Galapagos Wildlife Adventure: Western Cruise

Starting From

$6,495/person

Number of days

11

Start Location

Quito, Ecuador

End Location

Quito, Ecuador

Group Size

8-16

Operated by

MT Sobek

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Journey through one of the Earth's most exotic places on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Splash with sea turtles, rays and sea lions, walk the trails with giant tortoises and iguanas and do it all under the guidance of your MT Sobek naturalist guide who eagerly and enthusiastically share their passion for the islands and the extraordinary creatures and terrain. Hiking, swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling offer you astonishing opportunities to get close to the wildlife underwater and on land. After each action-filled day, return to the luxury of your private yacht to rest and re-energize. This western route takes in the natural wonders of Isabela, Fernandina, and Santiago Islands. See below for a sample itinerary of your day-to-day activities.

Operated by:

MT Sobek

MT Sobek, the originators, innovators and leaders in adventure travel for more than five decades, crafts journeys to the world's most memorable places.

Itinerary

Arrive in Quito

Welcome to the historic city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. An MT Sobek representative will meet you outside customs at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day is free unwind, take advantage of the pool's spa services or begin your exploration of this dynamic city. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Explore Quito

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before setting out on half-day guided tour of colonial Quito. The city's UNESCO-listed old town contains the best examples of Colonial Baroque architecture in South America! After lunch, you are free to explore more of the old town, return to the hotel, or shop for handicrafts made by local artisans.

Gather in the hotel at 6:30pm for a mandatory briefing with your fellow travelers and MT Sobek representative, who will discuss tomorrow's flight to the Galápagos Islands and the adventure ahead. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Fly to the Galápagos Islands

Rise for breakfast and an early transfer flight from Quito to Baltra Island in the Galápagos. After meeting your naturalist guide, take a short transfer from Baltra to Santa Cruz Island. Here a private vehicle awaits to take you to the lush highlands of Santa Cruz for a special opportunity to see giant tortoises in their wild and natural habitat. Next, transfer to Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in the Galápagos. Stroll the main street to the harbor, where you will board the yacht and your basecamp for activities during the next week. Enjoy a welcome dinner.

Follow Trails on Isabela Island

Days 4 - 9 may slightly vary depending on your departure date. From your anchorage on the southern end of Isabela Island, board a Zodiac (small, motorized inflatable boats) to explore Tintoreras — a group of islets. Follow a trail to observe marine iguanas, sea lions, and marine birds diving for fish. Return to the yacht and cruise to the western side of Isabela Island. Enjoy views of the island's pristine coastline, and keep lookout for dolphins and whales. After lunch, anchor at Punta Moreno for a walk across a pahoehoe lava flow, surrounded by giant shield volcanoes and a series of green lagoons — abundant with wildlife, including flamingos, blue-footed boobies, Darwin's finches, and flightless cormorants. If time allows, take your first snorkel this afternoon. Return to the boat for cocktail hour and dinner.

Experience West Isabela Island

Start the day at Elizabeth Bay, where you will set off by Zodiac to explore tranquil coves and a red mangrove lagoon, home to green sea turtles, flightless cormorants, and Galápagos penguins! Get in the water for a snorkel and you may also spot rays and small sharks among tropical fish. After lunch, continue to Urbina Bay — famous for having uplifted 15 feet along 2 miles of coastline exposing corals and invertebrates in its strata. Follow your guide on the trail to look for Galápagos land iguanas, Galápagos hawks, finches, and giant tortoises (mostly seen between January and June.)

Explore Fernandina Island

Awake at your anchorage near Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island — said to be the largest ecologically pristine island in the world and one of the highlights of the trip. Upon landing, take a walk on black lava fields in search of marine iguanas, colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs and Galápagos sea lions lounging in its lagoons. In the afternoon, disembark for an unforgettable Zodiac cruise (with optional snorkeling) along the dramatic cliffs of Punta Vicente Roca, the remnants of an ancient volcanic caldera. Ride ocean swells beneath the cliffs in search of nesting boobies and explore a huge marine cave.

Hike & Snorkel on Santiago Island

Wake for a wet landing on Santiago's soft, sandy Espumilla Beach. Walk the island's lagoon and beach in search of raptors and finches before suiting up for cliff-side kayaking and snorkeling. Perhaps the finest snorkel of the trip, you will be amazed by the array of colorful marine life, from angelfish and rays to sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks. After lunch, land on the dark, sandy volcanic beach of Puerto Egas. The trail follows the rocky coastline, where tide pools are home to sponges, hermit crabs, and fish including the world's only four-eyed blenny. Sea lions bask on the rocks, along with marine iguanas and shore birds. At the end of the trail, we'll visit the grottos for a chance to see a colony of Galápagos fur seals up close.

Swim with Sea Lions on Santa Cruz Island

Rise to explore Santa Cruz Island's Cerro Dragón. Named after its large population of land iguanas, this area has one of the longest trails in the islands (2 miles). Spot flamingos in a salt-water lagoon before lunch and then head to Rábida. The volcanic "small red island" is located near the center of the archipelago, and its red-sand beach is home to sea lions and pups. Behind the beach is a brackish lagoon, home to migratory shorebirds, wading birds, and ducks. Two species of boobies nest along the cliffs. Snorkel with Galápagos penguins along the cliff face or swim with sea lion pups — another highlight of the trip!

Journey to Bachas Beach & North Seymour Island

Las Bachas is a beautiful, white-sand beach on the north side of Santa Cruz. Encounter sea lions on the beach, look for flamingos and great blue herons in the lagoon, and spot hatchlings' footprints leading from the nest to the water's edge (sea turtles nest here from December to April). After our last lunch onboard the yacht, disembark by Zodiac for a snorkeling excursion near North Seymour Island, known for its dense breeding colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds. Keep an eye out for shorebirds, sea lions, marine iguanas, and huge land iguanas as you walk North Seymour's loop trail in the afternoon. Back on the boat tonight, enjoy a festive farewell cocktail hour and a group dinner with the captain.

Depart from the Galápagos & Return to Quito

After breakfast aboard the yacht, disembark and transfer to the Baltra airport for the return flight to Quito. An MT Sobek representative will greet you at Quito airport and provide assistance to your nearby hotel. You can use your hotel room as a dayroom with extended check-out and depart on a late evening flight home, or you can use your room as an overnight room and depart the next day. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

Depart from Quito

After breakfast at the hotel, use the complimentary shuttle to transfer to the airport in time for your outbound flight. Or, stay on in Quito to join us for one of our extensions in Ecuador or Peru!

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