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Central Galapagos Adventure

Overview

Welcome aboard this unparalleled 5-day journey of discovery to some of Galapagos’ most beautiful islands. This itinerary begins on Santa Cruz Island, the most populous in the archipelago, where you can explore the lush vegetation of the highlands before venturing down to the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station to meet giant tortoises face to face.

After a day of exploring, sail to a stunning anchorage at Santa Fe Island for a visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems, a wonderful spot for your first snorkel, kayak or ride aboard a glass-bottom boat! In the afternoon, disembark amid the waters of South Plaza Island, with its yellow-gray land iguanas munching cactus fruits, and a coastline where you find sea lion colonies and dozens of sea birds.

A favourite among many visitors, North Seymour Island offers an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of this island, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. Later, disembark on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island at the glorious white beach of Las Bachas, great for a swim or snorkel.

The next expedition starts at Bartolome Island, with its unbeatable volcanic viewpoint, golden-sandy beach and excellent wildlife exploration for snorkelers or glass-bottom boat passengers. Next, land at the white coral sand beach of Sullivan Bay, ideal for swimming or snorkelling, and walk across a dramatic lava field. This really is the experience of a lifetime!

Itinerary

Day 1: Baltra - Santa Cruz
Arrive into Baltra airport and then head to the Itabaca Channel where you will take a ferry across to Santa Cruz Island. A 30-minute bus ride takes you to a restaurant in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to enjoy lunch, and then continue to Puerto Ayora. Depending on local weather conditions up in the highlands, there may be an opportunity for a short hike which will be a great introduction to some Galapagos wildlife. After driving down from the highlands, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and the giant tortoise pens within an impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forest home to many land birds. These are the headquarters of scientific investigation, conservation and the National Park administration. Later this afternoon, stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora before boarding the boat that will be your home for the next few days! Review the expedition plan for upcoming days before enjoying a Captain’s welcome cocktail and dinner and setting sail.

Day 2: Santa Fe - South Plaza
A stunning anchorage provides a jumping-off point at Santa Fe for your visit to this sandy white beach with many sea lion harems. Galapagos hawks are often easily observed, perched atop salt bushes. The endemic land iguana, unique to this island, may be spotted during the walk. Snorkelling from skiffs, kayaking or a ride in our glass-bottom boat rounds off the rewarding experience. Continuing to South Plaza, the turquoise waters here contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline, while a carpet of scarlet sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent green prickly-pear cactus beyond, populated by Galapagos land iguanas. Keep an eye out for the remarkable beaks of cactus finches. Along the coastline you will find sea lion colonies, while sea birds play with the thermals that form along the cliffs of this small but amazing island.

Day 3: North Seymour - Santa Cruz
The morning starts with an enjoyable walk along the coast and the interior of North Seymour Island, a favourite of many visitors, observing numerous bird colonies as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. There are opportunities for snorkelling and coastal exploration here, with chances of spotting fur seals along the rocky coastline. This uplifted island is also home to a nesting colony of frigatebirds, and provides great views of the surrounding islands due to its central location in the archipelago. Continue on to Las Bachas (Santa Cruz Island) - After WWII, US military barges were beached and abandoned here. Locals referred to the beach as the “barges” beach, a name that morphed to “bachas”. Today it is an important nesting area for the east Pacific green sea turtle. Located on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island, it is a glorious white beach, with several brackish lagoons only a few steps away from the sea. These lagoons are the feeding grounds of various wading birds, from stilts to flamingos. You can swim and/or snorkel from the beach here.

Day 4: Bartolome / Santiago
This morning, a Galapagos icon awaits: Bartolome Island! A great way to start the day, a steep climb up a wooden staircase: the view from the top is worth the effort! Following the walk, take the dinghies for a ride around the colossal Pinnacle Rock, followed by time to enjoy the beach and do some snorkelling. Explore the shores and look for Galapagos penguins too. You also have the opportunity to ride in a glass-bottom boat for great views of the underwater world. After lunch, get on board the pangas to land at Sullivan Bay on the east coast of Santiago, a white coral sand beach great for swimming with a trail over a lava field that flowed here a little over 120 years ago. This is the perfect place to see and feel the volcanic origin of Galapagos while observing its wildlife.

Day 5: Baltra
After breakfast, leave for the airport to take the flight back to the mainland.

Map

Essentials

Included:
  • Accommodation and meals on board
  • Island sightseeing
  • Professional lecture services and biologist guides
  • WIFI on board
  • Snorkelling gear
  • All transfers
  • Not Included:
  • International Flight to Ecuador
  • Flights to/from Galapagos
  • Galapagos National Park admission fee (approx.$100)
  • Transit Control Card for Galapagos ($20 per person)
  • Wet Suits
  • Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Tips
  • Essentials

    Are you wondering about flights, deposits and other bits and pieces? Here are a few items of essential information that could help with the planning of your trip with Tango Tours. If you have any questions please just contact us.

    International Flights
    Getting to The Galapagos Islands is straightforward from most areas of the world, but you may find that the choice is bewildering, or you’re not sure about the easiest route. Tango Tours are experienced in planning flights both to Latin America and within Latin America, and we are very happy to advise you on the different choices available. Because prices tend to increase closer to your departure date, we advise that you buy your international flight tickets as soon as you have made a decision about your tour. As an ATOL bonded tour operator, we can assist in your purchase of international flights. In fact, your entire tour can be protected under our ATOL licence by booking your international flight with us. Please note that flight tickets are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.

    Internal Flights
    As with international flights, Tango Tours' friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to book your internal flights for you if required. For some itineraries, you need to arrive at a particular destination at a required time/date therefore, it is vital that you book the correct flights and times of arrival. Our ATOL licence will protect your whole tour if your internal flights are purchased through us. Please note that flights are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.

    Payments
    To confirm your booking with Tango Tours, we require a payment of 20% of the ground-based arrangements and 100% of all flights. The remaining balance of your tour is then payable 10 weeks prior to departure. For any bookings made within these 10 weeks, the full amount is payable.

    Activities
    We have provided a brief overview of the activity/excursion information in the itinerary. Please remember that the exact route and programme may vary according to weather and ocean conditions and the wildlife you encounter. The Expedition Team is in charge of planning the daily activities and logistics involved. It's also subject to change without previous notice due mainly to readjustment of the National Park policies and regulations.