|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||May – December 2015|
|Departs||Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Quito and San Cristobal, Isabela, & Santa Cruz Islands. Optional Quito & Otavalo extension|
|Included in the Price||
|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.|
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.
This was our first ever group tour package... and we'll definitely consider another with Friendly Planet based on our experience! The accommodations are all high quality and unique; hotel service outstanding. Our enthusiastic guide, Vivian, and capable driver Jose, were warm, hospitable, knowledgeable ambassadors for their country. Vivian enjoyed maximizing our experiences whether it was at a simple ice cream stop or describing in detail church art treasures. And she's lots of fun! Highlights for my husband Harris and I were the two amazing days spent at Casa del Suizo in Amazonia. Our local guide, Ramon, welcomed us into his culture and literally made the jungle come alive letting us sniff aromatic termite nests or offering us freshly cut jungle hearts of palm to eat. And then there was the blow dart tournament...
Deborah Samuels, New Smyrna Beach, FL
Day 1: USA/Ecuador. Your exciting tour to the Galapagos begins today as you depart for Ecuador. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Radisson Royal Quito or Holiday Inn Guayaquil or similar.
Day 2: San Cristobal Island. 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. Accommodations: Casa Opuntia. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 3: San Cristobal Island. 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. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 4: San Cristobal Island & Isabela Island. 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. Accommodations: Iguana Crossing. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 5: Isabela Island & Santa Cruz Island. 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. Accommodations: Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island/Depart Ecuador. 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. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Arrive USA. Your exciting Galapagos adventure ends today as you touch down in the USA.
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. 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. Accommodations: Radisson Royal Quito. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Otavalo & Quito. 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. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Depart Quito. 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. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 9: Arrive USA. Your exciting Galapagos adventure ends today as you touch down in the USA.
Prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices and availability are subject to change. More about our prices.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Mon||Mar 16||2015||Sun||Mar 22||2015||$3399||Closed|
|Mon||Mar 23||2015||Sun||Mar 29||2015||$3399||Closed|
|Mon||Apr 6||2015||Sun||Apr 12||2015||$3799||$3399||Closed|
|Fri||May 15||2015||Thu||May 21||2015||$3799||$3399||Available|
|Thu||Jun 11||2015||Wed||Jun 17||2015||$3799||$3399||Available|
|Mon||Jul 6||2015||Sun||Jul 12||2015||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Mon||Aug 17||2015||Sun||Aug 23||2015||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Fri||Sep 25||2015||Thu||Oct 1||2015||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Thu||Oct 22||2015||Wed||Oct 28||2015||$3849||$3449||Available|
|Mon||Nov 23||2015||Sun||Nov 29||2015||$3899||$3499||Available|
|Mon||Dec 14||2015||Sun||Dec 20||2015||$3899||$3499||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.
|Separately Paid Fees|
|Ecuador Departure Tax1 (paid separately)||+$45|
1. To be paid locally prior to departure.
|Galapagos Wildlife Discovery|
|Galapagos National Park Fee of $100||included|
|INGALA Tourist Control Card of $20||included|
|Single Room Supplement||+$699|
|Quito & Otavalo Post-Tour Extension|
|Quito & Otavalo Extension|
|Jun 11, Sep 25, Oct 22||+$599|
|All other departures||+$499|
|Single Room Supplement||+$199|
|Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)||included|
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.
To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, PayPal, check or money order. Your final payment is due 75 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of your reservation, whichever is later.
Ticketing: Airline tickets for this tour are usually issued within 72 hours of your reservation, and once issued, cannot be changed, refunded or transferred.
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.