5 days
Duration

Located in the Pacific Ocean, about 1.000 km away from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galápagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflect the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch. These animals inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection after his visit in 1835.

Ecuatraveling offers a unique experience of the Galapagos islands, the way we see them: as locals. With our customized individual itineraries, you can choose the sights and activities most suited to your interests. With our land-based island hopping operators  you will stay at local hotels and eat at local restaurants.

Experience the Galapagos islands from the inside with Ecuatraveling – Enjoying Life


Included

Accommodation in the Finch Bay Hotel Taxes
Meals Transfers in Galapagos
English Speaking Naturalist Guide  Excursions

 

Not included

Flights Quito – Baltra – Quito Tips for the guide
Entrance fee ($100) and Transit card ($20)
1

Arrival in Santa Cruz - Galapagos

Upon arrival at the airport on Baltra Island, we travel across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island where a bus takes us to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Here we visit the Giant Tortoises Reserve where we can se Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat, a once in a lifetime experience.

Manzanillo is on the natural path that tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. Year round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-coloured pond (impressively colored by surface red pond-weeds). The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit.

After lunch and exploring the tortoise reserve, we continue our road south bound across Santa Cruz Island to Puerto Ayora, the Galapagos’ most populous town, where we board the hotel’s fiber glass boat  for the short hop across to the “German Neighborhood”. This part of Puerto Ayora can only be reached by boat and there are no cars. A short walk along a path takes us to the hotel. Welcome to the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.

After checking in, guests are free to enjoy the hotel’s attractions: the pool and bar area, the white coral beach in front of the hotel, or swing in their hammock.

2

Bartolomé Island

After an invigorating breakfast we leave the hotel, cross Academy Bay by boat, and start our journey to Bartolomé Island. Bartolome is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best known landmark in the islands.

Galapagos penguins waddle precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers. Just below the surface, shoals of tropical fish dodge in and out of the rocks past urchins, sea stars and anemones. A perfectly- crescent-shaped, pink-and-white sandy beach lies just to the east of the pinnacle. Sea turtles use the beach as a nesting site and can sometimes be found wading in the shallow water near the shore, or resting in the sand to recover from the arduous task of digging nests, laying eggs and covering them over. We snorkel from this beach following a wet landing.

Penguins dot the nearby rocks of the other landing site, less than a kilometer along the eastern shore. Here the submerged walls of a tiny volcanic crater give the impression of a fountain pool. A dry landing here leads to a 600-metre (2,000-foot) pathway complete with stairs and boardwalks leading to Bartolome’s summit. The route is not difficult and presents a museum of volcanology: a site left untouched after its last eruption, where cones stand in various stages of erosion and lava tubes form bobsled-like runs from the summit. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and James Bay to the west, and far below, Pinnacle Rock and our beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle our yacht.

We return to the Itabaca Channel, board our bus, and travel over the island back to the hotel.

3

Tortuga Bay

When you reach Tortuga Bay, you will understand why this is often referred to as Ecuador’s most beautiful beach. Over one kilometre of snow-white sand and turquoise waters with the never-ending sound of swells caressing the island.

Activities include exploring the shore birds of “Playa Brava”, Tortuga Bay’s first beach, the nesting grounds of the green Sea Turtles, foraging marine iguanas, and the impressive change in sand, water, coastal vegetation and landscape, when you reach “Playa Mansa”.

Protected by a natural lava barrier, this large, calm bay is surrounded by a gallery of mangroves. This habitat is the home of different species of marine and terrestrial birds, as well as young sharks and rays, who spend their youth in the protective, mildly brackish conditions. Kayaking in tandem sit-on top craft is a great way to experience nature up-close.

In “Playa Mansa” we meet our day-boat. Logistically, our day boat meets up with the rest of the group on Playa Mansa, with anyone who prefers not to walk the 3 Km, carries all day-bags not needed for the walk, as well as cold beverages, towels, has restroom facilities, and brings us our freshly packed box-lunch from the hotel (during breakfast, all guests can choose from a wide menu of options).

Generally we end our Tortuga Bay experience with a soothing dip in the calm and clear waters of Playa Mansa, before the day-boat leaves the bay to bring all guests back to the hotel’s dock in Academy Bay. The ride takes less than half hour.

For the rest of the afternoon, guests can enjoy the hotel’s facilities or continue exploring the island’s vast list of sites including the Charles Darwin Research Station. 

4

Twin Craters

After breakfast we leave the Finch Bay Hotel and on the way to Baltra, stop at the Twin Pit Craters, great geological depressions of volcanic material, formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, where exceptional Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses and orchids can be seen in the surroundings. Then, overland transfer to the airport in Baltra to take the flight back to the continent.

1

Arrival in Santa Cruz

Upon arrival, guests are met by the hotel naturalist guides and accompanied directly to the yacht. Welcomed by captain and staff, guests are briefed about safety issues as well as the National Park regulations. Lunch is served on board, while the yacht sails to North Seymour Island.

This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Further along, the rocky shore is interspersed with white sand, while large flocks of pelicans mass for a dive-bomb feeding-frenzy, painting a tableau from ages long past for us. The trail turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site in the Galapagos of the “magnificent frigate bird.” These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter (6-foot) wingspans, and males, with puffed up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain. Dry landing.

After the visit, the yacht sails to Itabaca channel, from where we cross by bus faster over Santa Cruz Island to reach the south shore and the Finch Bay Hotel is located.

Check-in and enjoy the glorious beach-front location and facilities. 

2

El Manzanillo and Highlands of Santa Cruz

After a relaxed breakfast, our guests will leave Academy Bay by bus 15 km up to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island. From there a short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo, a site recently opened to visitors at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve.

The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian-, small-tree, large-tree and woodpecker finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit.

Lunch is served in the cooler highlands, with the stunning views of Santa Cruz Island.

After lunch, we visit a small farm, where coffee, sugar cane and cocoa beans are grown, harvested and prepared – all organic and sustainable. We have the chance to taste the products while learning about the artisanal way to burn island spirits! We then return to the hotel to enjoy the its pool, beach, or ask for suggestions for activities. 

3

Santa Fe

Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the archipelago. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted, and you can see where underwater lava once cooled off (pillow lava).

A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right to be Beach Master, while smaller males masquerade as females and make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes.

The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks!   Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana, native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs.

An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thickets, and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galápagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay, a great snorkeling opportunity with diverse marine life. 

4

Divine Bay

Every morning, hundreds of herons cross Divine Bay on their daily foraging trips, to return before sunset to perch amid the trees. Noddy terns use the natural burrows in the cliffs for nesting, while Galápagos brown pelicans prefer the evergreen mangroves, under the watchful eye of non-breeding blue footed boobies perched along the cliffs.

Beneath the sea, sea turtles graze on sea weed, hundreds of reef fish species swim about the lava crevices, and young reef sharks and rays employ the brackish streams as havens from large predators while they mature.

We can explore this lovely cove by boat while more adventurous guests could take the tandem, sit-on-top kayaks straight from the hotel’s beachfront. The morning’s visit includes snorkeling on a calm, but active, sector of the cove. This is next to a wooden dock we use to explore Punta Estrada. A dry landing and a short walk (0.5 km) will lead us to the south shore of the island, to a small beach called “Playa de los Perros” (Dog Beach). This is a great place to see intertidal organisms and learn about marine iguanas in their nesting sites. Also, there’s a nearby natural terrace from where young white tipped reef sharks can be observed from above as they swim about the lava crevices.

After this morning’s visit we return to the Finch Bay Hotel for lunch. Afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise breeding programme, with time to enjoy the town, or the hotel’s facilities. 

5

Twin Craters

After breakfast we leave the Finch Bay Hotel and on the way to Baltra, stop at the Twin Pit Craters, great geological depressions of volcanic material, formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, where exceptional Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses and orchids can be seen in the surroundings. Then, overland transfer to the airport in Baltra to take the flight back to the continent. 

4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS PROGRAM

Double / Triple Room from $1923 per person

Single Room from $2503 per person


5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS PROGRAM

Double / Triple Room from $2657 per person

Single Room from $3430 per person

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