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With the Darwin’s Footprints Adventure you will be able to explore the best of the Enchanted Islands, staying in Cruz and visiting one of the most important islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or Plazas. Begin this journey on Santa Cruz Island, where you will be able to observe the symbiosis between lava, endemic plants and animals.
Continue your adventure with a navigable tour to one of these islands, Santa Fe, Seymour, Plazas or Bartolome, where you will enjoy of the diverse and rich fauna of endemic and native species.
This tour has been designed to get the most of the Galapagos in a deeper and more adventurous exploration of the Enchanted Islands, visiting the very best that Galápagos has to offer. Enjoy accessing these wild sites by snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and navigating.
Darwin’s Footprints (4 Days)
Day 1: Travel to Galapagos
Morning: Travel from mainland Ecuador to Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.
Lunch and dinner.
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 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.
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, that 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.
Welcome to the Galapagos!
Before lunch, you can relax on the deck of the Aventura Lodge and watch the sea lions and marine iguanas.
After lunch, you’ll take your first excursion to Los Gemelos (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers. This is 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. You’ll see a remnant of a Scalesia Forest, draped in liverwort, lichens and mosses. It’s 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 tortoise reserve. Here the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep. Sometimes it’s a bit muddy here, so before setting out, you can put on some rubber field boots (Wellington boots). We have a selection of sizes, including large sizes for men.
Walking among the giant tortoises in the wild may be one of the your most treasured moments.
After visiting these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat, we’ll go to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high, this is an incredible opportunity see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, and mineral-colored walls. Even the rippled floor was formed by lava.
Day 2: Kayaking & Snorkeling Playa de los Alemanes and Las Grietas
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Am : If we have a good hide tide, we will begin the adventure from the hotel dock, otherwise from the municipal pier. In a water taxi we will sail for about 10 minutes to the German Beach, then take the kayaks, where we will begin to surround the mangroves home of pelicans, frigates, and blue footed boobies, then reach to Franklin Bay, where we will stop to observe sea turtles, manta-rays, etc.
Enter to the fascinating Love Tunnel, two natural cliffs made of volcanic rocks, where we can spot endemic plants and nesting birds.
After this great kayaking adventure you will be escorted to Las Grietas a wonderful place to snorkel and swim in cool and clear waters between two tall cliffs, where the earth has opened like a “crack”.
Lunch at Aventura Lodge
Enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs in the world and perhaps, meet the most famous giant tortoise.
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.
Day 3: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or Plazas
(The island you will visit depends on different factors such as weather, tides and National Park Regulations.)
Breakfast, lunch and dinner
You will be picked up at the hotel and taken to the Itabaca Chanel, where you will embark to your destination.
After breakfast, you will be accompanied to the main pier, from where the boat to Santa Fe leaves.
After a boat ride of about an hour, the island of Santa Fe will be reached, offering an impressive landscape with forests of endemic cactuses, many sea birds as pelicans and gulls as well as colonies of sea lions lying in the white sand or playing around int the crystal turquoise water.
This is also where the first snorkeling activity will take place. The bay with its calm and pristine water, home of tropical fish, manta rays and sea turtles. You will also have the chance to swim with playful young sea lions
The boat will move to the second snorkeling spot.
Playa Escondida, will be visited before returning to Santa Cruz.
BARTOLOME with its Pinnacle Rock that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands.
Here you may have the opportunity to see the Galapagos penguin, sea lions, sea turtles, flamingos, Galapagos hawks and migratory birds. You will climb the Pinacle Rock 114 meter altitude, where you will have the most spectacular views.
And then snorkel in the Golden beach, in front of the Pinnacle Rock. Golden beach has golden sand with a half moon shape just at the east of Pinnacle Rock. Snorkeling here is an amazing experience, you will share the water with schools of tropical fish, and see lots of marine life.
SEYMOUR formed by uplift of a submarine lava formation, created by seismic activity, rather than being of volcanic origin. This is an extraordinary place for breeding birds, and is home to one of the largest populations of nesting blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds, depending on the time of the year you may be witness of the thrilling mating rituals of these birds, and also observe the mother and child interaction. You will visit a small lagoon to see flamingos. There will be time for snorkeling from the beach.
This tour also stops at Bachas and snorkel in this tepid waters.
This full of life island will give you the chance to see marine iguanas and sea lions in its white and golden sands.
SOUTH PLAZA. This small island is full of fascinating wildlife, along its shore and along its cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls. It is flora offers you views of Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors according to the season.
You will visit one of the largest Sea Lion colonies, with pups and also harems in the azure waters of the channel.
South Plaza is one of Galapagos’ most impressive visiting sites.
Day 4: Departure to mainland
Transfer to the airport for your departure to mainland.
Note: This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, weather conditions, and Galapagos National Park regulations.
- Included: Accommodation in the Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge . All meals , 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.
- 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 ($20 USD (must be paid in cash in mainland airport), tips, alcoholic beverages. Transfer in and out
- DAY 1: Walk among giant tortoises at a private Reserve and explore amazing lava tunnels and Los Gemelos. Santa Cruz (L)
- DAY 2: Kayaking and Snorkeling at Playa de los Alemanes and Visit las Grietas. Charles Darwin Research Starion (B.L.D)
- DAY 3: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour or Plazas (B.L.D)
- DAY 4: Early Departure to your flight back to mainland (B.)
(Ask for private transfer details)