5D/4N Land Based Galapagos Tour with the Red Mangrove Hotels
Charles Darwin's Footsteps with the Santa Cruz & Isabela Islands
Day 1: Flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Santa Cruz
Arriving to Baltra Airport, one of the Red Mangrove representatives will be there to welcome you to these paradisiacal islands. Once you’ve arrived, you will take the shared bus to the Itabaca Channel; next, you’ll take the public ferry that will help you across the channel to Santa Cruz. From the Santa Cruz docking point you will be transferred to the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge.
After a delicious lunch at the lodge, we will prepare to visit the cloud forest in the highlands of Santa Cruz. We will first visit the twin craters known as Los Gemelos, two volcanic chambers that originally formed the island. Now, due to the movement of the tectonic plate beneath the island, these chambers are dead and we can safely appreciate the power of the forces of nature that once gave life to the islands. We will take a short hike here on which we will walk through a scalesia forest and perhaps even witness some of the endemic species that live here.
Afterwards, we will visit a private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises dwell in peace in their natural habitat. This area is characterized by the amount of rain and fog present almost every day, making the terrain muddy and quite humid. Although rubber boots can be provided, good hiking shoes are necessary.
On our last visit of the day, we will travel inside a lava tunnel – a unique opportunity to literally see the inside of this volcanic island. Inside the tunnel you will be able to appreciate the different coloration of the rocks based on the minerals present in the walls. You’ll also be able to admire the different lava formations inside the tunnels, such as stalagmites and stalactites.
Back to the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge for the night.
Day 2: kayaking at Santa Cruz and transfer to Isabella
Breakfast will be served at the lodge, and afterwards a kayaking expert will give you some pointers and instructions on how to kayak around the island. Then we will board our kayaks to paddle around the island. Later on, you can do some snorkeling and be awestruck by the stunning beauty and diversity of undersea life. Colorful schools of fishes will swim around you while playful sea lions will come close to welcome the visitors to their home, and depending on the time of the year, you can even swim with the green sea turtles that live in the marine reserve of Galapagos.
We will have lunch at the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge, and then we will pack our bags and depart to Isabela Island. We will set off on a shared speedboat that will take us to Isabela on a two-hour navigation, depending on weather conditions. After checking in at the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge, you will have some leisure time to visit the picturesque town of Puerto Villamil.
Overnight will be at the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge.
Day 3: Sierra Negra Volcano
Early in the morning we will depart to the Sierra Negra Volcano, home of the second largest crater in the world. This hike will amaze you with its unmatchable views and spectacular landscapes.
We will ascend by the slopes of the crater to an altitude of 1124 meters above sea level, crossing the humid lands of Isabela, where beautiful and colorful birds can be spotted on all sides. We will reach the rim of the crater, from which we will have a magnificent view of the dry lava in the caldera that in some places can reach over two meters high. We will continue hiking around the rim of the crater, and we will rest under the shadows of a tree. Here we will have a snack before continuing our hike.
The adventure continues northwest to the Volcan Chico. Crossing through lava fields, loose rocks and steep slopes, this hike is one of the most difficult on the island. Nevertheless, the reward is absolutely magnificent – an astonishing view of the island awaits all who complete this hike.
After visiting the craters, we will return to have lunch at a local farm, and then we will return to the lodge, where you can rest and enjoy some leisure time.
We will spend the night at the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge.
Day 4: Visit to the Tintoreras and the Charles Darwin Station in Santa Cruz
Breakfast will be served at the lodge, and afterwards we will take a small boat to Las Tintoreras. On the way, we might be able to look at the only species of penguins that live on the equator and the famous blue-footed boobies diving to catch fish or sunbathing on the rocks.
After a short walk over the lava fields, we will reach the channel of Las Tintoreras, where the white-tipped reef sharks dwell. Along the way, you will encounter countless marine iguanas basking in the sun on the sand and probably some lazy sea lions resting on the warm rocks.
After the walk to Las Tintoreras you can snorkel in the nearby bay and be wondered by the abundant life of the marine reserve of the Galapagos Islands.
We will then go back to the lodge, where you can have lunch and start your navigation back to Santa Cruz, or you can have lunch at the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge in Santa Cruz. The navigation will be made on a shared boat.
On Santa Cruz, you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you will learn more about the fascinating natural life of the islands and will get to know more about the conservation efforts being taken by the institute.
Dinner will be served at the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge, where you will spend the night.
Day 5: Santa Cruz
After breakfast, you will be taken across the Itabaca Channel to the island of Baltra for your domestic flight back to continental Ecuador.
2016 prices per person:Prices are subject to change without prior notice.
5D/4N Santa Cruz and Isabela Red Mangroove Package:
|Ocean View Suite||$3,059||$2,519||$2,419|