|from $5,495* per person||11 Days||June, July
Exertion level: 3
|Operator: Natural Habitat Adventures
20 people max
On this exciting small-group family adventure, a Children’s Guide is dedicated to leading activities designed especially for them!
Swim with sea lions, snorkel with turtles, watch iguanas bask in the sun, and meet giant tortoises up close at Charles Darwin Research Station
Cruise among the islands’ prolific wildlife aboard our exclusive yacht, where privacy, hospitality and comfort prevail
There may be no better place on the planet for an intimate encounter between children and wildlife than the Galapagos Islands. Here in the remote Pacific, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the magic of nature is palpable, as sea lions, marine iguanas, penguins and blue-footed boobies entertain us at close range, nonchalant about our presence. Herman Melville called this ancient chain of submerged volcanoes “Las Islas Encantadas,” or The Enchanted Isles, an apt name for a destination that is sure to create family memories that can be found nowhere else in the world.
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Ecuador, South America, Galapagos
- May accommodate certain types of disabilities. Contact the operator for more information.
- Family oriented trip.
Day 1: Quito, Ecuador
Arrive in Quito and transfer to the Hilton Colon.
Day 2: Quito
Today we enjoy a city tour of Quito*. This excursion included on our scheduled departures on the M/Y Letty. This evening, we will gather for an orientation and welcome dinner. We will overnight at the Hilton Colon.
*If you are not on a scheduled Letty departure please contact our office if you would like additional information on available Quito activities, or to make day tour arrangements.
Day 3: Quito/San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands
Fly to the Galapagos where we meet our Expedition Leader and board our yacht. We quickly discover the magic of the islands, with a chance to snorkel with sea lions at Playa Ochoa. A sunset cruise around Kicker Rock affords views of blue-footed boobies perched on its 500-foot high cliffs and frigate birds soaring overhead.
Day 4: Genovesa
Genovesa Island is a collapsed volcano that attracts vast numbers of seabirds that come here to nest. Inside the flooded crater we are surrounded by a cacophony of red-footed boobies, lava gulls, storm petrels and yellow-crowned night herons. At Darwin Bay, we swim again with sea lions.
Day 5: Bachas Beach/North Seymour
Snorkel and sunbathe at Las Bachas, a fabulous white sand beach on Santa Cruz. The powdered coral is a favorite nesting site for sea turtles. Bright orange Sally Lightfoot crabs pepper the black lava at water’s edge. On North Seymour we find a large nesting colony of magnificent frigate birds and land iguanas that display an intense yellow color during mating season.
Day 6: Fernandina / Isabela
Fernandina is the youngest and most active volcano in the Galapagos. We land at Punta Espinoza, where flightless cormorants nest on barren lava while colonies of marine iguanas bask nearby. Cruising across Bolivar Channel, keep watch for whales and dolphins. On the largest island, Isabela, we explore Tagus Cove by panga (motorized rafts), finding penguins, pelicans and graffiti dating to the 1800s when the names of ships were carved into the rock above a historic anchorage for pirates and whalers.
Day 7: Isabela
Elizabeth Bay on Isabela’s west coast is a marine sanctuary – no landings are permitted. We explore the small islets in the bay by panga, where we’re likely to see penguins and blue-footed boobies perched on the rocks and diving for pompano and dorado. As we cruise through a giant red mangrove cove, look for brown pelicans, sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, golden rays and sea lions. At Urbina Bay, we step ashore on a white sand beach to witness one of the best examples of geological uplift in the Galapagos, a phenomenon that occurs when molten rock beneath the surface suddenly shifts. In 1954 the shoreline was uplifted nearly 15 feet (4 meters). The coastline was driven 3/4 of a mile further out to sea, exposing giant coral heads and stranding marine organisms on what was now on shore. Urbina is also home to a colony of some of the largest land iguanas in the islands.
Day 8: Santiago/Santa Cruz: Camping
At Puerto Egas on Santiago we search the tidepools for octopus, starfish and marine iguanas feeding on algae. This afternoon we continue to Santa Cruz, the highest island in the chain. Those who wish to participate in our unique camping opportunity will disembark and transfer to the remote highlands of Santa Cruz for the night. Our private camp, with views of the ocean, is tucked among lush vegetation that attracts giant tortoises.
Day 9: Santa Cruz / Darwin Station / Santa Fe
In the misty craters of the Santa Cruz highlands, we search for giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Lava tubes lace the ground beneath the scalesia forest, and we may venture into one of the caverns. We also visit Puerto Ayora, the main town on Santa Cruz, and tour the world-famous Charles Darwin Research Station. At the tortoise-rearing facility, we’ll see tiny babies bred to help increase the depleted population as part of the station’s conservation mission. This afternoon we cruise to Santa Fe, where we find one of the most scenic turquoise lagoons in the Galapagos as well as a host of endemic species including the Galapagos hawk and mockingbird, a variety of Darwin’s finches, and land iguanas that feast on the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. We’ll have a chance to snorkel from the beach, perhaps enticing some of the resident sea lion colony to swim with us.
Day 10: San Cristobal / Quito
At Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos, we visit the National Park Interpretation Center. Late this morning we fly back to Quito and transfer to our hotel.
Day 11: Depart Quito
Transfer to the airport for flights home or for extensions to the Amazon rainforest or Machu Picchu.
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