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No need to choose between a land-based Galapagos exploration or a cruise; this holiday combines the best of both worlds to give you a fully immersive Galapagos experience, travelling by premium yacht to far flung islands, and staying in a charming hotel to enjoy the relaxed pace of Galapagueño life.
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Fly from the UK to Quito today. Please note that international flights for this holiday are quoted separately. Transfer to your comfortable hotel, located in one of the quieter parts of the city. Relax after your journey this evening.
Your guide comes to the hotel this morning to take you on a tour of Ecuador’s capital and its surroundings. Quito is positioned on the flanks of the Pichincha Volcano, and is home to perhaps the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America (now UNESCO-listed). Explore the historic centre to learn about the city’s colonial past, perhaps dropping into the Government Palace en route.
The Galapagos are around 600 miles off mainland Ecuador so the flight takes a good couple of hours. Meet your guide who takes you up into the highlands of Santa Cruz to meet the islands' most famous inhabitants, the giant tortoises. After a visit to the Darwin Centre to learn about their efforts to protect the tortoises, board your boat this evening and settle into your very comfortable cabin.
Land at Puerto Villamil, the only inhabited part of Isabela Island. Jump in the water and snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks amongst other marine species. In the afternoon you travel to the highlands and walk up Sierra Negra volcano, the second largest caldera in the world.
Start today with a walk on Isabela Island to see if you can see giant tortoises. You will almost certainly see land iguanas along the way. Return to the beach to swim or snorkel directly offshore possibly with rays and sharks.For those of you less inclined to swim, you can take time to simply relax and read a book on the beach. This afternoon take a ride in the pangas to look for penguins and sea turtles.
Visit the youngest island, Fernandina, to walk to the jagged point of Punta Espinosa to see marine iguanas warming themselves on the lava. You may well need to watch where you are treading as there are lots and lots of them piled up against each other for warmth. Visit the cliff-side gallery of Tagus Cove for a clear view of some 19th century pirate graffiti later. It is more than a little strange to see vandalism in such a pristine place.
This morning you make a wet landing onto the golden-coloured sands of Espumilla Beach where green sea turtles nest, and you can follow a forest trail through fragrant Palo Santo trees to see yellow warblers, Darwin’s finches and Galapagos flycatchers. This afternoon you can enjoy time on the black sand beach of Puerto Egas. Observe the fur seals, who can sometimes be seen diving into the pools and arches formed by the sea eroding away the lava.
Take a final panga ride among the sea lions of Isla Lobos before waving goodbye to your fellow passengers and crew. After you disembark you meet your local guide, who will take you to your hotel, set looking out over the sea in sleepy Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in fact the archipelago's capital. The balance of the day is yours to relax. It's a short stroll to the beach, and it won't take you long at all to get your bearings in the town.
Take to the water this morning as part of a small group and sail out to Kicker Rock, a magnificent rock formation rising 120m from the sea with towering vertical walls on either side. The cliffs are home to frigate birds, blue-footed and masked boobies, and the waters here offer some of the best snorkelling anywhere in Galapagos. Later, head down to a secluded bay where you can snorkel in shallow waters often with sea lions and turtles as the frigate birds wheel overhead.
Your final day is yours to enjoy the nature around you, perhaps by taking one of the trails from near your hotel to look for the magnificent frigate birds and Nazca boobies, or wandering down to a secluded beach for a final swim with the sea lions and the iguanas.
Early this morning you could have a final stroll on the beach or a swim. Transfer to the airport for your return flight back to mainland Ecuador, to connect with your flights home. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday.
This comprehensive Galapagos holiday combines access to the outlying islands for the best wildlife sights on board a premium yacht, alongside days relaxing on San Cristobal Island. Reach otherwise inaccessible landing sites and enjoy time to wander among the sea lions and snorkel from the quiet beaches of San Cristobal.
This is primarily a wildlife holiday so the focus is not on activity. Having said that, you spend most of your time out and about in the great outdoors, so it is not a sedentary trip by any means. There is some gentle walking though the islands are volcanic which means that you are often walking on quite sharp lava when you hike the Sierra Negra volcano. If you enjoy swimming and snorkeling then you will find some incredible wildlife underwater too. During your stay in San Cristobal, there is more scope for activity on land and water: more strenuous hiking and swimming, as well as kayaking and biking.
As a tailor made trip, we offer a range of different boats in the Galapagos. This itinerary is based on Sea Star Journey, an excellent yacht, she was recently given an extensive renovation, and is one of the most comfortable vessels operating in the archipelago. She carries a maximum of 16 passengers, giving her a wonderfully intimate feel, and the guide and crew are excellent.
Cabins are very spacious for a Galapagos vessel. That said, given the amount of time spent out and about exploring the islands or up on deck looking for wildlife, cabin size is perhaps less of a critical element of your Galapagos holiday than you might think. Deck space too is very ample, meaning you have lots of room to spread out, relax, and look at the landscapes and wildlife surrounding you. The large sun deck and jacuzzi mean that you can relax in some comfort as you look out for the passing wildlife.
San Cristobal is the least developed of the inhabited islands. We use a small and friendly six-bedroom inn set on the beach in a quiet part of the town. It is simple but comfortable.
In terms of weather, the Galapagos Islands lie on the equator so temperatures and weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant all year round. The water temperature and conditions do vary with colder, choppier waters from June through October giving way to warmer and calmer seas for the rest of the year.
The Galapagos Islands are primarily about the wildlife, though the human history of the islands and the struggles of conservation create a fascinating context for the wildlife. Having six days in the company of Ecuadorian crew and expert guide followed by a land-based stay in a populated Galapagos town should allow you time to gain a wider understanding of your host country.
We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, as set out above. If you would like a copy, please get in touch and we can email it over to you.
Ultimately though, this is a tailor made trip so we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you. The Galapagos element we discuss with you to select the best combination of boat and time on land for you. In addition, we can add, or reduce, elements to make your perfect holiday. It is not uncommon to add time in the Amazon, for instance.
In the form set out above, the holiday price includes internal flights & transportation, first class hotel accommodation, a 5-night Galapagos cruise on board Sea Star Journey yacht as well as activities, excursions, transfers and entrances as per our detailed itinerary. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.
Flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routings are to fly into Quito (airport code: UIO) and out of either Guayaquil (airport code: GYE) or Quito.
Departs on a date to suit you year round, subject to cruise schedules.
Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure
The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.
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