Explore two Galapagos volcanic islands: Santa Cruz, and Isabela and their wild sceneries where human and the wildlife interact in perfect harmony.
Begin this journey on Santa Cruz Island, where you can observe the simbiosis between lava, endemic plants and fauna.
Continue your adventure to Isabela, the iconic seahorse shaped island. Enjoy of the diverse and rich fauna of endemic and native species such as Penguins, Blue Footed Boobies, Marine Iguanas, Flamingos, Pelicans, Sally light foot crabs abound, and countless fascinating underwater creatures.
This adventure has been designed to optimize your time by diminishing unnecessary commuting between islands and investing this time in a more deep and adventurous exploration of these two islands, which have the very best Galápagos has to offer. Enjoy of various and dynamic ways to access these wild sites by snorkeling, kayaking, biking and even diving.
You will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands, arriving at around 11h30 to 13h30 to Baltra Island, depending on to flight schedule.
Upon arrival at Baltra airport, you will be greeted and escorted by a Red Mangrove representative. First take a short bus ride to the Itabaca Channel, and followed by a 5 minute ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island. A private charter bus will take you south to the town of Puerto Ayora and the Red Mangrove Lodge. Here, do a quick check while you freshen up with our welcome drinks.
Lunch at Aventura Lodge.
Tour to Primicias
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.
Explore the underwater like an expert. If youre new to snorkeling or you are ready to advance your snorkeling skills, then at Red Mangrove Padi 5 Start Dive Resort our Instructors will give you a complete training and all the tools you need in order to master this sport.
After breakfast, at 08H00 depart towards the "Itabaca Channel" on private transportation for about 45 minutes. Upon arrival to this crystal clear turquoise waters you will be instructed about basic techniques on sea kayaking. You will be escorted by a watercraft and guided by a certified specialist to guarantee an outstanding and safe kayaking morning.
Begin at the dock where you will take your kayak and start the journey along the shore of this paradisiacal northern part of Santa Cruz Island, exploring the amazing channel that separates Santa Cruz from Baltra Island.
You will be able to enjoy a beautiful scenery full of contrasts, the stunning shorecliffs home of many sea birds such as blue footed boobies, frigate birds, brown pelicans, among others, that will make this, a dreamlike ride. Snorkeling opportunities from the kayak with high chances to see sea lions, green sea turtles and countless schools of tropical fish.
Back to the Aventura for lunch.
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, 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 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.
Departure for 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. We will hike about 800 mts to reach the rim of the caldera (crater) of Sierra Negra, from where the views are breathtaking!. With 4 miles across (10km), it is the second largest caldera in the world (The largest is Ngorontgoro in Tanzania).
On 22 October 2005 an eruption, that lasted one week, occurred in the northeast side of the caldera of Sierra Negra volcano. The lava flow covered much of the interior of the caldera and in some places rose more than two meters.
After bordering the caldera some 6 kms on and easy trail, will relax a bit and have a snack at a nice resting site under a "Jaboncillo" tree.
For the hardiest of the group, there is an option to continue on an especially difficult one hour walk to Volcan Chico, just northwest of the caldera where fumarole activity is abundant, and again from here, the views are spectacular.
This is not an easy hike, because it is mostly across sloping lava fields for 2 kms.
Total hike from the starting point to the Volcan Chico area is 8 kms, same way return.
After returning from Sierra Negra, we will have lunch at Campo Duro.
Campo Duro is a beautiful organic farm whose owners prepare delicious food with vegetables and fruits grown locally at the farm. Prepared at a lava rock-grill, enjoy a healthy meal and after lunch take a walk among the fruit trails or just take a nap in one of their hammocks and breath the clean air above a big Mango tree.
In liaison with the Galapagos National Park, this property also takes care of giant tortoises under a special granting program that your guides will carefully explain to you.
Back to the lodge, you will have time to get ready for the next activity. Short ride from the lodge 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 snorkel with sea lions, green turtles, schools of tropical fish and enjoy the beauty of the underwater scenery
If you prefer you can discover Isabela on your own. Enjoy swimming, simply relax or walk the town to discover the typical Galapagos lifestyle.
Once we return to the lodge, we'll have a bit of time to relax and shower before briefing and dinner.
After breakfast at around 09H00 departure to "Las Tintoreras" and Bay Tour.
At the main dock, we will board a small 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.
13H00. Depart to Santa Cruz. Our navigation will take about 2 to 2.5 hours depending on sea conditions.
Arrival and check in at Santa Cruz Lodge.
Then, enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs.
Founded in 1964 the Charles Darwin Research Station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, with the unique purpose to study, support and instrument the conservation efforts of the islands.