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Red Mangrove’s - 7 Nights Itinerary A

On this adventure across the Galapagos archipelago, you will stay on San Cristobal Island, Santa Cruz Island and Isabela Island, along with day excursions to a few nearby sites. You can enjoy these pristine spots by wildlife watching, snorkeling, exploring, kayaking, hiking and biking. Beginning your journey on San Cristobal, you will be able to observe the unique symbiosis between volcanic lava formations and endemic plants and animals. Later, on Santa Cruz Island you can walk among the giant Galapagos tortoises and enjoy kayaking and snorkeling with sea lions, sharks, marine iguanas, sea turtle, rays and schools of colorful tropical fish. In addition to a stay on Isabela Island, you will go on trips to other sites to discover endemic species such as penguins, Blue-footed boobies, flamingos, pelicans, Sally lightfoot crabs, and countless fascinating underwater creatures.

Testimonials

“We loved every moment of our trip and could not have done it without Ligia and Surtrek. I highly recommend them!”Irene Alcock

Red Mangrove’s: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Interpretation Center, Tijeretas Hill, Snorkeling, Kicker Rock, Lobos Island, Highlands, Charles Darwin Research Station, Day tour: (Bartolome Island, North Seymour Island, Santa Fe Island, OR South Plazas Islands), Tintoreras, Wall of Tears, Sierra Negra Volcano, Los Tuneles, Flamingo.

Red Mangrove’s: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Arrival in the Galapagos Islands – Interpretation Center – Tijeretas Hill – Frigate Bay Snorkeling (San Cristobal Island)
Day 2: Sailing to Kicker Rock OR visiting Lobos Island
Day 3: Transfer to Santa Cruz Islands – Highlands – Charles Darwin Research Station + Tortoise Reserve
Day 4: Day tour to one of the following islands: Bartolome Island, North Seymour Island + Bachas Beach, Santa Fe Island, OR South Plazas Islands + Carrion Point
Day 5: Tintoreras Islet – Wall of Tears (Isabela Island)
Day 6: Sierra Negra Volcano OR Los Tuneles (Isabela Island)
Day 7: Tortoise Breeding Center – Flamingo Lagoon (Isabela Island) – Transfer to Santa Cruz Island
Day 8: Departure for Mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil)
Galapagos Map

Red Mangrove’s: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in the Galapagos Islands – Interpretation Center – Tijeretas Hill – Frigate Bay Snorkeling (San Cristobal Island)

AM: In the morning, you will fly from either Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to the Galapagos Islands. At the airport on San Cristobal Island, after you will pay your entrance fee to the national park, a member of the Surtrek team will welcome you and accompany you to the Golden Bay Hotel, where you can unpack a relax.

PM: After lunch, at the hotel, we will drive to the port of Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of Ecuador’s Galapagos Province. Here, we will visit San Cristobal Island’s Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about the natural and settlement history of the archipelago. Here you will discover displays that provide information about the volcanic origins of the islands, the ocean’s currents, the archipelago’s climate, and facts concerning the arrival of different species. The islands’ human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and settlements of the Galapagos. Later this afternoon, we will hike up the hill called “Las Tijeretas,” the common local name for “Frigatebirds.” In addition to a spectacular view of the bay and the rooftops of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (the Galapagos’ provincial capital), you can also observe many of those dramatically looking birds. At the end of the day, we will visit Frigate Bay for some snorkeling.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Sailing to Kicker Rock OR visiting Lobos Island

AM/PM: Early in the morning, we will sail to either Isla Lobos or Kicker Rock. The specific site we visit will depend on different factors, such as National Park Regulations and weather. The two alternative sites are the following:

Kicker Rock is known as one of the best places for snorkeling and diving in the Galapagos Islands, because here you can see non-aggressive sharks, rays and different types of fishes. To reach the site, we will follow the route that Charles Darwin once took and sail around this massive tuff-rock, which is a nesting site for hosts of seabirds. Here, you will be able to find Blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and frigate birds.  After snorkeling, we will visit one of the following beaches: Playa Ochoa, Playa Puerto Grande or Playa Mangelito. In the afternoon, we will return to San Cristobal.  Our second option will be a visit to Lobos Island, located across from San Cristobal Island. This is a seasonal nesting spot for Blue-footed boobies and Frigatebirds. You also can enjoy swimming and snorkeling with sea lions in the island’s calm bay. Afterwards, we will visit the amazing Playa Ochoa beach. Following lunch onboard our ship, this afternoon you will have time for more swimming or simply relax. Later in the afternoon, we will return to San Cristobal.
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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Transfer to Santa Cruz Islands – Highlands – Charles Darwin Research Station + Tortoise Reserve

AM: In the morning, you will fly from Quito or Guayaquil (on the Ecuadorian mainland) to Baltra Island, in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago and the main point of entry to this natural paradise. Upon your arrival at the airport, you will need to pay the national park entry fee, which goes to protecting both the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve.  A member of the Surtrek team will then welcome you and accompany you on a short bus ride to the Itabaca Channel, whose clear blue waters divides Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. During your five-minute crossing, watch the water and you may see some sharks, sea lions and sea turtles. Once on Santa Cruz, you’ll travel south across the Island to Aventura Lodge. During the 45-minute drive, you’ll experience a variety of microclimates, observing the change from the desert in the lowlands to tropical forests in the highlands. Then, as we near the southern coast, the climate becomes drier and hotter until we arrive in Puerto Ayora. This is the main town on the island and where Red Mangrove is located. Before lunch, you can relax on the deck of the Aventura Lodge and watch the sea lions and marine iguanas.

PM: After lunch, we will head for one of the most visited spots in the islands. Located on Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Station is primarily an international scientific research station situated on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. You will be taken to its visitor center to learn about the geology, climate, natural history and the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. However, the highlight of your visit here will undoubtedly be the research facility’s Fausto Llerena Tortoise Breeding Center, which breeds giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles can live up to 150- 200 years and weigh between 250 and 300 kg. Approaching them in their humid and forested spaces is always an inspiring adventure. For decades, the Fausto Center was home to “Lonesome George,” who finally died in 2012 as the last of his particular species. The tortoises you will see here are accustomed to humans, so it’s an excellent spot for visitors to take photographs with them. Remember that looking at the animals is allowed, but touching is not; and it’s absolutely forbidden to jump over the walls or open the pen doors at any time.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4
Day tour to one of the following islands: Bartolome Island, North Seymour Island + Bachas Beach, Santa Fe Island, OR South Plazas Islands + Carrion Point

AM: This morning you will be picked up at the hotel and taken to Itabaca Channel, where you will embark on a ship to sail to an island and/or a beach close to Santa Cruz Island. The site you will visit depends on different factors such as National Park Regulations, weather, and tides. The four options are as follows:

Bartolome Island: This island possesses a fascinating moonscape formed by various volcanic formations — including lava bombs, spatter, cinder cones — as we hike to the island’s summit for striking views of the surrounding islands, Sullivan Bay and the towering Pinnacle Rock. As the beaches at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock boast some of the finest snorkeling in the islands, you can discover a marvelous underwater world here and have a good chance of finding sea turtles gliding gently alongside you. On the rocks beneath Pinnacle Rock, it’s quite possible to spot some of the quick-as-an-arrow Galapagos penguins; at around 25 centimeters tall, these are members of the second smallest species of penguin in the world.  Likewise, you’re likely to see harmless Whitetip reef sharks sunning in these waters. For many visitors, this may turn out to be the best of snorkeling experiences, as the water here is generally clear, without too much surf and full of marine life.

North Seymour Island & Bachas Beach: Should we travel to North Seymour Island today, after a dry landing we will take a short walk along its coast, where you will encounter Swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions and Cliff crabs. This part of Seymour Island is also known for being a major nesting site for Blue-footed boobies and one of the largest colonies of Magnificent frigatebirds (a species different from the Great frigatebird). As you enjoy this relaxing hike around various nesting sites, you can also spot both of the endemic species of iguanas: marine iguanas and land iguanas. This option also includes a stop on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where we will visit the long and sandy Las Bachas Beach, one of the most important nesting beaches for sea turtles. Here you can also find flamingos, Black-winged stilts, sea lions, herons, marine iguanas, and — with a little bit of luck — tiny Galapagos penguins. In addition, this beach is one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles in the Galapagos. A female can lay eggs 3 or 4 times with an average of 70 eggs each, but they then spend 3 to 5 years without breeding. At this paradisiacal site, we will also find the remains of barges that sank long ago; these were once the property of the United States Navy when they operated an airbase on Baltra Island during World War II. In fact, the beach got its name because the English word “barges” was hard to pronounce for the local people – hence “Bachas” Beach. You will also have the opportunity to swim on this soft white sand beach or explore the fascinating underwater by snorkeling.

Santa Fe Island: After traveling to the dock in the town of Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island), we will board a boat bound for Santa Fe Island.  This central island is covered in small Palo Santo trees and six-meter-high opuntia cactuses, while it’s inhabited mainly by large yellow land iguanas, Galapagos buzzards, Blue-footed boobies and pelicans. After exploring the island, lunch will be served on board your boat. As Santa Fe’s wonderful blue-green bay is excellent for snorkeling, the afternoon will be spent exploring the island's underwater world, which includes countless tropical fish, rays, sea turtles and playful sea lions, as well as sea tortoises and stingrays. At around 5:00 pm, this day of island-hopping touring comes to an end; so you’ll then be transported back to your hotel.

South Plazas Island & Carrion Point: Located just east of Santa Cruz Island, South Plaza Island can be accessed by a dry landing on the northern part of this life-filled islet. Here you will encounter colonies of sea lions and land iguanas. While on the steep banks, you can see numbers of birds – like nesting Tropicbirds and Fork-tailed seagulls – but most of all, you will enjoy the beautiful views from either atop the steep banks or while strolling along the base of the cliff. Opuntia cactuses grow on this island and the vegetation changes color throughout the year. With this option, we will also travel to Carrion Point, which is close to the eastern mouth of Itabaca Channel, between Baltra Island and Santa Cruz Island. Here, you can see many of the almost ever-present creatures, such as sea lions, Creole fish and Blue-striped sea slugs. You will also have a good chance of spotting mobula rays cruising by – sometimes in small schools. Whitetip reef sharks are also commonly sighted here. And, if you are lucky, you might see some Galapagos sharks and hammerheads.

PM: In the afternoon, we will return to the lodge, where you can enjoy swimming, simply relaxing before dinner, or discovering more of Santa Cruz Island on your own.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5
Tintoreras Islet – Wall of Tears (Isabela Island)

AM/PM: Early in the morning, we will board a yacht bound for Isabela Island, about two hours away. The largest landmass in the Galapagos archipelago, Isabela Island covers 1,770 sq. miles (4,588 sq. km.), therefore constituting more than the half of the land area of the entire Galapagos archipelago – which is why it has the most visitor points in the islands. Five volcanoes are found on Isabela, including the archipelago’s highest: Wolf Volcano, reaching 1,707 m (5,600 ft.). In addition, Isabela is the only island in the Galapagos that is actually crossed by the Equator. After passing sea lions and pelicans bathing in the sun fishing boats, we will reach the small island of Tintoreras, where we will take an easy walk through the bizarre lava landscape with its huge colonies of marine iguanas. Also located here is a colony of sea lions, and it’s common to see non-aggressive Whitetip reef sharks resting in the water near the shore. These sharks are called “tintoreras” in Spanish, giving the island its name. We’ll then snorkel in the area, observing tropical fish and sea turtles before finally traveling to the town of Puerto Villamil, on Isabela Island.

PM: After lunch, we will drive to the “Wall of Tears,” one of the most touching human-built monuments in the Galapagos. This huge stone mound (8 meters high and around 200 meters long) was built in the 1940s and ‘50s by prisoners of a penal colony that operated here from 1946 to 1959.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6
Sierra Negra Volcano OR Los Tuneles (Isabela Island)

AM/PM: Today we will travel to destinations on or close to Isabela Cruz Island. The specific site we visit will depend on different factors, such as National Park Regulations, weather, and tides. The two alternative sites are the following:

As the first option, today we will drive to the highlands of Isabela Island and start hiking up to the edge of the Sierra Negra Volcano’s crater. The volcano — reaching a height of around 1,500 meters and having an outer diameter of approximately nine kilometers (over 5 miles) — is the second largest caldera in the world. We will hike along the cone to a resting place in the northeast.  From the Sierra Negra Volcano, you will be able to see the Chico Volcano, which is about 90 minutes away on foot and known for its moon-like volcanic lava landscape. As an alternative destination for the day, from Isabela Island we will sail to Los Tuneles (“The Tunnels”), naturally occurring underwater stone tunnels located about for about 45-minutes from the town of Puerto Villamil. The tunnels were formed millions of years ago when rivers of liquid lava swept across the island reaching the shore. The cold water then froze their superficial layer isolating the interior, while liquid lava kept flowing into the sea inside. When the eruption finished, a hollow structure was formed and its wall later broke allowing water to come inside and creating tunnels. At Los Tuneles, you will have a chance to go snorkeling and view huge manta rays and turtles, as well as sharks, lobsters, penguins, sea lions, boobies, and marine turtles, among other endemic species from Galapagos.
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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7
Tortoise Breeding Center – Flamingo Lagoon (Isabela Island) – Transfer to Santa Cruz Island

AM: This morning, we will hike through the wetlands of Isabel Island to the Centro de Crianza giant tortoise breeding station, where you can get up “close and personal” to some of the giant tortoise species from Isabela Island. On the way to the breeding center, we will stop to see wild flamingos in a lagoon.

PM: In the afternoon transfer to the pier to take the speedboat to Santa Cruz Island, an approximately 2-1/2 hour boat trip.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8
Departure for Mainland Ecuador (Quito or Guayaquil)

AM: Concluding this amazing experience in the Galapagos Islands, after breakfast, you will be transferred to the Baltra Island airport for your return flight to the Ecuadorian mainland. Enjoy your last look back at the “enchanted islands,” a unique paradise with inspiring natural wonders.

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Breakfast

Red Mangrove’s: Prices

2018 - Price per person
PersonsDouble
StandardSuiteSuperior
2US$ 5,172US$ 6,034US$ 5,411
Included in the price:
  • Transfers in/out and from/to Baltra airport.
  • Visits as specified in the itinerary.
  • Guidance in English / Spanish.
  • Transportation during the stay.
  • Full board
  • Accommodation for 2 nights at Hotel Golden Bay or similar (breakfast included).
  • Accommodation for 3 nights at Hotel Red Mangrove (breakfast included).
  • Accommodation for 2 nights at Hotel Iguana Crossing or similar (breakfast included).
  • Snorkeling equipment for daily tours (face mask and snorkel).
Not included in the price:
  • Airfare
  • Entrance to the GPS National Park ($ 100)
  • Ingala Card ($ 20)
  • Isabela dock Fee ($10)
  • Lunch (6th day) – extra drinks
  • Tips and personal expenses.
  • Activities and services not specified above
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