DAY 1 ~ Arrival to Guayaquil
Upon arrival in the coastal city of Guayaquil, you are met by a representative of ROW Adventures who will assist you with your luggage and transfer you to the hotel for your overnight stay.
Overnight Hilton Hotel Guayaquil
DAY 2 ~ Guayaquil – Santa Cruz Island
After breakfast, we take a flight to Baltra and from there a short ferry trip to Santa Cruz Island, also called Indefatigable Island; it is located in the center of the Galapagos Islands archipelago. It also the center of human activity in the Galapagos, since Puerto Ayora, on the south side of the island, is home to the National Park Headquarters, the Darwin Research Station, and the largest human settlement in the Galapagos. Santa Cruz is the only island that has a road that crosses its interior (running from Puerto Ayora in the south to the Itabaca Channel in the north), thus providing tourists a rare opportunity to see the interior and higher elevations of a Galapagos island. We take our transport to the Santa Cruz highlands where we can see wild Galapagos Tortoises. These huge creatures weigh 200 to 500 pounds and are scattered all over the island. After this we visit some of the islands most impressive lava tunnels, these underground tunnels created by the hot lava flows provide an exciting opportunity to view the immense effect of volcanic activity on the islands. Later in the afternoon we will check into our hotel then enjoy our first opportunity to kayak, we paddle for an hour and a half to Punta Estrada, a calm shallow strip of water where we will see rays, mullets and sharks while kayaking along the rocky coast line.
Overnight Hotel in Puerto Ayora…B,D
DAY 3 ~ Bahia Ballena Tour, Tortuga Bay
After breakfast we travel by motor boat about 40 minutes and eight miles northwest from Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island to Bahia Ballena, an inlet from the ocean. We land at a sandy beach and disembark to walk and explore. This is the home to Galapagos sea lions lounging and the unique marine iguanas that bask in the sun and sometimes rest on the succulent sesubium plant or lava rocks. The endemic Darwin`s finches and yellow warbler subspecies fly among candelabra and prickly pear opuntia cacti to search for food and nesting sites. Frigate Birds perch on Mangrove trees and circle the sky to try to steal fish the blue footed boobies hunt by plunging dives into the water. Here we also find red, black and white mangroves growing among the lava fields and provide nutrients to the water that in turn attracts colorful tropical fish you see as you snorkel.
We snorkel near small reefs formed by clusters of lava rocks and home to fish such as the multicolored king angel fish, barberfish, schools of striped salemafish, damselfish with a unique mixture of yellow lips and blue eyes, surgeonfish, and gnarled sea cucumbers. The depth of the ocean here is approximately 30 feet and in many places there is a sandy bottom, where you will often see Pacific green sea turtles resting or gracefully swimming to find their food and, long tailed stingrays of different sizes. Occasionally, you may see leatherback sea turtles during their migratory stage.
We continue on to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful, very fine white-sand beach, to walk, contemplate and enjoy a dramatic sunset.
Overnight Hotel in Puerto Ayora…B,L,D
DAY 4 ~ Santa Cruz – San Cristobal, kayak Manglecito – Isla Lobos, camping
A morning motor boat trip takes us to our beach camp on San Cristobal Island, the easternmost island in the archipelago. The island is one of the oldest in the chain, and thus its volcanic peaks are greatly eroded and vegetation is more abundant than on other Galapagos Islands. A quick change of clothes and we will kayak from our camp at Manglecito to Isla Lobos (Sea Lion Island). After a short break to take pictures and catch our breath we kayak back to to Manglecito where we enjoy our first night at camp.
DAY 5 ~ Kayak from Beach Camp to - Puerto Grande – Kicker Rock
We paddle from our beach camp along the coast for about three hours, ending at the cove of Puerto Grande. After lunch we take our local guide and fisherman’s boat to Kicker Rock one of the most iconic images of the Galapagos Islands as well as one of the best places for snorkeling. Fish by the hundreds are always seen and sometimes we also see sea turtles and various reef sharks. We continue by boat to Isla Lobos for what is often the highlight for many, swimming with sea lions. Young sea lions love to interact with people and as you swim and dive, so do they. You also see blue-footed boobies that nest here. We then return to our exclusive beach camp that the Park Service has cited as exemplary in terms of our no-trace camping practices. The sun sets and darkness comes quickly here on the equator where sunrise and sunset are both around six o’clock. We enjoy our last evening on the islands with good food, conversation and camaraderie under a sky filled with Galapagos stars.
Beach Camp … B,L,D.
DAY 6 ~ San Cristobal - Quito
After an early camp breakfast we take a motor boat to the provincial capital and second-largest town in Galapagos, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno from here we transfer to the islands’ airport to catch our flight back to Quito. Once we settle in to our hotel we have a few hours to enjoy the colonial and capitol city of Ecuador. Enjoy dinner on your own at one of the city’s excellent restaurants.
Overnight Hilton Colon Quito…B
DAY 7 ~ Quito – Coca – kayak – bird watching tower
After breakfast we transfer to the airport to fly to the small frontier town of Coca in the Amazon Basin. After landing, we drive a few minutes to the Napo River, one of the largest rivers in Ecuador and a tributary of the Amazon. We have lunch, then take a speed motor boat (slider) to Sacha Lodge. On arrival settle into your private room. Then we head out for a 30-minute hike through the rainforest to lake Pilchicocha where we start our first jungle Amazon kayaking! Our kayaks are quality Canadian-made Featherlites. We paddle quietly along Orchids creek for an hour or so, enjoying the afternoon light. Back at the lodge there’s time to head to an observation tower for bird watching, visit the butterfly house or sit on the decks and watch the sun go down.
After dinner, you have the option to accompany your naturalist guide on a night walk through the rainforest to view the hundreds of different species of animals that can only be found at night. Or maybe a canoe ride on the lake to view the spectacled and black caimans with their glowing orange eyes as you silently paddle across the lake to get a closer view.
Sacha Lodge … B,L,D
DAY 8 ~ Kayak, nature & wildlife
Today we start off in a canoe to travel about one and a half hours to the starting point of a hike. We then hike through the rainforest about three miles, surrounded by the jungle sounds to arrive at the banks of a remote and serene river where we find our kayaks waiting. We begin our Amazon kayaking through this forest, a pristine igapo-blackwater lagoon and river system located in the narrow gap between Ecuador's two largest protected areas in the Amazon: the 982,000-hectare Yasuni National Park and the 600,000-hectare Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve. This means the wildlife viewing here is second to none in all the Amazon Basin. Birds are bountiful and we may also see, charapas turtles, otter, and if we are lucky, kayak with freshwater pink dolphins in one of the lagoons. We paddle quietly through the forest around five hours, taking breaks along the way. At the end of our paddle we return to the lodge by motor canoe.
Sacha Lodge… B,L,D
DAY 9 ~ Kayak & Canopy Trail
Early on morning nine of the Amazon kayaking portion of this tour we will take our kayaks and paddle about one and a half hours following the course of one of the creeks. Our hope is to see squirrel monkeys, white belled spider monkeys, and of course, various species of birds. After paddling we arrive at the “canopy trail”, for spectacular views of the rainforest and many different species of vibrantly colored birds. The canopy walkway is at 100 ft high and 900 feet long, giving guests a “birds-eye view” of all the wonders and beauty that this tropical rainforest has to offer.
We paddle back to the lodge for lunch and in the afternoon you have some free time. Relax on the deck, or learn how to catch & release the razor-toothed piranha.
Late afternoon we walk to Sacha´s135-foot wooden tower built around an ancient kapok tree, and climb to get incredible views of the forest. With any luck we will see monkeys and some new species of birds. We return to the lodge for dinner.
B,L,D … Sacha Lodge
DAY 10 ~ Return from Coca to Quito – Farewell dinner
After a final breakfast at Sacha Lodge, we depart at 7:30am for an easy walk on the boardwalk to watch monkeys one last time before getting in the motor boat to return up river to Coca where flights depart for Quito. Arrive in Quito in the early afternoon and after settling in at the hotel there is free time to explore the city, do some final shopping or simply relaxing. We meet in the evening for a farewell dinner celebration and share memories of our adventurous days together.
Hilton Colon Quito … B,D
DAY 11 ~ Flight back home
You are picked up two and a half hours prior to your flight departure time and taken to the airport for your flight home. B
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