Santa Cruz and Floreana
Animals, birds, beaches and views: experience the variety of the Galapagos Islands, exploring on land and by water, staying at an exclusive camp and a beachside lodge.
Santa Cruz and Floreana
Prices from: £1,875pp for 4 nights
Hit the ground running! You won’t waste a moment of your valuable time in the Galapagos Islands. Within moments of landing you are donning your outdoor gear ready for some kayaking and snorkelling, encountering the famed wildlife first hand. The up tempo pace continues for all 5 days, as you walk to viewpoints, paddle-board to beaches, swim with turtles and travel by speedboat between the islands. There will be time to stop and take it all in, too, to gaze with wonder at the giant tortoise at your feet, watch dancing frigatebirds, marvel at stunning ocean vistas and pause to watch dramatic sunsets.
Your guide is with your throughout to open your eyes to the wonders of nature on these enchanted isles, and introduce you to local characters some of whose families have lived in the Galapagos for several generations. It all adds up to a rounded experience, fully involving you in island life, and will leave you with a great many memories.
- Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, Santa Cruz 2 nights
- Lava Lodge, Floreana 2 nights
DAY 1: SATURDAY
You fly into Baltra, the main airport in the Galapagos Islands, to be met by your guide and taken toa VIP lounge where you can change clothes ready for your first activity: kayaking, paddle boarding or snorkelling in the Itabaca Channel. This is your first opportunity to see Galapagos wildlife such as blue-footed boobies, sea lions, white-tipped reef sharks, herons and pelicans. Afterwards you travel to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to a private farm where your exclusive campsite has been set up. Looking down from the hillside you have fine views over the ocean. Enjoy a freshly cooked meal and then adjourn to the nearby ‘lava lounge’ formed by lava tubes, for drinks and conversation round the blazing fire before bed. Lunch, dinner
DAY 2: SUNDAY
Get ready for some superb views! You travel back to the Itabaca Channel to board the waiting yacht, Sea Finch, for the voyage to Bartolome. Follow your guide up the path to the island’s highest point, from which there are panoramic views back down to the coastline, Pinnacle Rock and neighbouring islands. Descend to the beach and enjoy a panga ride looking for Galapagos penguins by the shore and in the water. There is time for snorkelling and a stroll along the beach past dozing sea lions, followed by lunch on the yacht and journey back to the campsite Santa Cruz. You have the chance to spen some time in Puerto Ayora, the capital of the Galapagos Islands, this afternoon before returning to camp. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 3: MONDAY
An early breakfast is followed by an exciting speedboat ride to Floreana, which takes about 2 hours. This was the first island to be inhabited by humans and has an interesting history which your guide can recount as you travel by bus to Lava Lodge, your home for the next 2 nights. Its owner, Claudio Cruz, is an interesting character descended from some of the early settlers, and is happy to share his knowledge of island life from days gone by. Walk, paddle-board or kayak to Black Beach for some snorkelling before lunch in a local restaurant. The afternoon offers more water-based activities followed by a walk back to the lodge and dinner in the village. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 4: TUESDAY
Journey up to the highlands in an open air bus as you hear about the colourful lives and exploits of some of the early islanders. Stretch your legs with a walk to pirate caves and freshwater spring, while looking out for giant tortoises in the undergrowth. Your trail takes you down though cultivated areas including Claudio’s farm, and the chance to spot frigate birds, and on to the home of very first inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, before travelling back to Lava Lodge for lunch. You have a free afternoon, choosing between swimming, snorkelling, paddle-boarding, kayaking and relaxing, or a mix of several. Dinner is at a restaurant in the nearby village. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY
After an early breakfast you take the speedboat back to Santa Cruz and transfer to the airport in Baltra for the flight back to the mainland. Breakfast
Price from (pp sharing): £1,875 (ex. international flights)
Includes: 4 nights’ accommodation on twin share basis, meet and greet on arrival, meals as shown, transport as shown including shared speedboat transfers between islands, services of an English-speaking naturalist guide, excursions and activities as shown, use of snorkelling equipment, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and bikes
Excludes: International flights, return flights to the Galapagos Islands from mainland Ecuador, departure taxes, visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, Galapagos National Park Fee currently US$100 payable locally in US$, tourist transit card (currently US$20), meals not shown as included, drinks, items of a personal nature, tips.
Getting there: This tour starts and ends in Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. Return flights from the UK to Quito cost from about £675, depending on season and availability and return flights from mainland Ecuador to Baltra cost from £425.We normally book these for you.
Departure dates: This is small group trip departing on a Saturday. 2017 departure dates: 7th and 21st January, 4th February, 4th March, 1st, 8th, 15th and 29th April, 20th and 27th May, 3rd, 10th and 17th June, 1st and 15th July, 5th, 12th, 19th and 26th August, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th September, 21st and 28th October, 4th November, 2nd, 9th and 16th December.
Magic Galapagos Tented Camp
The camp is located on a hillside within a private farm, with views over the coast and ocean. There is no other lodge or camp in the area, and your only neighbours are the resident giant tortoises. You stay in a tent, comfy camping! With just canvas between you and the outside world, you feel part of the natural world. The main lodge is where you relax with other guests between activities and enjoy meals cooked in the adjoining open-air kitchen. The camp is ideally placed for watching the sunset, and later, after dinner, guests usually take a walk to the nearby lava tubes, a natural ‘lava lounge’, where a camp fire is burning and nightcaps are served.
The Red Mangrove Lava Lodge is just 5 minutes from Puerto Velasco Ibarra, the main town on Floreana. This is the smallest of the inhabited Galapagos Islands and the first to be populated. The pace of life on Floreana is pleasantly relaxed. Lava Lodge is set on one of the most secluded bays on the island, a short walk from a lovely swimming beach and also close to the loberia, where you can observe sea lions. There are kayaks, paddle boards and snorkelling gear for you to use during your stay. Accommodation is in 10 self-contained pine-built cabins, each with its own bathroom with hot and cold water, a large veranda and outdoor reading area. Cabins are air conditioned for your comfort. The lodge has a snack bar, the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner at the end of the day.