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Island Hopping - 3 Nights Itinerary

Surtrek “Island-Hopping Tours” allow travelers to visit various Galapagos Islands without having to stay on board a ship for the entire trip. Instead, travelers spend their nights in modern hotels on the islands, while heading out each morning on speed boats that take them to a different island each day. In this way, boat trips are combined with trekking, wildlife watching and snorkeling excursions.
On most days you can leave your luggage in the hotel, so you’ll only have to carry a light day pack. For the land excursions, you don’t have to be in a superb physical condition, as our daily Galapagos Island-Hopping Tours are not very demanding – though they still involve walking on rough volcanic ground. But note that all of our land-based Island-Hopping tours are guided by experienced multilingual guides.
On your first afternoon, this well-crafted 4-day itinerary through the “enchanted Islands” will bring you face-to-face with 150-year-old giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. Over the course of your stay, you will also visit the islands of Bartolome or South Plazas Island, and North Seymour or Santa Fe Island, where in store for you will be a unique natural environment that includes a host of endemic species – including a quarter of the archipelagos’ species of shore fish, half of its plants and almost all the islands’ reptiles – which are found nowhere else on the planet.

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Testimonials

“My husband, daughter and I want to thank you again for making our trip to the Galapagos extremely awesome!”Herlena and Richard Orellana

Highlights
Galapagos Islands, Bartolome Island, Plazas or North Seymour Island, Santa Cruz Island, Tortoise Breeding Station
Itinerary at a Glance
Day 1: Quito or Guayaquil Airport Transfer – Galapagos Island Flight – Giant Tortoise Reserve – Puerto Ayora
Day 2: Island-Hopping Tour – Bartolome Island
Day 3: Island-Hopping Tour – South Plazas or North Seymour Island – Santa Fe Island* (subject to availability)
Day 4: Santa Cruz Island – Tortoise Breeding Station – Flight Back to the Mainland
Galapagos Map
Detailed Itinerary
Day 1
Quito or Guayaquil Airport Transfer – Galapagos Island Flight – Giant Tortoise Reserve – Puerto Ayora

In the morning, you will be picked up from your hotel on the Ecuadorian mainland (in Quito or Guayaquil) and driven to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands’ Baltra airport, the main point of entrance to this natural paradise and situated in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago.

Upon your arrival at the airport, you will need to pay the national park entry fee, which goes to protecting both the Galapagos National Park and Marine Reserve. A member of the Surtrek team will then welcome you and accompany you on a quick shuttle bus ride to Itabaca Channel, followed by a 5-minute ferry ride to Santa Cruz Island, and then an hour drive to the town of Puerto Ayora. En route, we will stop at a Highlands reserve to see amazing Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild. You will also have a chance to walk through astonishing lava tunnels before

having lunch at a local restaurant.

We will reach Puerto Ayora in the afternoon, where you will check in at your selected hotel and still have plenty of free time to explore the town at your leisure. Later that evening there will be a welcome dinner for you at a local restaurant.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Island-Hopping Tour – Bartolome Island

[To protect the fragile environment of the Galapagos Islands, the park administrators control the flow of visitors to the various islands. Consequently, just in case one site reaches is visitor limit for this day, and therefore becomes unavailable for us to visit, we are proposing three alternative sites for days two and three.]

 

Option 1: BARTOLOME ISLAND*

  • Departure: 6 a.m. (approximately) bus pick up.
  • Travel time: After being picked up from your hotel, a 40-minute bus ride will take you across the island to Baltra Channel, where we will embark onto a passenger boat that has a restroom and plenty of room to relax for the 2-hour journey to Bartolome Island.
  • The Tour: The tour begins with a hot breakfast on board the boat, along with a short introduction and tour briefing by a National Parks-accredited bilingual (English/Spanish) guide. Once we reach the island, we will disembark and take a short 40-minute walk up to the 114-meter-high summit of the island. The dramatic views here make this a fantastic spot for group photos. The trail leads through a wild and otherworldly moon-like lava landscape, a walk that advances along a wooden boardwalk built to protect visitors and the erosion of the trail.

A hot lunch and refreshments are provided back on the boat. After this, you will have a chance to go snorkeling in a small sandy cove in which you can try to keep up with the speedy Galapagos penguins there. Numerous varieties of colorful reef fish, green sea turtles and various rays are also often spotted around this snorkeling site. The best way to photograph the penguins, however, is during the ride in a "panga" (a small boat), which will take you close to the rocks and around Pinnacle Rock. It's possible to get within 3 or 4 meters of the birds while they look on, seemingly uninterested in your fascination with them.  A light snack will be provided on the return trip to Baltra Channel, where the bus will drive you back to your hotel. 

  • Return:    Approx. 5 p.m.

(*) Bartolome Island is situated just off the east coast of Santiago Island and is one of the younger islands in the archipelago. This island and Sullivan Bay (off Santiago Island) were named after naturalist and lifelong friend of Charles Darwin, Sir Bartholomew James Sullivan, who was a lieutenant on board the HMS Beagle. Though having a total land area of just 1.2 sq. km., Bartolome Island offers some of the most beautiful landscapes in the archipelago. The island consists of an extinct volcano and a variety of red, orange, green and black glistening volcanic formations.

 

Option 2: SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND*

 

  • Departure: 8 a.m. (approximately) bus pick-up
  • Travel Time: A 40-minute bus ride, followed by a 1-hour boat ride
  • Tour: Once on the island, we will follow a path through a forest of Opuntia cactus, which often reach heights of 10 meters. Sometimes it's difficult to know where to step due to the large numbers of land iguanas that inhabit the island; they feed on the succulent flowers of the cactus plants here. A 1 km.-long trail will take us through sea lion colonies and along a cliff top where Swallow-tailed gulls and other species nest. This is an excellent vantage point for photographing a variety of sea birds. Lunch will be served on the boat before we proceed to Punta Carrión (near the Baltra Channel) to go snorkeling with sea lions and non-aggressive Whitetip reef sharks.
  • Return: Approx. 4:30 p.m. (depending on sea conditions)

(*) The Plazas Islands consists of two small islands just off the east coast of Santa Cruz Island, though visitors can only visit the southern island.

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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 3
Island-Hopping Tour – South Plazas or North Seymour Island – Santa Fe Island* (subject to availability)

[To protect the fragile environment of the Galapagos Islands, the park administrators control the flow of visitors to the various islands. Consequently, just in case one site reaches is visitor limit for this day, and therefore becomes unavailable for us to visit, we are proposing three alternative sites for days two and three.]

 

Option 3: NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND*

  • Departure:    8 a.m. (Approximately)
  • Travel time: After being picked up from your hotel, a 40-minute bus ride will take you across the island to the Baltra Channel, where you will embark onto a passenger boat that will have a restroom and plenty of room to relax for the 40-minute journey to North Seymour Island.
  • The Tour: The tour begins with a guided tour by a National Parks-accredited bilingual (English/Spanish-speaking) guide. We will trek along a 2.5 km trail through the nesting sites of the largest breeding colonies in the islands. Here you will find Blue-footed boobies, Magnificent and Great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls. This will also present a chance to see sea lions, Galapagos land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards and pelicans.
  • At the conclusion of the land tour, you will return to the boat for a hot lunch and refreshments before travelling to Las Bachas Beach on the northern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Here you can go snorkeling or take a relaxing walk along the beach. During the snorkel, it's possible to see many colorful types of reef fish, various rays, benign Whitetip reef sharks and Green turtles.  Returning to the Baltra Channel, the bus will then transport you back to your hotel.
  • Return: Approx. 4 p.m. (depending on sea conditions).

(*) North Seymour Island — 1.9 sq./km and located approximately 7 km north of Baltra Island — is the site of one of the largest and most active sea bird breeding colonies in the islands. It is a very dry island with no natural sources of water, leaving the animals, namely the land iguanas, to rely on the succulent flowers of cactus plants for nourishment. Whatever time of year, there is always some kind of courtship, mating, nesting or chick rearing to observe.

 

Option 4: SANTA FE ISLAND

  • Departure Time: 8:00 a.m. bus pick up.
  • Travel Time: A 40-minute bus ride, followed by one and half hour boat ride.
  • The Tour: Upon your arrival on the island, you will be treated to a noisy welcome by the local sea lion colony. Following your naturalist guide, you will walk along a trail that will lead you to Santa Fe Island's main attraction: a towering forest of giant cactuses. Scattered around these cacti trees you'll see a number of the island's indigenous sun-seekers, including marine and land iguanas, as well as rainbow-streaked lava lizards. If you're lucky, you may even spot land tortoises - the island's namesakes. After the trek, you'll be able to plunge into the cool sea and snorkel in the company of sea lions, Lion fish and sea turtles.

(*) Santa Fe Island (its English name is Barrington Island) is a 24 sq. km. islet that lies about 20 km. southeast of Santa Cruz. Quite popular for day trips, there is good anchorage in the attractive bay on the north side of Santa Fe. A short 300-meter trail will take you to one of the tallest stands of opuntia cactus on the island to find more land iguanas. Other attractions include a sea lion colony, excellent snorkeling, marine iguanas and of course birds (Blue-footed boonies, Frigatebirds, Galapagos gulls).

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Breakfast - Lunch
Day 4
Santa Cruz Island – Tortoise Breeding Station – Flight Back to the Mainland

After breakfast, we will visit the famous Charles Darwin Research Station, which includes an information center, a museum, a library and a tortoise breeding station. Park rangers and park managers — along with others who make tremendous efforts to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site — work here for the conservation of the islands. In the tortoise breeding center you can see tortoises of different subspecies that are being prepared for reintroduction into their natural habitats.

Enjoy your last look at these "enchanted islands," a unique and wondrous paradise! You will then be accompanied to the Baltra airport for your return flight to Quito.

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Breakfast
2017 - Price per person
2 PersonsSingle Supplement
Hotel CategoryDouble
First-Class Superior or LuxuryUS$ 3,165US$ 2,374
First ClassUS$ 1,865US$ 654
TouristUS$ 1,523US$ 169
Hotels
ISLANDTouristFirst ClassFirst-Class Superior or Luxury
Santa CruzVilla LagunaSol y MarFinch Bay
Included in the price:
  • Accommodations in selected hotel and room type
  • Private transfer from your hotel to the airport, for you return flight to the mainland
  • Private land transportation while on the islands
  • Professional bilingual (English/Spanish-speaking) naturalist guide services
  • Excursions, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals, as indicated in the itinerary
  • Immigration Control Transit Card: $20 per person
  • Guided island-hopping land tours (shared basis)
  • Snorkeling gear
Not included in the price:
  • International & domestic flights (Quito – Galapagos Island – Quito)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee: $100 per adult
  • Public bus transportation from Baltra – Itabaca Channel – Baltra ($10 per person only for TAME airline passengers)
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Personal expenses
  • Items not indicated in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic and bottled drinks
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Use of wet suits
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Island Hopping

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Testimonials

“I was very happy in every way with your booking and Cuyabeno Lodge. It surpassed my expectations in every way. No hitches with flights and transportation. The lodge was beautiful. The staff was professional and friendly.”Tim Matheson

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