|Destination:||Ecuador, Latin America|
Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on this wildlife-filled Lonely Planet Experience through natures playground. Snorkel with sea lions, get up close to giant tortoises, scale a volcanic crater and discover the incredible evolutionary history of the Galapagos Islands, all under the guidance of an expert naturalist guide. With accommodation on Isla San Cristobal, Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Isabela, this trip is perfect for people who dont want to tour the islands on a cruise. Included activities are both educational and immersive, while still allowing you plenty of free time to relax or get active at your own pace.
Day 1 Isla San Cristobal
Welcome to your Lonely Planet Experience with Intrepid! Meet the other travellers in your group, either at San Cristobal Airport or the hotel listed in the Joining point section of the Essential Trip Information. Check in to your hotel and then kick-start your adventure with an included visit to the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the human and natural history of this island cluster. Afterwards, youll have your first snorkel at Tijeretas where you may be joined on your swim by sea turtles, rays, fish and sea lions.
Day 2 Isla San Cristobal
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal, with plenty of optional activities on and off the island if you want a little structure. The optional boat ride to Isla Lobos is one of our favourite excursions and gives you the chance to snorkel with varied marine life, spot birdlife on shore and relax near sea lions on the beach.
Day 3 Isla Santa Cruz
Early in the morning, take a 2.5-hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. On arrival, have breakfast and settle into the hotel before a mid-morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station’s visitor centre and museums contain information about the islands and the conservation efforts being made to preserve the unique ecosystem here. It’s also a great place to have close encounters with giant tortoises. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe these giants roaming in their natural habitat.
Day 4 Isla Isabela
Today youll travel to Isla Isabela where youll check-in to the hotel and enjoy breakfast. The island is the largest in the Galapagos and one of the most volcanically active places on earth and you have a free day here to explore at your own pace. A worthwhile optional activity today is an excursion to Las Tintoreras, where white-tipped sharks rest during the day and marine iguanas nest.
Day 5 Isla Isabela
Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well learn about the preservation program for this unique species. Take a bus to the highest part of Isabela where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between 56 hours, but at the top you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views. After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
Day 6 Isla Santa Cruz
Return to Isla Santa Cruz in the morning and enjoy breakfast on arrival at the island. Your day is free so you can explore at your own pace. Maybe take part in an optional activity like the excursion to Tortuga Bay an immaculate natural paradise where you can go kayaking, observe marine iguanas or swim with harmless sharks.
Day 7 Isla Santa Cruz
With no activities planned for today your Galapagos adventure comes to an end after breakfast. Bid any travellers continuing on to Quito goodbye. You are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotels internal check-out policy. If you wish to leave the Galapagos Islands today, you are responsible for organising your own flights, as well as travel arrangements to the airport.