Pure Galapagos

Guayaquil, Ecuador – Galápagos – Santa Cruz Island – Galápagos Cruise

Discover the incredible Galápagos Islands on this 12-day adventure that starts in the highlands of Santa Cruz, where you can discover the Giant Tortoises, and is then followed by an eight-day cruise of some of the most spectacular islands in the archipelago.

 

Pure Galápagos

Guayaquil, Ecuador – Galápagos – Santa Cruz Island – Galápagos Cruise

DESCRIPTION

Discover the incredible Galápagos Islands on this 12-day adventure that starts in the highlands of Santa Cruz, where you can discover the Giant Tortoises, and is then followed by an eight-day cruise of some of the most spectacular islands in the archipelago. This holiday is enjoyed on a small yacht that brings you closer to nature, providing a much more intimate experience with the islands and their wildlife.

Best For: Following in Darwin’s footsteps; big kids and teens (but all ages welcome)

This 12-day family adventure is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that takes in some of the islands most incredible sights. Activities may include:

  • Discover the town of Puerto Avora on Santa Cruz Island, one of the few islands where humans live in the archipelago.
  • Enjoy a full day in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island with your own naturalist to introduce you to the unique eco-system of the Galápagos Islands. Witness Giant Tortoises in the wild, walk through lava tubes and forests of giant daisies.
  • Take a walk to Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galápagos where sea turtles nest. The walk from Puerto Avora takes you through a Giant Cactus forest, the ideal environment to look for several species of Darwin Finches and Galapagos Flycatchers.
  • Go kayaking and look for reef sharks, rays, sea turtles and pelicans.
  • Keep an eye out for Marine Iguanas and Blue-footed Boobies instead.
  • Discover some of the most interesting islands in the archipelago aboard your very own yacht.
  • Visit the island of North Seymour, home to the largest colony of Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds in the Galápagos as well as a colony of Blue-footed Boobies. You can also see Sea lions, Marine Iguanas, Lava Lizards, Swallow-Tailed Gulls, and a few secretive, but very large Land Iguanas.
  • Set sail for the beautiful island of Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino). Surrounded by crystal clear waters, this is great location for Sea Lions. Perhaps more than any other site, this islet gives you a sense of Galápagos volcanic origins as the beautiful white beach gives way to an almost primeval landscape of volcanic rubble.
  • Head to Bartolome, home to one of the most iconic scenery shots of Galápagos. The striking volcanic landscape looks almost lunar and provides a great introduction to the volcanic origins of the islands.
  • If you are really lucky, swim with Galápagos Penguins!
  • Witness squadrons of Frigatebirds, watch Red-footed Boobies perch on the branches of trees and discover the story behind the name of the Vampire Finches.
  • Visit James Bay, the island where Charles Darwin spent the majority of his land visits in the Galápagos, and get up close and personal with Fur Seals and Galápagos Sea Lions in a series of rocky pools.
  • Step inside the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about the work being done to conserve and protect the islands wildlife.
  • See the bright colouring of the Espanola’s Marine Iguanas (they are different from other Galapagos Marine Iguanas) and say hello to the Sea Lions on the island of Española.
  • See incredible wildlife when you go snorkelling in crystal clear waters, don’t be surprised if a friendly sea lion comes up to say hello!
  • Visit the oldest island in the archipelago, Santa Fe. Its paradisiacal bay offers great possibilities to swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters. A hike inland offers a great chance to see a species of Land Iguanas (Conolophus pallidus) which is endemic to Santa Fe Island.

 

 

KIDS

There is no minimum age for children to participate in this holiday although the older the child the more they will get out of the experience. Generally it is recommend that children are at least six- or seven-years-old to participate, however children as young as three have enjoyed this holiday! Children should be good swimmers and confident in the water so that they can enjoy the all the snorkelling that there is to be done here.

Our partner agents are parents themselves and have travelled around the Galápagos Islands with their own young children. It goes without saying that they are experts at organising a family-friendly adventure in this incredible part of the world.

 

ITINERARY

This holiday traditionally starts and ends in Guayacil on the coast of Ecuador. However the itinerary can be fully customised to suit your family’s requirements. Our partner agent will be happy to advise you. See below for sample itinerary:

 

Day 1 : Arrive Guayaquil, Coast of Ecuador

You arrive to Guayaquil on the coast of Ecuador, where you will be met by one of our team and taken to your hotel.

Overnight: Overnight stay at hotel in Guayaquil.

 

Day 2: Flight to Galapagos

You will be collected by a team member and taken to the airport for your flight out to Galapagos. Upon arrival at Baltra islet, you will be met and taken across to Santa Cruz Island and down to the town of Puerto Ayora.

Overnight: Three-night stay at hotel in Puerto Avora

 

Day 3: Full day with private naturalist guide in the highlands

Today you have a full day in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island with your naturalist, which will provide an excellent introduction to your stay in Galapagos.

Overnight: Puerto Avora

 

Day 4: Santa Cruz Island

There are quite a few places you can explore on your own from Puerto Ayora, but Tortuga Bay comes highly recommended.

Overnight: Puerto Avora

 

Day 5: Galapagos Cruise Begins / North Seymour

You will be collected from the hotel and taken to meet your guide and the crew from your yacht and the next stage of your Galapagos journey will begin.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 6: Chinese hat or Sombrero Chino & Bartolome

Located just off the southeast tip of James Island, this island owes its name to its shape. A truly beautiful island, surrounded by crystal clear waters, this is great location for Sea Lions. The island of Bartolome is home to one of the most iconic scenery shots of Galapagos, this small island is located off the eastern shore of Santiago Island. The striking volcanic landscape looks almost lunar and provides a great introduction to the volcanic origins of the island.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 7: Genovesa & El Barranco or Prince Philip’s Steps

A highlight of any visit to the Galapagos, this is a truly beautiful island thanks to the richness of its birdlife. You will land on a coral beach, and will immediately be struck by the amount of birdlife including Great Frigatebirds, Red-footed Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Lava gulls and much more. On El Barranco you will clim to the cliff-top and enter an area where nesting Nazca Boobies and Great Frigatebirds are found.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 8: James – (Santiago) – James Bay (Puerto Egas) & Rabida

This was the island where Charles Darwin spent the majority of his land visits in Galapagos. At James Bay, the Fur Seal Grottos provide great chances to get close views of both Fur Seals and Galapagos Sea Lions in a series of rocky pools. This visit also provides some of the best opportunities for tide-pooling in the Galapagos, and chances to see shore birds such as Plovers, Sandpipers, Herons and Oystercatchers. The snorkel from the beach is excellent.  On Rabida, you will see a red sandy beach with Sea Lions and nesting Brown Pelicans, which some afford a rare glimpse of chick feeding.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 9: Santa Cruz – Charles Darwin Research Station & Highlands

The Charles Darwin Research Station offers a great chance to learn about the work being done to conserve and protect the islands wildlife. The highlands of Santa Cruz are home to fascinating geological features, like lava tubes and the twin sinkhole craters of Los Gemelos, which are home to some 300 different fern species as well as a forest of Scalesias, a relative of sunflowers. The highlands of Santa Cruz are one of the best places to see Giant Tortoises in the wild.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 10: Española (Hood)

This island is one of the highlights of any visit to Galapagos. Espanola is the southernmost island in the Galapagos, and is also one of the oldest. Numerous Sea Lions are seen here, plus hundreds of Marine Iguanas basking on the rocks. The trail of Punta Suárez is one of the best trails in the whole islands and you will see large quantities of Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas, Blue-footed and Nazca boobies, gulls, Galapagos Hawks and during most of the year, Waved Albatross. The beautiful Gardner Bay is a spectacular white sand beach, home to one of the largest Sea Lion colonies in the islands.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 11: Santa Fe & South Plaza

This is the oldest of the Galapagos islands. Its paradisiacal bay offers great possibilities to swim and snorkel in crystal clear waters. A hike inland offers a great chance to see a species of Land Iguanas, which is endemic to Santa Fe Island. One of your first stops will be through a small “forest” of Prickly Pear Cactus. The walk along the sea cliffs is a wonderful experience, with Galapagos Shearwaters and Red-billed Tropicbirds gliding by.

Overnight: On the yacht

 

Day 12: Santa Cruz – Black Turtle Cove (Caleta Tortuga Negra)

A beautiful mangrove lagoon on the north shore of Santa Cruz Island. The yacht anchors just outside the cove and you will enter on a dinghy, paddling through the calm waters of the lagoon, which is a resting site for Green Sea Turtles. A wonderfully quiet journey, through a beautiful and unique habitat. With good luck as well as Marine Turtles you will see different types of Sharks and schools of Golden and Eagle Rays swimming just below the surface.

After this final visit, you will be transferred to Baltra’s airport for your flight back to the mainland, or you could continue your Galapagos adventure with a stay in one of the inhabited islands.

 

END OF HOLIDAY

 

 

 

 

WHEN TO GO

The climate in the Galapagos is subtropical and is regulated by the warm Nino Current and the cold Humbolt Current.

  • January to May: from low 80°F (27°C) to low 90°F (32°C) (possible rain)
  • June to September: low 60°F (15°C) to high 70°F (21°C) (possible rain)
  • October to December: 70°F (21°C) to 80° (27°C) (dry season)

December to May – The time period between December and May is considered the “warm season.” During this warmer season, the Galapagos’ climate is more tropical with daily rain and cloudier skies. Also, the ocean temperature is warmer for swimming and snorkelling.

June to December – From June to December the southern trade winds bring the colder Humbolt current north to the Galapagos. This means that the water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies. In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level islands and shorelines have very little rainfall thus; June to December is generally called the “dry season”.

What to Bring

  • Bring snorkels and fins in kids’ sizes and wetsuits if you’re visiting during the months of July and August as the water is cold. If travelling with a toddler then consider bringing a life vest suited to a small child.
  • It’s worth bringing shoes that can get wet but are sturdy enough for walking on rocky paths around the islands.
  • A good pair of binoculars is a must and a waterproof camera for capturing your snorkelling adventures!
  • On some smaller boats you may feel the swells, especially at night, if you or your child are prone to motion sickness then talk to your doctor about motion-sickness remedies.
  • Make sure to bring plenty of sun screen and hats.
 A comprehensive list of what to bring will be issued by our partner agent prior to travel.

 

Luggage Allowance

Luggage for your flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos is restricted to 1-piece weighing no more than 20 kg (44lbs). Excess baggage is subject to a heavy tariff. You can also carry one piece of hand luggage (size restrictions similar to international flights 56 cm long, 45 cm wide and 25 cm deep). All the hotels we use have a safe baggage storage facility with no charge, which our guide can help you co-ordinate.

 

Reading

There’s probably no need to read Darwin’s Origin of the Species prior to travel but there are some very good books that will prepare you for your trip.

Galápagos Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guides (Wildlife Guides) by David Horwell and Pete Oxford provides an excellent introduction to the islands and their wildlife.
For kidsGalapagos George by Jean Craighead George, tells the tale of the Pinta Island saddleback tortoise. The brief story describes how these tortoises came to be millions of years ago and why the species became extinct in 2012 with the death of the 100-year-old Lonesome George.
Island: A Story of the Galapagos, by Jason Chin, is a fantastic introduction to the Galapagos Islands for children aged 5 – 8 years-old including the birth, growth and eventual disappearance of an island in the Galapagos.
Inside The Beagle with Charles Darwin, by Fiona Macdonald and Mark Bergin, is an illustrated voyage of the Beagle with Charles Darwin and introduces children to life aboard Darwin’s ship and what he observed in the Galapagos. Recommended for children aged 8 and above.
For very little kids,  We’re Sailing to Galapagos: A Week in the Pacific, by Laurie Krebs and Grazia Restelli, is colourful adventure where each day of the week introduces another fascinating creature – giant tortoises, skipping lava crabs and more.

RATES & BOOKING

Rates vary according to time of year, number of adults and children in your family and length of the holiday (this holiday can be fully customised to suit your family’s requirements). Please contact our partner agent directly for an exact quote based on your requirements. 

This holiday is organised by our UK-based partner agent who are dedicated Ecuador and Galapagos specialists with over thirty years of experience in organising exceptional holidays to Ecuador and Galapagos.

Ecuador and Galapagos make for the most amazing family holiday. You’ll get up close with some of the most unique wildlife on earth, explore new landscapes, discover new cultures, sharing and discovering new experiences together as a family.

As parents with young children themselves, they have travelled extensively in Ecuador and Galapagos with their children and understand what makes an exceptional family adventure holiday. They also understand the care and attention that is needed to create a holiday that is not only inspirational, but that is remembered for a lifetime.

Working with a hand picked selection of the very best Galapagos small boat cruises, beautiful lodges and a team of highly professional friendly bi-lingual guides, who are leaders in their field and in most cases parents themselves, our partner agent know exactly what is required to create the perfect Ecuador and Galapagos holiday for your family.

Our partner agent is also committed to practicing responsible tourism. All of their holidays are guided by its central principles – that our visit can and should benefit the local community, that we should leave places as we discovered them and that our visit is so much more than a holiday; it is a chance to learn more about the ecosystems we visit and their conservation value.

Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, will be given to you upon completing an enquiry.

Make an enquiry

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Your enquiry will be sent directly to our partner agent responsible for this holiday. Remember, you never pay more making an enquiry through globetotting than by booking directly with any of our partner agents.  

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