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Darwin’s Discovery Dive Adventure (5 Days)

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This is primarily a Galapagos diving adventure, with some land based excursions – all based on Santa Cruz Island.

In this adventure, you will enjoy two full mornings of diving (2 immersions each) at some of the best Galapagos dive spots. All dives are escorted by a Dive Master and all adventures are escorted by Galapagos National Park naturalist guides. You will dive in a different place each diving day.

You’ll explore Santa Cruz Island with the following land excursions: Darwin’s Research Station, Rancho Primicias (with giant tortoises roaming free), and the incredible “Los Gemélos” collapsed lava chambers! You’ll also visit Garraptero Beach and Tortuga Quest. Later, you’ll walk through lava tunnels and chambers. You will dine in our ocean-view restaurant.

Ask about discounts for groups of 6 or more!

Darwin’s Discovery Dive Adventure (5 Days)

Day 1: Travel to Galapagos

Morning: Travel from mainland Ecuador to Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

The adventure starts the moment you arrive at the airport on Baltra Island. Seymour Airport is the first ecological airport in the world.

The terminal was built in 2013 and uses solar panels to protect this fragile ecosystem. Baltra Island used to be a US Air Force Base during the Second World War. It was established to control the Panama Channel. When the US forces left the island after the war, they left behind some of their military constructions and a runway – which is why the airport was built there.

After a very short bus ride, you will head to the Itabaca Channel, a small channel with clear blue waters which divides Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. During your five minute crossing, watch the water and you may see some sharks, sea lions and sea turtles.

Once on Santa Cruz, you’ll travel south across the Island to Aventura Lodge.  During the 45 minute drive, you’ll experience a variety of micro climates. Watch the change from desert in the lowlands to tropical forest in the highlands. The highlands represent the agricultural resource of the island.

On the south side of the island, we will pass through Santa Rosa – a very small town inhabited by the local farmers. As we near the southern coast, the climate becomes drier and hotter until we arrive in Puerto Ayora. This is the main town on the Island and where Red Mangrove is located.

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Welcome to the Galapagos! 

Before lunch, you can relax on the deck of the Aventura Lodge and watch the sea lions and marine iguanas.

Afternoon: After lunch at Aventura Lodge, you’ll visit Garrapatero Beach.

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A 25-minute bus ride takes you to the beach entrance. After a 15-minute hike along an easy trail, you’ll arrive at the beach. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for finches – and is a place where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.

This is one of most peaceful and calm places on the island. The 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand on Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It’s about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora.

Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds and mockingbirds. You can also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water. There’s also a freshwater lake nearby that is home to even more tropical animals, such as herons, grebes, and many shore birds.

Briefing at Aventura Lodge before dinner.

(Ask for Le Carte Dinner. Special price for our tour guests)

Overnight in our Divers Lodge.

Day 2: Santa Cruz Diving (2 Dives)

Morning: Diving on Santa Cruz Island with opportunities to see eagle rays, manta rays, hammerheads, white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos shark, stingrays, marbled rays, tiger snake eels, moray eels, garden eels, sea stars, sea turtles, jacks, blue and gold snappers, flag cabrilla, creolefish, king angelfish, barracuda, heiroglyphic hawkfish, frogfish, yellowtail surgeonfish, spotfin burrfish, scorpionfish, cardinalfish, nudibranch and more! See photos of Galapagos marine life.

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Afternoon: Lunch in our Aventura Lodge with free time to relax. Dinner at Aventura Lodge and overnight in our Divers Lodge.

Day 3: Santa Cruz Diving (2 Dives)

Morning: Diving on Santa Cruz Island with opportunities to see eagle rays, manta rays, hammerheads, white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos shark, stingrays, marbled rays, tiger snake eels, moray eels, garden eels, sea stars, sea turtles, jacks, blue and gold snappers, flag cabrilla, creolefish, king angelfish, barracuda, heiroglyphic hawkfish, frogfish, yellowtail surgeonfish, spotfin burrfish, scorpionfish, cardinalfish, nudibranch and more! See photos of Galapagos marine life.

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Afternoon: Lunch at Aventura Lodge with a free afternoon to explore downtown Puerto Ayora. Dinner at Aventura Lodge and overnight in our Divers Lodge.

Day 4: Tortoise Quest, Highlands Tour, and Charles Darwin Research Station

Morning: This tour begins with a trip to “Los Gemelos” (The Twins) – two enormous collapsed lava chambers, an awe-inspiring visual reminder of the power of nature. The short, easy hike to each of the twins is teeming with endemic flora and fauna. You’ll see a Scalesia Forest draped in liverwort, large and small tree finches, the adorable Vermillion flycatcher and more.gemelos2

Afterwards, we will visit the 600 acre private tortoise reserve. Here the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep. After visiting the tortoises, we’ll take a five minute ride to the entrance of a 450 meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high in most places, this is an incredible opportunity to explore the remnants of one of the most powerful forces in nature: lava flows.

Stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur and mineral colored walls await you.

Estacion cientifica Isabela

Afternoon: Lunch at Aventura Lodge

Visit Charles Darwin Research Station: Enjoy a fascinating guided tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station. It was founded in 1964 with the purpose of studying and preserving the natural wonder that is Galapagos. The station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, instrumental in the conservation efforts of the islands. You’ll learn about the fascinating natural history of the Galapagos.

Dinner at Aventura Lodge and overnight in our Divers Lodge.

Day 5: Depart for Quito or Guayaquil (Mainland Ecuador)

Morning: After breakfast, you’ll return to Baltra airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador (either Quito or Guayaquil). Depart 3 hours before your flight in order to arrive back at the Baltra Airport the requested 1.5 hours before your flight.

Travel to your next travel segment (Cuenca, Quito, Guayaquil or Amazon) or take your return flight home.

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Prices

Accommodation Single / Person Double / Person Triple / Person
Suite – Ocean View $ 3.309 $ 2.649 $ 2.379
Superior $ 2.999 $ 2.399 $ 2.159
Standard – Mangrove View $ 2.729 $ 2.189 $ 1.989
  • Included: Accommodations in the Red Mangrove Lodges. All meals as listed (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), soft drinks during meals. Guided tours as listed, Inter island transportation. All diving and snorkel gear, bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide, 10% Service Charge as per Ecuadorian Law. Free use of bikes.
  • Not included: Flights to and from Galapagos, entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 USD must be paid in cash in Galapagos airport), Galapagos transit card ($10 USD (must be paid in cash in mainland airport), tips, alcoholic beverages.

Note: This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, weather conditions, and Galapagos National Park regulations.

Itinerary

  • DAY 1: Escorted tour to Garrapatero Beach, a white sand beach surrounded by mangroves. Santa Cruz (L)
  • DAY 2 & 3: Diving mornings in Santa Cruz (B.L.D)
  • DAY 4: Walk among giant tortoises at Rancho Primicias, and visit lava tunnels and Los Gemelos Santa Cruz (B.L.D)
  • DAY 5: Early departure to the airport in Baltra for your flight back to mainland (B)

Go to these links to see IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Packing for the Galapagos | About Galapagos

(Ask for private transfer details)