An exclusive photo tour combining rare wildlife and stunning volcanic landscapes of the world’s most enchanting islands
New Christmas Holiday Departure Added: December 22-30, 2017
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. And because our Galapagos adventure is based on a small boat (the Beluga), you’ll be able to delve more deeply into all that they have to offer.
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 on the boat, 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.
- 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
- Enjoy the finest professional crew aboard the small luxury boat, the Beluga
- Be transfixed, transformed and forever inspired by the friendly creatures that welcome us to this magical place
Day by Day
Upon your late afternoon or early evening arrival in Quito, we will meet you at the airport and assist you with your luggage and transfer to the hotel near the airport. We'll then have a welcome introductory dinner in the evening.
The Equator and Cloud Forest
After breakfast, we drive towards Bellavista Cloud Forest. Along the way, we stop at the Equator Line also known as “The Middle of the World.” Here, we take a tour of the Intiñan Museum, which explains the history behind the equatorial line and the ancient indigenous groups that occupied the area. For lunch, we stop at El Crater Restaurant in Pululagua then we will drive north towards Bellavista. We’ll enjoy photo walks along the Cloud Forest's excellent network of easy to moderate trails. The forest has a vast array of orchids and incredible waterfalls within the reserve.
We’ll have a short walk before breakfast, when birds are more active and photography opportunities are at its best. After breakfast, we’ll walk the trails of Bellavista in search of one of many waterfalls hidden in this forest, a magical place full of life. You’ll enjoy and capture the play of light on giant ferns and learn not only about different animals and plants, but also about how the locals use them. We head back to the lodge for lunch, after which we’ll have another short walk to photograph hummingbirds and rare bird species.
Santa Cruz Island
We’ll have an early flight to Baltra Airport on Santa Cruz Island, where our expert Galapagos guide awaits and transports us by dinghy to the Beluga, our home for eight days. After lunch we’ll snorkel with sea lions, then take a walk on Dragon Hill to savor the afternoon light
Santa Fé Island
We’ll wake up to a delicious breakfast on Santa Fé, one of the smaller and older islands located in the central part of the archipelago. In the morning we snorkel along the volcanic rocks. In the afternoon we have a photo walk along South Plaza Island.
San Cristóbal Island
We’ll travel overnight to San Cristóbal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos and also one of the oldest. We wake up at sunrise at the spectacular Kicker Rock, the remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea. We snorkel through the small channel between them where we see sea turtles and small sharks. After a bountiful breakfast we visit Witch Hill, a volcanic cone that looks over a beautiful, white sandy beach with plenty of sea lions, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies.
Snorkeling along the Islote Gardner and Islote Osborn inlets, we’ll see an abundance of tropical fish, reef sharks, and turtles.
In the afternoon we’ll walk a beautiful trail on Punta Suarez, where the scenery is dramatic and the wildlife plentiful and varied. Along the dramatic volcanic cliffs you’ll experience a blowhole where seawater is forced about 65 feet into the air.
Santa Cruz Island
We visit the Charles Darwin Station, a giant tortoise and land iguana breeding program and interpretation center. A short drive takes us to Los Gemelos (which means “twin craters”), located in the highlands of Santa Cruz. After lunch in the highlands, we’ll stroll along Puerto Ayora, a charming village with cafes and shops, before we return to the Beluga and enjoy another precious Galapagos sunset from our deck.
An overnight cruise takes us to Sombrero Chino, a small volcanic island just off the southeast tip of Santiago. Wildlife here includes sea lions, marine iguanas and the Galapagos penguin. After snorkeling coral reefs we visit Sullivan Bay, a stunning place of great geological interest that’s only accessible by small cruise boats.
Landing on the white coral sands of Darwin Bay, you will be surrounded by the bustling activity of thousands of frigate birds, red-footed boobies, noddy terns, lava gulls, tropic birds, doves, storm petrels and Darwin’s finches. We’ll snorkel along the cliffs where hammerhead sharks and large turtles swim. In the afternoon we take a scenic dinghy ride along the rocky ledges to Prince Philip’s Steps, home to a Nazca booby colony.
Caleta Tortuga: Adios!
We have a sublime sunrise visit to Turtle Cove, a red mangrove lagoon on Santa Cruz and a perfect example of how mangroves alter the marine environment to create a rich and unique habitat. From Baltra, we have a return flight to Quito to make your international connections back home.
- 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 in the Islands portion
- 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
Accommodations & Meals
- All accommodation in boutique lodges and the luxury boat La Beluga
- All meals included
Here’s a sampling of some of the amazing places you’ll stay on your journey.
For a full listing, request a detailed itinerary!