818-766-6850

Thanksgiving Scuba Diving in Galapagos


Location: Multiple Galápagos Islands: San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. Also a day trip to Bartolomé.

Dates: November 20-28, 2021

Price: 3,795.00

Deposit: 600.00

Group Leader: Eduardo

Number of Spots: 20 (plus Group Leaders)

 

For the land explorer itinerary (no scuba diving), CLICK HERE  

 

You can RSVP on the "Wanna Go" list without a deposit. A deposit moves you to the "Going" list and starts your reservation process.

 

CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR DEPOSIT 

 

PLEASE REFER TO THE END OF THIS POST FOR IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19 AND ITS POSSIBLE EFFECT ON THIS TRIP.

 

One of the single best locations in the world for diving, Galápagos is a must-do for every scuba diver. Let's spend Thanksgiving scratching this one off our dive list!

GIF 1-Galapagos Diving

Galápagos dive trips are often done via liveaboards, but we decided to make this one a land-based trip. Liveaboards can be very expensive (7,000 for 7 nights on the Aggressor, for example) and not as comfortable (many people don't enjoy staying day and night on a boat for several days). By doing a land-based trip, we will have a better all-around trip, stay more comfortably and pay a lot less. Also, by doing a land-based trip, we have more chances to explore the beautiful dryland side of this unique archipelago, which is also a must-do for travel lovers.

As always, we will take advantage of the holiday, in addition to the weekends, so we will have a 9-day vacation and only have to take 3 days off work.

November is part of the dry season (June-December). The dry season, also known as "garua" is characterized by dry weather and a morning mist that burns off as soon as the sun comes out, leaving the rest of the day bright and sunny. Air temperatures are from the mid/high 60's to low 80's and the water temperature  is around the low 70's. Those conditions actually resemble the summer in coastal Southern California, especially Catalina and the Channel Islands. That will be different than what we have been used to on our previous tropical Thanksgiving trips, but still very nice. For those who are used to diving in California where the water goes from mid/high 50's in the winter to low 70's in the summer, that will actually be very nice!

The sea life will be the star of this trip. The Galápagos Islands are located at the junction of three major oceanic currents, creating a very nutrient rich environment that attracts all kinds of marine animals. Galápagos has been named the world's top all-around dive and best for fish life, best for big animal dive, and one of the healthiest marine environments. As a silver lining of the pandemic that seems (fingers crossed) to be coming to an end, Galapagos was either closed to tourism or just partially open for just over the past year. That means over one year of very little to no human activity, allowing the fauna and flora of an already incredible place to blossom and burgeon like never before. This will truly be an opportunity we will never have again.

 

Here is what we are likely to see while diving in Galápagos:

GIF 2-Marine Animals

Hammerhead Sharks (one of the single best places in the world. We'll likely see schools of dozens, even hundreds of hammerheads).

- Black-tip sharks

- White-tip sharks

- Other sharks (there are 28 different varieties of sharks in Galápagos!).

Manta Rays

- Eagle Rays

- Mobula Rays

Turtles

- Seals (reportedly very playful in Galapagos)

Marine Iguanas (we are all but guaranteed to see many on land, but could also see them underwater!)

Red-lipped Batfish (only in Galápagos!)

- The Bloody Frogfish

- Rainbow Basslet

- Galápagos Clingfish

- Countless others (Barracuda, Groupers, Water Jacks, Snappers, Grunts, Yellowfin Tuna, Rock Mover Wrasse, and many more)

Needless to say, Galápagos is also a one-of-a-kind place above water as well. Since we are doing a land-based trip, and staying in two of the four inhabited islands in Galápagos, we will likely also get to see many unique animals, such as the famous Giant Tortoise that can live up to 200 years, Galápagos Land Iguanas (AKA Galapagos Dragons), Galápagos Marine Iguanas, Blue-Footed Boobies, Red-Footed Boobies, Frigate Birds, Galápagos Penguins, Galapagos Seals, and more.

GIF 3-Land Animals 

 

Here is our official target itinerary:

DAY 1-SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20: ARRIVAL. EXPLORE SAN CRISTOBAL ISLAND. INTERPRETATION CENTER, TIJERETAS HILL, SNORKEL IN DARWIN BAY

San Cristobal 1

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is located in San Cristobal island, which is the capital of the province of Galápagos.

Our naturalist guide will pick us up at the airport and will transfer us to our hotel. The first day on the Galápagos starts with the visit of the Interpretation Center, a self-guided museum which will bring you closer to the human history of the archipelago. Learn more about the discovery and colonization of Galápagos. We continue with a walk to the Frigate Bird hill where we can enjoy spectacular views over the island as well as the very well-known Kicker Rock.

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, and, with a bit of luck, enjoy seeing blue-footed boobies fishing.

Enjoy your first night in San Cristobal.

Accommodation: Casa Opuntia or similar

Meals: N/A

 

DAY 2-SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 21: DIVING KICKER ROCK

GIF 4-Kicker Rock Diving

We'll start our diving days with one of the best dive sites in Galápagos: Kicker Rock. A easy site with lots of different life,  León Dormido, as it's known to the locals, has a depth in the channel of 45 to 60 feet, and to its sides is more than 130 feet. It is one of the sites with the greatest diversity of marine life. Here you can see different kinds of sharks, fish, sea lions, turtles, blue stripped slug, octopus, and more.

During our surface interval, we will enjoy a boxed lunch onboard the boat, and then head out to a nearby beach to relax, snorkel and swim.

We 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

 

DAY 3- MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22: TRAVEL TO SANTA CRUZ ISLAND. VISIT LAS GRIETAS, THE HIGHLANDS (AND SEE THE GIANT TURTLES) AND THE LAVA TUNNELS.

GIF 5- Day 3

AM: this morning we are heading by public boat to Santa Cruz island, which takes approximately two hours. Upon arrival, we'll 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, it's one of the best places in Galápagos to swim.

In the afternoon we 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. We will also explore cavernous underground Lava Tunnels where you can view one of the geologic wonders of our volcanic islands.

This part of the tour also includes the Galapagos rainforest habitat, in which we will visit Los Gemelos (“Twin Craters”), which is 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. We will observe the different species of Darwin´s finches as well as Vermilion Flycatchers and, if we’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

 

DAY 4-TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23: DIVING MOSQUERA-NORTH & SOUTH

GIF 6-Mosquera

Mosquera is a sand and rock islet in the channel between North Seymour and Baltra islands, and is a popular gathering place for sea lions. Diving at Mosquera and the fringing rock reef is similar to Seymour until you reach the large sandy-bottomed platform and rock drop off around 21 meters. Here you can relax under water and wait for the schools of magnificent Eagle rays, hammerhead sharks, black tip reef sharks, and the occasional elusive Galápagos shark. Manta rays are a special treat anywhere, and sightings at Mosquera are certainly a possibility. At the sand- bottomed platform you will be amazed by the Galápagos garden eels, thousands of them, as far as the eye can see, craning out of their tunnels to take in all the currents have to offer.

Travel time: Departure from the dive agency by car – 40-minute drive from Puerto Ayora. Approximately 20 minutes by boat.

Dive Difficulty: Mosquera is a good place for beginners and experienced divers alike. Though the currents can be moderate to strong on occasion, it is suitable for people with limited experience. Drift dive.

Highlights:

• Hammerhead sharks

• Many kinds of rays

• Reef sharks

• Galápagos Garden Eels

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar

Meals: Breakfast. Lunch

 

DAY 5- WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24TH: DIVING GORDON ROCKS

GIF 7-Gordon Rocks

One of the highlights of our trip, and one of the must-do sites in Galápagos, Gordon Rocks is an extinct volcanic crater with a sandy bottom at 100 feet in the middle, and a wall drop off around the outside of around 200 feet . It has three exposed rocks that surround the crater and three pinnacles, ranging from 15-20 feet under the surface along the northern edge of the crater, with one larger pinnacle approximately 70 feet below the surface in the center. The strong currents that frequent Gordon Rocks make it the most accessible home to schools of the famous hammerhead sharks. Schools of up to 50-100 sharks (or more if you are lucky) can be found circling the rocks through the current, giving repeated views of the amazing creatures. White-tip and black-tip reef sharks also frequent the area, as well as green sea turtles, sea lions, sting rays, eagle rays, large schools of barracuda and snapper, and the occasional majestic manta ray or Mola Mola.

Travel time: Departure from the dive agency by car – 40-minute drive from Puerto Ayora. Approximately 40 minutes by boat

Dive Difficulty: Gordon Rocks is for Intermediate to Advanced divers due to the strong currents and depth of the dives. We require divers to have more than 25 dives and that your last dive was not more than 1 year earlier. Drift dive.

Highlights:

• Hammerhead Sharks

• Large schools of fish

• Many kinds of rays

• Reef sharks , Galápagos sharks

• Sometimes Mola Mola

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 6-THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25: DIVING NORTH SEYMOUR POINT AND DAPHNE MINOR

 GIF 8-Day 6

 

AM: NORTH SEYMOUR POINT

The North Seymour Point can be a slightly rough entry, but once in the water it is a leisurely drift dive along the rocky wall. Along the coast you will find small caves with white-tipped reef sharks, and frequently see schools of hammerhead sharks and Mobiles (Devil rays) if you look out into the blue. The rock reef is an excellent place to search for the well-camouflaged octopi and the beautiful blue Nudibranchs.

The drift comes to end on the point, where frequently you can see 20-30 (sometimes many more) Reef sharks circle in the currents.

Travel time: Departure from the dive agency by car – 40-minute drive from Puerto Ayora. Approximately 20 minutes by boat.

Dive Difficulty: Seymour is a good place for beginners and experienced divers alike. Although the currents can be moderate to strong on occasion, it is on the whole suitable for people with limited experience. Drift dive.

Highlights:

• Many White-tipped reef sharks

• Hammerhead sharks

• Large schools of fish

• Many kinds of rays

 

PM: DAPHNE MINOR

Daphne Minor is located off the northern coast of Santa Cruz and is very diverse. It is a wall dive with normally little current. The main attractions to this site are the frequent visits by Manta Rays. There is always plankton in the water, so the visibility is normally not fantastic, but they come so close it is not a problem. Juvenile Galápagos sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, and eagle rays are also common, as well as schools of the Black-striped Salema fish during the warmer months of the year.

Travel time: Departure from the dive agency by car – 40-minute drive from Puerto Ayora. Approximately 30 minutes by boat.

Dive Difficulty: Daphne is a wall dive, so you do need to watch your depth. The currents are not normally very strong, so it is suitable for divers of all levels. Drift dive.

Highlights:

• Best chance for Manta - in the warmer months

• Large schools of fish

• Many kinds of rays

• Reef sharks , Galápagos sharks & hammerheads

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 7-FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 26: DIVING GORDON ROCKS

GIF 9-Gordon Rocks 2

Since Gordon Rocks is one of the best sites in Galápagos, but also can be very affected (and cancelled) by conditions, we will be planning on diving it twice. This way we'll increase our chances of doing it, and if we get to dive it twice, which will likely happen, we will get to dive this world-class site two times!

Travel time: Departure from the dive agency by car – 40-minute drive from Puerto Ayora. Approximately 40 minutes by boat.

Dive Difficulty: Gordon Rocks is for Intermediate to Advanced divers due to the strong currents and Depth of the dives. We require divers to have more than 25 dives and that your last dive was not more than 1 year earlier. Drift dive.

Highlights:

• Hammerhead Sharks

• Large schools of fish

• Many kinds of rays

• Reef sharks , Galápagos sharks

• Sometimes Mola Mola

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

                               

DAY 8-SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 27: BARTOLOME / SULLIVAN BAY DAY TRIP

Bartolome 2

AM: This will be a non-diving day, but another one of the highlights of our 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, and 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 Galápagos penguin. This curious bird nests amongst the fissured lava flows and ventures into the crystal clear waters of Bartolome to fish.

PM: After a short ride onboard the boat, you will disembark on Sullivan Bay on the northeastern side of James Islands. The huge eruption that happened in this place in the late 1800's is clear evidence of the volcanic past of the islands. You will be able to snorkel in the peaceful waters of Sullivan Bay. Dry landing/Wet landing.

IMPORTANT: Although unlikely, we might have to change our 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. Regardless of which island we visit, we will be planning a walking activity as well as a snorkeling activity in order to maximize your experience.

Accommodations: Hotel La Isla or similar

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

 

DAY 9-NOVEMBER 28: FREE MORNING AND DEPARTURE

Today you will have the morning off until the time to be transferred back to Baltra Airport where you catch your plane back to Ecuador mainland (flight is not included).

Accommodations: N/A

Meals: Breakfast (time permitting)

 

PRICE and PAYMENT TERMS

- 3,795.00 USD. We were able to negotiate an amazing price for an unparalleled itinerary, since we will be bringing a group and much needed business to a place that heavily depends on tourism and was greatly affected by travel bans due to COVID-19.

- In order to save you money, we don't add the cost of credit card processing to the price of the trip, so this price is for check, bank transfer, or any form of payment that does not incur a fee. We can take the deposit via credit card, but need the remaining balance to be paid by a direct form of payment. If you want to pay for the remaining balance with a credit card, we can accept it, but have to add a 5% fee (for this trip, 190.00)

- A deposit of 600.00 starts your reservation. Once we receive your deposit, we'll send you a questionnaire and a contract that will need to be returned to us within 72 hours to guarantee your spot.  Once we have the questionnaire and contract, we also will send you an invoice for the remaining amount. You will have until three months before departure to finish making your payment.

- You can read the contract prior to sending your deposit HERE. Please familiarize yourself with it.

- Once you are confirmed, your deposit becomes movable. That means, if you need to cancel your participation on the trip for any reason, you may request a credit for 100% of your deposit that can be applied to any 1000 Leagues Travel Trip which departs within one year of the departing date of the original trip.

- When you make your deposit, you will be asked for your email. MAKE SURE YOU LIST AN EMAIL YOU CHECK DAILY WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR PAYMENT. THAT'S WHERE YOU'LL RECEIVE YOUR QUESTIONNAIRE, INVOICE, AND ALL THE EMAILS IN REGARDS TO THE TRIP.

 

CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR DEPOSIT

 

- Full payment is only due on August 20, 2021, three months before the trip. So you have a lot of time to pay. You can make payments in any way you prefer so long as you are fully paid by the due date.

- If you make payments or pay in full before the due date, your payments (minus the deposit) are refundable before the due date. After that, all payments are entirely non-refundable.

 

INCLUDED

- All the hotel stays at double occupancy (please see ABOUT OCCUPANCY below).

- Transportation from San Cristobal airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to Baltra airport if you arrive within the guidelines in FLIGHT GUIDELINES below. If you arrive or leave at a different time, you’ll have to arrange your own transportation or pay extra for our operator to transport you, if they are able to do so.

- All transportation to our scheduled activities while with the group (if you do your own activity, you’ll have to arrange your own transportation).

- Naturalist Guide (during activities).

- Meals listed in the itineraries.

- Tanks and weights.

 

NOT INCLUDED

- Diving equipment.

- Migration fee: $20.00 per person, paid in cash at Quito or Guayaquil airport.

- National park entrance fee: $100.00 per person, paid in cash at Baltra airport.

- Flights (see FLIGHTS below).

- Meals not specifically stated in the itinerary.

- Tips to guides, drivers, staff, etc.

- Rentals.

- Souvenirs or anything extra you would like to get.

- Any activity not described in the itinerary.

 

ABOUT OCCUPANCY

- Double-occupancy: You will be paired up with someone of the same gender as a roommate, unless you have someone that you are already coming with. 

- Single supplement (if you want a room for yourself): 695.00

- The last people to RSVP and pay the deposit MAY have to be put in triple-occupancy rooms (if we end up with an odd number of men or women).

 

FLIGHTS

Flights are NOT included. Flights are very easy to book on your own, and some people want to do side trips, so it becomes impractical to include flights. Besides, many of you can use miles or other ways of making your flight free or save money if you book it yourself. So instead of including air, we will give you guidelines so you can book your own.

 

FLIGHT GUIDELINES

- Arrives in San Cristobal (SCY) by 11:00 AM on November 20, 2021.

- Leaves Baltra (GPS) on November 28, 2021, between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

PLEASE NOTICE THAT THE FLIGHTS ARRIVE AND DEPART FROM DIFFERENT AIRPORTS

 

SOME OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW

- 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 diver's 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. 

- If you need to take care of any those issues, make sure to get on them ASAP so you don't get held up because of some unexpected delay. We've had people missing trips and losing their money because they waited too long or had unexpected issues come up and couldn't take care of them before the trip started.

- 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

This trip will happen around a time in which a potential resurgence of COVID-19 could affect our plans. COVID-19 has become a tricky element because of the unpredictable nature of the virus. It appears that insurance companies have been very restrictive on their coverage; we know insurance companies do offer coverage for the Coronavirus at an additional premium, but this still remains limited and with caps on reimbursement. Additionally, local suppliers have found themselves in a difficult situation because they often have to make their plans and respective reservations for different activities in advance. Therefore, all they can possibly offer in case 1000 Treks needs to cancel the trip after the final payment due date is a credit for the exact same trip for next year's Thanksgiving. At the same time, because of the virus's effect on local economies, we have been able to secure pricing that at any other time would be notably more expensive.

We believe it is extremely unlikely that we will have to cancel this trip altogether, even if there is a resurgence of COVID-19 at that time. However, it is a possibility, and we want to be completely transparent about the possible outcome. We also want to be 100 percent upfront that there is the possibility that a resurgence and extreme measures similar to the ones taken in response to the initial outbreak may drive some of the suppliers out of business. If that's the case, they may be unable to provide us with credit or services. This could alter the itinerary, or even render the trip impossible to take and without refunds or credits provided for a future date. We will always do our best to make everything happen, and, again, although the outlined scenarios are extremely unlikely to occur, ultimately we cannot guarantee they won't.

Please refer to section 9 of the contract, titled  "COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS (“VIRUS”)" for the limitations of our liability.

Comments

  • This looks super fun - "Haley Chasin"

    Reply:

    Not yet replied.