guided walk along a rocky terrain in search of the endemic Santa Fe land iguana patiently waiting under the enormous giant cacti for falling fruits and pads.

Other species to be spotted are pelicans, boobies and the archipelago´s top predator, the Galápagos hawk. Return to the yacht and enjoy one of Galápagos best snorkelling sites. Cruise back to Puerto Ayora, scanning the sea’s surface for marine birds and whales. Enjoy cocktails around the pool and stay for dinner or make it a night out in town. 

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Sea lion

Day 9

Visit Tortuga Bay, turtle beaches and snorkel or kayak off the shore.
 
galapagos beach

After breakfast you’ll leave for Tortuga Bay, voted Ecuador´s best beach. Take a guided walk from Puerto Ayora for 2Km along a paved path to discover more about the arid zone´s deciduous forest and its wildlife inhabitants.

You reach Playa Brava, a stunning 1km long snow-white beach, a seasonal nesting site for the green sea turtles. A few minutes further on Playa Mansa, a secluded natural mangrove cove, has clear and tranquil waters ideal for swimming, snorkelling, paddling on tandem kayaks or stand-up paddle boards.  Or simply enjoy the landscape in the shade of mangroves.

Sail back to The Hotel´s dock at Academy Bay. In the afternoon, you can stroll around the Charles Darwin Research Station where the conservation programme for the giant tortoises was founded.

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galapagos beach

Day 10

Fly to Guayquil and connect with international flight.
 
guayaquil

Transfer to Baltra Island airport and fly to Guayaquil to connect with your international flight or continue with an extension in Ecuador.   

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guayaquil

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