AdventureSmith Explorations - vacations and travel

Galapagos Discovery

Ecuador, South America, Galapagos

from $1,390* per person 8 Days Year-round
Boutique accommodations Exertion level: 2
Operator: AdventureSmith Explorations 12 people max
  • Airport, ecuador near quito, ecuador
  • Active & Adventure trips
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, kayaking, swimming and snorkeling excursions to view birds, iguanas, sea lions and more.

Optional activities (at extra cost) include more challenging hikes, 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. Most Galapagos Discovery travelers will require pre and post cruise accommodations in Ecuador, round trip flights, National Park entrance fees & transit cards etc. Choose our Galapagos Cruise Package or work with our experts on a Custom Galapagos Tour. See trip notes for more details.

Locations visited/nearby

Ecuador, South America, Galapagos

0 testimonials about this trip.

1 testimonial about the provider, AdventureSmith Explorations:

  • Reviewer:

    Galapagos Motor Yacht Eric/Letty/Flamingo Cruise

    Thank you for the most incredible experience! We just came back from our trip to the Galapagos. We were on the Eric - a terrific yacht and an even greater team. The islands are beyond belief, but I wanted to tell you how perfect the entire trip was.  Everything went incredibly smoothly from our arrival (late) in Quito where our guide was waiting for us despite the late hour, to all transfers, luggage and ticket arrangements - everything. Our guides were fabulous, as was the entire crew, including the Captain.  AdventureSmith Explorations did a terrific job!


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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.


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
Included 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
Included 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
Included 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
Included Meals: n/a

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
Included 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
Included 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
Included 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, home to famous "Lonesome George" and many other giant tortoises. Then, overland transfer to the airport in Baltra.

Accommodations: N/A
Included Meals: Breakfast

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