Take a Bow - Northern Islands

The tortoises of Charles Darwin Research Station
Puerto Ayora
Frigatebird spotting
UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito
  • This short journey is the perfect introduction to the amazing and varied wildlife that call the Galapagos Islands home, it is astounding how close our encounters will be with the animals.


    Day 1 - Quito

    Feeling a little out of breath? Not surprising, considering Quito sits about 2800 metres above sea level. Take it easy today, and stock up on any supplies you might've forgotten (sunhat, deck of cards, flip flops).

    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 to Baltra, visit Bachas beach

    Fly to Baltra and set sail. Visit Las Bachas beach and see loads of eggs. The eggs belong to the sea turtles, so don't touch them. Sea turtles may be slow but they're hard as nails. Literally.

    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
    Santa Cruz Island is a nesting site for the Pacific green turtle, and marine iguanas are also commonly seen

    The sand here is particularly white and soft - it's made of decomposed coral

    The rocks provide great snorkelling and are the perfect habitat for the Sally Lightfoot crabs

    A saltwater lagoon near to the beach is home to flamingo and whimbrel, and also look out for great blue herons

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - El Barranco - Bahia Darwin - Genovesa

    Red-footed boobies, get your red-footed boobies. Hot off the press. For your eyes only. Extra, extra read all about it.

    Dolphins are often spotted in the waters around Genovesa while the island itself has abundant wildlife

    All three kinds of boobies live here, including the rare red-footed booby, and numerous other species such as tropic birds and frigate birds

    Walk the steep path known as Prince Philip's Steps to the heart of the seabird rookeries

    Look out for storm petrels on the islands rocky plains

    Cool off with a snorkel

    See breeding colonies of seabirds and frigates and other birds such as lava herons, swallowed tail gulls, mocking birds and hopefully the vampire finch on Darwin Beach

    Pass by tide pools with Sea Lions and Diamond Sting Rays and perhaps encounter manta rays, sharks, turtles and moray eels while snorkelling

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Isla Santiago and Cerro Dragón

    Brightly coloured lava lizards are endemic to Española - they're basically marine iguanas that look like they got in a fight with a rainbow and lost. Very cool.

    Walk on Pahoe-Hoe lava from an eruption that occurred in 1897

    Hopefully see some marine iguanas, Sally Lightfoot crabs, sea lions, finches, turtles, sharks and sometimes penguins

    Learn about the geological history of the islands from your guide as you walk

    Set sail for Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), on Santa Cruz's north coast

    Walk to a brackish lagoon frequented by lagoon birds including stilts, pintail ducks, sandpipers, sanderlings and occasionally flamingos

    Walk further to see views of the bay and the western area of the archipelago - this area is a nesting site for land iguanas, which is constantly monitored and assisted by the Charles Darwin Research Station

    Bird watch, perhaps see Darwin's finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, the endemic Galapagos flycatcher and yellow warblers

    The path can be challenging

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz and the Charles Darwin Research Station, fly to Quito.

    Pop into the Charles Darwin Research Station and pay your respects to Lonesome George. Head back to Baltra Airport for the short flight back to Quito.

    Visit Santa Cruz, the second largest island in the Galapagos
    Puerto Ayora is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station

    Perhaps go to the visitor centre and museum - learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos and see giant tortoises up close

    Spend free time exploring Puerto Ayora, check your email or have a drink at a local bar and see the local’s way of life

    Farewell the Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for your flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour

    Upon arrival in Quito Airport, transfer back to the hotel for an overnight stay


    Day 6 - Quito

    All good things must come to an end. It's time to reflect on the last 6 days of your life, and all the new animal (and human) friends you made along the way. Trip winds up after breakfast.

    The adventure ends today after breakfast

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Bus, Motorised Yacht, Plane, Zodiac
2 nights Hotel, 3 nights Motorised Yacht
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

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. 

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