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The Finch & the Tortoise - Northern Islands

Trip Length

Trip Code

7 days GSGVA
Minimum Age
15

Countries Visited

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)

Start City

End City

Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
The Finch & the Tortoise - Northern Islands

White-tipped reef sharks patrol Punta Carrion’s depths. Iguanas scamper across the petrified lava flows of Las Tintoreras. Sea lions congregate on Floreana, albatross scour Espanola’s skies and tortoises lumber the Santa Cruz highlands. Where are you?

 

The Galapagos: watch your step - iguanas, sea lions and boobies ahead.

 

The Finch & the Tortoise - Northern Islands


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Quito

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting in the evening of Day 1.

You can arrive at any time during the day as there are no activities planned until this important meeting; please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

ALTITUDE SICKNESS:
Quito is located above 2800 metres/9200 feet, where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!
Before your trip: some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition(s) with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.
On arrival in Quito: while our local representatives and hotel staff are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.geckosadventures.com/sites/default/files/geckos_altitude-sickness.pdf

Day 2: San Cristobal - Interpretation Centre

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

This morning we transfer to Quito Airport for our early morning flight to the Galapagos Islands. Be prepared for an early start as this could mean leaving the hotel as early as 4.30am (a boxed breakfast will be provided). A US$20 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival on the islands. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as using credit cards can be time consuming.

On arrival in the Galapagos we are met in the arrivals hall and then transferred to our boat, the Daphne, anchored a short distance away. Once on board we'll be assigned our cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over a delicious lunch.

We visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre. The centre brings the history and geography of the archipelago to life, from its volcanic origins to the present day. The human history exhibit offers an insight into the discovery and colonisation of the Galapagos, and the reality of the problems the islands face today is also explored. This is a great way to complete your time in the Galapagos.

Day 3: Santa Fe - Plaza Sur

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Santa Fe is home to many sea lions, and these ones are very eager for swimming partners! It’s a lovely place to take a dip, offers a dense concentration of wildlife, and is a fantastic place to see many of the stars of the Galapagos in one relatively small area. Expect to see the Galapagos hawk, land Iguanas, a variety of finches and the Galapagos mockingbird, sea lions, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards. It’s a naturally beautiful island as well, with one of the most attractive coves in the archipelago, the waters jade green and wonderful for snorkelling. . Our trail follows the coast into the Opuntia Forest Santa Fe's trees are the largest in the Galapagos. Hiking into the island you can see a forest of giant cacti and palo santo trees. Once back at the beach we have free time to snorkel in the jade green water. Playful sea lion pups and fluorescent fish make for fascinating company.

A small island, Plaza Sur or South Plaza is nonetheless a place of great beauty, where we get close to sea lions and onto trails past one of the Galapagos’ largest land iguana populations, resting amid cacti and volcanic landscapes coloured bright red and green by sea-purslanes. The island’s rugged southern cliffs are an excellent place to spot tropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as ‘the gentlemen’s club’, a gathering of male sea lions either too young or too old to be ‘beach masters’!

Day 4: Genovesa

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

It takes us an overnight sail to reach Genovesa the archipelagos north east outpost, but it is undeniably worth the voyage. Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while the island itself is one of abundant beauty, with varying landscapes and wonderful wildlife. It is also a twitcher's paradise, with all three kinds of boobies, including the rare red-footed booby, and numerous other species such as tropic birds and frigate birds. Walking the steep path known as Prince Philip's Steps get us into the heart of the seabird rookeries, with birds overhead and nesting among the cliffs. On the island's rocky plains we look out for storm petrels - Genovesa is the only place in the world where they can be seen flying during the day. Afterwards cool off with a snorkel!

Darwin Beach is another superb site with large breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates and other birds such as lava herons, swallowed tail gulls, mocking birds and hopefully the vampire finch. During the walk we will pass by tide pools with playful Sea Lions and Diamond Sting Rays and the island's magnificent marine life makes for spectacular snorkelling and the chance of encountering manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels along with many fish.

Day 5: Isla Santiago - Isla Rabida

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

On Santiago's eastern coast sits Bahia Sullivan also known as James Island. We will walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava from an eruption that occurred in 1897, and witness the colonization of plant species since the last eruption. Hopefully see some Marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Sea Lions, Finches, Turtles, Sharks and sometimes Penguins. As we walk, our guide will inform us of the geological history of the islands.

Rabida Island is known for it's gorgeous red sandy beach (due to the rusting of iron) and is one of the most striking islands of the archipelago. From the shore, the trail leads through to what is one of the finest lagoons in the Galapagos for viewing flamingos. Rabida is also a wonderful place to spot nesting pelicans. Elsewhere, pintail ducks, marine iguanas and sea lions are all present. Here we will find great Opuntia cactus forest which suggests previous existence of land iguanas as predators, possibly Galapagos hawks, mocking birds, doves, and finches; lava lizards. There is also an opportunity for snorkelling where sea stars, damsels, gobbies and surgeon fish are numerous.

Day 6: Isla Santa Cruz - Caleta Tortuga Negra - Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

As flights to the mainland from Galapagos depart mid morning, it is an early start for our last morning on the islands. Depending on the time of our flight, our time spent on this final excursion could be limited.

We take a Panga ride to explore Caleta Tortuga Negra (Black Turtle Cove) - a red mangrove wetland on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. We paddle among the cove’s peaceful waters, for our first taste of the underwater riches of these waters – it’s a breeding area for green turtles, so it is not uncommon to see them mating. There is also abundant birdlife, such as the yellow warbler and lava heron. It is also a nursery for golden cow-nose rays, eagle rays and Galapagos sharks.

Sadly all good things must come to an end and this is our final excursion. We say farewell to The Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay.

Day 7: Quito

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Our tour ends today after breakfast

There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time here before, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito, such as the Cotopaxi volcano, the Cloud Forest, hot springs, the Equatorial Monument or perhaps city tour of the fascinating Old Town. Please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.


Your Trip

What to know

Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$20 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park.

Nuts and Bolts

• Services of an expert English-speaking naturalist guide and a crew of 6 onboard the Daphne.
• Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.
• All meals and accommodation on board the Daphne.
• Excursions during the voyage.
• Transfer to and from Quito Airport on Day 2 and Day 6.
• Snorkelling equipment (wetsuits can be hired at an additional cost).

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Meals

Not Included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, entrance fees, Galapagos transit card, Galapagos National Park fee, wetsuit hire, other meals, drinks, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.


Entrance

Before you check-in for your flight from Quito to the Galapagos, you will need to purchase a US$20 transit card (which you will need to hold on to as you will need to present it on your return from the Galapagos). You must pay US$100 entrance fee to Galapagos Islands National Park upon arrival at Baltra or San Cristobal Airport in the Galapagos. This has be paid in US dollar cash (credit cards are not accepted). If your trip visits Isabela Island, there is also a US$5 port fee to be paid on arrival.


Important Information

Please note
This trip is operated by our sister company, Intrepid Travel.

The Galapagos Conservancy
We support the work of The Galapagos Conservancy. The Conservancy is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for Galapagos conservation. It is a membership-based organisation and the largest source of private support for conservation efforts. The 11,000 Friends of Galapagos are individuals and institutions who care deeply about the Galapagos Islands, and understand the scientific importance of preserving this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.

Funds raised by the Galapagos Conservancy support the core operations of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and the Galapagos National Park Service (GNPS), both located on the island of Santa Cruz.

If, after having visited this unique and precious region of the world, you would like to make a donation towards the protection of the Galapagos Islands, please visit www.galapagos.org.

Meals & Dietary requirements
All meals are included whilst on the Daphne. There is a chef on board who cooks up local and international cuisine daily, including a buffet breakfast.

Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Geckos of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.

Your group
Your group will be a mixture of Geckos booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from our partner company, Intrepid Travel.

Changes to Itinerary
This maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without previous notice due to such reasons as weather conditions or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control.

Minimum age
The minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.

M.Y Daphne
The Daphne is a motor yacht. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, as well as a sun deck where you can view the wildlife or just kick back and relax. She has eight well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins each with en-suites.
Cabins:
4x lower deck twin cabins
1x upper deck double cabin
3x upper deck twin cabins
Specifications:
Built: 1997
Re-furbished: Jan 2015
Length: 21 m
Beam: 6 m
Engines: 2
Speed: 10 knots
Passengers: 16
Crew: 6 + 1 English speaking naturalist guide

Accommodation on board is based on twin or double share. Single supplements are available on request should you require a cabin to yourself.  Single passengers cannot be booked/confirmed in a double cabin unless a single supplement is paid.

Please remember that the sun in the Galapagos can be quite fierce. Make sure you bring along a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen. You should also bring insect repellent for use on some shore excursions and excursions into the mangroves.

Diving in the Galapagos
We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Geckos internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

In case of emergency:

For any assistance prior to travel, please contact your travel agent.

For assistance whilst you are travelling, please contact the local numbers listed below, as your call will be received in the same time zone by an English speaking representative.

PEAK Adventure Travel Ecuador:

When calling from outside Ecuador: +593 994014877
When calling from inside Ecuador: 0994014877

Alternatively, if you have already joined your tour, please direct your enquiries to your local guide.

 

 

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

6 May 2015


General Contact Details

Geckos AdventuresPhone: 855-832-4853
E-mail: sales@geckosadventures.com
Web: Visit Geckos