Details & Itinerary
The iconic Galapagos Islands are your backdrop for a hands on exploration of the unique biodiversity found in this incomparable archipelago. Snorkel with penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas and colorful tropical fish. Learn from expert biologist guides about the diversity of, and threats to, this unique ecosystem. Hike to the lip of one of the largest volcanic craters on earth at Isabella Island and visit a giant tortoise breeding center. An adventure like this only happens once.
Arrive in Quito and transfer to our hotel. Venture out to the Papallacta area where we enjoy a nature walk in the Andes and soak in the hot springs. After dinner, watch a Galapagos slide show regarding the biogeography and natural history of the islands.
Fly from Quito airport to the Island of Baltra and travel by private boat to Isabela. Settle into the hotel and head to the Flamingo Lagoon to enjoy the sunset and avid bird life. In the morning we learn to snorkel in the Concha Perla lagoon. After lunch, cross a channel to nearby Islote Tintoreras: snorkel with penguins, sea lions, marine iguanas and colorful tropical fish while enjoying the beaches of Isabela.
The world’s second largest volcanic crater, measuring 6 miles in diameter and 300 feet in depth, is our destination today. Visit La Bocanilla and Volcan Chico sites in the morning. Later, we descend to Campo Duro, a private reserve on the flank of the volcano that boasts wide green lawns, thick blooming hibiscus, gracious palms and an organic garden laden with tropical fruits.
The Isabela Giant Tortoise Breeding Center has been instrumental in bringing the tortoise back from the brink of extinction. Visit the center and learn from a biologist about the ongoing projects here at the center and this amazing species.
Travel 1 hour to the to visit Los Tuneles, an amazing snorkeling site where penguins, turtles, manta rays, sharks, and sea lions are almost always present in crystalline waters surrounding an intricate complex of lava tunnels. This is one of the best snorkeling sites in Galapagos both aesthetically and for viewing sea life. The next day we return to Puerto Ayora. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Center to learn even more about the natural history of the Galapagos and conservation work.
Fly back to Quito and celebrate our adventures with a last night dinner and reflection. Depart for home the next morning.
Airfare and Galapagos National Park Entrance fees (estimate $145) are not included in tuition. Internal flights are included in the group flight cost. The chaperoned Group Flight departs from Houston(IAH). Please visit Dates & Tuition for group flight costs and Flight & Travel Arrangements for more information about travel days.
Adventure & Cultural Activities
QUITO & PAPALLACTA
In the capital city of Quito, we stay in a classic colonial style hotel. A five minute walk, from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Old Quito, this hotel is nestled into a quiet street. Rooms are split into 2 to 4 students with private baths and hot water. The Papallacta Hto springs have a quaint resort hotel where our group stays just steps away from the hot springs!
As we bounce around the Archipelago and on to Isabella and Santa Cruz, the lodging varies from hotels that are standard to downright funky. At the end of a long day snorkeling with sea lions, you’ll look forward to quiet and comfortable rooms for two to four students and a hot shower. (Note: While we take boats from island to island, we do not sleep on boats. Rather, each night is in a different hotel on land.)