San Cristobal, Ecuador
Number of Days:
The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles from the mainland of Ecuador, and consist of 19 volcanic islands on the Equator. The islands and surrounding sea are teeming with life, unspoiled nature, and a unique history dating back to its discovery in 1535. This is where Charles Darwin was inspired to develop his theory of evolution. Each island has its own distinct atmosphere & landscape, and unique flora & fauna. From volcano summits, dramatic lava flows, and breathtaking vistas, to the sea, remote mangroves, cliffs and coasts, our Signature Journey to the Galapagos will allow you to get close to its nature, experience the local lifestyle, absorb its beauty, and understand the importance of preservation and conservation of this delicate ecosystem. Hosted by Borton Overseas Managing Director Linda McCormick.
Saturday, February 10 - $5,785 per person, double occupancy
$400 Single Supplement
San Cristobal, Ecuador
Saturday, February 10 Minneapolis/St. Paul - Guayaquil, Ecuador
Depart on American Airlines at 12:05 pm, arriving Miami at 4:43 pm. Change planes and depart at 6:05 pm, arriving Guayaquil at 10:37 pm. Upon arrival we are met at the airport for transfer to our hotel. Overnight at Hilton Colon Hotel
Sunday, February 11 Guayaquil - San Cristobal Island B L D
After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport for our flight to San Cristobal, the most western island in Galapagos. We will meet our naturalist guide, and this is where our adventure begins!
We are introduced to the amazing views of Galapagos and its wildlife at The Junco Lake or el Junco, as it is called by locals. It is an inactive volcano with a fresh water lake where frigate birds and Bahamas ducks rinse their wings from the salt. Here, we will have our first delicious lunch in the archipelago.
This afternoon, we’ll hike for approximately 1 hour, then have the opportunity to watch the famous Galapagos Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat at the Galapaguera Breeding Center. This center, run by the Galapagos National Park Authority, allows us to watch these magnificent tortoises, as well as to touch and see some of their eggs. This visit is ideal for understanding the behavior of this massive animal that may weigh up to 200kg (440 pounds) and live up to 150 years. We’ll have time to relax at the breathtaking beach at Puerto Chino, and continue to our hotel for a delicious dinner and overnight. Overnight at Miconia Hotel, San Cristobal Island
Monday, February 12 San Cristobal Island B L D
Today we’ll explore San Cristobal by boat, beginning with the marvelous White Rose Bay (Bahia Rosa Blanca) with its deep, crystalline water. There will be a chance to snorkel and observe many colorful fish, manta rays, sharks, seahorses, and other species. After enjoying this pristine bay, we move on to Punta Pitt, where there is an opporuntity to fish, and observe red-footed boobies.
Sardine Bay (Bahia Sardina) is next, with swimming and snorkeling available, as well as relaxing on the beach in the sun or shade.
A ½ hour hike brings us to Punta Pucuna, a pristine lava field untouched by humans, until recently opened to tourists by the National Park Authority.
We’ll visit Cerro Brujo, which is another rocky formation with an accessible tunnel to view many other animal species common to Galapagos, with great photo opportunities. Our last stop today is Kicker Rock, a highlight of Galapagos with rich marine wildlife including the Galapagos Shark.
This evening, we’ll enjoy a homemade dinner at our Captain’s house. This is an amazing chance to learn about the life of a former fisherman, the lifestyle of a Galapagos family and the history of the Galapagos Islands. Overnight at Miconia Hotel, San Cristobal Island
Tuesday, February 13 Highlands - Charles Darwin Station B L D
We’ll board a speed boat to Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, and proceed to the Highlands. This island offers a variety of life and geology, including agricultural land, mist-covered forests, lava tubes, sinkholes, and craters. Nearly every bird present in the islands can be found here, and Santa Cruz offers excellent opportunities to observe the wild Galapagos Tortoises.
After lunch, we’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we will see a variety of species of Giant Tortoise, learn more about where they originally came from, and the conservation efforts directed to preserve the Galapagos environment. Silberstein Hotel, Santa Cruz Island
Wednesday, February 14 Sailing to Bartolome Island B L D
Bartolome Island has the most attractive landscape of the archipelago, and is undoubtedly the most photographed of all the Galapagos Islands. We’ll have a spectacular view over two beautiful bays and observe the fascinating formation of lava and volcanic cones.
We’ll spend time at the southern beach, where harmless black-tipped reef sharks and rays are often seen in the warm, shallow water. Ghost crabs creep over the sand and disappear as you approach. Look up at the sky and often you may see a juvenile Galapagos Hawk hovering overhead. From January to March you may see marine turtles coming ashore to nest in the sand.
We’ll have a chance to hike the summit trail, a dusty walk through volcanic ash. The only vegetation are the “pioneer plants”, grey Tiquilia and greenish Chamaesyce. These are vital in binding the ash that fans down from the hill. The park wardens have built wooden steps up the hill to prevent further erosion by humans. If you look carefully you can make out sunken craters in the sea below. In the distance, you can see most of the central islands, the peaks of Isabela to the west, and on a clear day Marchena and Pinta to the north.
We’ll see Pinnacle Rock, which leans into the bay, where a small family of Galapagos penguins live in its shadow. Overnight at Silberstein Hotel, Santa Cruz Island
Thursday, February 15 Kayaking at Tortuga Beach - Speed boat to Isabella B L D
We’ll hike approximatley 45 minutes to Tortuga Bay, where we’ll kayak from Playa Brava Beach. This is home to marine iguanas, marine birds and pelicans.
We’ll return to Puerto Ayora for lunch. A 2 ½ hour trip by public speedboat will take us to Isabela Island, where we visit the Lake of the Flamingos. Overnight at San Vicente Hotel, Isabela Island
Friday, February 16 Sierra Negra Volcano & Concha y Perla B L D
Today, we’ll discover the Sierra Negra volcano, the world´s second largest volcanic crater, measuring 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet deep. Our trek today will be approximately 4 hours roundtrip, and it will be more than worth it, since being at this amazing crater is breathtaking.
After this unique experience, we move on to Chico Volcano, where we can feel the heat of the earth as an evidence of the volcanic activity.
During the trek, a box lunch will be provided. This afternoon, we’ll have a a short break, then we’ll transfer to the Concha Perla for snorkeling. Overnight at San Vicente Hotel, Isabela Island
Saturday, February 17 Puerto Ayora- Baltra Airport - Guayquil B
We’ll take a 2 ½ hour speed boat trip to Santa Cruz Island, then transfer to Baltra. On the way, a short stop will be made at the Twin Craters. Our marvelous Galapagos experience ends at the Baltra airport, where we will depart on our return flight to Guayaquil.
Upon arrival at Guayaquil Airport, we will transfer to our hotel. Overnight at Hilton Colon Hotel
Sunday, February 18 Guayaquil – Minneapolis/St. Paul
Early transfer to the airport for American Airlines departing at 7:30 am, arriving Miami at 11:59 am. Depart at 1:45 pm, arriving Minneapolis/St. Paul at 4:39 pm.