Experience a truly intimate encounter with the Galapagos on this semi-guided land program. Stay in three lodges on three different islands--Santa Cruz, Floreana, and Isabela--and delight in the abundant, unusual, and surprisingly approachable wildlife--from Galapagos giant tortoises to playful sea lions to the fascinating blue-footed boobies. "Darwin's Triangle" offers a wonderful array of activity options such as hiking and snorkeling.
Day 1: Quito/Guayaquil to Santa Cruz
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge Upon arrival into Puerto Ayora, check into the Aventura Lodge and have lunch. This afternoon, you will have a guided tour of the Charles Darwin Research Station. After the Charles Darwin Research Station, you have time to explore Puerto Ayora on your own; go shopping, observe the fishermen or simply relax in the Aventura Lodge. Dinner is at the lodge.
Day 2: Santa Cruz to Floreana
Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge TodayÂ’s adventure begins with a trip to "Los Gemelos" (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambersÂ—an awe-inspiring visual reminder of the power of nature. The short, easy hike to each of the twins is teeming with endemic flora and fauna. Also, visit a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep. Then, travel to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20-feet high in most places, this is an incredible opportunity to ramble through the remnants of one of the most powerful forces in natureÂ—lava flows! Stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, mineral-colored walls, and the rippled floor formed from lava can all be experienced in this uniquely Galapagos stroll. Check in and enjoy dinner at the Aventura Lodge. Enjoy lunch at the hotel and depart to Floreana. Arrive at Floreana Island where youÂ’ll visit Black Beach to swim, snorkel, or simply relax by absorbing the special scenery or walk to La Loberia. Check in at Floreana Lodge before attending a barbecue dinner hosted by a local family. At dinner, you can enjoy Galapaguena food, as well as local traditions and culture. Experience the warm hospitality of one of the first families to arrive at the island and learn the mysteries of Floreana from them.
Day 3: Floreana to Isabela
Red Mangrove Isabela del Mar Lodge An open-air bus will transport you to the highlands of Floreana while your guide explains the colorful history of this first-settled island in the Galapagos. Walk up to see the Peace Asylum, an artisan spring that attracted pirates, whalers and later, settlers to Floreana. The Pirate's Cave is where pirates carved temporary shelter out of the soft stone. Bird Hill truly lives up to its name with a multitude of Floreana Finches. Before lunch, set sail for Isabela. Weather and tides permitted, cruise by Isla Tortuga abundant with frigates and blue-footed boobies. Arriving in the port is a visual feast with stunning waters so clear you can see turtles, sea lions and penguins as though looking through glass. Then, check-in to the Isabela Lodge where you can enjoy lunch. After lunch, walk through a lava field to observe a small canal full of resting white-tipped reef sharks. The black lava field, the emerald green sea, the forest green mangrove and the cloud capped volcanoes of Isla Isabela is the sort of afternoon backdrop you are not likely to ever forget. Back at the dock, you can snorkel for an opportunity to see white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, penguins and more. Then, youÂ’ll have a bit of time to relax before a briefing and dinner at the lodge.
Day 4: Isabela to Santa Cruz
Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge Begin your day with a drive along the stunning coast of Long Beach, a white-sand, palm-lined beach stretching for 3 kilometers to the National Park. Here, you will walk up a trail for astounding vistas from Cerro Orchilla. Then, visit the Wall of Tears, constructed of jagged volcanic rocks which were carried back-breaking distances by prisoners centuries before. The path to the Wall of Tears is abundant with lava lizards and various species of birds. Depart Isabela for Santa Cruz and upon arrival into Puerto Ayora, check into the Aventura Lodge and have lunch. After lunch, you can decide if you want to continue experiencing the Galapagos or if you want to relax and enjoy your last afternoon in Galapagos on your own. The Naturalist guide will offer an interesting hike (2.5 km) to Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful white sandy beaches in the Galapagos. You will have a chance to observe different marine species, like sting rays and baby reef sharks in the shallow waters of the mangrove ecosystems. After swimming on the beach, enjoy a walk back to the hotel. Dinner at the lodge.
Day 5: Santa Cruz to Quito/Guayaquil
After breakfast at the lodge, you will be transferred to the Baltra airport for your flights home.