Rudder from Another Mudder - Southern Islands
North Seymour for the frigate birds and iguanas. Isla San Cristobal for the sea turtles and hammerhead sharks. Isla Floreana for the flamingos and sting rays. Santa Cruz for the tortoises, Santa Fe for the turtles, Sombrero Chino for the penguins. For it?
The Galapagos are not only a world-famous haven for wildlife, but an incredible archipelago of diverse islands that each offer different experiences. From close-up wildlife experiences with the weird and wonderful local inhabitants to walks along secluded beaches and up to the summit of volcanic outcrops to enjoy stunning views, there is plenty for nature lovers to savour. This comprehensive journey is the perfect overview and showcases the eclectic mix that combines together to make up the panoramic Galapagos mosaic.
Day 1 - Quito
Explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the highest capital city in the world with a judicial building. La Paz, in Bolivia, is the actual highest capital city in the world, but it doesn't have a judicial building. Who would've thought a judicial building could make such a difference?
Attend a welcome meeting in the evening, check with the hotel reception for details
Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level and at this altitude you may possibly experience some effects from the high altitude, we suggest that you avoid any strenuous activity on this day
Wander through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and explore the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco, see The Baroque art and architecture when visiting the churches, monasteries and public buildings
Perhpas head for one of the many viewpoints over the city, El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes, the 30-metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city
La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain also offers great views
Day 2 - Fly Baltra, visit North Seymour
Man of war birds, pirate birds, frigate pelican, frigatebirds - whatever you want to call them, these things are awesome (FYI, we call them frigatebirds). They've got the largest wingspan (in comparison to their body) of any bird species in the world, and they can stay airborne for an entire week. Head to North Seymour and see if you can spot some.
Transfer to Quito Airport and fly to the Galapagos Islands (you may depart as early as 4am)
A US$10 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 - have cash on hand for these transactions to save time
You'll be met and transferred to the boat (the Nemo III) when you arrive
You'll be assigned cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over lunch
Travel to North Seymour, where you'll see blue footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, both species of frigate birds (Great and Magnificent), land iguanas, marine iguanas, California sea lions, endemic incense trees
Go for a walk and snorkel while you're there - see variety of fish, and possibly white-tipped reef sharks, rays and sea lionsBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 3 - San Cristobal - Isla Lobos, Cerro Brujo and Kicker Rock
Isla Lobos is popular with the sea lion community while Kicker Rock is popular with the snorkelling community.
Go for a walk and see one of the largest colonies of sea lions, frigate birds, blu footed boobies, Sall Light Foot crabs, lava lizards, lava herons, marine iguanas, common sandpipers and yellow warblers
Head to one of the best snorkelling spots in Galapagos, Kicker Rock, where you'll see Galapagos sharks, and possibly a hammer head shark among sea turtles and an incredible biodiversity of invertebrates
Take a Panga ride to Cerro Brujoto admire the volcanic formations
Swim and snorkel here and see lake and sea birds, Sally Lightfoot crabs, brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies and enjoy views of Kicker RockBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 4 - Isla Española
Española is also known as Hood Island. But you won't find any turf wars or marine iguana cartel here, just 12,000 pairs of waved albatross and a whole bunch of other Galapagos wildlife. And they all live in harmony.
Cruise to Española, the oldest island in the Galapagos with a variety of endemic fauna
Go for a walk and see waved albatrosses, colonies of blue-footed and masked boobies, sea lions, marine iguanas, Galapagos doves and mockingbirds
Head to the beautiful Gardner Beach and spy sea lions and hood mockingbirds, snorkel and relax
Go to Punta Suarez, go for a trail walk to a lookout
Keep your eye out for more wildlifeBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 5 - Post Office Bay Isla Floreana
Wildlife often steals the show in the Galapagos, but Floreana has a pretty interesting human history, too. Learn all about it, then write a letter to leave in the 220-year-old postbox. Told you it was pretty interesting.
Visit Floreana, go ashore at Punta Cormorant where the sand is an olive green colour
See Galapagos sea lions, pink flamingos and other water birds
Walk to see an Easter Pacific Green Sea turtle nesting site, see young diamond sting rays in the shore line
Visit Post Office Bay to learn about the quirky maritime history
Snorkel and go on a panga ride hereBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 6 - Isla Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station
Giant tortoise can grow up to four feet long. Think about that. That's about three and a half feet more tortoise than you'll ever have seen before. Pay them a visit on Santa Cruz.
Visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos
Puerto Ayora is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station, perhaps spend time at the station's vistor centre and museum - learn about the history of the area and conservation efforts and see giant tortoises
Enjoy free time here, maybe check your email or have a drink local bar and see the local’s way of life
Head to the highlands of Santa Cruz, travel through the agricultural region and into the misty forests - see the Unique Scalesia cloud forest, dome shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the woodpecker and warbler finches as well as vermillion flycatchersBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 7 - South Plaza and Santa Fé
There's a bit in The Jungle Book when Baloo sings "Bare Necessities". He warns Mowgli, "Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw, when you pick a pear try to use the claw". But you don't have claws, so try not to pick the prickly pears on Santa Fe. Actually, Mowgli didn't have claws either. Turns out Baloo wasn't so great at giving advice.
Visit Plaza Sur or South Plaza, a small but pretty island
Go for a trail walk past sea lions and one of the largest populations of land iguanas
Spot ropicbirds and swallow-tailed gulls as well as gathering of male sea lions called ‘the gentlemen’s club’ from the southern cliffs
Go to Santa Fe, see more sea lions and possibly swim with them
Perhaps see see the Galapagos hawk, land Iguanas, a variety of finches and the Galapagos mockingbird, sea lions, marine turtles, frigatebirds, Galapagos doves and lava lizards
This is a great spot for snorkelling
Go for a walk along a trail along the coast and into Opuntia Forest - see a forest of giant cactu and palo santo trees
Enjoy free time on the beach to snorkel and watch sea lion pupsBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 8 - Isla Bartolomé and Sombrero Chino
Take the Summit Trail to the top of Bartolomé for sweet views. After the trek you'll be all hot, which will make you feel like jumping in the water and snorkelling. Go ahead, you earned it.
Head to Bartolome Island, enjoy the volcanic landscape, see Galapagos penguins and lava lizards
Climb 360 wooden steps to the summit of the island (you'll need walking shoes) - enjoy views of Pinnacle Rock
Hike to the top of a once active volcano with views of Sullivan Bay, on nearby Santiago Island, look out for the Galapagos hawk here
Go snorkelling, see tropical fish, sea stars and hopefully penguins, white tipped reef sharks and rays
Approach Sombrero Chino via a sandy beach with sea lions and Sally Lightfoot crabs
Explore the islands volcanic origin
Follow a trail through sea lion colonies, and past marine iguanas
Snorkel here and hoepfully see penguins and sharksBreakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 9 - Isla Mosquera – Baltra – Fly Quito
Get your last chance for wildlife-spotting on Isla Mosquera. There's sea lions, marine birds, boobies, Sally Lightfoot Crabs and more.
Sail to Isla Mosquera, a popular place for sea lions and marine birds
See Sally Lightfoot crabs and brown pelicans
This is your final excursion, head to the airport for your flight back to Quito
Upon arrival at Quito airport you'll be transferred back to the hotelBreakfast
Day 10 - Quito
Return to Quito, where civilisation awaits. The trip winds up after breakfast.
The adventure ends today after breakfast - there are no activities planned for todayBreakfast
What to Know
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What to know
On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park and a US$10 transit fee.