This tour will take you underground into huge tunnels formed by volcanic eruptions, into the highlands of Santa Cruz to a giant tortoise sanctuary, to pristine beaches and beautiful crystal clear lagoons simply teeming with life.
- Trip Outline
- Trip Includes
- Important Notes:
Our Galapagos Adventure includes four nights in Santa Cruz and two nights in Isabella.
Activities include hiking, snorkelling and sight seeing.
Moderate fitness is required for these activities, which will include some climbing in and out of boats.
On arrival to Baltra you will be met by our friendly local representative at the airport and taken on a short bus ride to the Itabaca channel. Here you will board the Ferry and cross the narrow strait to Santa Cruz. Once on Santa Cruz, your Galapagos adventure will truly begin as you enjoy the unique landscape on your journey to the interior of the island.
Our first stop is Los Gemelos, which translates as the twins. Situated in the highlands of Santa Cruz and shrouded in rich vegetation, you will discover this pair of giant craters that were formed by the collapse of huge magma chambers - a testament to the island’s violent volcanic history. There are many mosses, ferns and epiphytes to observer in this forested region which is home to many species of bird including small and large tree finches.
From here you will travel to the Zona de Reserva de Tortugas, for a relaxing lunch and a stroll around the ranch, enjoying the Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. For the adventurous amongst our group, the next stage of our first day tour involves putting on some welly boots and climbing down into the earth, where we will walk along a huge tunnel formed by a river of molten lava, thousands of years ago.
Our first day’s tour completed, we head to your hotel in Puerto Ayorez for check-in and a welcome drink. Once check in has taken place, you are free to relax in the comfort of the hotel or venture out to explore the town and port area, where you can fine many good restaurants in which to enjoy your evening meal.
North Seymour Island was raised from the bottom of the ocean by a seismic event, and it may be that its origins as a sea bed have given the island its current shape. The island is low and flat, with short cliffs that rise only a few meters above the sea, creating a perfect habitat for the swallow-tailed gulls that perch in the cliff face. Above the cliffs, the silver-grey trunks and branches of the skeletal Palo Santo trees wait for the rains that will bring them into a rapid bloom, transforming the appearance of the island landscape in a few short days.
This is an island bursting with life. Take a walk along one of the many paths that crisscross the island and take in the hustle and bustle of this incredible habitat. Sea lions and marine iguanas can be found in great numbers, indifferent to the humans that come their way. Here and there you may see the famous courtship dance of the blue footed boobies nesting besides the path, while an Iguana strolls lazily by. Magnificent frigates raise their enormous offspring in great nests among the rocks and low lying branches, or puff out their scarlet throat sacks and shake out their mighty wings, as they seek to attract a mate.
Down at the rocky shore, as we head back to our boat we might see a flock of pelicans, wheeling and stooping, dive-bombing a passing shoal of fish.
In the afternoon we head to Las Bachas next, a sandy white-coral beach that is an important egg-laying site for sea turtles. On the shore we can find the skeletal remains of a US transport ship, its appearance echoing the ribs of a mighty whale. Marine Iguanas lounge on the beach and in the nearby lagoon you can often see flamingos. This beach is also a good place to swim and snorkel.
Bartolome is best know for Pinnacle Rock, a great natural obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and has become an iconic image of the Galapagos Islands. Galapagos penguins—the only species of penguin found north of the equator—shuffle clumsily along narrow volcanic ledges at its base, their movements at complete odds with the grace and fluidity that they display under water. Sea lions, dozing on the rocky shelves, slip soundlessly into the water to greet passing snorkelers.
Beneath the surface, the crystal waters teem with life. Shoals of tropical fish twist and dart in unison, their colourful markings flashing in the bright sunlight while anemones wave their tentacles gently in the warm currents and urchins cling to small crevices and cracks on the rock-strewn sea bed.
To the east of the pinnacle, a sandy beach describes an almost perfect arc of white, tinged with a hint of pink. Here you may be lucky to see a nesting turtle lay her eggs, or rest a while in the sand to recover from her labours.
Our next landing site is less than a kilometre’s distance. Penguins stand like sentinels along the rocky ledge before plunging into the water to cool off or hunt for food. We make a dry landing at the beginning of a 600-meter (2000-foot) pathway complete with stairs and boardwalks on our way to Bartolome’s summit. It is a gentle climb, and provides us with a landscape unchanged since its last eruption, where cones eroded slowly over time still stand and the furrows of lava tubes wind their way down from the summit.
From its peak we enjoy stunning views of Santiago Island and James Bay to the west, and down below, at the waters edge, Pinnacle Rock and the crescent beach, where our yacht floats gently at anchor.
Isabella with Tintoreras and Galapaguera
A fantastic day of snorkelling and wildlife watching awaits us at the islet Las Tintoreras , located about 10 minutes south of Puerto Villamil by boat. It has a small bay of completely calm turquoise waters. Our first stop is a dry landing where we can observe the rich wildlife here that includes blue sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays, etc. Much of this part of the island is formed by AA lava, except for a white sand beach and a black stone beach.
The bay is connected to a crystal clear shallow pool of water that becomes cut off from the sea during low tide and in this crevice, you can observe reef sharks swimming alongside small fish and sea lions.
Next we will board our boat once more and continue along the coast enjoying the various wildlife species such as Blue-footed Boobies, penguins, pelicans and frigate birds before stopping at our second snorkel location, where you will have an opportunity to swim with a wide variety of fish.
Isabella with Los Tuneles (Lava Tunnels) and Cabo Rosa
Considered by many to be the highlight of their Galapagos Adventure, Los Túneles consists of series of pools, tunnels and narrow passages which have been sculpted by the ancient lava flows. The lava forms a protective barrier around a lagoon, sheltering the water from the rougher ocean and creating calm waters in which to enjoy the spectacular lava columns, tunnels and the abundant sealife.
Approximately one hour after leaving Puerto Villamil we will arrive at Los Tuneles, where we will enjoy some fantastic snorkelling.
Whitetip sharks and green turtles are plentiful here and there are opportunities to spot beautiful seahorses in a natural environment. Stingrays and golden rays also frequent this incredible location.
The seabed consists of sand and volcanic rock with algae, corals and some mangrove providing cover for the many varieties of fish.
During our hike in this location we may see iguana, sea lions, albatross, flamingos and blue footed boobies. Good hiking shoes are recommended here when walking, as the rock forms can be uneven.
Floreana Island was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, during whose administration the government of Ecuador took possession of the archipelago, having previously been called Charles Island (after King Charles II of England). It is also known as Santa Maria after one of the caravels of Columbus.
We will first arrive to Puerto Velasco Ibarra, that commands a spectacular view of the island. From here we will visit the highlands, enjoying a hike to appreciate the wildlife before returning to the town for lunch.
Loberia, or Luz del Dia Is our next location, an amazing Snorkeling site, and one of the best places for enjoying the aquatic environment. From here we move on to Champion Island for more snorkelling.
Champion Island is a great site for observing sea lions, turtles, thousands of tropical fish, barracudas, and black coral.
The island has an area of 173 km² and a maximum altitude of 640 metres.
Following our trip to Floreana, we shall return to Santa Cruz for the last night of your Galapagos adventure.
Farewell to Galapagos
Today begins with your final Galapagos breakfast followed by farewells and your transportation back to Baltra airport.
Hiking in Los Gemelos
Visit to the Tortoise Sanctuary
A walk through a Lava Tunnel
Nature walk on North Seymour
Snorkel and Beach Walk at Las Bachas
Excursion to Pinnacle Rock with Snorkelling
Hike on Bartholemew Island
Hike at Tintoreras, Isla Isabella with Snorkelling
Excursion to Los Tuneles (Lava Tunnels) with snorkelling and wildlife hike.
Hiking on Floreana with Snorkelling and wildlife watching.
Snorkelling at Champion Island
Four Nights Hotel accommodation on Santa Cruz
Two Nights Hotel accommodation on Isabella
What's Not Included:
Pricing NameStartEndGroup (Min-Max)Pricing
There will be some climbing in and out of boats on this trip but many travellers in their seventies manage these sorts of trips. There will be some hiking involved so it can be a good idea to prepare yourself for this type of holiday by getting a bit of practise in before you go. Ultimately, it's your call.
If you get seasick in your home country, then it is likely you will get seasick in the Galapagos Islands as these tours do involve quite a bit of time onboard boats. That said, there are many medications and techniques to help combat this problem and your doctor may also be able to advise on how best to reduce this problem.
Although some tour companies pack you in to maximise their profits, at Toucanto we do realise that you are not a sardine! With that in mind our tours are limited to a maximum of twenty people, unless you are travelling with a club or society tour, where you should know everyone anyway.
Each tour is tailored to be as accessible as possible, but some tours will not be suitable for small children. The ability to swim is an obvious consideration for any tours centred around water-based activities. Each tour will indicate on the booking page ‘Trip Facts’ if it is suitable for families, but as a parent you remain responsible for your child at all times.
Although we are not able to offer extra nights for this trip, it may be possible to change to a longer itinerary before your trip begins. If you wish to explore this possibility, please contact our sales department for more information.
If you have specific dietary requirements we recommend that you contact us prior to booking so that we can verify if we can meet your needs on the trip.
Good question! On the Survival Kit page of this website you can find useful advice about what to pack for your Toucanto trip.
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands are widely considered to be a safe location to visit and many thousands of people visit them every year without incident. See our Travel Survival Kit web page for advice on keeping safe when you travel.
In the Galapagos Islands, as well as the rest of Ecuador the US Dollar is the currency of use.
While travellers cheques can be used in larger cities, we recommend a mixture of currency and debit or credit card for the safest way to carry your money. There is a good availability of cashpoints or ATMs in the larger towns and some establishments may also take ApplePay.
Please refer to our Travel Survival Kit for details on this topic as well as links to the latest UK Government Advice. For other countries of origin please contact your medical authorities for this information.
Although there is a hospital in Puerto Ayora, Medical Services in the Galapagos Islands are limited, and serious injuries or illness may require an airlift to the mainland. It is essential that all visitors to the Galapagos Islands carry adequate travel Insurance to cover them in the event of a problem. Should you need medical assistance speak to your guide who will make the necessary arrangements for your care.
If you have a specific query related to your planned trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos and you can't see your answer here, please drop us a line using the 'Trip Enquiry' button and we will do our best to answer your question.
The policies on face masks and attendee health are:
Face masks required for travellers in public areas
Face masks required for guides in public areas
Temperature checks for travellers upon arrival
The policies on sanitization are:
Hand sanitiser available to travellers and staff.
Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas. Gear/equipment sanitised between use.
Transportation vehicles regularly sanitised.
The policies on social distancing are:
Social distancing enforced throughout experience.
Contactless payments for gratuities and add-ons.
The policies on staff health and safety are:
Guides required to regularly wash hands.
Regular temperature checks for staff.
For the latest information on entry requirements to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, please visit:
This trip starts in the Galapagos, at Baltra Airport at 11:30am on day 1.
The trip ends at Baltra Airport following your return transfer on day 4.
Please advise Toucanto no later than 15 days prior to departure, of your flight arrival and departure times.
Customer services phone number to call while in Galapagos if any issues: +593 52524587
Whether you are arriving to Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil airports, you must purchase your Galapagos Transit Control Card (USD 20) at the Consejo de Gobierno counter in the entrance hall; if you haven’t purchased this card you might be denied boarding. Please be aware that you will need to have cash (USD) with which to pay as credit cards are not accepted
Please arrive at the airport at least 2 hours prior to the departure time as this can be a slow process.
Once you have purchased your Transit Control Card you will proceed to check your luggage at SICGAL counter where they seal your check in bags; then go to the check in counter of your respective airline.
The Galapagos park fee (USD 100) and Isabela Port fee (USD 10) are payable upon arrival to the islands and again must be paid in cash. These payments are in addition to your trip payment.
It is essential to ensure that when you make your booking, your details are correct and match your passport. If your passport and booking details provided to us do not match it could cause issues with your transit card and may result in you being required to purchase a new card at your own expense.
Please view our Standard Booking Conditions here.
GALAPAGOS PARK RULES:
Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands designed to protect and preserve its unique biodiversity. Toucanto Ltd totally supports these rules which govern the times of the day that a destination can be visited and regulate the distance to be maintained between people and wildlife. You are advised that the collection and removal of shells or corals from the Galapagos is strictly forbidden and rigidly enforced and baggage is regularly checked on departure to ensure compliance. You will be advised of this information again on arrival by your guide, but the responsibility for observing these rules lies with you.
Failure to observe these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can adversely affect our company’s ability to continue offering tours in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in being removed from the trip without refund.
For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/
A single supplement is available on this trip.
INTERNET IN THE GALAPAGOS:
Please be advised that although our partner hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections it’s often very slow and may not always be functional.
HOT WATER FACILITIES:
Please be aware that in the Galapagos hotel hot water services can be limited and as such hot water may not always be available at busy times and cold showers maybe the only option.