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Darwin’s Footprints 8 Days

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

Lunch included

16-fachadaTravel 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.

9-SALA DE LOBOS FINALISIMAOnce 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

Check in and lunch at our 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 GOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAemelos”, a short bus ride will take you to a 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.


After visiting these prehistoric creatures we’ll take a 5-minute ride to the entrance of a illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high in most places, here you can see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, mineral-colored walls, and the rippled floor formed from lava along this unique lava formations.

Get back to the lodge for Dinner. 

(Ask for Le Carte Dinner special price for our tour guests)

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 (depending on the sea conditions) .  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.galapagos

Take your kayak and start the journey along the shore of the paradisiacal Santa Cruz Island, enjoying beautiful scenery full of contrasts.

Snorkeling, with high chances to see sea lions, green sea turtles and countless schools of tropical fish.  

Back to the Aventura for lunch.


Travel to Isabela

Enjoy a navigation of about two hours to your next destination, Isabela Island. Depends on the season rides might be a little bit rough but chances to see marine life such as whales, dolphins, whale shark, and manta rays among others increases. 

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 drinks and  snacks. . Our Naturalist Guides will share with you features of their culture and the islands history.

Dinner,  & Overnight at our Lodge.

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.SierraNegra

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. IMG_0110

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 Campo Duro

A beautiful farm, where their owners prepare delicious dishes with fruits and vegetables  with produce of this organic farm. The meal is grilled on a lava rock.

After lunch you can take a walk in the farm or take a nap in a hammock breathing the clean air and the smell of a mango tree.

In liaison with the Galapagos National Park, Campo Duro takes care of giant tortoises that roam freely  in the farm.

Return to the lodge where you can enjoy swimming, simply relax at the beach in front of the hotel, or if you prefer you can discover Isabela on your own .

Day 4: Isabela

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Depart to Los Tuneles,

A spectacular place where lava flow impacted with the oceans waves to form the stunning tubes and bridges both under and above water.  This is a marine paradise for the white tipped reef shark, manta rays, parrot fish, yellowtail surgeon fish, Galápagos green sea turtle and the Galápagos sea lions.

Along the navigation you may have chances to see  the beautiful Galapagos wildlife such us giant mantas rays, sea turtles and more.Tuneles2

along this ride we will enjoy seeing

We will make a short stop at “Roca Union” where we can see masked boobies, blue footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea lions and occasionally fur seal from the boat.  experience close encounters with many species of fish, rays, sea turtles and perhaps the Galapagos penguins.

(This activity and time schedule may change according to sea conditions).

Back to the lodge for Lunch.

Ride through town enjoying the simplicity of this traditional island and search for the Flamingo spots.

Visit the Galapagos National Park Isabela Breeding Station were you will be able to know the different specifies of Galapagos tortoises, the growing process from new borns up to centenary individuals found on this station.

Hike along a beautiful boardwalk for about 45 minutes enjoying part of the Isabela wetlands, with high opportunities to see flamingos isabela-breeding-station-2and other stunning seabirds.

Before returning to the lodge visit Playa del Amor to feel the magic of this organic sand beach surrounded by mangroves.

Dinner and overnight at our Lodge.

Day 5: Isabela – Santa Cruz

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

39GPS_PIQUEROSDeparture to “Las Tintoreras” and Bay Tour.  At the main We will board a smaller craft to head out across the port, slowing down to view blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins sharing the same rocky sunbathing space, before turning a bend and docking.

From there, we 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.

Back to the lodge for lunch. 

Depart to Santa Cruz. Our navigation will take about 2 to 2.30 hours depending on sea conditions.

Day 6: Santa Cruz

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

garrapatero_8After breakfast, depart to Garrapatero beach, a 40 minutes bus ride to the right spot were an easy trail start to lead you to the beach in only 15 more minutes walking.

This beautiful white sand beach is known as the best place to and relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

This is one of Santa Cruz’s most peaceful and tranquil settings; the 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand that compose El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It is about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora.

Return to the lodge for lunch.

Enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs49_Tortuga Bay 1

Day 7: Santa Cruz

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Escorted Tour to Tortuga Bay. Take a walk to Tortuga Bay, through a path that merges with a giant Opuntia and Candelabra cactus forest, home to numerous Darwin Finches, Mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, Lava Lizards and many more of the Galapagos endemic and native species. As you enter the white sandy beach, you will have a chance to IMG_1710observe different marine species, like sting rays and baby reef sharks in the shallow waters of the mangrove ecosystems. After swimming on the beach, take a very short hike to the marine iguana nesting site. The walk back is through a prickly pear forest carpeted in crimson sesuvium with black lava outcroppings home to more marine iguana colonies. Short Boat Ride to the Lodge.

This afternoon we will take you to the highlands of Santa Cruz for an encounter with a cultural site full of tradition and history, a face of Galapagos as charming and magical as our famous natural sites. We will begin the journey with a ride through the towns of Santa Rosa and Bella Vista witnessing the life of islanders as we drive by, to then immerse ourselves in the wilderness of the roads that lead to “The Trapiche Sugar Cane Mill & Farm”. Upon arrival we will be greeted by the owner and founder of this farm famous for its coffee and sugar. We will be briefed about the tour by the owner who will speak and guide in Spanish will being translated for everyone.

The visit will begin first with a description and most times a demonstration of how the rudimentary sugar mill works and how it is used to extract the nectar of the sugar cane. Free sample of coffee beans with cheese and the honey obtained after processing the nectar at high temperatures.

Our next stop will be at the sugar cane liquor distillery partially composed of world war 2 purified cylinders pieces that were left behind years ago in the islands. At the end you will enjoy complimentary shots of this famous sugar cane liquor served with tangerine and oranges as is tradition of the owner

Day 8: Santa Cruz – Quito or Guayaquil

Breakfast included44GPS_PIQUERO

Take a transfer to the airport for your flight to Mainland Ecuador

Ask for transfer details and prices.