Galapagos Land and Sea
6 islands in 6 days! Get the best of both worlds with a combination and land and water-based exploration on this action-packed holiday.
Galapagos Land and Sea
Prices from: £3,495 pp for 5 nights
Most Galapagos holidays are either land-based or cruises, but this one combines both, all in the space of 6 days. You hit the ground running: within a short time of arriving in the Galapagos you are kayaking, snorkelling and balancing on a stand-up paddleboard, sharing the water with sea-lions and white-tipped reef sharks. What a great way to begin your Galapagos adventure!
Your home on Santa Cruz island is Magic Galapagos Tented Camp, a collection of walk-in tents and treehouses set in a private reserve in the highlands that you share with giant tortoises, and you can end the day with a nightcap in the lava lounge, a natural lava tube. It is indeed a magical place.
Your second day is as action-packed as you like: take off to Tortuga Bay to spy marine iguanas and turtles, visit the national park, try your hand at diving or fishing or spend time exploring the tortoise sanctuary at the camp.
Next you’re whisked away for a short cruise on the Seaman Journey, a spacious 8-cabin catamaran for three days of cruising and island excursions. These visits show you different aspects of the archipelago: you visit bird nesting sites, observe all three species of booby, see lava flows, marvel at hybrid iguanas and have close encounters with sea lions. This is the very essence of the Galapagos, concentrated in three marvellous days.
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- Return flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos
- Magic Galapagos Tented Lodge, Santa Cruz 2 nights
- Seaman Journey 3 nights
DAY 1: WEDNESDAY
You flight from the mainland lands at Baltra airport where you are met and taken to the Itabaca Channel. Then it’s time for some waterborne fun! You have a choice of kayak or standup paddle board, or maybe you’d rather don the snorkelling gear to get a glimpse of life below the water. It’s all available and you have a couple of hours to enjoy it. You are then transported to the island on the other side of the channel, Santa Cruz, and up into the highlands where you find your home for the next 2 nights, Magic Galapagos Tented Camp. You’re in for a treat. As well as the tranquil location and comfy accommodation, you have company on the form of giant tortoises who also call this reserve home. Lunch and dinner are included in your holiday, and if you fancy a little tipple before bed, head to the atmospheric lava lounge for a nightcap. Lunch, dinner
DAY 2: THURSDAY
You have a free day to spend as you wish, taking your pick of one of the suggested activities, included in your holiday. A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station is a valuable use of your time, learning about conservation projects and seeing rehabilitated giant tortoises and marine iguanas at close quarters. Tortuga Bay offers opportunities for beach strolls and snorkelling, with kayaking and surfing available at extra cost. Other options include a trip to a neighbouring island, and a day’s fishing. Scuba diving is available, too, at extra charge. These activities need to be booked in advance. At the end of the day return to Magic Galapagos where dinner is served. Breakfast, dinner
DAY 3: FRIDAY
Time for a change of scene. You are transported to the harbour where you catch sight of your catamaran, Seaman Journey. Having set down your bags in the cabin, head back up on deck for a warm welcome from the crew. You have lunch on board as the catamaran sets off for North Seymour, the location of your first shore excursion. This flat island is a favourite nesting site for magnificent frigatebirds, and you can also expect to see blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Look to the shore and you should spot sea lions among the surf and on the beach. At the end of the excursion you return to Seaman Journey to freshen up before dinner. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 4: SATURDAY
A busy day. After breakfast you step ashore at Prince Philip’s Steps on the island of Genovesa. Ascend the path up the cliffs and follow the trail with your guide, a walk of around 2 hours in total, while you keep your eyes open for nesting storm petrels. At the top you are rewarded with wonderful views and the sight of petrels soaring above and around you. Head back down for a panga ride along the coast, and glimpses of fur seals and more seabirds. In the afternoon you have a wet landing at Darwin Bay, a lovely white coral sand beach, where there are good chances of seeing both red-footed and Nazca boobies, plus lava herons and yellow warblers. The walking trail leads to a viewpoint from which you can see red-footed boobies in the mangroves below, and get panoramic views of the island. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 5: SUNDAY
Another full day of sights and activities. First on the agenda is South Plaza. Look out for the land iguanas here, smaller than those found on other islands, and especially for the unique hybrid iguanas, the result of interbreeding between land and marine iguanas. Your guide will point them out, showing you the land iguana’s crest and the marine iguana’s face and tail. In the afternoon you explore nearby Santa Fe. This island was formed by an uplift, is largely flat and is a good place to observe Galapagos doves and Galapagos hawks. After the walk you have time for some swimming and snorkelling, and don’t be surprised if you’re joined in the water by playful sea lions! Breakfast, lunch, dinner
DAY 6: MONDAY
Following breakfast you visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Centre on San Cristobal. Dedicated to caring for giant tortoises, the centre rears and cares for these creatures in a protected environment. You can watch the endearing juvenile tortoises, and on a walk in the grounds you are also likely to see finches, mockingbirds and warblers. After the visit you are transferred to the airport for the flight back to the mainland. Breakfast
2019 Price from (pp sharing): £3,495 (ex. international flights)
Includes: Return flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands, 5 nights’ accommodation on twin share basis – 2 nights at Magic Galapagos Tented Camp and 3 nights on Seaman Journey, meet and greet on arrival, 1 activity including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and snorkelling, all shore excursions on the cruise, meals as shown, transport as shown, services of an English-speaking naturalist guide during the cruise.
Excludes: International flights, departure taxes, visas (not currently required by British passport holders), travel insurance, Galapagos National Park Fee currently US$100 payable locally in US$, tourist transit card (currently US$20), optional excursions, meals not shown as included, drinks, items of a personal nature, tips.
Getting there: This holiday starts and ends in Quito on mainland Ecuador. Return flights from the UK to Quito cost from about £675, depending on season and availability. We normally book these for you.
Departure dates: This is a tailor-made holiday that can begin on the day of your choice, subject to availability.
Magic Galapagos Tented Camp
The camp is located on a hillside within a private farm, with views over the coast and ocean. There is no other lodge or camp in the area, and your only neighbours are the resident giant tortoises. You stay in a tent, comfy camping! With just canvas between you and the outside world, you feel part of the natural world. The main lodge is where you relax with other guests between activities and enjoy meals cooked in the adjoining open-air kitchen. The camp is ideally placed for watching the sunset, and later, after dinner, guests usually take a walk to the nearby lava tubes, a natural ‘lava lounge’, where a camp fire is burning and nightcaps are served.
Galapagos Seaman Journey is a supremely comfortable catamaran. It accommodates a maximum of 16 passengers and feels spacious and uncrowded. Between island visits there’ll be plenty of time to unwind on board, either in the privacy of your cabin, or enjoying the fresh air and views from one of the sundecks. There is a small library with a collection of natural history books. You can socialise in the lounge and bar as you chat to other passengers. Meals are served indoors and on the deck. Cabins are located on the main and upper decks. All have en-suite bathrooms with 24 hour hot water, large picture windows and air conditioning to keep them pleasantly cool.
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We know and love the Galapagos Islands, and would delighted to help you plan your perfect Galapagos holiday. Call 01473 599082 and speak to one of our Galapagos travel specialists today.