Galapagos Community Experience
The Galapagos Islands are one of the most vibrant biodiversity sanctuaries of the world. Home to some of the most unique species on the planet, complemented by the human history since the 16th century.
With a rich agricultural history dating back to the 1800s when coffee and sugar plantations were first cultivated, you´ll have the opportunity to taste organic, fresh products the fertile volcanic soil yields.
Community tourism is an alternative way to support local economies and encourage rural residents and artisans to share their ways of life with eager travellers. You will meet farmers and artisans and learn about their stories, while helping promote their development in the Galapagos business community and economy.
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Travel Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate
Group Size Small Group
- Hike and snorkel through the various Galapagos ecosystems.
- Enjoy fresh coffee and homemade snacks at Hacienda La Tranquila.
- Visit Galapagos residents and learn about their daily lives as native islanders.
- Engage in the local economy by supporting the growing local island enterprises.
- Meet local Galapagos islanders, including a fisherman who will show you the art of responsible fishing.
- Delight in local cuisine and home-cooked fresh fish.
Accommodations in comfort class hotels, meals as listed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = Dinner), bilingual Galápagos naturalist guide, all sea and land transportation during the journey.
Flights to and from Galapagos, entrance fee to Galapagos National Park, Galápagos transit card, transfer in, tips, hotel & restaurant beverages.
HIKE FRIGATE HILL, VISIT THE INTERPRETATION CENTER AND 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 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)
HIKE TO LA ESPERANZA HILL AND VISIT 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 the 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)
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)
EXPLORE ISABELA AND 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 to 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)
LEARNING 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)
HIKE THE SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS AND VISIT THE 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 colapsed 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 these 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)
EXPLORE PUERTO AYORA FOR SHOPS AND 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, -, –)
Opuntia Hotels, a network of quality Galapagos hotels with eco-initiatives, exceptional service, comfort, all close to the ocean. Or similar comfort class hotel.
This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, inclement weather conditions, and adjustments of Galápagos National Park policy.
The weight restriction per person for the Inner Island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is 25 pounds in one piece of luggage.
ALTITUDE: 0 – 3,688 feet (1,124 meters) above sea level
WEATHER: During the warm season from January to May, air temperature is around 77 to 83 F
(25 to 28 C) at sea level. During the cool season from June to December, air temperature is around 70 to 75 F (21 to 24 C) at sea level.
Temperature decreases with altitude.
WATER TEMPERATURE: During the warm season from January to May, water temperature hovers around 77 F (25 C). During the cool season from June to December, average water temperature is about 72 F (22 C). Water temperature also varies significantly by location.
Walking shoes, rain jacket, water bottle, non-cotton trekking clothes, sunblock, sun hat, and repellent.
PHONE: (593-2) 604.6800/ TOLL FREE: 1-888.234.3413
Revised October 4/2016