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Trip Advisor 2019

Galapagos Island Hopping + Diving 5-Night Itinerary

Although known for its challenging sites, the Galapagos Islands is suitable for divers with little experience. As a matter of fact, it’s even doable by those who have no diving experience at all! (Here at Surtrek South American Travel, we can tailor an Open Water PADI diving certification for you prior to your trip). The essential is that you have an adventurous spirit! With this, you can fully immerse yourself in this alluring paradise – exploring the Galapagos’ stunning underwater world in addition to its astounding land environment.

Having accumulated years of expertise and a close relationship with the islands, we actively encourage travelers to explore this undersea aspect of the archipelago, allowing you to experience this lesser-experienced world of beauty, wonder and underwater marine life.

Therefore, we offer you this traveler- friendly land-based Galapagos Islands diving itinerary that brings together the highlights of both worlds. By night, your accommodations will be at some of the archipelago’s finest hotels, while on certain days you’ll head out on what are some of the world’s most thrilling diving adventures.

In the area around centrally located Santa Cruz Island, for example, you’ll encounter Whitetip sharks, dolphins, Manta rays and huge schools of Eagle and Golden rays – not to mention the interactions you’re sure to experience with playful sea lions and Green sea turtles in slow-motion underwater flight.

And let’s not forget one of the best spots for diving in the Galapagos: Kicker Rock (it’s perfect for those who aren’t quite ready for the more demanding yet astonishing underwater worlds of Darwin and Wolf islands). Diving around Kicker Rock is almost as thrilling as in those northern islands, as you’ll be surrounded by schools of hammerhead and other non-aggressive sharks, as well as rays and other “big” fish. Descending to the ocean’s bottom, you’ll also appreciate smaller forms of aquatic life such as tropical fish, seahorses, starfish and the strange and endemic Red-lipped batfish. What you’ll experience is a whole kingdom of marine life on this underwater safari.

Taking full advantage of your visit to these legendary islands, you will also go on land excursions to trace Darwin’s theory of evolution. On these, you’ll spot the most colorful, bizarre and beautiful creatures — from Giant tortoises to dragon-like land iguanas — in an experience that’s completely out of this world.

This program is also recommended for those who are looking for an immersive Galapagos diving experience without going on a cruise. As it’s common for people to go on a family vacation or a couple’s getaway in which one of the members is prone to seasickness, travelers can opt for this type of land tour that’s combined with a dive program for the member(s) wanting to take the plunge. Another advantage of this program is its flexibility. Different from the fixed itinerary of a cruise, on this type of program, daily land and sea excursions can be tailored to suit your interests and abilities.

Whatever the case, the underwater world of the Galapagos Islands is a whole other realm just waiting to be explored.

Reviews

“We loved the Galapagos Islands. Both of our hotels on Santa Cruz and Isabella islands were excellent. Our tour guides were knowledgeable and directed us to the most interesting sights and wildlife. Thanks Surtrek for organizing an excellent trip.”Catherine Anne Woodruff

Galapagos Island Hopping + Diving: Highlights

Galapagos Islands, Scuba diving, Tortuga Bay beach, snorkeling, eagle rays, whitetip reef sharks & sea lions.

Galapagos Island Hopping + Diving: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Baltra Airport - Santa Cruz Island
Day 2: Santa Cruz Island Area Diving Excursion
Day 3: Santa Cruz Island Area Diving Excursion
Day 4: Santa Cruz Island Area Diving Excursion
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island: Tortuga Bay + Academy Bay
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island – Baltra Island – Return Flight to the Ecuadorian Mainland
Galapagos Map

Galapagos Island Hopping + Diving: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Baltra Airport - Santa Cruz Island

Departure flight from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands.

Upon arrival in the archipelago at Baltra airport, you will travel by bus to the Itabaca Channel, followed by a 5-minute ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island, and then an hour drive to the town of Puerto Ayora. En route, we will stop at the at a Highlands reserve to see amazing Galapagos Giant Tortoises in the wild. You will also have a chance to walk through lava tunnels before having lunch at a local restaurant.

We will reach Puerto Ayora in the afternoon, where you will check in at your selected hotel and still have plenty of free time to explore the town at your leisure.

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Lunch
Day 2
Santa Cruz Island Area Diving Excursion

Diving excursions for the day include the following:

Floreana Island:

Floreana is one of the older volcanic islands, having an uneven profile that is the result of numerous volcanoes and parasitic cones. This was the first island in the archipelago to be inhabited by humans. Floreana presents an excellent selection of varied dive sites and a few official visitor sites (i.e. Punta Cormorant, Enderby and Champion Islet)

Location: South of Santa Cruz Island are 3 possible dive sites, 90 minutes away from our base. Site Conditions: Normally the sites in this area do not present strong currents. Some dive spots are reef dives where coral and sponges can be found; the others are wall dives. Activity: Most of the interesting activity takes place in the shallows, where the current strikes the reefs. Found here are Cleaning station fish, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, Whitetip reef sharks, green turtles, reef fish, sting rays, eagle rays, barracudas and a variety of invertebrates.

Gordon Rocks: (Minimum experience to participate: 30 logged dives or a previous evaluation by our dive guides at another site)

Location: Gordon Rocks is one of the best dive sites in the central islands. It is an eroded crater at the top of a tuff cone. Near the east coast of Santa Cruz Island are 2 dive sites located 45 minutes from Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: This rock formation is a world-renowned site, restricted to intermediate and advanced divers due to the strong currents and surge. Activity: Hammerhead sharks, Cleaning station fish, Galapagos sharks, Whitetip reef sharks, mobula rays, turtles, reef fish, stingrays, eagle rays, Galapagos eels, barracudas, a variety of invertebrates.

Cousins Island:

Location: This triangular-shaped islet is located on the east coast of Santiago Island, near Bartolome Island, within 90 minutes from the Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: Under normal conditions, there are no strong currents here. Diving is on a shelving reef, with many endemic black corals on the walls. Activity: Cleaning station fish, Pacific seahorses, barracudas, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, Whitetip sharks, sea turtles, reef fish, stingrays, spotted eagle rays, and a variety of invertebrates and mollusks.
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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 3
Santa Cruz Island Area Diving Excursion

Diving excursions for the day include the following:

North Seymour Island:

Location: North of Santa Cruz Island, 2 dive sites located 30 minutes from Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: For all levels of divers, though sometimes there can be strong currents. Platform reefs with a diversity of species found here. Activity: Cleaning station fish, sea lions, many kinds of sharks (including Galapagos Whitetip reef sharks and hammerhead sharks), mobula rays (small mantas), turtles, reef fish, sting rays, eagle rays, Galapagos eel, barracudas, and a variety of invertebrates.

Mosquera Islet:

Location: North of Santa Cruz Island between Seymour Island and Baltra Island, this low rocky islet possesses sandy beaches where sea lions rest. The one dive site is located 25 minutes from Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: Normally there are no strong currents at this site, which has a sandy bottom at between 15 and 18 meters and garden eels and pelagic species. There is also a wall that starts at 18 meters, where you will find black coral and variety of invertebrates. Activity: Hammerhead sharks, Black-tip reef sharks, Whitetip reef sharks, sea lions, turtles, barracudas, reef fish, sting rays, eagle rays, mobula rays, Galapagos eels, and a variety of invertebrates.

Bartolome (“The Platform”):

Location: Located on the east side of Santiago Island, on this a small island one can observe the famous Pinnacle Rock. Bartolome is situated less than 90 minutes from the Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: Moderate current, there is a platform at about 10 meters (33 ft.) deep with a variety of reef fish. Off the edge of this platform, we also find a submarine canyon about 15 meters (50 ft.) deep with the possibility of encounters with pelagic species. Activity: Whitetip reef sharks, reef fish, barracudas, turtles, mobula rays, stingrays and a variety of invertebrates and mollusks.
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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 4
Santa Cruz Island Area Diving Excursion

Diving excursions for the day include the following:

Beagle Rocks:

Location: Off the south coast of Santiago Island, Beagle Rocks are three large, steep rocks – the only remains of a tuff cone. About 90 minutes from Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: Normally there are no strong currents at this site. It is a reef dive with many corals and sponges. Activity: Cleaning station fish, sea lions, Galapagos sharks, turtles, reef fish, stingrays, eagle rays, barracuda, a variety of invertebrates, manta rays and probably solitary hammerhead sharks.

Daphne Minor Islet:

Location: Near the north coast of Santa Cruz Island, a big flat-topped exposed rock.  Daphne Minor is an eroded tuff cone. Located 30 minutes from Itabaca Channel (on the north side of Santa Cruz Island). Site Conditions: Moderate currents at this site, a drift dive along the impressive drop-off at the top of a sloping wall, rocky and sandy bottom. Activity: Here we find a small cave (though this is NOT a cave dive) where Whitetip reef sharks rest; in addition, there is a pinnacle where we find a diversity of rays, Galapagos sharks, turtles, reef fish, barracudas, black coral walls and a variety of invertebrates.
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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 5
Santa Cruz Island: Tortuga Bay + Academy Bay

AM: Tortuga Bay Beach (on Santa Cruz Island) – After breakfast at your hotel, we will visit Tortuga Bay Beach, which you’ll reach by boat and can return by hiking through a scenic cactus forest. Alternatively, you can take a walk along Tortuga Bay, a beach close to your hotel, where you can also observe marine iguanas and a great variety of sea birds. This is also a nesting site for sea turtles.

PM: Academy Bay Tour – At around 14:00, we will go on a tour around Academy Bay. This offers a great opportunity to swim with sea lions and colorful fish just off Camaño Islet, also known as the Lobería (“sea lion colony”). You are also likely to have encounters with Blue-footed boobies perched on the ledges of the cliffs. From the Channels, Whitetip reef sharks can be seen right across Franklin´s Bay. You can hike to a viewpoint to observe the sharks from above, and walk to the Playa de los Perros (“Dog Beach”), where dozens of marine iguanas bask in the sun on the rocks. Prickly pear cactus and other arid zone plants are found here, where the reddish land environment and the turquoise ocean form the perfect scenery for incredible photographs. You will return to the hotel to spend the night.

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Breakfast
Day 6
Santa Cruz Island – Baltra Island – Return Flight to the Ecuadorian Mainland

During the morning, you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station before being driven to the Baltra Island for your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.

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Breakfast

Galapagos Island Hopping + Diving: Prices

2019 - Price per person
2 PersonsSingle Supplement
Hotel CategoryDouble
TouristUS$ 2,322US$ 283
Price per person based upon double occupancy.
Hotels
ISLANDTouristFirst Class
Santa CruzVilla LagunaSol y Mar
Included in the price:
  • English-speaking guide for all excursions in and around the Galapagos Islands
  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Car and boat transportation on and around the Galapagos Islands
  • All meals indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodations in double rooms on Santa Cruz Island
  • Immigration Control Card ($20 USD per person)
  • Diving excursions (shared basis)
  1. Check out dive + 2 tank dives
  2. Complete dive gear: 2-piece 7 mm wetsuit, regulator, BCD, mask, fins, hood, gloves, weight belt and tanks (does not include dive computer). [Passengers who bring all of their own dive gear (except tanks and weights) receive a US $20 discount on the tour]
  3. Bilingual dive guides (in line with the regulations of the Galapagos National Park, 1 naturalist Dive Master guide from the Marine Reserve must accompany every 8 passengers, assisted by a Dive Master)
  4. Insurance on the boat, crew and passengers (in line with Galapagos National Park regulations)
  5. Emergency oxygen equipment and first aid kit on board the boat
  6. Transport to/from dive sites
  7. Snacks and hot lunches
  8. Towel service
  9. Transportation between the dive center and the boat
Not included in the price:
  • International & domestic flights (Quito – Galapagos Islands – Quito)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee: $100 per adult
  • Public bus transportation (Baltra Island – Itabaca Channel – Baltra): $10 per person (for TAME airline passengers)
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Personal expenses
  • Items not indicated in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and bottled drinks
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Use of wet suits
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