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GALAPAGOS COMMUNITY EXPERIENCE, 7 DAYS

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Get Immersed in the Local Culture

Travelers have traditionally visited the islands on a cruise. The reason behind this goes back to the late 1970´s when the islands were practically uninhabited and basic utility services such as electricity and running water were scarce. Today however, Galapagos land-based programs (also frequently referred to as Galapagos Island hopping tours) have become increasingly popular, as they provide you with options ranging from hotels to activities.

Itinerary

Day 1: FRIGATE HILL, INTERPRETATION CENTER & SNORKEL PUNTA CAROLA

Arrive at San Cristobal Island and transfer to your Opuntia Hotel. During lunch, we´ll give you a short brief about the cultural/living commitment Neotropic Expeditions has to support local entrepreneurs, build local relationships and integrate local community to ecotourism. We´ll go over the next day activities and talk about Hacienda Tranquila´s involvement with the local community. That afternoon we’ll visit Frigate Hill, the Interpretation Center and snorkel at Punta Carola. (–, L, D)

Day 2: LA ESPERANZA HILL & HACIENDA TRANQUILA

After breakfast, we head on a 45-minute ride to San Joaquin, in the highlands of San Cristobal. We meet our guides at the start of “La Esperanza” trail and hike 45 minutes to La Esperanza Hill. Along the way, we pass through a forest of Pomarosa and bromeliads, and home to various bird species. Once there we’ll enjoy some of the best views on the island, including a panoramic view of Kicker Rock, Isla Lobos, and Cerro Brujo. A locally grown snack such as bananas, pineapples, or papaya, will be available upon your return.

 We’ll continue walking to Hacienda La Tranquila to learn about a Community Based Program led in conjunction with Neotropic Expeditions involving the local community and the tourism industry. This activity has become an alternative way to help strengthen and develop the local economy. We will listen to local guides talk about the work Hacienda Tranquila does to preserve this ecosystem in its most natural state. We also support them by promoting ecotourism and reintroducing species of trees as Scalesia pedunculata, palo santo, manzanillo, pasto, mata zarno.

 After a healthy lunch prepared with local products and cooked by people from the village, we visit some farms to learn about coffee cultivation and the production of ground coffee. Then we’ll head down to our hotel to rest until dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 3: SNORKEL IN SAN CRISTOBAL’S NORTHERN COAST

Enjoy a full day tour on the Northern Coast. Depending on schedule availability and which sites the

Galapagos National Park allows us to visit, we will stop by either Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido), Cerro Brujo, or Punta Pitt.

 Each one of these sites has its own wonders – Kicker Rock is a popular snorkeling spot, where there’s a

chance to see hammerhead sharks among other fascinating marine life; Cerro Brujo is right next to Kicker Rock and another hotspot for snorkeling, including unique rock formations and submarine tunnels; Punta Pitt is home to a great diversity of land and marine life, featuring sea lions, sea turtles, blue-footed boobies, and myriad colorful fish. These are not only world-class snorkeling destinations but some of the best kayaking routes in the world. (B, L, D)

Day 4: EXPLORE ISABELA & VISIT TINTORERAS

This morning we board a small plane for a fast inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela Island. We’ll explore the wetlands, which feature a coastal ecosystem of lagoons, mangroves and swamps, all home to unique species of coastal birds like the famous blue-footed boobies, whimbrels, egrets, white-cheeked pintails, gallinules and stilts.

 After lunch we’ll go to the harbor for a tour around the bay; during this activity we’ll see penguins, pelicans, sea lions, and rays, ultimately arriving at the small island known as Tintoreras. Here, you’ll have the chance to walk around and learn about the different types of lava flows and formations of the islands. Colonies of marine iguanas and sea lions wait for us along the way, and if we are lucky we’ll even see the Tintoreras shark patrolling one of the lava-formed canals. At the end of the day, we’ll have the opportunity to snorkel in the bay, enjoying the unique marine life. (B, L, D)

Day 5: LEARN THE ART OF FISHING WITH A LOCAL EXPERT

In honor of the age-old fishing culture, which has developed for nearly a century now, we spend the day learning and trying out one of the most traditional activities in the Islands: the art of fishing.

Depending on your interests, we have three fishing options for you to choose from. After a very successful fishing day, our hosts prepare a delicious “Ceviche,” a typical Ecuadorian dish. After lunch, we return to Puerto Villamil and head back to our hotel. (B, L, D)

Day 6: SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS & CHARLES DARWIN RESEARCH STATION

We leave the island of Isabela and head to Santa Cruz early in the morning. We arrive a few hours later, check into our hotel and get ready to visit the Santa Cruz highlands. We’ll drive to “Los Gemelos,” two collapsed craters, for a short hike. After crossing through an endemic Scalesia forest.

 Later we´ll visit a local pineapple plantation and the naturally occurring lava tunnels. We have the chance to go in and see how these tunnels look like from the inside. We also learn about the volcanic formation of the island and how this lava flows literally gave birth to Santa Cruz.

 After lunch, we’ll head into town and make a short stop at the recycling center to find out how waste is processed and managed. We will end the day with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about the different programs to protect the ecosystem. One of the most significant programs is the giant tortoise breeding program. (B, L, D)

Day 7: EXPLORE PUERTO AYORA FOR SHOPS & CHOCOLATE - TRANSFER OUT

If we have some extra time before the flight we will explore Puerto Ayora’s shops for fine handcrafts, jewelry, and souvenirs! We will also visit a chocolate workshop to learn how the sweets are made on Galapagos. We transfer to the Baltra airport. The ride takes about 45 minutes through the highlands to the Itabaca Canal, and then another 30 minutes to the airport. (B, -, –)

Quick Facts

Destination
Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela

Dates & Prices
7 Days from $3715

Category Premium

Expedition Type
Community

 

Expedition Level
Easy hikes, snorkeling, and community

Accommodations: Choose your  hotel category.

Comfort Hotels: Casa Opuntia, Casita de la Playa, Isla Sol or Similar

Select Hotels:
Iguana Crossing, Angermeyer, Golden Bay, Casa Baronesa

Flights
Arrive to San Cristobal (SCY) Depart from Baltra (GPS) Book: Avianca, LATAM or TAME from Quito or Guayaquil We can arrange your flights from $565 – or do your own

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