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Photo credit: Roberto Calder

Galapagos Discovery

From: $1727
4 days • Level 1 (Details)
    
Galapagos Discovery
Our Galapagos Discovery is the perfect alternative for travelers not interested in a Galapagos cruise. Explore the nature and wildlife of the islands on day trips aboard the Sea Finch yacht. Expert local guides lead hiking, swimming and snorkeling excursions to view birds, iguanas, sea lions and more.

Optional activities (at extra cost) include more challenging hikes, sea kaya
king, horseback riding, mountain biking and scuba diving. Your base of exploration is the exclusive Finch Bay Eco Resort widely known as the most luxurious hotel in the Galapagos. Enjoy delicious meals, a private beach, swimming pool and comfortable cabanas in a relaxing atmosphere. You don't need a ship to explore the best the Galapagos has to offer on our Galapagos adventure. The Galapagos Discovery is available as an 8-day, 5-day or 4-day program. read more Our Galapagos Discovery is the perfect alternative for travelers not interested in a Galapagos cruise. Explore the nature and wildlife of the islands on day trips aboard the Sea Finch yacht. Expert local guides lead hiking, swimming and snorkeling excursions to view birds, iguanas, sea lions and more.

Optional activities (at extra cost) include more challenging hikes, sea kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking and scuba diving. Your base of exploration is the exclusive Finch Bay Eco Resort widely known as the most luxurious hotel in the Galapagos. Enjoy delicious meals, a private beach, swimming pool and comfortable cabanas in a relaxing atmosphere. You don't need a ship to explore the best the Galapagos has to offer on our Galapagos adventure. The Galapagos Discovery is available as an 8-day, 5-day or 4-day program.
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Day 1 - Quito to Baltra, Santa Cruz

Day 2 - North Seymour Island Yacht Excursion

Day 3 - Plaza Island Yacht Excursion

Day 4 - Optional Activities

Day 5 - Santa Fe Island (Barrington) Yacht Excursion

Day 6 - Hike to Tortuga Bay

Day 7 - Bartolome Island

Day 8 - Charles Darwin Research Station


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Day 1 - Quito to Baltra, Santa Cruz

Upon arrival in Baltra you are greeted by our local representative. A small ferry will cross the Itabaca Channel, which separates Baltra from Santa Cruz Island. On the other side, a bus will take guests to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to visit the Giant Tortoises Reserve in their natural habitat, a unique experience! A stop is made at the Twin Pit Craters, great depressions of volcanic material, formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, where exceptional Scalesia trees, ferns, mosses and orchids can be seen in the surroundings. Box lunch is provided and then on to the Finch Bay Eco Hotel to enjoy its multiple attractions: pool, sea kayaks, the white coral beach in front of the hotel or rest in your hammock. In the evening, dinner includes the flavors of local and international gastronomy, one more attraction of the Finch Bay Eco Hotel.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
dinner

Day 2 - North Seymour Island Yacht Excursion

Enjoy a fully guided exploration of North Seymour Island from the Sea Finch, a 20 passenger 55 foot yacht. A stroll on flat terrain allows the observation of Palo Santo trees and colonies of blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and magnificent frigate birds. Towards the other side of the island, the ocean crashes against the rocks and sea lions surf in the waves. North Seymour Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit perched in ledges. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rain to bring them into bloom. "

This island is teaming with life! You might have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana; blue-footed booby nests sit beside the trail where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Further along, the rocky shore displays white sand, and large flocks of pelicans mass for a dive-bomb feeding frenzy, rendering a tableau for us from ages long past. The trail turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site in the Galapagos of the "magnificent frigate bird." These huge, dark acrobats have two-meter wingspans, and males, with puffed up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3 - Plaza Island Yacht Excursion

This small island is full of fascinating wildlife, at sea side and along the cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors with the seasons. The southwestern part of the island is an ocean-filled caldera ringed by the outer edges of a sizeable and mostly submerged volcano. The island sits to the northwest, slightly removed from the Galapagos archipelago. It is also known as "Bird Island," a name it lives up to in a spectacular way. Landing on the white coral sands of Darwin Bay and walking up the beach, you will be surrounded by the bustling activity of "great frigate birds." Puffball-chicks with their proud papas-who sport their bulging scarlet throat-sacks-crowd the surrounding branches, while both yellow-crowned and lava herons feed by the shore. Farther along you will discover a stunning series of sheltered pools set into a rocky outcrop, forming another natural film set. A trail beside the pools leads up to a cliff overlooking the caldera, where pairs of swallow-tailed gulls, the only nocturnal gulfs in the world, can be seen nesting at the cliff's edge. Lava gulls and pintail ducks ride the sea breezes nearby."

A brief boat ride brings us to the base of those same cliffs to reveal the full variety of species sheltering in the ledges and crevices created by the weathered basalt. Among them, red-billed tropic birds enter and leave their nests trailing exotic kite-like tails. This is also an intriguing place to go deep-water snorkeling, where the truly fortunate swimmer can spot one of the giant manta rays that frequent the inner bay along the cliff walls.

Across the bay are Prince Philip's Steps, named for a visit by the British Monarch in 1964. The 25-meter (81-foot) stairway leads to a narrow stretch of land that opens out onto the plateau surrounding Darwin Bay, and extends to form the north side of the island. Red- footed boobies wrap their webbed feet around branches to perch in the bushes, and, in contrast, their "masked-booby" cousins dot the surface of the scrublands beyond. Crossing through the sparse vegetation, you will come to a broad lava field that extends towards the sea-this forms the north shore. "Storm petrels" flutter out over the ocean in swarms, then return to nest in the cracks and tunnels of the lava field, where their predator, the short-eared owl, is a frequent visitor.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4 - Optional Activities

Stay at Santa Cruz Island and enjoy the activities of your choice. Hike to Las Grietas, sea kayak, snorkeling, birdwatching (without extra cost) or guided excursions at extra cost such as cruise of the bay, mountain bike in the highlands of Santa Cruz, discover scuba diving.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5 - Santa Fe Island (Barrington) Yacht Excursion

A short trek leads through woods of Opuntia cacti and Palo Santo trees. Land iguanas (endemic to Santa Fe), lava lizards and colonies of sea lions can be observed. There is opportunity to swim and snorkel. Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora.

A landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion "harems." Bulls vie for the right of Beach Master, while smaller males mask as females to make stealthy mating moves. Galapagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes, and an ascending trail leads toward the cliffs, where a dense thicket stands to the inland side. The cliff side provides an expansive view of the ocean. The giant prickly pear cactus found here live up to their name, with tree-sized trunks!

Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs. An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thicket, and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galapagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay followed by watching the sun set behind the island cliffs as dusk settles over the Galapagos.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6 - Hike to Tortuga Bay

It is considered the nicest spot of the archipelago, a peaceful corner for the nature lover. Tortuga Bay's name comes from the sea turtles that go there to lay their eggs. Excellent bird watching can be found along the way and at the Bay. Snack is included. Free time in the afternoon to relax by the pool or on the beach, enjoy the Jacuzzi, sea kayak or visit Puerto Ayora.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 7 - Bartolome Island

The trail is a fairly steep climb on wooden steps to the summit, worth the effort, as there is a spectacular view of the Galapagos scenery from above. Interesting lava formations and tuff cones can be observed. Sea lions and penguins swim in the vicinity of Pinnacle Rock. Enjoy snorkeling or swimming from the beach. Bartolome is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean's edge and is" the best known landmark in the Galapagos. Galapagos' penguins-the only species of penguin found north of the equator-walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at:: its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers. Just below the surface, shoals of tropica1 fish dodge in and out of the rocks past urchins, sea stars and anemones. A perfectly crescent, pink-and- white sandy beach lies just to the east of the pinnacle. Sea turtles use the beach as a nesting site and can sometimes be found wading in the shallow water near the shore, or resting in the sand to recover from the arduous task of digging nests, laying eggs and covering them over.

Penguins dot the nearby rocks of the next landing site, less than a kilometer along the eastern shore. Here the submerged walls of a tiny volcanic crater give the impression of a fountain pool. This dry landing-no wet feet!-is the entrance to a GOO-meter (2000-foot) pathway complete with stairs and boardwalks leading to Bartolome's summit. The route is not difficult and presents a museum of vulcanology; a site left untouched after its last eruption, where cones stand in various stages of erosion and lava tubes form bobsled-like runs from the summit. At the top you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Santiago Island and James Bay to the west, and far below, Pinnacle Rock and our beach, where the crystal blue waters of the bay cradle your yacht.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
Finch Bay Eco Hotel or similar
MEALS:
breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 8 - Charles Darwin Research Station

Leave the hotel early in the morning for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, the former home of famous "Lonesome George" (the last of his species who died in 2012) and many other giant tortoises. Then, overland transfer to the airport in Baltra.
ACCOMMODATIONS:
n/a
MEALS:
breakfast

Alternative Itinerary

In addition to the 8-day itinerary listed above, shorter trips are available. Contact AdventureSmith Explorations for more details; brief descriptions listed below.

5 Day Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Baltra, Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz
Day 2 - Santa Fe Island (Barrington) Yacht Excursion
Day 3 - Hike to Tortuga Bay
Day 4 - Bartolome Island
Day 5 - Charles Darwin Research Station

4 Day Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Baltra, Galapagos Islands/Santa Cruz
Day 2 - North Seymour Island Yacht Excursion
Day 3 - Plaza Island Yacht Excursion
Day 4 - Optional Activities

Itinerary Notes

Use the itinerary as a guide only. Itineraries may be altered due to weather, wildlife, National Park regulation or at the lodge's discretion. The ability to be flexible makes this type of travel unique.

Arrival & Departure

Most flights to the Galapagos will depart Quito or Guayaquil between 7:00am-9:00am on day 1 and return between 2:00pm-5:00pm on the final day. We highly recommend travelers arrive Ecuador 2 days prior to their Galapagos Discovery Tour. Galapagos flights must be purchased in conjunction with your Galapagos Discovery Tour.

Activities

Upon arrival you may purchase optional activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking and hikes. Optional scuba diving is also available with a certified dive master and all equipment included at an additional charge. There are numerous opportunities to swim and snorkel. Easy-to-use, sit-on-top kayaks are also available to rent.
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Departs Weekly:
4-, 5- and 8-day trips begin every Wednesday and Sunday. Prices listed are valid for 2013-2014.

$1727 - 4 Day Garden View

Finch Bay Eco Hotel has 21 Garden View rooms, 17 of which have two twin beds and 4 rooms have king beds.

$1879 - 4 Day Ocean View

There are 6 Ocean View suites, 2 with king-size beds and 3 with two twin beds. Some Ocean View rooms may be connected for families and groups.

$2387 - 5 Day Garden View

$2548 - 5 Day Ocean View

$3692 - 8 Day Garden View

$4158 - 8 Day Ocean View


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Included

Transfers in the Galapagos, all meals, Highlands tour, Charles Darwin Research Station, day yacht excursions to islands, visit to Twin Pit Craters, use of snorkeling equipment, 4D/3N (2 day yacht excursions), 5D/4N (3 day yacht excursions), 8D/7N (4 day yacht excursions).

Exclusions

Air transportation to/from Galapagos, Transit Control Card ($10), Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100), gratuities, sea kayaking, alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, items of a personal nature, luggage fees or insurance of any kind. Fuel surcharge may apply. Christmas and New Year's Eve dinners require a $63 per guest/per dinner supplement; no discounts apply.

Room Configuration

Single rates are available upon request.

Families & Children

Children under 12 years old at the time of trip receive 25% off when sharing the room with two adults (applies only to one child per two adults paying full fare). Minimum age of 6 years old for yacht excursions.

Payment & Cancellation

A deposit of $300 per person is required at the time of booking. A Reservation Form, which includes a release of liability, must be completed and signed by all travelers. The balance of the trip price is due 90 days before the departure date. Guests who must cancel their trip for any reason must do so in writing. When a trip cancellation is received between 60 and 0 days from departure, the full trip price will be charged.

Terms & Conditions

This trip is subject to AdventureSmith Explorations Terms and Conditions. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A packing list and extensive pre-departure and travel insurance information is sent upon confirmation.

Travel Insurance

Protect your travel investment with insurance. Our partners at Travelex Insurance offer a variety of plans and policies to fit every trip and budget. You must purchase your travel insurance policy within 21 days of booking your trip for it to cover pre-existing medical conditions. Learn more about travel insurance or get a free quote.
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Galapagos Cruise Package

Galapagos Cruise Package

Most Galapagos cruise travelers will require pre- and post-cruise accommodations in Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador, round-trip flights, National Park entrance fees & transit cards etc. We have created this Galapagos Cruise All Inclusive Package to give travelers an easy, cost-effective way to book the most popular land package we offer.
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Finch Bay Eco Hotel

Finch Bay Eco Hotel

The charming Finch Bay Eco Hotel is just steps from the beach on a private seaside location, surrounded by mangroves. Here guests can cherish the privacy, natural surroundings and superb service.
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