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In the 1830s, Charles Darwin sailed on the HMS Beagle into an archipelago that held species never before recorded. The variances he observed among those animals kindled his idea of natural selection and laid the foundation for his The Origin of Species treatise. From that point on, these 19 islands known as the Galapagos were marked as places worth preserving. The islands have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1978, although in 2007 they were added to the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger.
You’ll have plenty of time to explore the ecology of these fascinating islands on an itinerary that visits Baltra, Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal islands. Plus, you’ll stay overnight on three of these islands, affording you the chance to observe the natural differences between each one - even the sand varies! On your daily explorations, discover land formations resulting from millennia of volcanic activity. The famous giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, albatrosses, sea lions and marine iguanas, as well as other species, surround you, often only a few feet away.
An escort and naturalist join you on this conservation-minded vacation, not only explaining the islands’ unique biology and guiding you in wildlife viewing, but also teaching you about the pressures the islands now face and the efforts being made to preserve this fragile environment. Active travelers will also have the opportunity to hike the slopes of a volcano, go horseback riding, paddle sea kayaks and snorkel with sea mammals and coastal birds.
• 7 nights hotel accommodations: 2 nights in Guayaquil, 1 night on Santa Cruz Island, 3 nights on Isabela Island and 1 night on San Cristóbal Island
• Daily breakfast, 6 lunches and 6 dinners
• Private escort and naturalist guide, both Galapagos experts
• Panga transportation, kayak equipment and bottled water
• Kayak excursion at Punta Estrada and Las Grietas
• Visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isla Isabela
• Hike of Sierra Negra volcano
• Snorkeling at Concha de Perla, Las Tintoreras, Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos
• Airport transfers in Ecuador plus gratuities for porters
Note: Internal flights, as noted below, are at additional cost and quoted at the published rate at time of booking. Prices are subject to change until ticketed and are non-refundable. Full payment is required for all internal tickets to confirm seat reservations. In addition, optional activities in Galapagos and additional hotel nights can be added, subject to availability. Inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 - Arrive in Guayaquil, Ecuador
Arrive in Guayaquil where you are met outside the customs and immigration area and transferred to the hotel.
Accommodation: Hilton Colon or similar - 1 night
Day 2 - To the Galapagos / Santa Cruz Island
Transfer to the airport and fly to Baltra in the Galápagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Flight is at additional cost.) Continue to the green highlands of Santa Cruz Island, home to various life forms present in the archipelago. View giant tortoises in the wild and explore lava tubes, sinkholes, and eroded craters. Travel to the main town of Puerto Ayora for kayaking at Punta Estrada and Las Grietas.
Accommodation: Angermeyer Waterfront Inn - 1 night
Day 3 - Isabela Island
Visit Tortuga Bay and after lunch take the motor boat to Isabela Island, the largest in the Galápagos Archipelago. Transfer to the hotel in Puerto Villamil on the south coast of Isabela. Enjoy a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center.
Accommodation: Casa de Marita - 3 nights
Day 4 - Volcan Sierra Negra
Sierra Negra volcano last erupted just two years ago. Today we hike its slopes to see its 30-square-mile caldera, petrified lava formations and fumaroles, and enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding islands. Enjoy a picnic lunch en route. There is an option to go by horseback at extra cost.
Day 5 - Tintoreras / Concha de Perla / Loberia Chica
Visit a small island called Tintoreras, a unique volcanic formation. On its west face a primitive species of lichen flourishes in the moisture brought by the prevailing wind. You will find young marine iguanas and may see white-tipped reef sharks. Concha de Perla is the perfect spot for those who love swimming or snorkeling: It is a shallow, calm bay with crystal clear water that allows you to enjoy the fascinating marine life of Galapagos. If you’re lucky, you will be joined on your swim by sea lions and penguins. Snorkel at Loberia Chica where you will have a great opportunity to see wildlife like birds and sea lions. Return to Puerto Villamil for dinner and overnight.
Day 6 - San Cristóbal Island
Fly to San Cristóbal Island (flight is at additional cost), then take a snorkeling excursion to Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos where you can swim with sharks, sea turtles and young sea lions. Return to the main town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, exploring the coast en route. The rest of the afternoon is free for you to enjoy the malecon or do some shopping.
Accommodation: Hotel Casa Opuntia - 1 night
Note: Today’s activities may vary slightly based on flight times.
Day 7 - San Cristobal / Guayaquil
Walk to the Tijeretas mirador for about an hour and a half. From here you will have an incredible view of Kicker Rock. Transfer to the airport for the flight back to Guayaquil. (Flight is at additional cost.)
Accommodation: Hotel Colon or similar - 1 night
Day 8 - Depart Guayaquil
Transfer to the airport and depart on your homeward-bound flight.
Limitations & Restrictions
*Prices are per person based on double occupancy, are subject to availability at time of booking, and may change without notice. Single supplement may apply. Except for packages including air transportation, unless stated otherwise, airfare, taxes and government fees are not included. Offers valid for new bookings only. Member Benefits are per person and apply to first and second traveler only. Member Benefits are available only with advertised fare and are subject to change without notice. Your travel arrangements may be modified or canceled subject to the travel providers’ policies. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. We make every effort for accuracy at time of printing but reserve the right to correct errors. AAA Travel strongly recommends the purchase of trip protection insurance. Except for packages including air transportation, fares may not reflect additional fuel supplement or port charges and vary by provider.
CST #1003968-80. Registration as seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.