7 days

Galapagos Escapade - Northern Islands

Galapagos Escapade - Northern Islands

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito

Frigatebird spotting

Trip rating
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    For some of the best snorkelling in the Galapagos, head to The Devil’s Crown, just north of Cormorant Point. The Crown consists of an almost completely submerged volcano, and is home to brightly-coloured fish, sea turtles, rays, penguins, marina iguanas, eels, reef sharks and much more. 

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Quito

    Your trip starts in Quito today and there will be a welcome meeting in the evening.

     

    On arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre International Airport you are met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. There is a pre-departure meeting in the evening at 6pm when you meet others travelling on your cruise to the Galapagos Islands. Please check with the hotel reception where and when it will take place, or check the reception notice boards. If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive at the hotel by early evening, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to our local representative who will be conducting the meeting.

     

    Quito is located at 2850 metres above sea level and at this altitude you may possibly experience some effects from the high altitude, so we suggest that you avoid any strenuous activity on this day. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, this charming colonial centre offers a wealth of things to see and you could lose yourself for hours meandering through the narrow, winding cobblestone streets and exploring the lively Plaza Grande and Plaza San Francisco. The city is filled with Baroque art and architecture, as exemplified by magnificent churches, monasteries and public buildings. If your feel like exploring further afield, you might like to head for one of the many viewpoints over the city. El Panecillo (The Little Bread Loaf) offers sensational views of the city’s white houses and surrounding volcanoes. The 30-metre high statue of La Virgen de Quito sits atop this small hill and can be seen from all over the city. Incredible vistas can also be enjoyed from La Cima de la Libertad, the site of Ecuadorian independence from Spain.

    Day 2 - Baltra - Santa Cruz Highlands

    This morning we transfer to Quito Airport for our early morning flight to the Galapagos Islands. Be prepared for an early start as this could mean leaving the hotel as early as 4.30am. A US$10 per person transit card is payable on departure at Quito Airport and a US$100 per person national park entry fee is payable on arrival. Please have cash on hand for these transactions as using credit cards can be time consuming.


    On arrival in the Galapagos we are met in the arrivals hall and then transferred to our boat, the Nemo III, anchored a short distance away. Once on board we'll be assigned our cabins, meet the crew members and get to know our naturalist guide and fellow travellers over a delicious lunch.


    We head to the Highlands of Santa Cruz for a total change of scenery. Beginning at the coast we travel across Santa Cruz through the agricultural region and into the misty forests where we can see the Unique Scalesia cloud forest, dome shaped giant tortoises in the wild, different species of Darwin finches and possibly the world famous woodpecker and warbler finches as well as vermillion flycatchers.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 3 - Isla Isabela - Tagus Cove

    Today we land at the archipelago's largest island, Isabela where we will need to pay a USD$20 island entrance fee. The island is located in one of the youngest geological areas in the world, having been formed less than a million years ago. We spend the morning at Punta Moreno on the south west coast. This coastline has some of the most beautiful blue lagoons and rocky terrain in the Galapagos, with a backdrop of 3 active volcanoes, flamingos, and incredible lava formations. Get ready for a great walk on top of the black lava field with the majestic view of Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul in the background. Depending of the season we can see brown pelicans nesting on top of the mangroves, lava and candelabra cactus, and Lava lizards. We walk by brackish water lagoons covered with several different plants where pink flamingos, ducks and black neck stills rest. Then back on board for some snorkelling!

     

    Tagus Cove was a place of anchorage for pirates and whalers who collected turtles for their trip. Approximately a two hour visit where we can snorkel, check out ancient graffiti on its walls, observe flightless cormorants, penguins, blue footed boobies and a variety of waterfowl. The walk leads to a high point where we take in a spectacular panorama of the island, Volcano Wolf and the North of Isabela Island.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 4 - Isla Fernandina - Punta Espinoza and Bahia Urbina

    This morning we visit nearby Fernandina Island, the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. The third largest island in size it most recently erupted in 2009. The northeast tip, Punta Espinosa, is a narrow ledge of lava and sand extending from the base of La Cumbre volcano. The walk around the peninsula is stunning with an abundance of wild life, lava cacti, Marine Iguanas piled on top of each other, barking sea lions along the beach, Flightless Cormorants, tiny Penguins, and Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Keep on the lookout for the biggest predator of the Galapagos Island, The Galapagos Hawk hunting from the very top of the trees. Great snorkelling opportunity in the crystal clear water where we can see Turtles and Sea Lions swimming and feeding on the shore. It is also a great place for flightless cormorants, drying their atrophies wings among the stark volcanic landscape.


    Urbina Bay is very interesting place to visit where, because of an eruption of Volcano Alcedo in 1954, it was uplifted 10 meters from the sea floor. We are able to catch a glimpse of some huge boulder-like formations on land. We negotiate a tricky wet landing on the black sand beach and along the shore there are sometimes Flightless Cormorants and Marine Iguanas. On the walk on the path you can find shells, coral, Darwin´s Finches and the beautiful colour of the Galapagos cotton. The main attractions are Land Iguanas and Galapagos Giant Tortoises!

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 5 - Isla Santiago - Playa Espumilla and Buccaneer Cove

    Puerto Egas is a black sand beach located on the west side of James Bay and northwest of Santiago Island. Here we will see amazing volcanic tuff formations and the walk along the beach provides many opportunities for encounters with the locals - marine iguanas, pelicans, finches, mockingbirds, oystercatchers, California sea lions, Galapagos fur sea lions and lava grotos. We can also see amazing tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow and home to sponges, snails, hermit crabs, barnacles and fish. and we can snorkel with California sea lions and Galapagos fur sea lions.
    Espumilla Beach, on the northern coast of Santiago Island in James Bay, is one of the most idyllic locations in the Galapagos Islands and is an important nesting site for marine turtles. With its large waves is often a favourite amongst beach lovers. Potentially we will see Galapagos hawks up close, ghost crabs, blue footed boobies plunging for fish and brown pelicans. It is also well known for its Palo Santo Forest and some extraordinary lava formations.


    We then go to view the spectacular geology of volcanic ash (Tuff) of Buccaneer’s cove. Here we can find remains of objects used by pirates in centuries past, hence the name Buccaneer Cove. A place of local legends and stories it is where Darwin camped for a 9 days while making his study of the islands and their wildlife. If conditions are good, we can snorkel again.

    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 6 - Isla Daphne – Baltra – Fly Quito

    We visit Daphne island which has a peculiar and impressive landscape because it was shaped by volcanic activity. It is a great place to do some bird spotting and here we can find a variety of seabirds such as blue-footed and masked boobies, terns, petrels and even the beautiful frigate birds with their vibrant red pouches. No need to get wet for this activity as we circle the island.

     

    Sadly all good things must come to an end and this is our final excursion. We say farewell to The Galapagos Islands and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of the tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay.

    Breakfast

    Day 7 - Quito

    Our adventure ends today after breakfast.

    There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart the accommodation at any time. There are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito so please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest.

    Breakfast
  • What to Know

    Safety Information

    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    In addition to any included activities on your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. Our local representative may be able to assist you with available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that our local representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    Petty theft & Personal Safety :
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    Water Safety:
    Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
    Life Jackets:
    Intrepid will provide life jackets for private boats, but cannot guarantee that all public ferries will have enough life jackets or life rings for all clients.

  • Map Itinerary

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PSND
Start City: Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
End City: Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Style: Small Group

What to know

Before checking in for the flight from Quito to the Galapagos, there is a US$10 transit fee that needs to be paid. On arrival in the islands you must pay the US$100 national park fee to enter Galapagos National Park.

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