FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30: QUITO
Upon your arrival, a Southern Explorations representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional tours to explore the city, including museum visits, and other sites of interests.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1: QUITO – SAN CRISTOBAL (SUP at Darwin Bay, Interpretation Center)
In the morning, we pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island. After arrival, we'll transfer to the hotel in town followed by early lunch arrangements. Then we set up our gear and after a safety briefing we hop on our SUPs and paddle along the coast of San Cristobal. Be on the lookout for pelicans, sea lions, sea turtles and along the rocky coast, you'll see nesting sites of noddy terns and swallow tail gulls. We continue along the coast to Darwin Bay, the site where the HMS Beagle landed when Darwin first arrived to the Galapagos. When we are finished explore this area, a water taxi will transport us back to town. From there we continue walking to visit the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics of the Galapagos. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner and a beautiful sunset. (B,L,D)
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2: SAN CRISTOBAL – NORTHERN COAST & BEACH TIME (SUP & Snorkeling)
After breakfast, meet your guide for a full day out on the water for our SUP exploration along the Northern Coast. We travel a short distance by speedboat to visit Playa Ochoa and then continue to Isla Lobos. This will be the starting point of today's SUP adventure as we hop on our boards and begin paddling along the coastal bays, along beaches coves of Isla Lobos. This is another wonderful day filled with stunning beauty and wildlife like blue footed boobies, giant rays, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. In the afternoon we continue by boat to visit a world-class snorkeling site, Kicker rock, the final remains of a tuff cone rising almost 500 feet out of the ocean. Here, we lookout for some imposing but harmless sharks: hammerheads, Galapagos, Silky and Black tip sharks are all possible sightings! You'll also see reef fish and nesting birds along the rock. After another memorable day in the water exploring the seas, we head back to port. Enjoy another dinner on San Cristobal tonight. (B,L,D)
MONDAY, DECEMBER 3: FLY SAN CRISTOBAL TO ISABELA – (SUP Tintoreras & Biking)
After breakfast, we say goodbye to San Cristobal and take a quick, 40-minute flight aboard a small aircraft to Isabela Island. Once we've arrived and settled in, we'll jump into our activity and SUP along the coastline and around coves, islets and mangroves, home to the endemic Galapagos penguin. We continue padding through small islets known as Las Tintoreras, where we see hundreds of marine iguanas, reef sharks, scenic beaches and lava formations. We can also try snorkeling around this beautiful place. After lunch, enjoy an easy bike ride along a number of ecosystems, including white sand beaches, mangrove forests and a lava tube cave. Spot giant tortoises, flamingos and other wildlife and birds on the way. The bike tour ends at Muro de las Lagrimas – Wall of Tears – a wall built by prisoners when the island was a penal colony. The evening is open for wandering along Puerto Villamil's tranquil sand streets. Once you're back in town, the rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the gorgeous white sand beach of Isabela followed by a beautiful sunset. (B,L,D)
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 4: ISABELA (Volcano Hiking)
Today's adventures takes us inland to another important region of the Galapagos Islands: Volcanic Highlands. After breakfast, head to the highlands for a drive toward Sierra Negra and at 6 miles in diameter, this crater is the second largest active caldera in the world. Continue on foot for a trek through the geologically magical landscape of the island's highlands. Hike through vibrantly colored mountaintops full of sulfur deposits, fumaroles and lava formations. As you hike the perimeter of the caldera, enjoy panoramic views and be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands, such as the bright red vermillion flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Continue on to traverse the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico en route for a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching north of Isabela. After the hike, you'll have time to enjoy your last afternoon on Isabela Island by relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches. (B,L,D)
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5: ISABELA – SANTA CRUZ (SUP Lava Channels & Giant Tortoises)
We travel by speedboat to Santa Cruz Island, keeping an eye out for dolphins along the way. Today we'll get back to Stand up Paddle boarding to explore the unique landscape nearby Punta Estrada and Divine Bay. As we SUP through towering lava walls, we see rays and white-tipped reef sharks below us in the serene, turquoise water. We can also paddle right up to the fearless blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally lightfoot crabs, and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs. In the afternoon, head up the Santa Cruz highlands to El Chato nature reserve, home of a giant species of Galapagos sea tortoise. Hike amongst these gigantic, gentle giants that can live to 175 years old. You'll also see pintail ducks, finches, egrets, and the vermillion flycatcher. You'll explore lava tunnels formed by hot magma. Rumors say that pirates once hid gold stolen from Spanish ships in these caves and channels! If there is enough time we may visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where local scientists rear endemic plants and animals for educational, scientific, and conservation purposes. We'll learn about the ongoing conservation efforts to protect the future of the Galapagos. (B,L,D)
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6: SANTA CRUZ (SUP Tortuga Bay)
Today, we take a short hike along a paved path through a distinctive dry cacti forest to the stunning, pristine beach of Tortuga Bay. Along the way, you will see many native birds, lizards, and plants. Emerge from the forest onto the spectacular Tortuga Bay, home of one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Soft, white, fine sand and pristine turquoise waters welcome us for a perfect and relaxed day. Once we've reached the cove on the far side of Tortuga Bay where our SUPs will be waiting for us, we have the opportunity to paddle around a mangrove ecosystem and lava rock formations to see rays, baby sharks, herons, shorebirds and marine iguanas! This calm spot also offers the opportunity to relax and enjoy a last memorable day in Santa Cruz. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight on your last night in the Enchanted Islands (B,L,D)
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7: SANTA CRUZ – BALTRA – QUITO
After breakfast you are transferred to Baltra Island, where you bid farewell to the Galapagos and board your return flight to Quito. Upon your afternoon arrival back to Quito, you'll be met and transferred to your hotel. If you wish, you may fly home on a red eye flight tonight. Please check with us to ensure the timing works. (B)
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8: QUITO – HOME
An SE representative picks you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your international flight home, marking the end of SE services. Trip extensions to other regions or extra days can also be arranged. (B)
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner
PLEASE NOTE: All information and itineraries are designed to be as informative as possible and are provided in good faith. Due to the temperament of Mother Nature and the Ecuadorian Government, itineraries may change and activities may be shifted, omitted or replaced without notice. Consider your itinerary a guide; not a contract. Our goal is to give you the best possible tour with a safety first mentality. We also must comply with all rules set forth by the national and local governments no matter how convenient or inconvenient they may be. The good news is that we rarely have to change the itinerary drastically and we are very adept at dealing with the challenges of operating in a developing country. You're in good hands!
This itinerary has one inter island flight with a 25lb per person luggage limit total, including carry on.
Isabela Island has no or limited working ATMs. Get cash prior to arrival
To book your trip please contact Marisa Edgerton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.206.784.8111 / 1.877.784.5400 or fill out the form on the BOOK NOW page.