In keeping with the nature of an expedition, our itinerary is flexible, allowing you to take advantage of this extraordinary wild life sanctuary.
Day 1: Quito or Guayaquil – Santa Cruz
Travel from the Continental Ecuador to Santa Cruz Island.
Don’t forget to have your camera out. You will be in the Galapagos and you can see wildlife at any time. You don’t have to be on an excursion to spot some amazing Galapagos animals.
The adventure starts since the moment you arrive in Baltra Island at Seymour Airport, the first ecological airport in the World, this terminal was built in 2013 working with solar panels in order to keep the balance in this fragile ecosystem. Baltra Island used to be an old US Air Force Base during the Second World War in which it was established to control the Panama Channel, after the war the US forces left the island leaving some of their military constructions and a runway, which was 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, it will take around 5 minutes to cross it into a ferry, taking a glance of water, and you may have the chance to see some sharks, sea lions and sea turtles.
Once in Santa Cruz you start a ride to cross the Island from north to south to get to the Lodge, around 45 minutes, in this trip you will be able to experience a variety of micro climates, looking how they change from desert in the low lands to tropical forest in the highlands. The highlands represent the agricultural resource of the island; some other supplies are shipped from mainland.
While driving down to the south side of the island, we will pass through Santa Rosa a very small town inhabited by the local farmers from the area. Going down the road, we will realize that the weather is changing again turning drier and hotter as we are getting closer to the seaside until we arrive in Puerto Ayora the main town in the Island, where Red Mangrove is located,
Once you are in Puerto Ayora, after a long day of traveling, make sure to relax watching some sea lions and marine iguanas basking in the sun at the Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge.
(Ask for private transfers details).
Lunch at Aventura Lodge.
This afternoon the adventure starts with a trip to “Los Gemelos” (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers, a wonderful introduction to the majestic power of the forces of nature and the great biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Highlands. This short, easy hike to each of the twins is swarming with endemic flora and fauna, including a remnant of Scalesia Forest, draped in liverwort, lichens and mosses, where is easy to spot some Darwin finches and perhaps the short eared owls.
After “Los Gemelos”, a short bus ride will take you to a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze, and sleep. Sometimes it’s a bit muddy here, so before setting out, we will provide a selection of field boots (Wellington boots) to choose from, including large sizes for men.
Walking among the tortoises in wild, will be one of the most treasured moments of your trip. After visiting these prehistoric creatures on their natural habitat, we’ll take a 5-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 see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, mineral-colored walls, and the rippled floor formed from lava along this unique lava formations.
Back to the lodge for dinner.
Ask for Le Carte Dinner (Special price for our tour guests)
Day 2: Santa Cruz – Isabela
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Early in the morning take a short ride (Red Mangrove Private transportation ) to Canal de Itabaca. Upon arrival you will be instructed about basic techniques on sea kayaking, escorted by a watercraft and guided by a certified specialist to guarantee an outstanding and safe kayaking morning
Take your kayak and start the journey along the shore of the paradisiacal Santa Cruz Island, enjoying a beautiful scenery full of contrasts.
Snorkeling, with high chances to see sea lions, green sea turtles and countless schools of tropical fish.
Travel to Isabela (Depending on the number of guest, the travel may be in public or Red Mangrove Transportation) the navigation takes about two hours. In this navigation you may see marine life such as whales, dolphins, manta rays among others.
Upon Arrival check in at the lodge to then enjoy of a welcome cocktail at our deck located in front of this white sand beach where complimentary wine and local beer will be served with a wide variety of snacks and beverages. Our Naturalist Guides will share with you features of their culture and the islands history.
Day 3: Isabela
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Departure to Sierra Negra Volcano. Vehicles of local providers will drive us up through the humid highlands of Isabela, to the slopes of Volcan Sierra Negra, considered the second biggest active crater in the world. With 4 miles across (10km), We will hike about 800 mts to reach the rim of the caldera (crater) of Sierra Negra, from where the views are breathtaking.After about 6 km bordering the caldera on and easy trail, relax a bit and have a snack at a nice resting site under a “Jaboncillo” tree.
If we feel strong enough we can contienue to Volcan Chico, an otherworldly landscape with fumaroles and amazing lava formations. From here, the landscape is more than spectacular . (Total hike from the starting point to the Volcan Chico area is 8 kms)
Lunch at a Local Farm.
The food is prepared with vegetables and fruits grown locally at the farmAfter Lunch relax and take a walk in this beautiful place.
Get back to the lodge and then take a short ride to the Concha Perla site. Walk among the mangroves for about 150 mts on a board walk, to reach the dock, where you can start snorkeling on this lagoon-like Bay.
High opportunities to share the water with sea lions, green turtles, schools of tropical fish and enjoy the beauty of the underwater scenery.
Day 4: Isabela – Santa Cruz
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Departure to “Las Tintoreras” and Bay Tour. We will board a small craft to head out across the port, slowing down to view blue-footed boobies and, perhaps Galapagos penguins.
Take an intriguing walk through a jagged lava field, passing abundant colonies of nesting marine iguanas and sea lions, to see a small canal of shallow waters, full of resting white-tipped reef sharks.
The views from here are something you will take with you for the rest of your life !The black, treacherous lava field, the emerald green sea, the green mangroves, and the cloud-capped volcanoes of Isabela, create an afternoon backdrop you are not likely to ever forget.
Once you finish the walk, you can snorkel in this warm, shallow bay surrounded by mangroves, for an opportunity to see white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and, of course, the mystery of the mangrove below the surface. Don’t worry, white-tipped reef sharks are not aggressive, but merely fascinating.
Depart to Santa Cruz. Our navigation will take about 2 to 2.30 hours depending on sea conditions.
Enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs.
Day 5: Santa Cruz – Quito or Guayaquil
Transfer to the airport.
Ask for transfer detail and rates.