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Royal Palm Hotel - 7 Nights Itinerary

Thumbnail Description: On this Galapagos journey of a lifetime, you will marvel at the unspoiled natural beauty of these volcanic islands as you are touched by the magic of their evolutionary legacy. On this 8-day/7-night tour in the archipelago, you will be immersed in a different world while staying at the Royal Palm Hotel, which does its best to allow you to fully experience these islands by giving you as many choices as possible to do what you like, when you like. The hotel offers the following tour packages to help you plan what to see and do during your stay at Royal Palm:

Relaxation Activities: Swimming pool, spa treatments, shopping, DVD & games Exploration Activities: Visits to Lava Tunnel, Tortuga Bay, Cerro Mesa, tortoises in the wild, Charles Darwin Station, the Fish Market & Lagoon Active Experiences: Biking, surfing, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, gym/ tennis/table tennis, horseback riding, planting a tree Yacht Expeditions: Bartolomé Island, North Seymour Island & Bachas Beach, South Plaza Island & Punta Carrión, and Santa Fe Island
Testimonials

“I was very happy in every way with your booking and Cuyabeno Lodge. It surpassed my expectations in every way. No hitches with flights and transportation. The lodge was beautiful. The staff was professional and friendly.”Tim Matheson

Royal Palm Hotel: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Lava Tunnels, Horseback Riding, Giant Tortoises Breeding Center, Tortuga Bay Beach, Surfing, Snorkeling, Hiking.

Royal Palm Hotel: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Arrival in the Galapagos Islands – Lava Tunnels
Day 2: Yacht Expedition to North Seymour Island & Bachas Beach
Day 3: Horseback Riding – Giant Tortoises Breeding Center
Day 4: Tortuga Bay Beach – Fish Market & Las Ninfas Lagoon
Day 5: Surfing – Shopping in Puerto Ayora
Day 6: Cerro Mesa – Trapiche – Garrapatero Beach – Spa Treatments
Day 7: Snorkeling – Tortoises in the Wild
Day 8: Hiking – Departure
Galapagos Map

Royal Palm Hotel: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival in the Galapagos Islands – Lava Tunnels

AM: This morning you will check-in at the Quito or Guayaquil international airport. (NOTE: The flight time from Quito to Guayaquil is 40 minutes, plus a 40-minute layover in Guayaquil, while the flight time from the Guayaquil airport to the Galapagos Islands is 1hour and 40 minutes.) Arriving in the Galapagos archipelago at the Baltra Island airport, a Royal Palm representative will meet you and accompany you on a seven-minute ferry ride across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island. From there, you will take a scenic 50-minute trip by private transportation to the Royal Palm Hotel. After checking in, you will have lunch there at the hotel.

PM: This afternoon we will go to a site that was formed by rivers of fast flowing liquid lava. A walk through these tunnels will take you on an exciting journey back in time to the very formation of these volcanic islands. Just five minutes ride from the hotel’s reception desk, the hotel’s own lava tunnel is the largest and most interesting of any lava tunnel found on Santa Cruz Island. You descend through a collapsed part of the roof of this cavernous formation and follow an illuminated trail that leads you through a labyrinth of different tunnels, walking on specially constructed bridges and stairways to a spectacular exit through the roof. This experience is really like something straight out of an “Indiana Jones” movie! (The tour is suitable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness.)

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Yacht Expedition to North Seymour Island & Bachas Beach

AM/PM: After a “dry landing” onto North Seymour Island, 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. Later, we will sail to 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.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Horseback Riding – Giant Tortoises Breeding Center

AM: This morning we will mount up for some horseback riding across the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Only a ten-minute drive from the hotel, you will find the ranch where calm and experienced horses are kept. Many of these horses are descendants of pure-bred mounts that were brought here by an American colonist before the Galapagos became a national park. Today these horses have adapted to the rugged volcanic landscape, giving you a safe, comfortable and enjoyable ride. For beginners and the first ½ hour is spent in an enclosed area where riders and horses can get to know each other. For experienced riders, the camp has plenty of horses to choose from. This tour takes around 2-3 hours, led by one of the camp’s guides. This is a great way to see the Santa Cruz countryside, passing several properties and estates in the lush highland forests inhabited by the giant tortoises.

PM: After dining, 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
Tortuga Bay Beach – Fish Market & Las Ninfas Lagoon

AM: Tortuga Bay is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Going there this morning, you might spot some local surfers trying to catch the best wave. It is also common to sea lions, sea turtles, pelicans, Whitetip reef sharks and marine iguanas in these waters.

PM: After lunch, we will head to the largest town on Santa Cruz – Puerto Ayora – where you can spend a relaxing afternoon just 20 minutes from the hotel. You will be able to mingle with the locals at the weekly fish market to find that humans are not the only visitors – local seals and pelicans visit the market too, hoping to catch a snack. We will then head off to Las Ninfas Lagoon, located on the west side or Puerto Ayora. Here, you will be able to meander along the paths and boardwalks over the emerald waters and the mangrove vegetation of this natural park. Both of these afternoon activities are musts for the keen photographers!

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5
Surfing – Shopping in Puerto Ayora

AM: Thanks to the Galapagos Islands’ unique location, some of the best surfing can be found here, which is the reason why many professional surfers come to the Islands. For those who want to learn this sport, Royal Palm offers surfing classes given by members of the Surf Club of Santa Cruz, who participate in international competitions. They hold half day surf classes at the Surf School and take guests out on the hotel’s small boat to Tortuga Bay, where you can learn theory and then practice riding the waves!

PM: This afternoon we will drive to the oceanfront town of Puerto Ayora, which is an enjoyable place for spending a leisurely few hours browsing around the small shops on the waterfront. There plenty of souvenir shops and boutiques selling clothes, gifts, sports equipment, artisan crafts, jewelry, ceramics and regular provisions. And, if you feel like just watching the world go by, you can sit outside one of the small bars, cafes or restaurants.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6
Cerro Mesa – Trapiche – Garrapatero Beach – Spa Treatments

AM: This morning, your guide will take you on a journey from Cerro Mesa hill to the Cascajo lookout point. At Cascajo, we will stop to enjoy a phenomenal panoramic view of Santa Cruz and other islands of the archipelago, while keeping an eye out for a sub-species of giant tortoise that lives in the area around the Cerro Mesa crater. Then we will descend to Trapiche, a local farm where you can see how the locals produce alcohol from sugar cane and produce the famous Galapagos organic coffee. From there we will head to Garrapatero Beach to enjoy some exotic bird watching of flamingos, Frigates, Mocking Birds and Blue-Footed Boobies. (If you want to swim or snorkel here, you’ll have to remember to bring your swimwear and snorkeling equipment with you.)

PM: After lunch, you can relax and pamper yourself with a mud facial that uses unique volcanic soil and essences chosen to compliment your skin type. It is believed that the high mineral content in the soil helps cellular rejuvenation. Alternatively, you can choose an aromatherapy massage, a Swedish massage with chocolate oil, or a Reiki experience (which is a treatment for the mind and spirit, as well as the body, leaving you with a sense of wellbeing and peace. It is a simple method of spiritual healing which is suitable for everyone).

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7
Snorkeling – Tortoises in the Wild

AM: This morning, you will discover that the Galapagos has some of the best snorkeling in the world. Experience the wonders of the ocean as you swim with creatures only previously encountered in an aquarium. After climbing aboard the Royal Palm Hotel’s glass-bottom boat, you will be able to see the underwater world of marine life, even if you are not a swimmer! For the brave hearts amongst you, sharks (albeit non-aggressive) are easy to find while snorkeling.

PM: Nothing will prepare you for your first glimpse of a Galapagos Giant Tortoise in its natural habitat. These enormous creatures roam freely between the national park and agricultural areas. This afternoon visit offers the ideal opportunity to view these ancient creatures munching on lush green vegetation or wallowing in the mud of the seasonal pools that attract them from the lowlands during the dry winter season. At certain times in the year, migratory shorebirds can be seen here too. This guided tour includes a walk through open fields and forest.

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8
Hiking – Departure

AM: This morning we will head off hiking along an off-the-beaten-path of lava trails. These stretch through different areas of vegetation that are full of exotic birdlife nesting in Miconia trees. The Galapagos is the perfect place to see “nature in action,” and on foot, you can enjoy this firsthand experience with wildlife and nature. The highest point on Santa Cruz is found in the highlands in the center of the island called Cerro Crocker, which is 864 meters high. This is also one of the best places to see the Galapagos Rail, a bluish purple-black bird that spends most of its time on the ground. On a clear day, you may also see Darwin finches, Galapagos Flycatchers, Mockingbirds, Galapagos Petrels and Vermilion Flycatchers.

PM: Concluding this amazing experience in the Galapagos Islands, 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

Royal Palm Hotel: Prices

2018 - Price per room
Price per room
SeasonDouble
CasitasFamily Highland VillasHighland VillasPresidential VillasPrince of Wales VillaRoyal Villa
High SeasonUS$ 10,640US$ 15,575US$ 11,529US$ 13,447US$ 15,127US$ 13,895
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations
  • All meals
  • Transfers & ground transportation
  • Full board including one soft drink with each meal (alcoholic beverages are available and are charged separately)
  • Your chosen activities & excursions detailed in the itinerary
  • Taxes
Not included in the price:
  • Flights (all flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands can be arranged upon request)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US $100 per adult/$50 per child under 12)
  • Tourist transit card (US $20 per person)
  • Laundry service
  • Insurance (prior to your journey please ensure your travel insurance is valid in your country of origin)
  • Tips & gratuities
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