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Phone: 818-766-6850

Email: info@1000treks.com

Galapagos

Location: Quito and Multiple Galápagos Islands: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana, and Bartolomé.

  • Dates: Year Round
  • Trip Physical Level: 4

Galápagos is a place every travel and nature lover should visit at least once in his/her lifetime. It is a place like no other in the world, boasting a unique fauna and flora where about 80% of the birds, 97% of the reptiles and mammals, 20% of marine life, and more than 30% of the plants can't be found anywhere else on the planet! Some of the unique wildlife you will likely see will be the Giant Galápagos Tortoise (that live up to 200 years!), Galápagos Land Iguana (AKA Galápagos Dragon), Galápagos Marine Iguana (and maybe get to see them swimming while we snorkel), Blue-footed BoobyRed-footed BoobyFrigate BirdGalápagos Penguin, Galápagos Sea Lions, and an amazing variety of fish when you snorkel, including many sharks (possibly even hammerhead sharks).

Galápagos also features one of the most beautifully unique volcanic landscapes in the world.

 

This 13-day itinerary starts in Quito, the beautiful and unique capital of Ecuador, and will take you through all four inhabited islands of Galapagos, plus two uninhabited islands. Unlike cruises, this land itinerary will have you spend every night on land, and have a chance to really experience the four main islands of Galapagos.

 

 

ARRIVE IN QUITO. DINNER AT THE VISTA HERMOSA RESTAURANT.

Your guide will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel near the airport in a private shuttle where you can get settled and relax for the day. In the evening your guide will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the beautiful Restaurante Vista Hermosa, where you will have dinner with the most beautiful view overlooking this magnificent and exquisite Andean city. 

Accommodation: EB Hotel Quito or similar

Meals: N/A

 

FLY TO SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND. EXPLORE SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND. INTERPRETATION CENTER, TIJERETAS HILL, SNORKEL IN DARWIN BAY. 

Your guide will pick you up in the morning at your hotel and take you to the airport where you will board your flight to Galapagos. Your Galapagos trip will start in the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, in the island of San Cristobal, the capital of the province of Galápagos.

Your naturalist guide will pick you up at the airport and will transfer you to our hotel. The first day on the Galápagos starts with the visit of the Interpretation Center, where you will learn about the discovery and colonization of Galápagos. You will continue with a walk to the Frigate Bird hill where you can enjoy spectacular views over the island as well as the very well-known Kicker Rock.

After that, you will experience your first snorkeling around the shore of the Tijeretas bay where you have chances to swim with sea lions, sea turtles, a variety of fish. With a bit of luck, you will enjoy seeing blue-footed boobies fishing!

At night, your guide will take you to dinner at a local restaurant where you can have your first experience of the local cuisine.

A beautiful thing you will experience in Galapagos every night is how the locals take their children out to play at public plazas every night. In a place with virtually no crime, and a strong community, the adults hang out with each other, while the kids play by themselves and run around with no worries.

Accommodation: Casa Opuntia or similar

Meals: Breakfast at Quito hotel (time permitting according to your flight), Dinner

 

KICKER ROCK 

Today you will go on a beautiful boat and snorkeling tour Kicker Rock. Located on the west side of the island, and only 45 minutes by boat from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Kicker Rock, or Leon Dormido as it's called in Spanish because it resembles a sleeping lion, is one of the most beautiful places to snorkel in the island.

Kicker Rock consists of two stunning 500-feet high vertical walls/rock formations, which are surrounded by abundant sea life (notably sharks, including the hammerhead) as well as a variety of fish. While snorkeling around the walls you will likely enjoy some incredible sights of marine life, including sea turtles and sea lions.

On top of Kicker Rock, there are colonies of blue footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and frigate birds. Depending on the season you can witness frigate bird males courting the females by inflating their red throat pouches.

During the excursion, you will also have time to explore one of the many beautiful beaches close to Kicker Rock, where we will have time to relax on the beach. Kicker Rock is also one of the best scuba diving sites in Galápagos, so if you happen to be a certified scuba diver and would like to do a dive, that can probably be arranged.

You will arrive back to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in the afternoon and will have the rest of the day to enjoy exploring the town.

Accommodation: Casa Opuntia or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (boxed lunch on the boat).

 

TRAVEL TO SANTA CRUZ ISLAND. VISIT LAS GRIETAS, THE HIGHLANDS (AND SEE THE GIANT TURTLES) AND THE LAVA TUNNELS. 

AM: this morning you head to Santa Cruz island by boat, which takes approximately two hours. A flight may also be arranged; we can discuss which option will work best for you. Upon arrival you will do the check-in at the hotel and continue on to visit Las Grietas. Las Grietas, or "The Crevasse", is a stretch of inland water at the bottom of an earth fracture. Over 30 feet deep, 20 feet wide, and 300 feet long of crystal clear emerald green water, Las Grietas is one of the best places in Galápagos to swim.

In the afternoon you will continue to the highlands of Santa Cruz where you will have a great opportunity to get close and personal with the giant tortoises roaming in their natural habitat. You will also explore cavernous underground Lava Tunnels where you can view one of the geologic wonders of these volcanic islands.

This part of the tour also includes the Galapagos rainforest habitat, in which you will visit Los Gemelos (“Twin Craters”), a natural volcanic formation at 1,300 feet above sea level that is surrounded by a forest of “escalecía”, a native plant of the Galapagos. You will observe the different species of Darwin´s finches as well as Vermilion Flycatchers and, if you're lucky, the elusive short-eared owls. Los Gemelos is a heaven for bird watchers!

These activities will be followed by a full lunch in the highlands.

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

 

TORTUGA BAY BEACH, AND CHARLES DARWIN FOUNDATION.

 

AM: TORTUGA BAY BEACH

This morning your guide will take you on a 1.5 mile walk (approximately 45 minutes) on a cobblestone path, which will lead you to a fine a white sandy beach common in the archipelago. Surrounding the path is a forest of the tall Opuntia Cactus coupled with volcanic rock, making the sights during your walk both beautiful and mysterious. Throughout the walk, we can spot finches, yellow warblers, mockingbirds, and lava lizards. Tortuga Bay Beach is an excellent place for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and surfing. Marine iguanas, sharks, sea birds, and sea turtles can be often be spotted here.

PM: CHARLES DARWIN FOUNDATION

This afternoon you will visit the Charles Darwin Station, where you can observe giant tortoises and their babies and learn about the breeding program of this majestic animal.

This center is well-known because it is the main base at which the conservationists do all their studies on the Galápagos Islands, of which we will learn all about.

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar.

Meals: Breakfast.

 

ISABELA ISLAND AND PUERTO VILLAMIL BAY. TINTORERAS ISLET. ISABELA BAY, SNORKELING. BIKING TO THE WALL OF TEARS.

  

AM: TRANSFER TO ISABELA ISLAND

This morning you will either sail or fly to Isabela. Your concierge will advise you on the best option depending on the time of the year. Isabela, the largest island of the archipelago, consisting of a chain of six young volcanoes (which are intermittently active), and makes up 58% of the entire land area of the Galápagos. In spite of being the largest island in the entire archipelago, Isabela has a very small population, only 2,000 inhabitants. Isabela is considered by many as the most beautiful of the inhabited islands, and its lifestyle is even more relaxed than that of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal.

Upon arrival to Puerto Villamil, the only village in Isabela, your guide will take you to your hotel, so you can leave your luggage. Thereafter, you will explore the well-known islet called "Las Tintoreras," named after the reef sharks (also known as white-tip sharks) that can be seen swimming along with fish and sea lions in the channels when the tide is low. The famous attraction in Tintoreras is the shark tunnel, where the sharks come in and rest for the day before going out to hunt during the night. Before heading over to the islet, you will take a dinghy ride around the bay of Isabela to spot the famous Galápagos penguin, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, and sea lions. You will also jump in the water to snorkel and likely be able to swim with sea turtles, colorful fish, and manta rays!

PM: BIKING TO THE WALL OF TEARS

The Wall of Tears (Spanish: El Muro de las Lágrimas) is a historical site 3 miles west of Puerto Villamil. The Wall was constructed between the years of 1945 and 1959 by prisoners in the penal colony on the island (established by President José María Velasco Ibarra in 1944) using materials left by the US military after World War II. The wall is about 65-feet tall and the construction of which is said to have been the cause of thousands of deaths. Locals call it the Wall of Tears because it is said that eery cries emanate from it and that it is surrounded by a heavy energy.

This is a moderate strenuous activity with many up-hill and down-hill sections. Please discuss with your concierge whether you are ready for this activity.

Accommodations: Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

 

WALK THE SIERRA NEGRA (BLACK MOUNTAIN) AND CHICO VOLCANO 

Today you will visit one of Isabela’s most impressive attractions – the Sierra Negra with the Chico Volcano (a fissure zone northeast of Sierra Negra that, along with Caldera Rim fissure, has produced more than 85% of the lava exposed on the north side of the volcano). Sierra Negra is one of the most active volcanoes of the archipelago having erupted as recently as 2018! It has the second largest caldera, or crater, in the world, with a diameter of 7.46 miles. Volcano Chico is a fissure of parasitic cones, composed of slag and lava that make up some fascinating formations. The last eruption occurred in November of 1979.

The 10-mile hike can be somewhat of a challenge due to the different terrain, and may be hot, humid, muddy, or rocky, dependent on the weather. Please discuss with your concierge whether you are ready to do this hike.

Later in the afternoon, if you still have energy, you can just relax at the beach or your guide can take you snorkeling at Concha de Perla.  Concha de Perla is a small bay/natural pool within walking distance from Puerto Villamil. Walking on a boardwalk through mangroves will lead to a beautiful pool with turquoise waters that house many varieties of fish, sea lions, sea turtles, pelicans, mockingbirds, and marine iguanas.

Accommodations: Iguana Crossing Boutique Hotel or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (boxed lunch during the hike).

 

BOAT OUTING FROM PUERTO VILLAMIL, VIEWING UNION ROCK. SNORKEL LOS TUNELES (THE TUNNELS) AND UNDERWATER CAVE. SANTA CRUZ ISLAND. 

This day you will take an incredible tour which will take approximately five hours.

First, you leave by local boat from Puerto Villamil and will pass by Union Rock, a formation in the middle of the ocean where you can see different marine birds. You will then continue to "Los Tuneles" (The Tunnels), which is a unique rock formation an hour offshore. These incredible formations are a series of above ocean arches that create tunnels, and make for a one-of-a-kind snorkeling experience, where you can safely snorkel through some of the shorter tunnels. You will also likely get to snorkel with a variety of Galápagos wildlife, such as penguins, sea turtles, parrot fish, and sea horses, as well as experience an underwater cave where you will get up-close and personal with sleeping sharks and golden rays. You will also get off the boat and walk along the rock formations to get your closest encounter with blue-footed boobies, which are totally unflustered by having humans around. You might get to take a selfie just a few feet away from this fascinating bird!

After the excursion, you will return to Santa Cruz Island.

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (boxed lunch on the boat).

 

BARTOLOMÉ ISLAND DAY TRIP 

AM: This day will be yet another one of the highlights of your trip. Bartolomé offers one of the most famous sceneries of the Galápagos Islands. A 2,000 feet pathway, complete with stairs and a boardwalk, will take you to the highest point of Bartolomé where you will have 360° panoramic view of island, including Pinnacle rock, one of the classic postcards of Galápagos.

You will also see Sullivan Bay, where you will go for a walk and your knowledgeable guide well explain as you get to see first-hand the volcanic origins of this amazing archipelago. After the walk, a dingy ride along the coastline will give you the opportunity to see the and maybe snorkel with the Galápagos penguin. This curious bird nests amongst the fissured lava flows and ventures into the crystal clear waters of Bartolome to fish, so it is not unusual for snorkelers not only to see them, but to actually get to swim with them!

IMPORTANT: Although unlikely, we might have to change plans that day because of conditions and visit a different island. Each one of the islands in Galápagos is unique in and of itself and has different highlights to offer.

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

 

FLOREANA ISLAND DAY TRIP

Today you will experience your last inhabited island of Galapagos: Floreana Island. Although the first island to ever be inhabited, Floreana has a population of only 148 people! In addition to experiencing yet another beautiful island and beautiful sites, you will get to witness a lifestyle rarely seen anywhere in the world, where a small population lives in complete isolation from the rest of the world, and yet it's completely integrated, as Floreana is integral part of the Galapagos Island and is visited several times a week by tourists coming from the other islands.

You will get to see Playa Negra, La Loberia, Asilo de La Paz, and the Post Office Barrel. The post office barrel was built in 1793 and was used by pirates and merchants. Today it is "unofficially active", as tourists leave and take postcards from it. You can leave a postcard addressed to anyone, anywhere in the world. The tradition dictates that if someone finds a postcard addressed to a location close to where they live, they must take the card and deliver themselves. You must also do the same, and if you see a postcard addressed to a location close to you, you must pick it up and deliver it yourself. How cool would it be to send a postcard to a friend, and one day find out that it has been delivered to your friend by a stranger that picked it up at a remote island in Galapagos!

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

 

DEPARTURE TO QUITO

Today you will have the morning off until the time to be transferred back to Baltra Airport where you catch your plane back to Quito.

Upon arrival in Quito, your guide will pick you up at the airport and take you to your hotel where you can relax for the end of the day, or go have dinner in the neighborhood.

Accommodation: Ikala Quito Hotel or Similar.

Meals: Breakfast at La Isla Hotel (time permitting)

QUITO CITY TOUR (OLD TOWN AND MIDDLE OF THE WORLD).

The old city is located in the center of Quito and it is the essence of the capital. Quito is the amazing and well conserved historical center of Latin America. Ongoing conservation efforts have been carried out to restore and protect the integrity of Colonial Quito.

During this tour, you can visit and admire stunning churches, plazas and monasteries with rich interiors, which are pure examples of the so called "Baroque School of Quito", which is a fusion of European and indigenous art.

Our tour will continue with a visit to the Equator line, which is only 30 minutes north of Quito. Activities will involve visiting the official monument and the Itiñan Museum, which has fascinating exhibits of astronomical geography and interesting explanations of the importance of Ecuador’s geographical location.

The museum features a number of interactive exhibits demonstrating events that occur only on the equator. These include the complex Coriolis Effect, as well as simple, but effective and entertaining, demonstrations such as water going down a drain with no whirlpool, eggs balancing on the head of a nail, and the loss of muscle strength experienced when standing precisely on the line of the equator.

Accommodation: Ikala Quito Hotel or Similar.

Meals: Breakfast

DEPARTURE

Today you will have a free day until the time when your guide will pick you up to take you via private shuttle to the airport for your flight back home.

Accommodation: N/A

Meals: Breakfast at Ikala Quito Hotel, time permitting

- Once you arrive in Quito, you will have to get your Galapagos visa at the airport. That is a separate immigration process, since Galapagos has its own immigration. Your guide will direct you, but you will have to do process yourself and pay the Migration Fee of $20.00 USD per person, paid in cash

- Upon arrival in Galapagos, you will have to pay the National Park Entrance Fee of $100.00 USD per person. That has to be done by your before leaving the airport and meeting your Galapagos guide.

- All trips are governed by our comprehensive contract. You should familiarize yourself with it prior to signing up for any of our trips. You can access it by clicking HERE or visiting https://www.1000treks.com/contract/. A link to the contract can also be found at the bottom of all our webpages under "CONTRACT".

- Proof of COVID vaccination and a negative PCR test (within 96 hours since you took the sample), are required to enter Galapagos at the moment, and will likely remain a requirement by the time of our trip. The Ecuadorian government may add additional requirements as well. Being unable or unwilling to comply with any requirements from the Ecuadorian government or any requirement from the U.S. government, airlines, or any party or authority may result in you not being able to travel and subject to forfeiture of all payments made towards the trip (including deposits).

- Because of the adventurous nature of our trips, our itinerary and some locations are subject to change due to weather, tides, road conditions, logistics, and other unforeseen circumstances. It’s not likely, but it could happen. Whenever we make a change in the itinerary, we will do our best to maintain the integrity of the trip.

- Insurance is REQUIRED. You may purchase insurance with any company you wish, but we require that you have insurance, and that your policy covers personal injury, death, medical expenses, emergency evacuation and treatment, repatriation, and personal liability, for both diving and non-diving incidents, with a minimum coverage of USD$200,000. You will be required to submit proof of insurance no later than (seven) 7 days prior to the start of the trip. Although not part of the requirement, we STRONGLY suggest that you get insurance right away (within 15 days of making your deposit), and that you buy a policy that will cover you in case you need to cancel your trip for any reason.

- A passport is required for all international travel. Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return date.  If you don't have a valid passport, or if you passport expires before 6 months after the date you will arrive back in the U.S., make sure to get started on a new one ASAP. Here's the link for the Department of State Passport section: http://travel.state.gov//content/travel/en.html

- As of the time of this posting American citizens don’t need a visa for Ecuador. If you have a foreign passport, you may need a visa. Here's the Ecuadorian Embassy website so you can look into that:https://ec.usembassy.gov/. We also recommend that even American citizens periodically check to make sure visa requirements have not changed. 

- Having a valid passport and all the required visas is your responsibility. Please make sure you have those, and any other necessary issues are resolved well ahead of time. 1000 Leagues Travel and its affiliates are not responsible for any problems resulting from you not taking care of issues ahead of time.

 

COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS

On March 11, 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization. For all intents and purposes, any travel changes or impact related to or occurring as a result of the Virus, although where otherwise could be acknowledged as “foreseeable,” will qualify as unforeseeable and as a “Force Majeure” event. Due to the ever-changing and unpredictable nature of the Virus/pandemic, 1000 Leagues Travel will make every effort to effect all Trips as planned but under various circumstances (government-mandated, safety-related, Supplier-affected, or otherwise) may need to modify or cancel a Trip, in part or in its entirety, and may be unable to provide refunds or credits to the traveler.

The Company will not be held liable for any new or existing infection contracted or transmission encountered before or during a Trip, and any damages or losses thereby incurred. It is the traveler’s responsibility to inform 1000 Leagues Travel if he/she has detected or been diagnosed with an infection at any point before, during, or within 14 days following a Trip. Although not an automatic preclusion, the Company will, in its discretion, disallow or terminate travel by anyone previously, currently, or newly (throughout the course of a Trip) infected by the Virus. It is your responsibility to ensure your insurance plan covers you if the Virus affects your travel plans in any way.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required for all travelers. You will be required to show proof of current vaccination of a Center for Disease Control and/or World Health Organization approved vaccine. The type of vaccine accepted by different countries might vary, and all our groups will have to comply with all the requirements from all the countries we will be visiting, traveling through, or returning to. Noncompliance with any of the vaccinations requirements at any time may result in your removal from the trip without any refunds or compensation. 1000 Leagues Travel will not be held responsible for any circumstances resulting from failure to provide proof of vaccination.

Proof of a negative COVID-19 test might also be required. All travelers must be ready to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test if required by any of the countries we will be visiting, travelling through, or returning to. Noncompliance may result in your removal from the trip without any refunds or compensation, and furthermore may result in imposed quarantine, which might result in loss of airfare and other financial consequences. 1000 Leagues Travel will not be held responsible for any circumstances resulting from failure to provide a negative COVID-19 test whenever required.

Our COVID-19 policy will remain under continual revision, but until containment and predictability are achieved will be governed as herein stated.Please refer to section 9 of the contract, titled  "COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS (“VIRUS”)" for the limitations of our liability.