Selected one of National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2013 
 

2015 ITINERARY

GALAPAGOS HIKING ADVENTURE

Galápagos National Park and Cajas National Park

Land cost per person:
$3,350 (15 participants)

10 days (No camping)

April 10 to April 19, 2015

$500 Internal flights - Guayaquil-San Cristobal/Baltra-Guayaquil (Flight cost subject to change)

$150 Chartered boat (San Cristobal-Floreana-Isabela)

$100 Galapagos National Park entrance fee

$10 Galapagos Tax


Galapagos Marine Iguanas

Land cost:
(15 participants)


$3,350
Single Supplement, if requested* $750
*Single rooms are limited. Please call for details.

TRIP FEE INCLUDES:

• All airport transfers as scheduled on itinerary.

• Bilingual professional guides.

• Naturalist guides in Galapagos.

• All accommodations are based on double occupancy

• Ground transportation.

• All meals.

• Sightseeing tours as described on itinerary.

• Isabela airport tax.

• Visits and entrance fees in highlands portion (days 8 & 9).

• Tips to porters.

• Local flight Guayaquil – Cuenca.

NOT INCLUDED:

• Round trip international flight to Guayaquil.

• Galapagos tickets (Guayaquil-San Cristobal/Baltra-Guayaquil) $500 (subject to change).

• Floreana chartered motor boat - $150 (subject to change).

• Galapagos National Park entrance fee $100 (subject to change).

• Galapagos tax $10 (subject to change)

• Tips for tour leader, guides and staff.

• Travel insurance (highly recommended) for which an application will be included with your confirmation, Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary, passport fees, excess baggage fees. All items of personal nature such as: telephone calls, alcoholic beverages, etc.

Airfare is not included in the land cost of our trips. Suggested flight routings and airlines will be provided. Important: Please check with our staff before purchasing tickets. We need to verify your flight schedule and confirm that we have enough participants to guarantee the departure.

Note: All itineraries are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control including, weather, road or trail conditions and flight schedules.

Andes Adventures travel, trekking and running in Peru - Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Ausangate, Huayhuash, Cordillera Blanca
1323 12th Street, Suite F
Santa Monica, CA  90401

Toll Free
(800) 289-9470

Phone (310) 395-5265 
FAX (310) 395-7343

Request Information

© 2000-2014 Andes Adventures, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

CST #2030675-40
Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Plan your 2015 Travel Adventure today!

Day 1 Friday — April 10, 2015: Arrival in Guayaquil

We arrive at Guayaquil airport in Ecuador, where you will be met by an Andes Adventures representative who will assist you with your luggage and your transfer to the hotel.

Overnight: Hilton Colon Guayaquil Hotel
Meals: On your own on arrival day. Program starts on Day 2.

Day 2 Saturday — April 11, 2015: Guayaquil – San Cristobal Island – El Junco Lake

After breakfast we return to the airport for our non-stop one and half hours flight to San Cristobal Island. Upon arrival we pass through an inspection where park officials ensure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and this is where you need to pay the Galápagos National Park entrance fee of $100.

After lunch we drive to El Junco Lake in the highlands of San Cristobal; this crater has been filled with rain water for millions of years and is part of the only permanent fresh water source in the archipelago. We will hike around the lake and take some dirt roads across fields of miconia plants, ferns and small bushes that constitute this highland environment. We continue down to our hotel.

Overnight:  Hotel Blue Marlin or Hotel Katarma - San Cristobal
Meals: B, L, D.
Today's hike: About 6 miles or less.

Day 3 Sunday — April 12, 2015: Tijeretas Hill to Loberia – Snorkel Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock)

We hike to Cerro Tijeretas through a path that take us to the place where Darwin disembarked from the HMS Beagle and set foot on the Galápagos for the first time in 1835. Along the path, Darwin’s findings and theories (from his short five-week stay on the islands) are shared as well as the history and significance of the Galápagos. We ascend to the top of Cerro de las Tijeretas (Frigate Bird Hill) where breathtaking sea views unfold, also a perfect vantage point to marvel at the antics of frigate birds, known as the "pirates of the sea," owing to their habit of stealing food from unassuming boobies. We continue hiking on the trail to Carola Beach and then across town to La Loberia Beach, from where we will hike back to our hotel.

After our morning hike we board a fully equipped, large comfortable boat for the one-hour ride to Leon Dormido (sleeping lion), so named because of its shape, but more commonly known as Kicker Rock. The remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea have formed two vertical rocks rising 500 feet from the ocean, which in turn form a small channel that is perfect for snorkeling. The colorful display of tropical fish contrasts against a backdrop of black volcanic rock. Razor surgeonfish, Cortez rainbow wrasse, and orange-bellied triggerfish are just a few you may see, as well as a gentle sea Turtle floating by.

A fresh lunch is served on deck.

We return to town with time to stroll the quiet streets.

Overnight: Hotel Blue Marlin or Hotel Katarma - San Cristobal
Meals: B, L, D.
Today's hike: About 1 ½ hours. You can hike additionally on your own at the end of the day.
Activity: Snorkeling

Day 4 Monday — April 13, 2015: Floreana Island - Isabela Island

The Island of Floreana rests south-west of Santa Cristobal (approximately 2.5 hour boat ride, depending on sea conditions).

We arrive at Puerto Velasco Ibarra on the west side of the Island. Floreana was one of the first Islands to become inhabited on a permanent basis, and was considered a key resupply point by whaling ships and other boats due to its supposedly inexhaustible supply of tortoises.

Upon arrival in Floreana we will take a 30-minute drive up to the highlands through the agricultural fields and a stunning landscape dominated by forests of the endemic miconia trees, and palo santo.

We drive around Cerro Pajas (640 m), the largest volcanic hill in Floreana until we reach el Asilo de la Paz -- where the most interesting human history of Galapagos took place. Your guide will describe the adventure, romance and mystery of the area as you walk the trails, encounter Galapagos giant tortoises, and visit beautiful springs and incredible lava formations. The hike takes approximately one hour.

After lunch we continue by boat to Isabela Island (approximately one hour) and arrive in the quaint town of Puerto Villamil. Isabela the least-visited and the archipelago's largest island, is formed by the joining of five young volcanoes.

Overnight: La Casa de Marita – Isabela
Meals: B, L, D.
Boat: 2.5 hour boat from Cristobal to Floreana & 1 hour from Floreana to Isabela. Times can vary depending on water conditions.
Today's hike: One hour hike.

Day 5 Tuesday — April 14, 2015: Tintoreras – Tortoise Breeding Center – Wetlands

Our panga (small boat) awaits us to take us on a journey to the tiny island of Tintoreras, a unique volcanic formation and our hiking – snorkeling destination for the day.

The western side of the island is home to a primitive species of lichen which flourishes in the moisture carried by the prevailing winds. It is inhabited by young marine iguanas, the world's only sea-going lizard, small colonies of sea lions. White-tipped reef sharks can occasionally be spotted taking a well-earned rest among the nooks and crannies of the volcanic formation comprising this beautiful island. Boobies put on quite a show in the quiet lagoon and, we may even catch a glimpse of the Galápagos penguin.

We will have a relaxed day and visit the Tortoise Breeding Center, where the National Park has been making an immense effort to protect tortoises in their first years of life from the threats of introduced species. We will be able to see the different shells from each race (sub-species) and learn more about the natural history and importance of the Galápagos giant tortoise.

A boardwalk leads us over the marshlands or humedales—brackish lagoons that provide a habitat for four mangrove species and numerous other migratory birds flamingos, darwin finches, yellow warblers, galapagos flycatchers, stilts, pintail ducks, common gallinule and other shore birds that come to feed in the lagoons. Marine iguanas are seen in the lava rocks and sand banks that form these swamps.

The wooden walkways lead to a tortoise breeding center with interesting interpretive displays. The center has been responsible for the breeding and release to the wild of over 2,000 giant tortoises in the past few years alone. There are different distinct varieties from each of the volcanoes in the island. The difference can be seen in their shells.

Volcanoes on Isabela Island include Sierra Negra Volcano (3,688'), Alcedo Volcano (3,707'), Wolf Volcano (5,600'), Cerro Azul Volcano (5,541'), Darwin Volcano (4,350') and Ecuador Volcano (2,590')

From the center, a walk along the beach takes you through town and back to the hotel, where you can take a swim or stop in town to get a taste of local life.

Isabela is a great snorkeling site where sea turtles, shark and rays are seen.

Overnight: La Casa de Marita – Isabela
Meals: B, L, D.
Today's hike: We will hike about 2 hours on easy, gravel, and wooden trails, flat terrain.
Activity: Snorkeling.

Day 6 Wednesday — April 15, 2015: Sierra Negra Volcano – Campo Duro

After a one-hour drive from Puerto Villamil to Isabela’s Highlands, you gain an entirely new perspective on the Galápagos experience. At the starting point of today’s hike you immediately notice the difference in vegetation and weather—fostered by the southeast trade winds that bring significant humidity to the southern side of the island. The lowland landscape of prickly pear and the endemic candelabra cactus that dominate the coastal areas give way to more lush and diverse flora including bromeliads and epiphytes.

Your path leads to the rim of the Sierra Negra Volcano. The Sierra Negra Volcano stands at 3,688 feet and last erupted in 2005, depositing a new and dramatic layer of lava. This volcano’s caldera is the world’s second largest, with a diameter measuring approximately 6½ miles.

As you circle the caldera, you spot a variety of birds including finches and flycatchers as well as the Galápagos hawk. Lava lizards scuttle underfoot. From the caldera’s rim you continue to Chico Volcano to see fumaroles (gas and steam vents in the earth’s crust) and unusual lava formations, a striking visual record of the islands’ geological history. We enjoy spectacular views of volcanoes and nearby islands.

Overnight: La Casa de Marita – Isabela
Meals: B, L, D.
Today's hike: We will hike about 11 miles.

Day 7 Thursday — April 16, 2015: Galapagos – Guayaquil – Paute Valley

Today will be a travel day. This morning we will take a 2-hour boat ride (duration depends on water conditions) to Baltra Island. Upon arrival in Baltra we will be picked up by a bus and will take a 10-minute bus ride to the airport in time to check our bags and take our flight back to Guayaquil. From the Guayaquil airport we will fly to the Cuenca airport and drive (approximately 1 hour) to Paute.

Hosteria Uzhupud is a colonial-style hacienda, a hub of quietude surrounded by well-kept gardens where guests can relax and reflect.  Each cozy room is equipped with a private bath, cable TV, Wi-Fi and a telephone for keeping in touch with your loved ones. Uzhupud and its surroundings are steeped in history and tradition. Enjoy the subtropical climate and ideal location in the Andes—only half an hour from Cuenca.  A quaint little church, an open-air swimming pool, and an area for games, make Uzhupud all the more inviting.

Overnight: Hacienda Uzhupud in Paute
Meals: B, L, D.
Boat: 2 hour boat from Isabela to Baltra  (can be to 2.5 hours depending on water conditions)
Flights: Baltra to Guayaquil 1.5 hour flight & Guayaquil to Cuenca 40 minutes flight.
Drive from Cuenca airport to Paute: About 40 minutes to one hour depending on traffic conditions
Today's hike: None-scheduled.

Day 8 Friday — April 17, 2015: Tolapaloma – Quebrada El Salado – Cuenca

A short drive from our hotel will put us at the beginning of our hiking adventure. Along the road we will enjoy breathtaking views down into the valleys and of the dramatic canyons formed by ravines that descend from the forest.

The hike will take us through a beautiful elfin forest characteristic of the valleys that are formed by the Andes Cordillera. Here we will find orchids, epiphytes, polilepys trees, and a wide variety of hummingbirds. The hike is an easy 7 mile descent from 10500 feet to 8600 feet and we finish our hike at the volcanic hot spring pools.

After lunch we take a short drive to visit the colonial part of Cuenca city. Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca is set in a valley surrounded by the Andean mountains in the south of Ecuador. This colonial town, now the country's third largest city, was founded in 1557. Cuenca's architecture, much of which dates from the 18th century, was 'modernized' in the economic prosperity of the 19th century as the city became a major exporter of quinine, straw hats and other products. The historic center of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca was declared a UNESCO World heritage site in 1990. The city has a distinctive Spanish style with prominent French influences.

Cuenca is a colonial jewel, reminiscent of Europe with its narrow cobblestone streets, its quiet demeanor, and its charmingly old-fashioned ambiance. The many sights of interest here include the city’s main cathedral, numerous other churches like Santo Domingo, San Sebastian and San Blas among others as well as Inca ruins.

The Incas occupied the area now known as Cuenca for less than 100 years. At that time the area was inhabited by the Cañari people.

We return to Uzhupud to relax in the gardens and pool.

Overnight: Hacienda Uzhupud in Paute
Meals: B, L, D.
Today's hike: About 7 miles.

Day 9 Saturday — April 18, 2015: Cloud Forest Hiking – Manglares Churute - Guayaquil

Our hike starts at the entrance of Llaviuco Valley. We hike along a secondary road passing several cattle farms, before reaching Cajas National Park where we find the beautiful Llaviuco Lake. From here we follow a small path into the cloud forest hiking along a small river.

Cajas National Park covers about 71,000 acres and contains about 230 glacial lakes. The ‘U’ shape of Lake Llaviuco, the lowest point in the park, is due to prehistoric glacial activity. 

In the park you will find rolling paramo grasses, wild quinoa, rosemary, an abundance of birds and mammals such as the Andean Fox, White Tailed Deer, Spectacled Bear and other wildlife that are found in these lofty Andean elevations. Trout is also found in several of the moorland’s lakes. 

Journeying along a small path into the lush cloud forest and past glinting streams, we circle Lake Llaviuco, an excellent spot for nature-watching.

Next, just 25 miles south of Guayaquil is an ecological gem just waiting to be explored: the Manglares–Churute Mangrove Reserve. The reserve spans around 123,550 acres and includes two amazingly biodiverse ecosystems --a tropical dry forest and what is considered to be the largest mangrove reserve in Ecuador.

Mangrove trees grow in ecosystems bridging the gap between land and sea along tropical coastal zones, acting as a kind of filtration system removing sediments before reaching open water and protecting coral reefs, controlling pollution and providing food and habitats for fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds. The muddy estuaries of the River Guayas are home to the mangroves covering around two thirds of the Reserve and where shrimp farming has been outlawed due to its impact on the area’s natural ecosystems.

Manglares-Churute is also characterized by natural salt flats which serve as popular feeding spots for a whole host of eye-catching shorebirds such as roseate spoonbills, ospreys, egrets, and laughing gulls. Vegetation rich in balsa and oak trees, punctuated with orchids and bromeliads, surrounds the mangroves and if we are lucky enough on our boat journey through this spectacular habitat, we may even spot the horned screamer bird, among other creatures equally delightful and intriguing. 

We arrive in Guayaquil, the capital of the province of Guayas and the main port and economical capital of the country. Tonight we will have our farewell dinner.

Overnight: Hilton Colon Guayaquil Hotel   
Meals: B, L, D.
Today's hike: About 7 miles.

Day 10 Sunday — April 19, 2015: Guayaquil/Flight home

Transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flights.

 


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Andes Adventures travel, trekking and running in Peru - Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Ausangate, Huayhuash, Cordillera Blanca
1323 12th Street, Suite F - Santa Monica, CA  90401
Toll Free (800) 289-9470  ·   Phone (310) 395-5265  ·   FAX (310) 395-7343
Request Info or E-mail
© 2000-2014 Andes Adventures, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
CST #2030675-40
Selected one of National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2013

Celebrating our 20th year of extraordinary value in Adventure Travel.
Plan your 2015 Travel Adventure today!


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Note: All itineraries are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control
including, weather, road or trail conditions and flight schedules.