Galapagos Explorer

An exclusive photo tour combining rare wildlife and stunning volcanic landscapes of the world’s most enchanting islands.

Straddling the equator some 600-miles west of mainland Ecuador are Las Islas Encantadas—the Enchanted Islands. Better known as the Galapagos Archipelago, these pristine and exotic islands are a nature lover’s paradise and one of the most unique and coveted photographic destinations in the world. Our exclusive photo tour here offers you total immersion in this natural world, one that’s truly primeval. Here lizards, penguins, and blue-footed boobies share the beach with us, unconcerned by our presence. You’ll capture amazing memories as you walk along bright white sandy beaches framed by crystal-clear aqua waters, or try world-class snorkeling at Kicker Rock.

Throughout this very special adventure, your camera becomes the third eye you need to view and capture this rare destination up close and keep it forever in your heart. Every step of the way hands-on instruction, guidance will be provided by renowned South American wildlife photographer, Ossian Lindholm. He will ensure you have plenty of opportunities to get the perfect shot of a hummingbird, a blue-footed booby or a barking seal. During our rest periods, you will have plenty of time to review your photos with Ossian who will provide useful feedback on how to edit and make your photographic vision come alive.

Creatures we hope to see…

Marine iguanas, Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, flamingos, Galapagos Darwin’s finches (several species), Galapagos penguin, greater flamingo, black-necked stilt, Galapagos giant tortoises (both in captivity and in their natural environment), white-tipped reef shark, black-tipped reef shark, Galapagos reef shark, spotted eagle ray, stingrays, and several species of tropical fish.

It’s also possible to see several species of whales (humpback, pilot and orca), bottle-nosed dolphins, and giant rays.

Highlights

  • Be surrounded by dozens of hummingbirds and learn how to take their photo
  • Spend two peaceful days in an exotic cloud forest with rare creatures and animals
  • Swim with seals, turtles, exotic fish and an occasional (friendly shark)
  • Walk pristine white sandy beaches
  • Daily sunrises, sunsets and starry nights
  • Learn and practice Nature Photography with daily classes with Ossian Lindholm
  • Be transfixed, transformed and forever inspired by the friendly creatures that welcome us to this magical place

Trip Details

Price
$4,500
Single Supplement
$630
Length
8 days / 7 nights
Level
Easy
Start/End Locations
Quito, Ecuador/Quito, Ecuador
Trip Dates
08/07/19 - 08/14/19

Make this tour Private or for more information, call:

800.866.7314

Itinerary

Arrival and Cerro Mesa

Your guide will meet you at the airport to assist you with crossing the canal, from there a vehicle will transfer you to the hotel. You will have a change to settle in, relax for a bit, take a dip in the pool, and have lunch. After lunch, visit Cerro Mesa Reserve. Cerro Mesa Reserve is a private reserve that ishome to many endemic trees and plants. The reserve has a few trail networks whereone can observe finches, flycatchers, mockingbirds, Galapagos doves, and other birds. There is also a trail that descends to the bottom of the crater. Before leaving the area,we recommend walking or driving up to the top of the Cerro where you will be awarded with fantastic views of the island. Return to the hotel for a welcome dinner and cocktail.

Tortuga Bay and Charles Darwin Station

Today will be a very early start, departing the hotel at 5:45am. There will be a light breakfast served at 5:15 am. Arrive at the entrance trail to Tortuga Bay at 6am when the gate opens. This is the best time to visit this beach. A 30 min walk along a trail that is 2.5 km long will bring you to this stunning beach. Along the trail to the beach one can appreciate the tall Opuntia cacti forests and also spot many birds such as finches, warblers and mockingbirds.

You will continue to walk along the beach towards the end of the long beach, where there is an iguana colony that can be best appreciated early in the morning or late in the day. Further along, there is a path to a smaller beach where often one can spot sharks or rays swimming in the water. The total walk from the beginning of the trail to the small beach is about 4 km. After spending some time exploring the beach there will be a chance to rest, have some snacks, or go for a swim.

There will be a boat transport arrange to bring you back to town via water. On arrival in town, your guide will accompany you to a local restaurant for lunch. After lunch, you will continue on to the Charles Darwin Station where you will visit the tortoise and iguana breeding centers and learn about conservation efforts in the Galapagos. You will have the rest of the afternoon free to explore the town. At the appropriate time there will be a transfer back to the hotel.

Dinner is on your own, there is dinner available at the hotel or you may choose to have dinner in town. A taxi to or from town is $8 and can seat 4 people.

Tour to one of the uninhabited islands

In the morning you will be taken to the canal where you will board the motor yacht and then head out to one of the many uninhabited islands surrounding Santa Cruz.

North Seymour / Las Bachas, morning: North Seymour Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, reason why its low, flat profile. Swallow-tailed gulls sit perched in ledges of the cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline. A forest of Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing site, usually without leaves, waiting for the rain to bring them into bloom. Amongst the emblematic fauna of the island you will be able to see sea lions, land iguanas and blue footed boobies. The trail turns inland where you will find active and dynamic colonies of both species of “magnificent” and “great” frigate birds.

Nighttime: Las Bachas, a beautiful coralline beach located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, is the perfect place for practicing snorkeling, swimming or to simply enjoy the white soft sand. Several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos.

Activities: Walking / Wet landing

After returning to the dock, you will then be transferred back to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Visit Los Gemelos Sink Holes, Manzanillo Tortoise Reserve and El Garrapatero

After an early breakfast your guide will pick you up to take you to the Gemelos Sink holes, located on one of the highest points on the island. The two sink holes are surrounded by endemic Scalesia forests and is a wonderful habitat for bromeliads, orchids and many birds. This is also native habitat for the elusive vermillion flycatcher. You will enjoy wonderful views of the craters and spend some time walking and exploring the trails.

Afterwards we will visit El Manzanillo Reserve to see the tortoises in their natural habitat. This reserve has a network of trails and is home to many giant tortoises. There is also a small lagoon that is home to Galapagos ducks and other small birds.

Return to the hotel for lunch and a rest. Later in the afternoon we will visit El Garrapatero Beach. Along the way you will notice the vegetation change from highland farmland to lowland endemic forests. On arrival at the beach you will have the opportunity to go on an interpretive walk.

Day tour to one of the uninhabited islands

In the morning you will be taken to the canal where you will board the motor yacht and then head out to one of the many uninhabited islands surrounding Santa Cruz.

South Plazas (or Santa Fe), morning: You will have the possibility of snorkeling in the calm waters of Punta Carrión where you will be able to observe a variety of tropical fish and possibly white tip reef sharks that peacefully rest on the sandy bottom.

Activities: Snorkeling

Nighttime: Located a few hundred meters away from the Eastern cost of Santa Cruz Island, South Plazas and North Plazas islands were formed from uplifted seabed, giving it a tilted tabletop quality. You will disembark on South Plazas where you will be greeted by a colony of sea lions. Further up the shore a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas sit beneath, waiting patiently for pears to drop. The trail takes you gradually towards the southern cliff of the island where you will be able to observe nesting swallow-tailed gulls and several sea birds such as tropic birds, Nazca and blue footed boobies fly by.

Activities: Walking / Dry landing

Transfer to San Cristobal Island, visit to El Junco and Cerro Tijeretas

After an early breakfast you will be taken to the dock to board the speed boat to San Cristobal Island. The boat departs at 7am. Upon arrival in San Cristobal you will be met by your local guide who will escort you to your hotel. You will have a chance to leave your belongings before continuing on to the highlands of San Cristobal where you will visit El Junco Lagoon. El Junco Lagoon (technically a crater lake) is located at 659 meters above sea level and a walk along the edge of the crater gives visitors a 360 degrees view of the island. This fresh water lagoon is a great place to see frigate birds skimming the surface while cleaning the salt water off their wings.

After lunch, you will descend back to town and visit Cerro Tijeretas lookout point and the many surrounding trails where you are rewarded with great views. This area is also home to nesting frigate birds.

Return to town to enjoy the sunset. In the evening, we recommend taking a walk along the pier. The town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is situated next to a very active sea lion colony with hundreds of resident sea lions. At night there is hardly any space left on the beach in front of the town and it is quite a spectacle to watch.

Full day tour to Española Island

On this day, we venture a little further out to Epañola Island. First we visit Punta Suarez; from April to December the Waved Albatross make their nests here. It is also the only place in the Galapagos where you can observe this magnificent bird. Due to their massive wing span (8.2 ft / 250 cm) it can be quite tricky for them to land and take off. Sometimes you will see them launch themselves off the side of the island to gain a little extra lift. The island is also home to blue-footed boobies and Nazca boobies, along with several other bird species.

Then we head to Gardner Bay for snorkelling. Here there is a good chance to see rays, sharks, turtles and many more tropical fish here. On the journey back to port, there is a chance to see dolphins or whales swimming by, if we are lucky!

Departure

At the appropriate time you will be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport for your flight to Quito.

What's Included

Trip Planning

  • Airport transfers

On The Tour

  • Daily photography instruction and one-one-one coaching with Ossian Lindholm, one of Argentina’s most renowned nature photographers
  • Galapagos naturalist guide
  • Internal flights (Guayaquil-Galapagos-Guayaquil and Baltra-Isabela)
  • Transfer by boat from Isabela to Puerto Ayora and from Puerto Ayora to San Cristobal
  • Galapagos entrance fee and taxes

Accomodations & Meals

  • All accommodations
  • Most meals

Meet the Guides

Ossian Lindholm

Photographer

Lauren Hefferon

Photographer