During this eight days itinerary you will visit the main attractions of the Galapagos islands in a different way, you won´t need to overnight on a cruise as per usual, with this itinerary you will overnight at the best lodges the islands have. These are eco-friendly accommodations with all the requirements of a comfortable lodge. This is a special itinerary in which you will not only enjoy the unique flora and fauna of the area but also of the local islanders!

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SHARED EXPERIENCES

Day 01 Quito

Transfer from the airport to the selected hotel.

Overnight at Quito Hotel

Included: Breakfast

Day 02 Colonial and Modern Quito

This three hour sightseeing excursion offers the best of Quito with its rich cultural legacy, ornate facades, and dazzling gilt altars Visit the Independence Square, The Archbishop’s palace, The Metropolitan Cathedral as well as other very representative samples of colonial art and architecture. At the end, drive to the hill of Panecillo for a panoramic view of the city.

Overnight at Quito Hotel

Included: Breakfast

Day 03 Galapagos Islands

Transfer from the selected hotel to the airport. Flight from Quito to Galapagos.

BALTRA - SANTA CRUZ

You will fly to the Galapagos Islands, arriving around 11h30 and 13h30, depending of the flight schedule on Baltra Island. Upon arrival at Baltra airport, the group will travel by bus to the Itabaca Channel, followed by a 5 minute ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island. A private charter bus will take you south to the town of Puerto Ayora and the Red Mangrove Lodge. Here, the group will be greeted by the Naturalist Guides and the tour escorts. Lunch at Aventura Lodge.

GARRAPATERO BEACH

Depart to Garrapatero beach, a 25 minutes bus ride to the right spot were an easy trail start to lead you to the beach in only 15 more minutes. This beautiful white sandy beach is known and finches and a place where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This is one of Santa Cruz's most peaceful and tranquil settings, the 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand that compose El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It is about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora. Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds and mockingbirds. You can also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water. There's also a freshwater lake nearby that is home to even more tropical animals, such as herons, grebes, and many of shore birds.

Briefing and Dinner at Aventura lodge.

Overnight at Aventura Lodge

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 04 SANTA CRUZ – FLOREANA

This morning the adventure starts with a trip to "Los Gemelos" (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers, a wonderful introduction to the majestic power of the forces of nature and the great biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Highlands. This short, easy hike to each of the twins is swarming with endemic flora and fauna, including a remnant of Scalesia Forest, draped in liverwort, lichens and mosses, where is easy to spot some Darwin finches and perhaps the short eared owls.

After "Los Gemelos", a short bus ride will take us to a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze, and sleep. Sometimes it's a bit muddy here, so before setting out, we will provide a selection of field boots (Wellington boots) to choose from, including large sizes for men. Walking among the tortoises in wild, will be one of the most treasured moments of your trip. After visiting these prehistoric creatures on their natural habitat, we'll take a 5-minute ride to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high in most places, this is an incredible opportunity see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, mineral-colored walls, and the rippled floor formed from lava along this unique lava formations.

Return to the Lodge. After lunch, departure to Floreana. Our navigation will take about 2 hours depending on sea conditions. Upon arrival, and before check in, visit La Loberia, a very beautiful location to swim, snorkel, or simply relax watching a colony of sea lions and great scenery. Walk back to the lodge. Check in at Floreana Lodge.

Dinner at Local Family House, briefing and overnight at Floreana Lodge.

Included: Breakfast,Lunch and Dinner

Day 05 FLORENA - ISABELA

Breakfast at a local family's house. This is a great way to share the insights of Galapagos with a local family. After breakfast, departure in an open-air bus (chiva) to the highlands of Floreana. During the bus ride, of about 40 minutes, your Naturalist Guide will be pointing out the wildlife and filling you in with the colorful history of Floreana's first inhabitants, like Patrick Watkins, the Wittmers, the Baroness, and the Ritters, re-telling the legend of the "Floreana Mystery", which involves the mysterious deaths of several inhabitants, mystery that has never been solved.

At 450m high, we reach "Asilo de la Paz" (Peace Asylum), just behind Cerro las Pajas (Straw Hill) in the agricultural area of the island. The main attractions are of an historic type: one is the cave of pirates and the other is the freshwater spring. The two sites are located at the base of the hill, where is still possible to find the endemic Scalesia (Scalesia pedunculata), as well as a good number of Galapagos Petrel nests (Pterodroma phaeopygia), once at a border of extinction due to the predation of cats and rats, introduced to the island when Ecuador took possession of the archipelago in 1832. At present, and thanks to the GNP efforts and a special conservation project, the success of Galapagos petrel (local name: pata pegada) hatchlings reaches 98%.

The cave of the pirates has its history since it was the home of the first settlers of the island, while the spring found in Asilo de la Paz provides water to the entire population of Floreana (130 people approx). Back to town in time for our trip to Isabela, at around 11H00. Our navigation will take about 2 hours depending on sea conditions.

We will check into the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge and have a hot, wholesome lunch. After lunch, departure to "Las Tintoreras" and Bay Tour. At the main dock, we will board a smaller craft to head out across the port, slowing down to view blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins sharing the same rocky sunbathing space, before turning a bend and docking.

From there, we take an intriguing walk through a jagged lava field, passing abundant colonies of marine iguanas and sea lions, to see a small canal of shallow waters, full of resting white-tipped reef sharks. The views from here are something you will take with you for the rest of your life! The black, treacherous lava field, the emerald green sea, the green mangroves, and the cloud-capped volcanoes of Isla Isabela create an afternoon backdrop you are not likely to ever forget. Once you finish the walk, you can snorkel in this warm, shallow bay surrounded by mangroves, for an opportunity to see white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and, of course, the mystery of the mangrove below the surface. Don't worry; white-tipped reef sharks are not aggressive, but merely fascinating.

Overnight at Isabela Lodge.

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 06 ISABELA-SANTA CRUZ

THURSDAY
PRINCE PHILIP'S STEPS (TOWER/GENOVESA ISLAND)

Breakfast at the lodge. Departure to the "Humedales" (Wetlands) Tour. We begin with a drive out of town along the beautiful white sand palm lined beach of Vilamill, one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Galapagos. This beach, straight from the cover of a travel magazine, stretches on for 3 kilometers before the National Park boundaries, where we will walk up the trail to the summit of Cerro Orchilla, for an astounding view from the top. Then, we will visit the "Muro de las Lagrimas" (Wall of Tears), a unique construction built by the backbreaking labor of prisoners of a penal colony centuries earlier. On the path to the Wall of Tears you will see many lava lizards, endemic an native flora, Darwin finches and perhaps, if you are lucky, some young Galapagos tortoises, released after been born at the breeding center Arnaldo Tupiza in Isabela, as part of the rearing program of giant tortoises held by the National Park. Lunch at Isabela Lodge.

Depart to Santa Cruz. Our navigation will take about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on sea conditions. Arrival and check in at Santa Cruz Aventura Lodge. Then, enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs in the world. Discovered in 1971 on Pinta Island, he is the very last of his kind. Founded in 1964 the Charles Darwin Research Station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, with the unique purpose to study, support and instrument the conservation efforts of the islands.

Overnight at Aventura Lodge

Included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 07 SANTA CRUZ - QUITO

Depart for your transfer to the airport of Baltra, on time for your flight back to the mainland. Transport and guide included from the hotel to the airport. Flight from Galapagos to Quito. Transfer from the airport to the selected hotel.

Overnight at Quito Hotel

Included: Breakfast

Day 08 Quito

Transfer from the selected hotel to the airport.

Included: Breakfast

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