Touring the Galapagos Islands is as fascinating today as in Darwin's day, thanks to the protection afforded by their National Park status and designation as a World Natural Heritage Site. Unique, even bizarre or comical creatures, knowing virtually no natural predators ignore humans as they cavort, rest or play in their fabulous environment. For naturalists, bird watchers, divers and everyone inspired by natural beauty, the Galapagos Islands provide an overwhelming, unforgettable experience. The ideal way to appreciate the unique natural history of the archipelago is by boat under the guidance of a naturalist. Each island has its own special features and secrets.
Day 1: Independent arrival in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Transfer to your 4 or 5 star star hotel for overnight.
Day 2: Your day starts with a tour of the colonial city followed by a visit to the "Middle of the World", where the North and the South Hemispheres meet. An other opportunity would be to visit the colorful Indian market of Otavalo with the many famous Ecuadorian artifacts. Overnight in Quito.
Day 3: Morning transfer to the airport to board the flight to Baltra, Galapagos Islands. Transfer to your yacht waiting for you at Bachas Beach where you will have a pleasant introductory experience to the islands fauna. On two lovely beaches you will see marine turtle nests, while at the nearby small lagoon you can spot the first pink flamingos. Sea lions, marine iguanas and blue herons are also visible. Be careful not to step on a turtle nest hidden among the arrayancillo salt bushes. Dinner and overnight on your yacht, your home for 7 days.
Day 4: Morning visit to Plazas Island, wet disembarkation. On the 1 km long trail of this volcanic rock you will have the opportunity to encounter brown pelicans, red billed tropicbirds, blue footed and masked boobies, frigate birds, finches, lava lizards, iguanas and sea lions. In the Afternoon visit Santa Fe Island with its colorful vegetation, home of endemic land iguanas, Galapagos snake, hawks, mockingbirds and billed flycatchers.
Day 5: Morning arrival at Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), an impressive rock towering from the azure sea, an untouched habitat of many Galapagos bird species. Opportunity for swimming and snorkeling. Arrival in San Cristobal. Visit the interpretation center with colorful displays on the islands history. Visit scenic Cerro Tigeretos, the only place where two kinds of frigate birds share the same colony. Here, at a beautiful sandy beach you will have a chance for swimming.
Day 6: Morning arrival at Punta Suarez, Espanola. From the high cliffs of the island you can marvel the impressive blowhole splashing seawater up to 70 feet high into the cloudless air. Birds to view: blue footed boobies, frigates, mockingbirds, tropicbirds, Galapagos doves, and albatrosses. Learn about these birds different mating rituals from your naturalist guide. In the afternoon visit Gardner Bay, a tranquil beach, where you can swim in the company of friendly see lions.
Day 7: Santa Cruz. Arrival in Porto Ayora. Visit the Charles Darwin Station where you can learn about the islands conservation programs. In the afternoon visit el Chato Lagoon with a Giant Turtles habitat.
Day 8: Morning arrival to Bartolome Island. Climb to the summit of the island to marvel at the impressive volcanic landscape inhabited by penguins. In the afternoon enjoy Sullivan Bay, one of the best place at the Galapagos to observe a recent lava flow of approximately 100 years old. It is interesting to see how Mollugo plants started to establish themselves on this moonlike landscape. There will be a nice beach for swimming and snorkeling.
Day 9: Visit Pto Egas on Santiago Island famed for the impact of introduced animals as well as salt mining activities of the 1960s. Nevertheless the place is a great beauty as well as scientific interest. Attractions: fur seals, salt lake crater, hawks, feral goats, sea lions, doves, herons and finches. After lunch visit to the red colored Rabida Island with its picturesque lagoon of flamingoes and Galapagos ducks. The islands circular trail provides an excellent panoramic view of the neighboring islands of the archipelago. Do not forget to bring plenty of films!
Day 10: North Seymour-Baltra. North Seymour is a flat island located north of Baltra boosting the largest colony of frigate birds. There is also a large habitat of frigate birds, cute blue footed boobies and lazy sea lions. After visiting the island we provide transfer to Baltra airport to board your flight back to Quito. Overnight in Quito.
Day 11: Transfer to the airport for flight back to your home country. For those of you who prefer to stay longer and visit other interesting sights of Ecuador, extensions are available.
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