Galapagos on a Budget: 7 Day Experience

Island Hopping
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    This tour is provided by

    Takiri Travel

    Takiri Travel is a mix of the experiences and passions of its founders Stephanie, Marco and Adriana. They are always looking to discover new experiences off the beaten path, not with the eye of a tourist but with the love of a local.

    We in Takiri strongly believe that sustainable is the new way to travel that is here to stay, and our values are the description of the effort we put in every experience!

    We give you the best, while doing our best!

    • 7 Days
    • Max Group Size : 15
    • Galapagos Islands

    Discover the life of Galapagos Islands on an experience you will never forget! Cruise the waters of the pacific in a speedboat on your way to Isabella Islands, admire the pink flamingos in the salt lagoons of Isabela, snorkel in the waters of Los Tuneles Cabo Rosa, a world top snorkeling destination, with great chances to see a huge variety of Galapagos endemic wildlife, and explore Tintoreras Islet, where the endemic white reef sharks live.

    Swim with penguins, sharks and even the friendly sea lions! Explore the wetlands of Isabela, visiting the wall of tears, the lava tunnels and more. Visit the highlands of Santa Cruz and get to see the giant Galapagos tortoises in the nature, learn about Charles Darwin and its theory of species in his research center, stop by the curious twin craters and be amazed by everything this paradise has to offer!

    Availability

    All year round

    For local holidays or last minute bookings, please inquire about the availability before booking.

    Flexible group trip

    You will join a flexible group of travelers. You’ll have a combination of private excursions and join group day trips. Every day you have a new guide and can meet other travelers. Groups are usually around 12 people with a maximum of 15.

    Flying to the Galapagos Islands

    The trip starts and ends at Baltra Airport (GPS). Book a flight arriving to Baltra Airport before 11:00 AM to adhere to this itinerary. For flights arriving after that, we’ll make some changes to the itinerary.

    Price Includes

    • Activities as mentioned
    • Equipment: snorkeling masks and fins during activities
    • Our experts: local guides (English and Spanish speaking), 24/7 support from our team.
    • Meals: 6 x breakfast, 6 x lunch
    • Transportation: 2 x airport transfer, sea transportation between Santa Cruz Island and Isabela Island, land transportation for activities.
    • Hotel accommodations

    Price Excludes

    • Airfare to and from Galapagos
    • Travel insurance
    • Galapagos entree costs: INGALA transit card (20 USD pp), and Galapagos National Park Fee (100 USD pp)
    • Airport service bus (2 x 5 USD)
    • Meals not mentioned
    • Equipment during our activities: you can choose to rent a wetsuit (10 USD per day)
    • During free time you can choose to snorkel some more. Snorkel equipment costs 8 USD per day.
    • Transportation: 10 USD pier fee at Puerto Villamil
    • Tips for guides
    • Personal expenses

    Activities

    Isabela Island: Flamingo Lagoon, snorkeling and wildlife spotting in Los Túneles Cabo Rosa, hiking wetlands, Giant Tortoises Breeding Center, Wall of Tears, exploring and snorkeling in Tintoreras Islet, kayaking, La Cueva de Sucre, Mango viewpoint, Campo Duro. 

    Santa Cruz Island: swimming and snorkeling at Las Grietas, Playa de Los Perros, Charles Darwin Research Center, Twin Craters.

    Accommodation

    We care about responsible tourism and supporting local businesses. We’ve hand-picked small,comfortable tourist class hotels, run by friendly locals. All rooms have air conditioning and a private bathroom. We assure you that all accommodations are clean, and safe.

    Free single room upgrade. Solo travelers, we’ve got your back. We recently deleted the single supplement for this trip, making it more accessible for everyone.

    Itinerary

    Day 1Flamingos and White-sand Beaches

    Morning: Touch down in Baltra Island. We’ll take you straight  to the small port town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island to enjoy your first local lunch, revealing some typical Galapagos flavors.

    Afternoon: We’re hopping to Isabela Island by speedboat (2.5-3 hours –  it can be a bumpy ride). If your idea of paradise is running your toes through the white sand beach, a sea breeze rustling the palm trees, topped off with a tiny fisherman village, then our home for the next few days is your paradise. Today we’re meeting the pinkiest and most elegant of birds at the Flamingo Lagoon.

    Evening: We’re staying at a simple but comfortable hotel, run by a descendant of the founding father of the little port town of Puerto Villamil. Spend your first evening however your heart desires. Refer to your city guide for our favorite places to eat, go for a drink and relax.

    Meals included: Lunch

    Tip alert: Book a flight arriving before 11:00 AM, so you can take the speedboat to Isabela Island on the first day.

    Day 2World Class Snorkeling in Los Tuneles

    Morning: Explore the sandy streets of the small town of Villamil or stroll along the tropical beach. Put on your bathing suit because by mid-morning we’re heading to the iconic Los Túneles Cabo Rosa, one of the world’s most beautiful snorkeling spots. Picture pitch-black, tunnel-like, lava formations with cacti and rough vegetation on top. The main motive we want to share this place with you is the absolute abundance of Galapagos quintessential land and aquatic species. Blue-footed and Nazca boobies, pelicans, and sometimes sea lions keep each other company on the rocks. 

    Afternoon: We always wonder who’s more curious during this snorkel experience: us gazing at the exceptional wildlife, or the sea turtles approaching us, seemingly thinking we’re just as fascinating. Other friendly aquatic animals are Galapagos penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas, seahorses, eagle and manta rays, white-tipped sharks, and more. Every so often, playful dolphins and killer whales greet us on the boat ride back. We’ll be back at Isabela Island in the late afternoon. 

    Evening: The night is yours, but we think this might just be the perfect night to watch the sunset at Concha de Perla Beach since it’s only a short walk away from the port you just arrived.

    Meals included: Breakfast, snack, and lunch

    About the snorkel: The waters are calm and shallow, an ideal snorkel experience for beginners and even kids.

    Day 3Kayak With Wildlife and Exploring Isabela Island

    Morning: Mid-morning, kayak through the bay to a special place that we love to think of as the Galapagos nursery for marine bambinos. We’ll leave our kayaks fastened together, and glide in the water to snorkel around the cuteness overload of baby iguanas, baby sea lions, baby penguins and baby turtles. As we return, help a hitchhiking sea lion out, as our confident friends love hopping onto our kayaks.

    Afternoon: after a midday break, strap on your walking shoes for an exploration trip to the treasures around South Isabela. Start off fresh, walking through underground lava tunnels of La Cueva de Sucre. The ceilings of the dark passages are brightened up by its natural, shimmery, gold-like ceilings. The contrasting panoramic overlooking the vibrant highlands, and active volcanoes at the Mango viewpoint are a feast for the eyes. Swing by our friends at Campo Duro to have a last look at those peculiar looking giant tortoises.

    Evening: This last evening is yours to do as you please. Dine at your favorite spot, watch one more magical sunset at Concha Perla Beach or star-gaze at the skye.

    Day 4Tropical Wetlands of Isabela, Swimming and Snorkeling With Wildlife at Tintoreras

    Morning: You might have noticed Isabela Island is a rather arid, volcanic island. This morning, we’re exploring its antipode: the lagoons, swamps and tropical mangroves of the wetlands. An array of flamingoes and endemic birds only reside in this particular place. No other Galapagos island can say each of their volcanoes is home to a separate giant tortoise species, or that they have more wild tortoises than the other islands… combined. See how baby tortoises are nurtured in a Giant Tortoises Breeding Center until they are large enough to be released into the wild. Humbly walk along a darker side of Galapagos’ history: the long Wall of Tears, constructed out of heavy blocks of lava, by prisoners as a punishment.

    Afternoon: We’ll give you a little rest after this morning’s hike, before hopping aboard a small fisherman boat for a 10-minute ride to the Tintoreras Islets. We’re crossing the volcanic rock trail to witness white-tipped reef sharks casually resting at the bottom of a superficial sea channel. Spot some marine iguanas nesting on our way. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hidden beaches of the islets. Put on your snorkeling gear and jump into the crystalline, turquoise waters for a front-row seat to this aquatic wonderland of tipped reef sharks, penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas, marine turtles, and colorful tropical fish.

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

    Day 5Ancient Lava Tunnels and Giant Tortoises in Santa Cruz

    Morning: We’ll be up bright and early to catch the morning speedboat (06:00 AM) to Santa Cruz Island. From July to October, there’s a good chance to spot whales, or dolphins amusing us with their whimsical dance. After an energizing breakfast, we’ll descend into an ancient lava cave, formed by lava flows whose outer skin solidified, while the inner stream of magma kept moving. The stream dried out, leaving an underground maze of hollow lava tunnels for us to explore.

    Afternoon: We’re dedicating the rest of the day to the Galapagos’s most emblematic inhabitants: the giant tortoises. Listen to their deep grunts, and observe up close how these centenarians slowly plow their way through their natural habitat at Primicias Ranch. After seeing them in full action (pun intended), we’re heading to the Charles Darwin Research Center to learn more about the endangered species and their conservation, and see the late Lonesome George, the last known individual of the Pinta Island Tortoise, a symbol for conservation efforts worldwide.

    Evening: Santa Cruz is a metropolis, to Galapagos standards that is. It has everything you want to enjoy your last evening: plenty of outdoor eating spots and nice bars all the while maintaining that relaxed, small island town vibe.

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch.

    Day 6Exploring the Remote Island of Santa Fe, Snorkeling and Hidden Beach

    Morning: Embark on an adventure to the unpopulated, 4 million-year-old (the oldest of the Archipel) Island of Santa Fe. Walk around the arid and atypically flat landscape, between the beautiful prickly pear cacti with its bouquets of succulent green petals, and surrounded by intense red and orange ground vegetation, resembling reef corals. Santa Fe is so remote, there are more native species than on any of the other islands. You’ll immediately notice the difference between the pinkish-red and turquoise colored Santa Fe marine iguana and the blackish ones you’ve seen on the other islands. We have one more opportunity to be amazed by the local marine life. Snorkel your heart out around sea lions, rays, iguanas, turtles, starfish, and hundreds of colorful fish. 

    Afternoon: Wind blowing in our faces, we’re sailing towards one of two idyllic, white-sand, turquoise water beaches. Anchor at Playa Escondida, a hidden beach only accessible by boat. Soak up the sun, and watch the natural wildlife play unfolding before your eyes with marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, sally lightfoot crabs as protagonists. Snorkel the turquoise waters amongst golden and spotted eagle rays, sea turtles and white-tip sharks. Alternatively, Garrapatero Beach is yours to explore. Swim, snorkel or traverse the beach searching for the flamingos love to hang around here. In the middle of this exceptional piece of paradise, sea breeze going through our hair, take a  moment to contemplate the unforgettable experiences of the past week.

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Day 7Twin Craters and Adios Galapagos

    Depart: We’ll take you to Baltra Airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador. On our way, we’re checking out two old magma chambers opposite each other that collapsed hundreds of years ago, now nicknamed the Twin Craters by the locals. Return home envigoured by the energy of the extraordinary amicable and playful wildlife, and inspired by the unparalleled beauty of the Archipelago.

    Meals included: breakfast.

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