Outbound: Galapagos

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Availability : October 13-21, 2022
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Outbound: Galapagos

Highlights Include:

  • Travel with a small group of like-minded adventurers to explore the fascinating wildlife of the Galapagos Islands
  • Visit five islands: San Cristóbal, Española, Santa Cruz, Floreana & Isabela
  • Observe unique marine & wildlife
  • Explore by land & water, including snorkel excursions
  • Unparalleled scenery, with exceptional photo opportunities
  • Traveling with Mpls.St.Paul Magazine host Todd Walker
Tour Details

From: $5995 per person, double occupancy | Single supplement from $1,072

Flights to and from Quito, Ecuador not included.

9 days

Tour Dates:
October 13 – October 22, 2022

Join Mpls.St.Paul Magazine host Todd Walker on a journey through time to visit the famous Galapagos Islands and its wildlife that was first discovered in 1535! The islands and surrounding seas are teeming with life, unspoiled nature, and rich history that we will experience through journeys on both land and sea.

Each island has its own distinct atmosphere and landscape, and special flora & fauna. From volcano summits, dramatic lava flows, and breathtaking vistas, to the sea, remote mangroves, cliffs and coasts, this journey will allow you to get close to its nature, experience the local lifestyle, and absorb the beauty of this incomparable part of the world.

This tour is part of our exclusive Outbound Travel Series. Outbound tours are small-group tours hosted by Mpls.St.Paul Magazine & Borton Overseas.

Thursday, October 13Depart the US to Ecuador

Depart from Minneapolis/St.Paul, or your home city, to Quito in Ecuador. On arrival, we’ll be transferred to our hotel. Overnight at Quito airport hotel

Friday, October 14San Cristóbal - Interpretation Center - Frigate Hill & Bay | Meals: B D

Depart Quito on the flight to San Cristóbal in the Galapagos Islands. After arrival, we will tour the Interpretation Center to learn more about the origin of the archipelago, its fauna and flora, as well as its history and first inhabitants. After checking into our hotel and lunch, we will stretch our legs on a two-hour hike to Frigate Hill for views of the island and its surroundings. We’ll also learn about the endemic vegetation and the Frigate birds. Afterwards, we’ll cool off by snorkeling in Frigate Bay before returning to the hotel. Dinner will be at a local restaurant. Overnight in San Cristóbal

Saturday, October 15Day Trip to Española Island | Meals: B L

Today we’ll take a day trip over to Española Island. The climate of Española is very dry, as it receives only a few inches of rain per year, like most of the archipelago. Due to its isolation, Española Island features a high number of endemic species. We will visit Punta Suarez and Gardener Bay on the island with a stop for lunch along the way.

At Punta Suarez we’ll find albatross, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, and more. Española has a volcanic feature called the blow hole, a geyser-like formation made by a tunnel through which the water spouts up to the height of 65 feet or more. The view along the cliffs is also breathtaking. Gardner Bay is an excellent place for snorkeling, with calm and transparent blue waters, and the opportunity to come face to face with sea lions, rays, white-tipped sharks, and even sea turtles and curious marine iguanas. Overnight in San Cristóbal

Sunday, October 16Santa Cruz Island & The Highlands| Meals: B L

This morning we travel by boat to Santa Cruz Island and upon our arrival in Puerto Ayora, we will journey to the island’s highlands to see a variety of wildlife and landscapes. Lunch will be at a cattle ranch where many of the iconic giant tortoises like to hang out. Afterwards, we’ll check out a lava tunnel formed after an eruption of a now-extinct volcano and then have a tasting at Santa Cruz Brewery, which produces one of the local artisanal draft beers. The last stop of the day will be the Charles Darwin Research Center. T he center is a reservoir of information on habitats and local conservation. The most striking attraction of this station is the Tortoise Breeding Center, home to tortoises of different shapes and sizes and in particular, the legendary “Lonesome George” the last of his species.
Return to the bustling town of Puerto Ayora and an evening at your leisure. Overnight in Puerto Ayora

Monday, October 17Floreana Island - Farm Visit - Highlands| Meals: B L D

This morning after breakfast, a private speed boat takes us to Floreana Island, about a 2 ½ hour ride. This island has, arguably, the most interesting human history of all the Galapagos Islands. It is the site of the first “post office,” established in 1793 by whalers. We will visit a local farm and learn about their way of life, which exists far from technology and development. There will be an opportunity to feed the farm animals and harvest vegetables, visit a lagoon for bird observation, and enjoy lunch prepared with ingredients from the farm. We’ll round out the day with a visit to the Asilo de la Paz at the Highlands, the site of the first human settlement in the Galapagos and a Tortoise Breeding Center.

Accommodation is in one of the rustic hotels built on the island and run by the second generation of a family that arrived after the Ritter family abandoned the island. Overnight on Floreana

Tuesday, October 18Snorkeling “La Loberia” - Isabela Island | Meals: B L

Today, the group will walk to “La Loberia,” a sea lion breeding area. We can swim in the bright turquoise water, possibly accompanied by sea lions, sea turtles, manta rays, and a variety of colorful coral fish. After a delicious lunch made with locally grown foods, we’ll board a speedboat to Isabela Island. After approximately 2 ½ hours, we’ll arrive the town of Puerto Villamil, with the evening free to explore the island on your own. Overnight in Puerto Villamil

Wednesday, October 19Isabela Breeding Center - Flamingo Lagoon – Tintoreras | Meals: B

This morning, a short ride takes us to the Isabela Breeding Center. Here, we will learn about the efforts of the Galapagos National Park and local/international foundations to preserve and promote the reproduction of some of the giant tortoise species found in the Galapagos. Then, we continue through a mangrove path connecting with a series of lagoons where flamingos rest and feed. This walk is ideal for understanding the Galapagos’ biodiversity and species adaptation.

In the afternoon, we will visit the Tintoreras Islets, home to a great variety of wildlife. Its turquoise, crystalline waters are inhabited by white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, marine turtles, and sea lions. One of its beaches, surrounded by mangroves, is one of the few sites where marine iguanas can successfully reproduce. Most of this part of the island was formed by lava. Overnight in Puerto Villamil

Thursday, October 20Sierra Negra Volcano or Snorkeling at The Tunnels - Santa Cruz | Meals: B L D

Today, we will visit the Sierra Negra Volcano, an active volcano with the world’s second widest crater. We’ll hike 2 km (1.24 miles) to the first lookout point and take in the impressive view. After a rest, the hike continues to Sierra Negra’s farthest lookout point, over the crater.
Optional activity instead of Sierra Negra hike: The Tunnels (“Los Tuneles”). Begin with a 45-minute boat ride to The Tunnels, formed millions of years ago when rivers of liquid magma ran across the island and met cold coastal water. A hollow structure was formed and its wall later broke, allowing water to seep inside, creating a tunnel. Our guide will join us along hundreds of tunnels while we snorkel and encounter marine life such as sharks, lobsters, penguins, sea lions, boobies, and marine turtles, among other endemic species of the Galapagos. A snack will be served on board the boat. If lucky, we will have the chance to see giant manta rays feeding in open water. Note: this optional activity has an additional cost.

Later, we return to Puerto Villamil for lunch, then take a private boat back to Santa Cruz. Overnight in Puerto Ayora

Friday, October 21Quito City Tour – Departure | Meals: B D

Today, we say goodbye to the islands and board our flight back to Quito. Upon arrival in the mainland, we will enjoy a city tour of Quito and a farewell dinner before heading to the airport for our international flight to the US. departing Quito late evening – or extend your stay in South America!

  • Inter-Ecuador flights, Quito- San Cristóbal; Santa Cruz-Quito
  • Eight nights’ hotel accommodation 
  • Round trip airport transfers in Quito
  • Meals as indicated (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, BL-Boxed Lunch, D-Dinner) 
  • All transportation in Galapagos by speed boat or minibus
  • Tour of Visitor’s Center
  • Hike to Frigate Hill and Snorkeling in Frigate Bay
  • Day Trip to Española Island
  • Visit to Tortoise Reserve
  • Local Farm Tour 
  • Naturalist Guide throughout itinerary
  • Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park (US $100 per person)
  • Galapagos Migration Card / Ingala (US $20 per person)
  • Isabela dock fee entrance (US $10 per person)
  • Contribution to the local community
  • Gratuities for Guides and Drivers
  • Quito city tour
  • Pre-departure and full itinerary services of Borton Overseas
  • Mpls.St.Paul Magazine contributor Todd Walker host (In the event Todd is unable to travel due to unforeseen circumstances, we reserve the right to replace host.)
Not Included
  • International airfare to/from Quito, Ecuador 
  • Airline ancillary fees (e.g. meals, seat reservations, luggage costs, etc.)
  • Travel insurance – minimum insurance required for tour participation is Emergency Evacuation Coverage 
  • Fees for passports, visas, or health vaccinations
    • Passports must have 6 months’ validity beyond return date from Ecuador
    • No visas are required for US citizens
    • No vaccinations are currently required; check with your doctor about vaccines recommended based on your medical condition
  • Additional transfers, sightseeing, activities, meals, and beverages not specified
  • Luggage handling at airports and hotels and airport transfers
  • Gratuities for services other than Tour Guides/Tour Drivers/Included Group Meals
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, spa services, internet, phone, etc.
  • Any other item not mentioned as included
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