Choose a different Galapagos experience, away from the standard run boat tours and truly immerse yourself in the local island culture of the Galapagos. People are unaware that the Galapagos Islands have thriving settlements that live very close to unfettered wildlife. This program allows the participant, for a moment to feel like a local and provides the enviable opportunity to explore areas where the majority of tourists will never visit.
Day 1 - Quito (9,000 ft) – Met at airport and escorted to accommodations.
Day 2 – El Centro. Walking City Tour, transport Otavalo Las Palmeras - Quito is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO for its well preserved examples of Baroque School of Quito – a unique fusion of Moorish, Italian, Flemish, Spanish and indigenous influences. Walk through narrow cobblestone streets and visit the ornate cathedrals and churches of this beautiful city. The tour of the old town provides an ideal introduction to Ecuador’s rich dramatic history and culture. Overnight in Quito.
Day 3 – San Cristobal. Fly to San Cristobal, one of the four islands that have human settlements. The Galapagos National Park only allows 13 of the over 70 islands and islets to be visited by tourists. Orientation at Charles Darwin Interpretation Center.
Days 4-7 Spanish classes in the morning from 8:30 am to noon. In the afternoon, we will offer short field trips to various areas on the island. Snorkeling is possible daily.
Days 8-10 Volunteer Project
Day 11- Leave early morning by boat, stop by the island of Santa Fe or Espanola or Floreana depending on the time of year and end on the island of Isabela, the largest island in the Galapagos Archipelago.
Day 12 - Sierra Negra. Isabela is home to the largest and most active volcano in the Galapagos, as well the oldest settlements in the Galapagos, Villamil on the coast and Santo Tomas inland high on the side of the volcano. Horseback ride to the highlands. Then, hike to Sierra Negra, and stand at the edge of the third largest crater in the world. Enter a surreal lava landscape and hike to Volcan Chico to peak into its smoking fumaroles. Optional snorkel in the evening.
Day 13 - Sea kayak. Across from the main bay, explore the system of islets protecting the bay in search of the shy Galapagos penguins. Go snorkeling at Las Tintoreras and see Galapagos white tipped sharks, spotted eagle rays, sea lions and other marine life.
Day 14 - Santa Cruz. We head on over to the island of Santa Cruz, which has the largest human settlement, Puerto Ayora. Puerto Ayora is the main tourist town in the Galapagos. This charming town offers excellent souvenir shopping opportunities. Free afternoon or hike to Tortuga Bay.
Day 15 - Although the flight to Quito is in the morning, there is time to visit the Darwin Center and see Lonesome George, the last of his species of tortoise. Fly to Quito. Free afternoon. Farewell dinner
Day 16 – Transfer Out.
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