Galapagos on a Budget: 8 Day – Three Islands 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!

    • 8 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

    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 at San Cristobal Airport (SCY) and ends at Baltra Airport (GPS). Book a flight arriving to San Cristobal 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: 7 x breakfast, 7 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)
    • Meals not mentioned (estimated budget 160USD)
    • 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.

    San Cristobal Island: guided beach visit, snorkeling at Kicker Rock (upgrade to diving possible)

    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 1Sunbathing and Swimming Next to Sea Lions

    Arrive: Touch down in San Cristobal Island. Settle in at the cabañas we’re calling home for the next two days. 

    Afternoon: After lunch, we’re soaking up the sun on one of the most memorable beaches you’ve ever set eyes on. Witness the spectacle of fierce sea lions comically rolling around the seashore, and confidently showing off their swimming skills. Our local David Attenborough will commenting on mothers nourishing their pups or males trying to lure a partner through their mating calls… in real time. Although this is not an overcrowded beach, these creatures can behave like cheeky, mischievous beachgoers, crawling over each other to snatch the best sunbathing spot.

    Evening: after the vitamin sea, we’re prescribing you stay a little longer at the white-sand beach, overlooking the sunset with your new friends.

    Meals included: Lunch

    Day 2Snorkeling at the Underwater Wildlife Paradise of Kicker Rock

    Morning: We got front-row tickets to world class underwater ballet at Kicker Rock, the kind that happens above, under, and 360 degrees around us, snorkeling. Sea lions keep us on our tip-toes, swiftly performing captivating backflip dives and elegantly rotate around its axe. The black and white spotted eagle rays serenely flap their wings up and down, next to the ever so calmly moving sea turtle. Schools of vibrant, striped reef fish harmoniously zigzag around the agile marine iguanas getting in and out of the water. You can even catch a glimpse of the Galapagos sharks beneath you. Above water the cute Galapagos penguins waddle over the rocks, accompanied by blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. 

    Afternoon: by mid-afternoon we’ll be back at San Cristóbal Island. Relax by the beach or have a coffee at our favorite treehouse La Casa del Ceibo .

    About the snorkeling: This is not a calm, beach snorkel experience. We’re in the open sea, with some stronger currents that can be challenging for beginner snorkelers.

    Diving option: Kicker Rock is an exceptional underwater paradise. By simply snorkeling you can appreciate an abundance of spectacular marine life, but we understand if you want to explore more. Diving a little deeper, you won’t catch a glimpse of, but fully swim alongside tons of hammerhead sharks, whitetip and blacktip sharks. You need at least 5 dives. Please inquire with us beforehand. Cost: + $ 150 

    Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

    Day 3Snorkeling at Las Grietas, Spotting Wildlife at Franklin Bay and Swimming at Secluded Beach

    Morning: After breakfast, we’re hopping to Santa Cruz Island on the morning speedboat (07:00 AM). This can be a bumpy ride. The rest of the morning is yours to discover as you please. 

    Afternoon: Dip into clear emerald water flanked by large volcanic cliffs at Las Grietas. The aquatic microclimate, a mix of fresh and sea water, attracts the smaller of the Galapagos fish, like parrot fish and eels. Snorkel along the white-sand bottom, jump off the cliffs into the pools or simply enjoy the picturesque setting. Sail along Franklin Bay, spotting sea turtles, pelicans golden and eagle rays, then hop off at the secluded little beach Playa de Los Perros. Sit back and enjoy the live performance of the blue and bright orange colored Sally Lightfoot crabs (who are atypically able to run in four directions) and the endemic black marine iguanas. Charles Darwin thought the latter were ‘hideous-looking’, but we are fascinated by this lizard that is the sole iguana species that evolved to live and forage algae at sea.

    Evening: Santa Cruz is a metropolis, to Galapagos standards that is. It has everything you want to enjoy this 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 4Giant Tortoises, Flamingos and Relaxing at White-sand Beach

    Morning: The evolution of species is our central theme this morning. We meet our personal heroes, at the Charles Darwin Research Center, dedicated to education and to the protection of native animals and ecosystems. The stories of giant tortoises Lonesome George and Diego are examples of the ngo’s conservation challenges and achievements. Both were the only surviving male of their specific species. Without a female of his species to mate with, the late Lonesome George sadly became the last of the Pinta Giant Tortoises. The high libido of Diego on the other hand ensured the survival of his species. Admire the newborn tortoises, fruit of their breeding programs in action.

    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

    Day 5World 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 6Tropical 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 7Kayak 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 8Twin Craters and Adios Galapagos

    Depart: 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 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.

    Tip: book your return flight for an afternoon departure.

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