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Arrive in Quito (or Guayaquil) anytime today and transfer to your hotel for a morning departure tomorrow to the Galapagos Islands.
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra Airport – Galapagos Islands (approx. two- and half -hour flight). Passengers will be picked up at the airport by their guides and taken to the pier to board the boat.
Egas Port (Santiago Island). Wet landing. This visitor site located at the northwestern portion of Santiago Island, and of important geologic interest, features extensive lava flows believed to have been formed during the last quarter of the 19th century. Egas Port´s black volcanic sandy beach was visited by Darwin in 1835. The unique, truly striking layered terrain is home to a variety of animals including the bizarre yellow-crowned night heron and marine wildlife including lobster, starfish and marine iguanas that graze on algae beds alongside Sally light foot crabs. Often you will see colonies of endemic fur seals swimming in cool water volcanic rock pools.
Afternoon: Rábida Island. Wet landing. Dark-red sand covers these unique beaches with incredible landscape; Rábida Island is considered the epicenter of the Galapagos Islands due to the diversity of its volcanic geology. Nesting Brown Pelicans are found from July through September and nine species of the famous Darwin’s finches can be seen. We will also take a dinghy ride along cliffs to observe nesting seabirds, and snorkel off the coast, where marine life is particularly active. Today you will have the option to go snorkeling.
Urbina Bay (Isabela Island). Wet landing on a volcanic “black” beach. Depending on the time of year we may find giant tortoises, large land iguanas and the unusual Flightless Cormorant at their nesting sites and Galapagos Hawks. After the walk inland, snorkeling time is allotted, giving you yet another chance to swim with sea turtles, sea lions, penguins and countless tropical fish. Urbina Bay features a wide variety of plant life that changes depending on the season. We can observe the beautiful colors of plants that attract different insects, birds and reptiles. We will explore the uplifted coral reef that resulted from 1954 volcanic activity, with a spectacular view of Alcedo Volcano.
Afternoon: Tagus Cove (Isabela Island). Dry landing on Galapagos’ largest island where we will learn about the eruption of the five volcanoes that form it. The trail leads to Darwin’s salt-water crater Lake and excellent views of lava fields and volcanic formations.
We will return by the same path for a dinghy ride along a shoreline full of marine wildlife, where we will admire a variety of seabirds, such as Blue-footed Booby, Brown Noddy, terns, Flightless Cormorant and depending on the season, a large number of Galapagos Penguins which are only 35 cm. tall; the only penguin species in the world to extend its range into the northern hemisphere along the equator. They are monogamous and lay their eggs in small cracks of lava, on the lower parts of the island near the shoreline not reached by the ocean waves.
The population of penguins on the islands is about 2,000 individuals, most of which live on this western portion of Isabela; others are scattered further south on the island. We will have an opportunity to snorkel in deep water. Graffiti believed to have been left by 19th-century pirates is a curious reminder of an intriguing past.
Espinosa Point (Fernandina Island). Dry landing. Espinosa Point is the only spot that we visit on Fernandina, and from it we can see the island of Isabela across the Bolívar Channel, an area that boasts some of the highest diversity of endemic sea fauna in the Galapagos. The largest, most primitive-looking race of marine iguanas are found mingling with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot Crabs; a wonderful opportunity to encounter Flightless Cormorants at their nesting sites, Galapagos Penguins and the “King” of predators on the Islands, the Galapagos Hawk.
“Pa-hoe-hoe” and “AA” lava formations cover the majority of the terrain. Vegetation is thus scarce inland, but we encounter Brachy cereus cacti and extensive mangrove beds lining the shores.
Afternoon: Vicente Roca Point (Isabela Island). Great deep-water snorkeling at one of the richest marine havens on Earth (Bolívar Channel). We take a dinghy ride along the coast to observe a great diversity of sea and coastal birds; Nazca and blue-footed boobies, noddies, brown pelicans, penguins, flightless cormorants. The upwelling of cold-water currents in this part of the Galapagos gives rise to an abundance of marine life.
Highlands (Santa Cruz). Dry landing. A 45-minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island’s name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years.
Return to the Galapagos Legend, check out and transfer to the Baltra airport. Return flight to Quito or Guayaquil. International flight may depart after 5pm today.
Galapagos Islands Tour is a six-day tour which includes a cruise on a luxury ship and some walking. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.
On all Southern Crossings tours you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard) who will accompany you to our joining hotel. No bargaining or being swindled by airport taxis.
International flights, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings and cancellation insurance is advisable.
In the Galapagos, the following is not included:
We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip.
This tour includes a 4-star hotel. We would be happy to give you an upgrade to a 5-star hotel. Let us know your preference. We can then work it into your custom itinerary.
All travelers to Ecuador are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities please consult the nearest embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency or a bank statement from the bank or printed off the internet are sufficient for proof of funds.
No immunizations are required of travelers to these areas of Ecuador. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. No areas visited on this trip are malarial or yellow fever risk zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.
A list of suggested things to bring would include:
It is best to bring from home such items as prescription medications, eyewear and care, unusual film and camera batteries.
For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Peru and Ecuador, you are allowed 20 kilos (44 lbs.) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.
The climate in sites you will visit is as follows:
Galapagos Weather – the weather in the Galapagos Islands is beautiful all year. There are two seasons:
Hot Season: December to May – tropical temperatures; hot and humid from 79°F- 85°F (26°C-30°C). The water temperature average is 79°F (26°C).
Dry Season: July to November – Weather tend to be cloudier, cooler and drier with air temperature from 72°F-79°F (23°C-26°C). Water temperatures range between 70°F-72°F (20°C-23°C).
Galapagos can have a cooler, more moderate climate depending on current conditions. One should come prepared for outdoor activity with temperatures ranging from 70° to 90° Fahrenheit or 21° to 32° Celsius and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain.
Guayaquil: hot and humid and rain is always possible.
Quito: Days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly. Rain is always possible. Temperatures can vary between 46° to 70° Fahrenheit or 8° to 21° Celsius.
The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. Automatic cash points are available in Quito and Guayaquil. Credit cards and cash are accepted on the Galapagos cruise and in Puerto Ayora. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks are difficult to cash (American Express is best, but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring MoneyGrams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Guayaquil and Quito.