Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands
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The Galapagos Islands: Of Fish & Fishermen is geared towards families with young children, and is full of engaging and fun educational experiences for both parents and children. Hand-picked naturalist guides understand the need for flexibility, patience and down time. Experiences include going out with local fishermen to learn about sustainable fishing, snorkeling with some of the marine creatures and spotting wildlife including tortoises, iguanas and blue-footed boobies.
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Day 1: Arrive Guayaquil, Ecuador
Welcome to Ecuador! After claiming your luggage, you will be met by your Big Five Ecuador representative and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Hilton Colon Guayaquil
Day 2: Guayaquil / Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
This morning you are transferred to the airport to board your flight to The Galapagos islands. Your family’s private naturalist guide will welcome you upon arrival at Baltra airport. While you check in and get settled, your guide will entertain the children with an overview of the animal they are soon to encounter using a locally produced coloring guidebook. Galapagos Safari Camp features nine luxury tents plus a special family suite. The family unit is next to the main lodge and sleeps six, featuring a master bedroom and two twin rooms, all with en suite bathrooms. Twin beds can be joined to become a queen bed, and a sofa bed can be added for children under 12. The en suite bathrooms are tastefully designed with hot power showers and flush toilets. All the tents have a large balcony with a hammock and chairs to take in the wonderful view. The infinity pool is ideal for a refreshing swim on hot days, or for simply relaxing in this tranquil setting. The camp borders the Galapagos National Park in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. After lunch, explore this 135-acre farm, and try your hand at picking tropical fruit, harvesting cacao and spotting local birds. Before sundown, see the deep lava tunnels by flashlight and seek out giant tortoises roaming the National Tortoise Reserve adjacent to the camp. Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Day 3: Santa Cruz Island
After breakfast, drive to the camp’s neighbor Scott Henderson’s organic coffee plantation to learn about responsible, small-scale farming in the Galapagos. See coffee plants being grown and pick some beans. Next, you are off to the most amazing viewpoint on Santa Cruz Island, Cerro Mesa, for a short wildlife walk around the massive crater and to a secluded wetland area full of exotic bird species and the occasional bathing tortoise. Enjoy lunch at the local restaurant before jumping on bikes to take a delightful downhill pedal to the beach to spend the afternoon at the lovely Garrapatero Beach. You have the opportunity to explore the bay by sea kayak, spotting marine iguanas, blue footed boobies diving into the depths and countless shore birds. There is also an extensive mangrove system and a fresh water lagoon often inhabited by pink flamingos and Bahama ducks. This evening, parents will enjoy some time to relax while the children are engaged in a private art class with a local artist. Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Day 4- Galapagos Islands
Today, your family savors a classic day of wildlife spotting and snorkeling with sea lions on one of the uninhabited islands easily accessed by a shared day yacht from Santa Cruz, accompanied by your naturalist guide. The exact island location will depend on times of year and other factors but some options include:
North Seymour Island: Take a very short yacht ride to this breeding area for blue footed boobies. You cap off this visit with a snorkel at Bachas Beach.
South Plazas Island: Is famous for the number of marine and land iguanas, soaring seabirds and raucous bachelor sea lion colony. Then, enjoy a snorkel session at Punta Carrion, often inhabited by playful sea lions.
Santa Fe Island: Take in this gorgeous bay that provides outstanding snorkeling and the island, which is famous for its endemic plant species and a rare land iguana.
Bartolome Island: This is one of the most scenic islands in the Galapagos, with an amazing hike, seasonal sea turtle nesting site and one of the best snorkeling sites in the entire Galapagos around Pinnacle rock.
Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Day 5: Galapagos Islands
Today your family is in for a special excursion. Galapagos Safari Camp has been involved with a pilot program with the Galapagos National Park Service that aims to engage local fisherman in tourism activities as an alternative means of income with the added benefit of protecting local fisheries from depletion. You have the opportunity to experience firsthand how this community is working to seek out sustainable solutions. You head out on excursions with local fishermen with some of the most experienced, enthusiastic and entertaining fisherman imaginable! The fishermen use safe, modern speedboats that are chartered privately for the day. You private naturalist guide also serves as a translator. The fisherman teach the children some local tricks for fishing with a net and line, while sharing stories and anecdotes from a lifetime at sea. After some time fishing, you land at beaches on Santa Cruz, deserted except for the wildlife! You can snorkel in some beautiful secret spots not visited by cruise ships. This excursion is both a wildlife experience and a true cultural exchange opportunity.
Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island
This morning, you will discover the famous Charles Darwin Research Station to learn of the scientific research taking place. Then parents can enjoy some time to wander the town of Puerto Ayora while the naturalist guide takes the children to meet and play with local kids at the neighborhood playground, or to explore the fisherman’s open-air market along the bustling waterfront. After lunch, embark on a chartered private yacht to tour and snorkel amongst the serene waters of Tortuga Bay, white sand beaches dotted with lounging marine iguanas and shallow waters full of harmless white tipped reef sharks await. Galapagos Safari Camp (B,L,D)
Day 7: Santa Cruz Island / Depart
After a leisurely morning at Galapagos Safari Camp, you will be accompanied by your naturalist guide to the Baltra Airport for your flight back to mainland Ecuador. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US$500 per person, per day, based on Family Tent (capacity: 6 people); Domestic Air: Quito/Galapagos/Quito USD$520; Galapagos National Park USD$100; Ingala card: USD$20