Ecotourism in the Galápagos Islands
Ecotourism Adventure to the Galapagos
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Fly directly to Guayaquil on Ecuador’s Pacific Coast. Ecuador is an ecotourism champion, with the Galapagos Islands, set 620 miles from its western mainland shores under the country’s care. Here in Guayaquil, you will have your overnight lodgings. Take a stroll and get a sense of place along Malecon 2000, the riverside promenade along the Guayas River.
From Guayaquil, you will take a flight to Baltra airport in the Galapagos. Here your ecotourism adventure begins by boarding a boat for a five-day sailing excursion between these incredible islands, where Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution after studying different species of Galapagos finches.
Get a preliminary briefing on your boat and your tour itinerary and meet your onboard naturalist guide who will lead your daily excursions. Your first stop this afternoon will be at Santa Cruz Island. Here you will take a short hike to photogenic Dragon Hill, passing a lagoon frequented by flamingos and other bird life. From the hill, you will have rewarding views of the bay and a land iguana nesting site.
Rise early for breakfast, then be ready to take in the sights at your first stop, Isabela Island. At Vicente Roca point, the past volcanic action created two sheltered turquoise bays. From your boat’s vantage point below the rocky cliffs, spot masked and blue-footed boobies perched on the cliffsides and flightless cormorants on shore. The cold water currents here attract marine life, and sea lions and penguins frequent the area.
Lunch on board as you sail to Fernandina Island, your afternoon stop. At Espinosa point, hundreds of marine iguanas gather on black lava rock. Pelicans, sea lions, penguins and flightless cormorants are also abundant here. Check out the different types of lava flows with the naturalist.
During your evenings on board, you will enjoy dinner, presentations by the naturalist, relaxation and socializing with fellow passengers.
You’ll spend the day on Santa Cruz Island, the economic center of the Galápagos Islands. In the morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, and learn about the resident Galápagos tortoises and the breeding programs the center operates to help preserve the species.
In the afternoon, visit the town of Puerto Ayora, where there are many shops, restaurants and bars. In the bay, you may spot brown pelicans, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, herons and frigate birds.
Dinner is back on board your boat, where your sail will resume as you head to Floriana Island.
You’ll spend the last full day of sailing on Floriana Island. In the morning, marvel at the breathtaking views while visiting the Baroness’s Observatory, where you will learn about the mysterious disappearance of an Austrian Baroness who lived here with her two lovers. Then on to Post Office Bay, where sailors would leave mail in a barrel to be delivered home by other sailors headed to that same home port. You can continue the tradition today by leaving a card and seeing how long it will take it to arrive home!
In the afternoon, walk the Cormorant Point trail past a flamingo-frequented lagoon to a beautiful white-sand beach where green sea turtles lay their eggs at night. Then, your boat will anchor at Champion Islet, just off Floriana, where you can experience some great snorkeling to admire the coral formations, fish and perhaps green sea turtles in their element.
This evening, enjoy your last dinner on board, telling stories of your adventures with fellow ecotourism tour students as you head back to Baltra.
Arrive back at Baltra, where you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Guayaquil. Enjoy the rest of the day in this port city. Take a walk to Parque Seminario, also known as Iguana Park for its iguanas who reside in the trees, along the sidewalks or even sprawl on the park benches. Or visit the colorful neighborhood of Las Penas with its rainbow spectrum of painted homes.
Settle in tonight for a nice dinner to sample local cuisine and enjoy your last evening of Ecuadorian culture.
Breakfast at your hotel, then head to Guayaquil airport and savor your ecotourism trip memories of the Galapagos Islands on your flight back home.
The Galápagos Islands are an ecotourism adventurer’s dream destination, situated 600 miles off of Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Here wildlife has never developed a fear of human beings, providing visitors an unparalleled experience to be able to approach these birds and animals closely and observe them in their natural habitat. It was in these islands that Darwin developed his theory of evolution.
Your five-day sail will enable you to see a cross-section of the islands, each with its own distinct geographic features, flora and fauna. Your daily excursions will bring a lifetime of memories of adventures amongst these beautiful islands and their resident wildlife. Start and finish your journey in the interesting Pacific coast city of Guayaquil, where you will get a sense of mainland Ecuador’s city life and local cuisine.
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