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Galapagos Hiking Adventure
Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights
Level of difficulty:
Easy to Moderate
Hiking, Snorkeling and Swimming
Private Island Hotels
The Galapagos Hiking Adventure tour allows firsthand experiences with wildlife and nature that are usually limited to boat-based tours. Experience a unique hiking journey through the Galapagos Islands and explore off-the-beaten-path lava trails full of exotic birdlife. Snorkel with tropical fish and sharks, stroll white sand beaches home to marine iguanas and sea lions and take in the view after summiting the world’s second-largest caldera. Our experienced, friendly, bilingual naturalist guides accompany you every step of the way. A perfect trip for families and groups of all ages!
- Lava rock trails to meet blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and sea lions.
- Snorkel with tropical fish, hammerhead and white-tipped sharks
- Miconia forest trails to meet giant tortoises in the Santa Cruz cloud forest.
- Walk the rim of the Sierra Negra: world’s second largest volcano caldera.
- Meet the Galapagos finch species that inspired Charles Darwin.
- Relax on picture-perfect white sand beaches
- More active hikes than with boat-based tours, for more wildlife encounters.
- Top-notch adventure and nature guides on every step of your journey.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN SAN CRISTOBAL AND HIKE IN FRIGATE HILL
We will meet you when you arrive on San Cristóbal Island and welcome you with lunch and an orientation at a local restaurant. After lunch, our adventure begins with a hike to the San Cristóbal Interpretation Center, where you will learn about the volcanic formation of the Galapagos archipelago and the evolution of life on the islands. We will continue our hike towards Frigate Hill along trails of lava rock featuring splendid views of the coastline and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno while we explore dry forest and observe cacti, acacia, palo santo, Galapagos cotton and other endemic vegetation. This is also a good time to enjoy your first encounters with local wildlife since Frigate Hill is often visited by the Chatham lava lizard and bird species such as the magnificent and great frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, brown pelicans, gulls, herons, Darwin finches, warblers and mockingbirds. On our way back we can stop for a refreshing swim at Carola Beach or Mann Beach. In the late afternoon, we will return to the San Cristóbal Interpretation Center, where you will learn about the volcanic formation of the Galapagos archipelago and the evolution of life on the islands. In the evening, we will explore town and dine at a waterfront restaurant. Your first evening is free to explore this tranquil port town. We will spend the night in San Cristóbal. (L)
DAY 2: HIKE IN EL JUNCO, SNORKEL AT LEON DORMIDO
After breakfast, our adventure begins with a hike to El Junco, the island’s main active volcano crater and lake located 2,300 feet (700 meters) above sea level. This crater lagoon is one of the few permanent freshwater bodies in the entire archipelago. The lagoon is home to white-cheeked pintail ducks, common gallinules, frigate birds and many other endemic species. We will continue on to La Galapaguera in Cerro Colorado, a new facility operated by the National Park to breed and protect the subspecies of giant turtles endemic to San Cristóbal (Geochelone chathamensis). In the afternoon, we will visit León Dormido, the jagged remains of an old tuff cone (a type of landform from volcanic eruptions) that is home to thousands of sea birds. At León Dormido, we will enjoy excellent snorkeling; for those who are certified divers, this is also one of the best dive areas in the islands. You’re almost guaranteed to get postcard-quality pictures if you bring an underwater camera with you. There is a good chance of seeing hammerhead and white-tipped sharks, eagle and golden rays, as well as dozens of species of tropical fish, clams, starfish and marine invertebrates. In the evening, we return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and spend the night in San Cristóbal. (B, L)
DAY 3: VISIT LONESOME GEORGE & HIKE IN EL CHATO RESERVE
After breakfast, we will take a fast boat from San Cristóbal to Santa Cruz Island. Here, we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about conservation and management projects in the archipelago. The research station is also home to Lonesome George, a photogenic giant tortoise who is the very last of the Pinta Island tortoise species. Afterwards, we will drive to the El Chato reserve in the upper part of Santa Cruz Island – the natural habitat of the large Galapagos tortoise. As we seek these lumbering giants, we’ll also come across pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigate birds bathing in freshwater lakes. We will explore fascinating lava caves featuring incredible volcanic tunnel formations that were used by pirates in the eighteenth century. On a clear day, we can see Media Luna, an old collapsed crater on top of Santa Cruz Island. In the evening you are free to explore the excellent dining options and nightlife that the most populous town in the Galapagos’ has to offer. (B, L)
DAY 4: CERRO CROCKET AND TORTUGA BAY HIKE
On this day, we will hike into the amazing cloud forest highlands of Santa Cruz Island. On the way to the summit of Cerro Crocker (the highest point on the island at 864 meters), we'll have another chance to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat and observe other intriguing wildlife like the vermillion flycatcher. This hike will also bring us closer to fabulous views of the Media Luna crater. Following a trail through Miconia forest, we will reach a lookout point with amazing views of the coastline below. In the afternoon, we will go on an easy hike to Tortuga Bay’s pristine white sand beaches, where sea turtles go to lay their eggs. Considered the best in the archipelago, these beaches and their dry forest habitat offer a peaceful spot for the nature lover. Pelicans, Darwin finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, doves and marine iguanas are also found here. These paths offer excellent opportunities for bird watching. In the evening, we will return to spend our final evening relaxing in Santa Cruz. (B, L)
DAY 5: HIKE AND EXPLORATION IN ISABELA
From Puerto Ayora, we will board a fast boat for Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest island in the archipelago, formed by 5 shield volcanoes: Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Sierra Negra and Wolf. All of these volcanoes (except for one) remain active, making this island one of the most volcanically active places on Earth. Here, we will visit the Galapagos Tortoise Rearing Center to learn about tortoise development and conservation. We will explore the bay for wildlife and follow a trail along the coastline to observe dramatic lava formations. We will also find the Isabela marine iguanas socializing with one another and will meet a large colony of sea lions. We will pass through mangroves and salty lagoons that are home to the mangrove finch, endemic to Isabela. You can also spot American oyster catchers, herons, flamingos and many other shore birds. In the afternoon, we will relax on exotic white sand beaches. The evening is spent in the tranquil port town of Puerto Villamil. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: SIERRA NEGRA HIKE
From Puerto Villamil, we will drive to the highlands of Isabela Island to prepare for a hike that will take us on trails across distinct and unusual terrain to arrive at the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. On a clear day, the beautiful view from the Sierra Negra can feel like a spiritual awakening. Sierra Negra is an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005 and is also the second largest caldera (a basin-shaped volcanic depression) in the world. As we hike around the rim of the crater, you will have a fantastic view of the 6x5 mile-wide (9x8 kilometer) lava-filled caldera, the other Isabela volcanoes and the Perry Isthmus beyond. From here, we will hike to Chico Volcano, with its puffing fumaroles (volcanic gases and vapours that come out of the earth) and striking lava formations, examples of the dramatic geological events that have forged the Galapagos Islands over millennia. In the late afternoon, we return to Puerto Villamil for our last evening on the “Enchanted Islands.” (B, L, D)
DAY 7: ISABELA – SANTA CRUZ, TRANSFER OUT
In the morning, we will return to Santa Cruz Island and transfer by bus to Baltra Island for our flight back to the continent. An optional, one- or more-day driving tour extension is highly recommended. (B)
Prices per person:
|By number of passengers
The Price includes:
- Accommodations in tourist superior hotels
- All meals as described (dinner is only included on Isabela Island)
- Snorkeling gear
- Professional English-speaking guide
- Professional Galapagos naturalist guide
- Land and sea transportation.
The price does not include:
- Airfare to/from Galapagos (subject to change)
- Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee (subject to change)
- Meals not mentioned above
- Hotel & restaurant beverages, tips, or gratuities
- Guide tips and personal expenses.
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