Backpacking Galapagos

Located in the Pacific Ocean, about 1.000 km away from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galapagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflect the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch. These animals inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection after his visit in 1835.

 

This backpacker version of our popular Mágico Isabela, will include a self-guided instruction manual that will be provided to you during your meet&greet at Galapagos, and you can easily make your own way to and from places. If you would prefer more assistance, please refer to our normal Mágico Isabela packages.

 

Experience the Galapagos Islands from the inside with Ecuatraveling – Enjoying Life!

 

Please note that the itinerary is subject to changes due to weather conditions and operational decisions.

Day 1 – Baltra – Santa Cruz

Today you will arrive to the airport of Baltra, one of the Galapagos Islands. You will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the island Santa Cruz. You will first cross the Itabaca channel by a ferry boat and then you will continue by car. Your first stop will be at the highlands of Santa Cruz. The “Parte Alta” as the highlands are called in Spanish is very lush and green and is the natural habitat of the giant Galapagos tortoises. You will visit a private ranch where you will have lunch. Here you walk between the trees and search for the giant tortoises that prefer to stay close to the small lagoons. You also will visit the lava tubes, which are formed when the surface of a lava stream solidifies, but the inside stays liquid and flows out like a river. After this tour you continue by private transport to your hotel. Here you will have a meet & greet with one of our staff members who will explain the rest of your itinerary to you. You have the rest of the afternoon free to explore Santa Cruz on your own.

 

Overnight options, all on basis of bed and breakfast

Backpacker: Dorm room in a local hostal

 

Included: Private transport with Spanish speaking driver – Itabaca canal – Visit to highlands – Lunch – Meet & greet – Welcome package – Overnight BB

Excluded: Dinner – National flight – INGALA migration card – Entrance fee national park

 

Day 2 – Isabela – Las Tintoreras

In the morning you will have to be early at the dock of Santa Cruz from where you will take a lancha (motorized small boat) to the island of Isabela. The boat ride will take about 2 hours and depending on the weather, it can be a bit bumpy. Arriving to the dock of Isabela you will need to make your hotel.

 

In the afternoon you will have a half day tour to ´Las Tintoreras´. The islet Las Tintoreras is located south of Puerto Villamil which you will visit in a small boat with a naturalist guide. During your boat ride you will most likely be able to observe Galapagos penguins, blue footed boobies, sea lions and more. The bay of Tintoreras is connected to a crevice of crystal clear water, that’s shallow and when the tide is low, the entrance closes. In this crevice, you can see how reef sharks rest and swim. After half an hour you will set foot to the islands. Most of the trail is lava AA, except for a white sand beach and a black stone beach. At the first beach are colonies of sea lions, it is also a nesting site for marine iguanas, during the nesting season. Throughout the trail you can see many marine iguanas in the rocks or under the mangroves. Las Tintoreras is one of the few places where the iguanas breed successfully because of the absence of non-native animals that could kill the youth. After the walk it is time to snorkel in the bay.

Due to availability, it might be necessary to change this tour to the morning of day 3

 

Overnight options, all on basis of bed and breakfast:

Backpacker: Dorm room in a local hostal

Be aware that you will be around 9:30am in your hotel and that check in is around 2pm.

 

Included: Transport in lancha to Isabela – Half day tour Tintoreras – Overnight BB

Excluded: Lunch – Taxiboats – Entrance fee Puerto Villamil (Isabela) – Dinner – Transfer to and from dock

 

Day 3 – Isabela – Santa Cruz

Today you will have the morning off to explore the beautiful island of Isabela on your own.

In the afternoon, you need to make your way from your hotel to the dock of Isabela. Here you will take the lancha back to Santa Cruz Island, which will take about 2 hours. Once you have arrived, you will make your way to your hotel on Santa Cruz.

 

Overnight options, all on basis of bed and breakfast:

Backpacker: Dorm room in a local hostal

 

Included: Transport in lancha to Santa Cruz – Overnight BB

Excluded: Lunch – Taxiboats – Dinner – Transfer to and from dock

 

Day 4 – optional day tours

Today a free day for an optional day tour to one of the non-habitat islands; Seymour, Bartolome, Santa Fe or Plazas. Or an optional snorkeling tour to Plazas or Pinzon.

We can book option one of the following day tours for $210,00 pp.  or if you would prefer only a snorkel tour for $140.00 pp (no disembarking on islands, just snorkeling and lunch to the islands Pinzon or Plazas). Which one this is, will be confirmed with you in a later stage. See the descriptions of the day tours below. In all tours lunch and snorkeling equipment is included.

 

Plazas

Your first stop will be a refreshing one; you will be snorkeling at Punta Carrion where you will see colorful fish and sea turtles. Afterwards you continue to Plazas. Actually, there are two islands, Plaza Norte and Plaza Sur. Only Plaza Sur, the southern bigger island is visited by tourists. This island has a lot to offer. The flora and fauna will astonish you. This island is mostly known for the many land iguanas that live on it.

When you are a little further from the coast, it looks like you’ve walked into the movie “Jurassic Park”, because you will be eye to eye with beautiful green, yellow and orange land iguanas. This is all surrounded by beaches, beautiful cacti and in the background the blue ocean. At the coast, the male sea lions live in peace. The militant lifestyle is only maintainable for males who are in their prime. The elders spend their last days in colonies, of which one can be found at Plaza Sur. It is sensational to see how the sea lions and iguanas mix. They play together as real pals. This island also offers a lot to bird lovers and a so called “birdwatchers paradise” can be found; a steep cliff with swallow tailed gulls, masked boobies, blue-footed boobies, tropical red bill birds, frigates, pelicans and Audubon’s. The gulls, partners forever, are always here cuddling or nesting.

 

North Seymour

North Seymour is located north of the island Baltra. The island has a surface area of only 1.9 square kilometres and is almost totally flat. At this island, breeding colonies of the frigates, the blue-footed boobies and the swallow-tailed gull can be found. To impress the female frigates, the male blows up his red throat bag. To attract more attention, they fly around in the surroundings of the female. You can imagine that this is not too easy with a blown-up throat bag, because they lose their balance more quickly. It is interesting to watch. Afterwards you will navigate towards the beach of Bachas. Here you can relax at the beach and follow the trails of the nesting sea turtles and snorkel a bit and swim at the beach. There is also a trail leading to a flamingo pool where there might be flamingos, on the way you see the shipwreck of Bachas.

 

Santa Fe

The beauty of this Island is best appreciated from the trail which climbs the fault cliff overlooking the southern half of the bay. This plateau is also the best place to find the large land iguanas (Conolophus Pallidus) that are endemic to Santa Fe Island. The Santa Fe land iguana lives nowhere else in the world and, in fact, on no other Galapagos Island. A sub-species of the famous endemic Galapagos land iguana, the Santa Fe variety is yellowish-green in color and can grow to over one meter in length. At the beach of Santa Fe you can observe a sea lion colony and in the bay there are often rays, white tip sharks and sea turtles. At the rocky side of the bay you will snorkel with colorful fish.

 

Bartolomé

This is a full day tour and breakfast (in most cases), lunch and snorkeling equipment are included.
Bartolomé is a bit further away than other islands, therefore you start early today. The first stop will be a refreshing one. At Sullivan Bay you snorkel from the boat or relax at the beach. Here you can find, from December until April, green sea turtles that come ashore to lie in the sun. This is special because in other places the turtles only come ashore at night to lay eggs. During the day they are staying in the safe water. Snorkeling is almost a must here. With a little luck you will see the “Moorish Idol”; this is the most beautiful fish from the Galapagos. Afterwards you continue to Bartolome. The island has a surface area of only 1.2 square kilometers and the highest point of the island is at 114 meters. You can reach this point by taking a path through an almost surrealistic landscape and past recent signs of volcano eruptions. You will visit the highest point of the island with a spectacular view over the lava in different colors, the many volcanoes and the deep blue see as well as the famous “Pinnacle Rock”.

 

Overnight options, all on basis of bed and breakfast:

Backpacker: Dorm room in a local hostal

 

Included: Overnight BB

Excluded: Day tour $210,00 pp or snorkeling tour $140.00 pp – Dinner

 

Day 5 – San Cristobal

In the morning you will go from your hotel to the dock of Santa Cruz from where you will take a lancha (motorized small boat) to the island of San Cristobal. The boat ride will take about 2 hours and depending on the weather, it can be a bit bumpy. Arriving to the dock of San Cristobal you will go to your hotel.

 

In the afternoon you will have time to walk around in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you can go to the breath taking beach Loberia, snorkeling in Las Tijeretas, visit the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre or go to the beach Playa Mann to enjoy the sealions once more.

Enough to do here and explore by yourself.

Our tip is to Loberia a beautiful white sanded beach. Here you can make a small walk passing the lazy sea lions that sleep on the beach, towards the iguanas on the rocks. And take a swim and snorkel between sea lions, turtles and iguanas in the turquoise seawater. How to get there you will get to know in the welcome package upon arrival.

 

Overnight options, all on basis of bed and breakfast:

Backpacker: Dorm room in a local hostal

 

Included: Transport in lancha from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal – Overnight BB

Excluded: Lunch – Taxi boats – Dinner

 

Tip/Recommendation;

Book an extra night in San Cristobal with day tour to Espanola $220,00 pp or day tour to Kickerrock $120,00 pp.

 

Day 6

After breakfast free time to explore a bit more of the Galapagos.

In the end of the morning you need to go to the airport of San Cristobal. From here you will take your flight back to the mainland.

 

Included: Breakfast

Excluded: Lunch

6 days – 5 nights – USD $760