SANTA CRUZ & ISABELA COMPLETE
This is the most complete of our Galapagos and Isabela island tours, combine 3 days minicruise around Santa Cruz main islets with snorkeling and hiking in Isabela island. Take a minicruise by Santa Fe, South Plazas, Bartholomew and North Seymour then stay 2 days in Isabela choose to snorkel in: Cape Rose, Turtle island and 4 hermanos. Also hike to Sierra Negra and Chico Volcanoes.
(Minimum 2 guest per booking)
Ecuadorian TAX IVA 12% not included
Arrive at Baltra / Transfer to Pto Ayora / Highlands / Charles Darwin Station.
You can arrive to the Galapagos only by flight, and from either Quito or Guayaquil (air ticket not included). In all of The Wooden House Lodge, Galapagos and Isabela island tours, our English speaking guide will be waiting for you at the airport in Baltra, who will then take you to Highlands, here we will have the unforgettable opportunity to observe the famous Giant Tortoises in their natural environment, which also known as Galapagos, and it is from these wonderful creatures which the Islands derive their name. We will also be able to see the famous Galapagos Finches, Bird Wizards, as well as endemic vegetation such as Scalecias forests and Matazarnos. After our incredible encounter with the Giant Tortoises, we will return to Puerto Ayora for lunch.
Afterwards, we visit the Charles Darwin Station. Here, we learn about the ongoing conservation efforts on these Enchanted Islands. The Research Station rears endemic Galapagos plants, land iguanas, and Giant Galapagos Tortoises for educational, scientific and conservation purposes.
Accommodations in Santa Cruz Island
Mini Galapagos Cruise Tour. – Santa Cruz
This day you will take a boat ride to one of the following destinations (destination subject to availability).
All of them offer fascinating insights into the plant and animal life of the Galapagos Islands. You will enjoy lunch on board.
Santa Fe Island; the visitor site on Santa Fe lies behind a pretty, sheltered bay on the northeastern corner of the island: a perfect anchorage and a good snorkeling spot. This small island is formed of uplifted, submarine basaltic lavas, formed around 4 million years ago.
Much of it is a faulted plateau covered with a forest of giant Opuntia cacti. The unnamed bay with a white sandy floor and turquoise waters is an impressive place to arrive at. Along the natural harbor, you can snorkel with young sea-lions. Schools of yellow-tailed surgeonfish, sergeant majors, damsel, parrotfish, the odd grouper, sting rays, and white-tip reef sharks (these are harmless).
As you walk through the dense bushes on the short trail, watch out for the Croton bushes which is an endemic plant with a stain. The most spectacular plants are the giant prickly pear cacti that are unique to Santa Fe (Opuntia echios barringtonensis). Listen carefully for rustling sounds. The sounds could be made by the endemic rice rat, these are extremely rare; the only other island with endemic rodents is Fernandina. The Galapagos dove is common on the trail, as are painted locusts, often pursued by a snake or two. The park monument is often a good place to spy a Galapagos hawk, in this island there are the biggest hawks of our Galapagos and Isabela island tours. The highlight is the land iguana, a lighter-colored iguana that is endemic to Santa Fe.
South Plaza Island; the landing is dry, the dock is often taken over by large male sea-lions and their young, so before it is safe to land the guides have to shoo them away by clapping. Step carefully over the white guano and crab-covered rocks. As your eyes get used to the glare, you’ll spot the land iguanas under the shadows of the Opuntia. These are one of the smallest subspecies of land iguanas.
The vegetation belongs to the arid and littoral zones; half the island covered with saltbush, leatherleaf (Maytenus), and thorn scrub (Scutia pauciflora). The side with the trail is treeless, but covered with a rock-garden-like mat of the endemic sea purslane whose succulent leaves turn red from May to December.
Heading back down to the channel, the trail runs behind one of the most concentrated sea lion colonies in the islands. About 1000 shift around as males continually vie for “harems” of about 20 females. The pups are endearing and will often approach you, but you must not go up to them. Keep your eye out for migratory waders like sander lings, knots, plovers and kelp gull.
Snorkeling off South Plaza is not allowed because of the number of sea-lions. Currents can be strong.
Bartolome Island; the Yacht reserves the right to arrive in advance or later without prior notice if it is considered appropriate due to National Park rules, major force or any consideration at captain’s discretion, without being liable for refunds of any kind. Recommendations: walking shoes, sandals, swimsuit, beach towels, and bottles of water.
The beach landing is wet. Take some repellent. A short ten-minute walk across a sand dune takes you to the southern beach, where harmless black-tipped reef sharks and rays are often seen in the warm, shallow water. Snorkeling is banned here to protect the marine life. Ghost crabs creep over the sand and disappear as you approach. Look up at the sky and often you may see a juvenile Galapagos hawk hovering overhead. From January to March you may see marine turtles coming ashore to nest in the sand.
The summit trail begins with a dry landing, though sea-lions make the purpose-built dock more exciting. The trail is a dusty walk through volcanic ash. The only vegetation is the “pioneer plants”, grey Tiquilia and greenish Chamaesyce. These are vital in binding the ash that fans down from the hill. The park wardens have built wooden steps up the hill to prevent further erosion by humans. The reddish spatter cones were minor eruptions of highly viscous material that cooled rapidly. The summit is such a cone; it seems higher than 114m as you climb the steps. The eastern side has many small lava tubes. The hike is better before 10h00 or after 16h00, when the light is softer. If you look carefully you can make out sunken craters in the sea below. In the distance you can see most of the central islands, the peaks of Isabela to the west, and on a clear day Marchena and Pinta to the north.
A good snorkeling place lies at the foot of the Pinnacle Rock that leans into the bay. The cliff is an eroded tuff cone. A small family of Galapagos penguins lives in the shadows of the Pinnacle. A dingy ride is usually taken to locate the penguins.
North Seymour Island; Lying just to the north of Baltra, Seymour is a low island consisting of uplifted submarine lava. The dry landing on black basaltic lava can be slippery. After a short climb over the “pillow lavas” the rest of the trail is flat and easy, apart from some boulders on the frigate bird loop. The landing is rich in wildlife: sea-lions, swallow-tailed gulls, lava gulls, tropicbirds, brown noddy terns and pelicans. The trail is a large loop; you can either go clockwise along the shore or head inland to visit the booby colony first.
Heading along the shore, you traverse a wide expanse of sand criss-crossed with marine iguana trails. These reptiles nest here, so be careful where you tread. Some of the islands’s finest waves pound a boulder beach on your left; young sea-lions often body-surf here. Looking west, there are good views of the two Daphne islands, Major and Minor.
Right of the trail are saltbush clumps on which magnificent frigate birds nest. Males and females nest in the trees; frigates are unusual for Galapagos seabirds because they build a nest of twigs. A side trail goes inland to the breeding area. Here it can get a bit rocky, so watch your step. Another branch turns the other way to a flatter area where blue-footed boobies nest. During courtship they spend hours handing nesting materials (twigs and small stones) to each other, but never actually construct a nest. The area where the eggs are laid is marked by a ring of white guano. The palo santo trees here are an endemic species; during the garua season they look dead, but after the rains in February, they turn green almost overnight. Other endemic plants include Opuntia cactus, Croton, Castela, and Sesuvium. On rare occasions large land iguanas are seen under a shady bush. They were originally from Baltra (or South Seymour), but were brought over here by scientists many years ago to see if they would survive.
**Destination may vary according to weather and regulations of the Galapagos National Park.
AccommodationS in Santa Cruz
Meals: Breakfast + Lunch
Santa Cruz – Pto Ayora / Isabela Island: Concha Perla / Tintoreras Islet
Early in the morning (6:40 am), we will prepare ourselves to take the Public speedboat to Isabela (07:00), the most bigger and young of the Galapagos and Isabela island tours, which lasts approximately two and a half hours. After arriving at Isabela, we will transfer to the hotel. After a brief rest at the hotel, you will visit Concha de Perla lagoon, where you can swim with sea lions, colorful varieties of fish, and with luck sea turtles. Return to hotel for lunch.
Afterwards we will prepare ourselves for the visit to Tintoreras Islet, for which we will make our way to the dock of Puerto Villamil in order to embark on small speedboats that have a capacity of 12 passengers each. After a short ride (appx. 20 min.) we will arrive at Tintoreras Islet. The name of the islet derives from the sharks that live in the waters surrounding the islet that have whit-tipped fins, which are known as “Tintoreras”. The islet is one of the most fascinating places on Isabela Island and in fact all of the Galapagos. In this one area we can see sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, sea turtles, pelicans, and Galapagos Penguins. As the island is one of the main breeding sites for the marine iguanas, it is an excellent place to see numerous amounts of these creatures close-up. After the hike through the islet, we will get back on the boat and cool off by snorkeling in the waters nearby, where we can see multicolor fish, starfish, sea-urchins, and with luck manta rays, sharks, and sea lions that may swim closely with us. After this fascinating experience we will return to the hotel to rest until dinner.
Accommodation at Wooden House lodge
Meals: Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner
Isabela Island: Snorkel Day Tour to Cape Rose Tunnels / Biking Time
This island has unique sea fauna there fore we organized the fourth day of this Galapagos and Isabela island tours, with a complete snorkel day, so early in the morning (8:00 am), after breakfast, we will prepare ourselves for Snorkeling Daily Tour to:
Cape Rose -Tunnels; this site is located at 40 minutes by boat southwest of Puerto Villamil. The sighting of birds and marine animals from the lava platform is one of the most important attractions. While snorkeling at this site, experience encloses encounters with many species of fish, ray, golden rays, sea turtles, penguins and sea lions. You will enjoy a delicious box lunch on board.
During the rest of this day you will be able to rent Bicycles. We suggest visiting the Breeding Center of the Giant Tortoises and the Humid Lands on your own.
Return to the hotel to rest before heading to dinner.
Accommodation at Wooden House lodge
Meals:Breakfast + Boxlunch + Dinner
Isabela Island: Sierra Negra Volcano & Chico Volcano
Early in the morning (8:00 am), after breakfast, we will prepare ourselves for the Sierra Negra Volcano hike, this volcano crater is the second largest of the world, so here you will see the most spectacular views, be prepared to these day of our Galapagos and Isabela island tours, by putting on comfortable walking shoes and possibly a rain jacket, making sure our cameras are stored in waterproof bags, making sure to bring sunscreen, water, and hats, and finally by preparing our box lunch at the hotel to take with us. We will then travel approximately 45 minutes by truck or bus to begin the 12 km hike (appx. 3 hours). The hike is long in terms of distance, but not very difficult as the inclines and declines are quite gradual. Sierra Negra Volcano has the second largest crater in the world, measuring approximately 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet deep. We will reach Volcan Chico before heading back, which should provide a spectacular view of the incredible moonlike terrain.
In the afternoon you will have time to rest and enjoy the beach. You will have dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation at Wooden House lodge
Meals:Breakfast + Boxlunch + Dinner
Transfer from Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island / Transfer Out.
At 5:00 a.m. we will prepare ourselves to go to the dock (wake-up at 4:30 AM). We will take the public speedboat, which leaves at 6:00 a.m. (subject to change), From Isabela to Puerto Ayora (2 hour and a half estimated travel time).
Upon arrival, a driver will be waiting for you to transfer from Puerto Ayora to Baltra Airport, where you will catch your return flight to either Quito or Guayaquil.
Depending on the time of the flights, in the last day of everyone Galapagos and isabela island tours, we may be able to visit two sunken “holes”, similar to craters, known as “Los Gemelos”. (For this reason we recommend booking your return flight for the afternoon). These craters were formed by the collapse of the earth beneath which lava had passed and created giant tunnels, which facilitated the collapse and creation of the craters.
- Accommodation in double occupancy.
- All meals (breakfast – lunch – dinner).
- All land and sea transportation within the Galapagos during the program.
- Bilingual naturalist guides for each island and all activities.
- Excursions and visits during the program.
- Snorkeling Equipment (mask, fins, tube).
- Transfer Puerto Ayora – Isabela – Puerto Ayora by Public speedboat.
- Transfer Baltra – Puerto Ayora – Baltra (by truck or by bus depending on group size).
- Air Ticket.
- Ecuadorian Tax 14%.
- Galapagos National Park Entry Fee – $100.00 US pp.
- Isabela Dock Fee – $5.00 US pp.
- Migratory Control Card – $20.00 US.
- Water taxi from dock to speedboat (Isabela, Santa Cruz Islands – depending on the tide) – $ 1.00 US per person per ride.
- Soft-drinks and alcoholic beverages.
HOTEL SELECTION: The above itinerary is based both operation and hosting services in our hotel The Wooden House in Isabela Island. In the other Islands we work with the same range/ level of hotels.
You can always choose the class of hotels that you would prefer. We will indicate in advance which hotels are available for the dates of your trip and the extra charges. Hotels are categorized in the following classes: Tourist Superior Class, and First Class.
All hotels that we work with are carefully chosen by us after close inspection.
AIRFARE NOT INCLUDED: The price of the tour does not include air tickets. We can help with booking your ticket, or you may book your own flights on your own. PLEASE TAKE INTO ACCOUNT which island you will arrive and leave from, and if you choose to book your own flight please try to book your arrival in the morning (before 11am) and your departure in the afternoon (11am or after) so that you will not miss any part of the tour. You can book your flight through either TAME, AEROGAL, LAN.
RESTAURANTS: We utilize local restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which also depend on the category of hotel that is chosen, as not all hotels have restaurant services. Meals are served in the fashion of the local customs as “meal of the day “options.
GUIDES: We use local and different guides for each island you visit or sometimes a guide that specializes in specific activities. The guides will accompany you throughout all excursions and visits, give explanations and education on their knowledge of the islands, flora, and fauna, and coordinate the activities each day. In reference to lunch and dinner, the guide will only indicate the restaurant selected but we will not stay with you during this time. Distances are short in the Galapagos, and as the inhabited settlements have few residents they are very safe to walk around any time of day with normal precaution. The Guide activities start and end with the excursions.The guide will not go with you on the speedboats transfer either.
LUNCH AND DINNER: Consist of the meal of the day (not a la carte). If you would prefer a la carte style meals they can be made available for an extra charge. Please let us know before booking your tour.Description: B = Breakfast / L= Lunch / BXL = Box Lunch / D = Dinner
PUBLIC SPEEDBOATS: We recommend that before beginning the ride between islands that you take a seasickness pill if you are sensitive to sea-sickness. It is also recommended that you carry on small plastic bags in case of seasickness. The speedboats are not completely covered so please make sure that valuables and electronics, or anything that you do not wish to get wet, is stored in a plastic bag. The guide will not go with you on the speedboats but a new guide will greet you on the other side. There are no services onboard the speedboat as space is limited and the journey is relatively short. A water taxi ride is sometimes required (depending on the tide) from the dock to the speedboat, the cost is 1 USD per person and per ride. Please, make sure you bring cash in small denominations in case this expense is needed.
SCHEDULE OF EXCURSIONS: The schedule of the excursions will be coordinated and determined locally through the guide and those responsible for the operations. The guide will indicate what time each activity will start. The transfers between islands on the public speedboats are the only activities that have fixed departure times.
NOTE: Itinerary subject to change without prior warning depending on seasonal changes, weather conditions, and adjustments in policies set by the Galapagos National Park, and other unforeseen circumstances that may arise.