Galapagos Islands Wildlife Discovery
Quito and its picturesque Old Town, then the spectacular Galapagos wildlife and scenery of San Cristobal, Isabela & Santa Cruz IslandsBook this package
based on Oct. 15, 2016 departure*
ESCAPE WINTER SALE: Book by Sep. 20, 2016 and enter coupon code WINTERSALE16 to get an extra
Overview & Map
|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||Scheduled Dates; select from 3 open departures, October – December 2016|
|Highlights||Quito and San Cristobal, Isabela, & Santa Cruz Islands. Optional Quito & Otavalo extension|
|Departs||Miami (MIA) (flight schedule)|
|Themes||Active, Family Friendly, Nature & Wildlife|
|What to Expect||This fast-paced, locally hosted tour involves a significant amount of walking or hiking, often on uneven terrain, and reaches high altitudes requiring a good level of physical fitness to fully enjoy the trip.|
|As Seen in|
|Already Booked?||Find everything you need to know before you go, including how to pay your balance due, passport & visa requirements, flight information, weather, and more.|
Come with us to tour the Galapagos Islands in style. Ecuador is one of South America's jewels, with a remarkable collection of landscapes, animals, plants, people, volcanoes, cloud forests, and most amazing of all, the Galapagos Islands. More than 600 miles offshore in the Pacific, these islands are home to fascinating species of birds and animals such as marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue and red-footed boobies, pelicans and even a few penguins.
These are the legendary islands that inspired Charles Darwin to propose his theory of evolution. They've inspired us to create this incredible Galapagos Island wildlife tour package, which includes flights, first-class hotels and island lodges, most meals, National Park fees, and a truly fascinating program of exploration on San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz Islands.
Don't wait a moment to book our new Galapagos Islands Wildlife Discovery. Space is truly very limited, and at these prices, you won't find a better value-for-money vacation anywhere.
Dates, Prices & Options
Departure Dates & Prices
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Mon||Sep 26||2016||Sun||Oct 2||2016||$3599||Closed|
|Sat||Oct 15||2016||Fri||Oct 21||2016||$4099||$3699||Available|
|Sat||Nov 12||2016||Fri||Nov 18||2016||$4099||$3699||Available|
|Sat||Dec 10||2016||Fri||Dec 16||2016||$4099||$3699||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates. Contact us about prices and availability.
Options, Extensions & Fees
|Galapagos Wildlife Discovery|
|Single Room Supplement||+$699|
|Quito & Otavalo Post-Tour Extension|
|Quito & Otavalo Extension||+$599|
|Single Room Supplement||+$299|
|Taxes & Fees|
|Galapagos National Park Fee of $100||included|
|INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20||included|
Flights & Departure Cities
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
How to Make a Reservation
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
Day 1: USA/Ecuador
Accommodations: 1 night NH Collection Quito Royal or Holiday Inn Guayaquil or similar.
- Your exciting tour to the Galapagos begins today as you depart for Ecuador
- Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel
Day 2: San Cristobal Island
Accommodations: 2 nights Casa Opuntia, San Cristobal. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Transfer to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island
- Your Galapagos experience starts with a visit to the local Interpretation Center
- Next, hike to Frigate Hill over the lava rock trails
- Snorkel or swim at beautiful Carola Beach
Full Day Itinerary: Transfer to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island, the easternmost island of the Galapagos archipelago. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel for lunch as well as a short orientation meeting and overview of your trip. Your Galapagos experience starts with a visit to the local Interpretation Center where you will learn about the Galapagos' unique wildlife, geology, natural history, and social dynamics. Next, hike to Frigate Hill over the lava rock trails, and along the way, your naturalist guide will explain all about the Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acacia, and cacti that surround you. You may also be able to spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches among vegetation and sea cliffs. This walking tour provides marvelous views of the rugged coastline and the small town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
On the way back, snorkel or swim at beautiful Carola Beach. Here, you may find sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas! After a gorgeous sunset and dinner, explore the friendly and laid-back town. We recommend you take a stroll down the boardwalk to view the immense colony of endemic Galapagos sea lions.
Day 3: San Cristobal Island
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- Discover Isla Lobos by boat and snorkel with sea lions, marine iguanas and countless reef fish
- Sail to Kicker Rock, two breathtaking rock massifs (tuff cones) that jut out from the ocean
- After a full day exploring the seas, head back to the hotel for dinner and a relaxed evening
Full Day Itinerary: Today, head out on an incredible snorkeling adventure! Discover Isla Lobos by boat, searching coves and cliffs for sea turtles, sea lions, frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, and Nazca boobies. Once there, you´ll snorkel with sea lions, marine iguanas and countless reef fish. This site consistently proves to be the best sea lion encounter in the Galapagos Islands—after all, Isla Lobos translates to Sea Lion Island.
Next, sail to Kicker Rock, two breathtaking rock massifs (tuff cones) that jut out from the ocean. Above the waters, thousands of sea birds cling to their walls, while millions of fish swim under the surface. The channel between the two rock walls is home to some of the best snorkeling in the islands. You may be able to see spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color. After a full day exploring the seas, head back to the hotel for dinner and a relaxed evening.
Day 4: San Cristobal Island & Isabela Island
Accommodations: 1 night Iguana Crossing. Isabella Island. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
- After breakfast, take a short plane ride to Isabela Island
- Hike to "El Muro de las Lagrimas" (Wall of Tears), a towering wall of lava rocks built by prisoners
- Continue along white sand beaches, dark mangroves and brackish lagoons
- After lunch, explore the beautiful Tintoreras, a set of small islets filled with coves and beaches
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, take a short plane ride to Isabela Island (approx. 30 mins). This is the largest island in the Galapagos, constantly changing and evolving due to six shield volcanoes that render it one of the most thrilling volcanically active spots on the planet.
Hike to "El Muro de las Lagrimas" (Wall of Tears), a towering wall of lava rocks built by prisoners during the time Isabela was a penal colony, for no other purpose than to keep the inmates distracted from the madness of isolation. Continue along white sand beaches, a poison apple forest, lava tube, dark mangroves and brackish lagoons. The area is filled with giant tortoises and birdlife including flamingos!
After lunch, explore the beautiful Tintoreras, a set of small islets filled with hidden coves and beaches. Here, you may find the endemic and incredibly fast swimmer, the Galapagos penguin, as well as reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions! At the end of the day, retire to your hotel to relax by the pool or enjoy the neighboring white sand beach. After dinner, feel free to stroll the seemingly endless beach or sandy streets of this idyllic lazy town.
Day 5: Isabela Island & Santa Cruz Island
Accommodations: 1 night Angermeyer Waterfront Inn, Santa Cruz Island. Included meals: Breakfast, lunch & dinner.
- After breakfast, journey via speedboat to Santa Cruz Island
- Arrive at Puerto Ayora and head to "El Chato" Giant Tortoise reserve
- Proceed to "Los Gemelos", two deep volcanic sinkholes at the top of the island
- In the late afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, journey via speedboat to Santa Cruz Island (approx. 2 hours, dependent on weather conditions). Along the way look out for whales and dolphins! Arrive at Puerto Ayora and head to "El Chato" reserve, a natural habitat in the Santa Cruz highlands, home to the Giant Tortoise. Explore the reserve’s grounds, hiking among these fascinating giants, who can live to be over 175 years old. You may also be able to see pintail ducks, finches, frigate birds, egrets, and hopefully the vermillion flycatcher—a red jewel of a bird.
Continue your natural history exploration by walking through some incredible lava tunnels that pirates frequented and perhaps hid Inca gold! Proceed to "Los Gemelos", two deep volcanic sinkholes at the top of the island. This walking tour takes you through a forest of endemic scalesia trees, which are covered with ferns and epiphytes and exude an almost eerie feel, where you will look for the short-eared owl.
In the late afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the ongoing conservation efforts on these enchanted islands. The Research Station rears endemic Galapagos plants, land iguanas, and giant Galapagos tortoises for educational, scientific, and conservation purposes. Compare the diverse evolutionary paths of the various giant tortoises from different islands. Afterwards, retire to the hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island/Depart Ecuador
Included meals: Breakfast.
- After breakfast, head to the Seymour Airport to board your flight back to the main land
- Later, board your overnight return flight back the U.S.
- Depending on your final flight schedule, you may overnight Day 6 and return Day 7
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, head north along the Santa Cruz highway through the various vegetation zones of the island. The highway ends at a small port where you will board the ferry to Baltra Island. Continue to the Seymour Airport by bus passing through the rocky terrain and the remains of a strategic U.S. Army Air Force base constructed during World War 2. If time permits, take advantage of the souvenir shops at Seymour Airport before boarding your flight to the main land. Later today, board your overnight return flight back the U.S. (Depending on your final flight schedule, you may overnight Day 6 at an airport hotel and return Day 7.)
Day 7: Arrive USA
- Your exciting Galapagos adventure ends today as you touch down in the USA.
Quito & Otavalo Optional Post-Tour Extension
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare to extend your stay in Quito and visit the famous Indian market of Otavalo. You'll return to the U.S. 2 days after the return dates shown.
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island & Quito
Accommodations: 2 nights NH Collection Quito Royal, Quito. Included meals: Breakfast.
- After breakfast, head to the Seymour Airport to board your flight back to Quito
- Upon arrival, transfer to Quito’s city center and check into your hotel
- Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure
Full Day Itinerary: After breakfast, head north along the Santa Cruz highway through the various vegetation zones of the island. The highway ends at a small port where you will board the ferry to Baltra Island. Continue to the Seymour Airport by bus passing through rocky terrain and the remains of a strategic U.S. Army Air Force base constructed during World War 2. If time permits, take advantage of the souvenir shops at Seymour Airport before boarding your flight back to Quito. Upon arrival to Mariscal Sucre International Airport, transfer to Quito’s city center and check into your deluxe hotel. Enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
Included meals: Breakfast.
- After breakfast, set out on the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo
- Explore the famous Indian fair and the textile market of Otavalo
- After exploring the market, proceed to the nearby Indian village of Cotacachi
- Next, visit the picturesque crater lake of Cuicocha
- Later this afternoon, return to Quito
Full Day Itinerary: This morning, after breakfast, set out on the Panamerican Highway to Otavalo in the Imbabura province. After driving through dramatic Andean scenery, arrive at the famous Indian fair and the textile market of Otavalo, undoubtedly one of the best in all of Latin America. The beauty of Otavalo lies in its people, the Otavaleño Indians. Unlike other indigenous groups who have given up their traditional dress for modern jeans and t-shirts, Otavaleños are true to their ancestral cultural heritage, and are still easily identified by their distinctive dress. Women wear intricately embroidered blouses and a wealth of beaded necklaces, while men have long, braided hair and wear calf-length white trousers, ponchos and sandals. Stroll by their many stalls filled with ponchos, scarves, blankets, hats, handbags and more, and observe as the Otavaleños barter in silence. After exploring the market, proceed to the nearby Indian village of Cotacachi, where local artisans craft fine leatherworks and learn about their culture and everyday life. Next, visit the picturesque crater lake of Cuicocha, located about 10 miles northwest of Otavalo. Later this afternoon, return to Quito.
Day 8: Depart Quito
Included meals: Breakfast & lunch.
- Enjoy a panoramic city tour visiting the Government Palace, Monastery of San Francisco and more
- Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant
- Later this evening, transfer to the airpot for your overnight return flight
- Depending on your final flight schedule, you may overnight Day 8 and return Day 9
Full Day Itinerary: Quito is arguably among the loveliest of South American cities. It enjoys a spectacular setting surrounded by mountains and several snow-capped volcanoes, including the still active Mt. Pichincha. After breakfast, enjoy a panoramic city tour of Quito. See the Government Palace that was built in the 17th century for the Real Audiencia de Quito, and the Monastery of San Francisco, the first church built in Quito in 1536, but not finished until 1605. The church is largest colonial building constructed in Latin America and reminiscent of Escorial palace of Madrid, for this reason it is called the Escorial of the Andes. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Later this evening, bid adios to Ecuador and the Galapagos as you transfer to the Mariscal Sucre International Airport for your overnight return flight. (Depending on your final flight schedule, you may overnight Day 8 at an airport hotel and return Day 9.)
Day 9: Arrive USA
- Your exciting Galapagos adventure ends today as you touch down in the USA.
I returned last night from my first trip with Friendly Planet. What a glorious adventure this was. Our guide, Dennis, is a remarkable, knowledgeable, and patient man with a great sense of humor. (He humored me when—after our first stop—I saw the need to feed stray dogs along the way.) Food and hotels were all magnificent. I learned so much. Ecuador and the beautiful people will be forever in my heart. Thank you very much, Friendly Planet.
Liesel Appel, Asheville, NC
Before You Book
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Please review the requirements about which documents you need before you travel.
- Should I get travel insurance? Protect your travel investment with our comprehensive policies.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
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