Galapagos Islands Hotel Based Options, Red Mangrove Lodge
On this 8 day Galapagos adventure you will visit three of the archipelago’s largest islands staying in unique lodges and experiencing the very best these isles have to offer. Detailed itinerary below.
Santa Cruz island is the most important of the inhabitated islands of Galapagos archipelago. Puerto Ayora is the largest town, 15.000 people live and work here mostly in the tourism industry.
Here you will stay in Aventura Lodge – built in 1995, this lodge has a unique design which blends equally with the mangrove forest and seafront, its location allows you to observe the mangrove ecosystem in action as well as giving you a fantastic view of Puerto Ayora’s bay.
Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos islands. Formed by six large volcanic domes fused together, this is one of the most volcanically active places on earth. Puerto Villamil is the name of the town in Isabela Island. Even though the island is the largest of the archipelago, Puerto Villamil has only 2000 inhabitants, most of them fishermen.
Here you will stay at Isabella Lodge – separated from the ocean only by a broad, white sand, palm-lined beach, the oceanfront Lodge has a beautiful wooden deck by the sea as well as a roof top terrace with sea vistas for miles.
Floreana island is the least populated of Galapagos Islands, a total of inhabitants of 150 live mainly in Puerto Velasco Ibarra. This island is well known for its historical background related to the Baroness and her disparition in the 1930`s with her lovers.
Located in Puerto Velasco Ibarra, the Red Mangrove Lava Lodge is built entirely in pine wood from the mainland man made forests. Each cabin has its own bathroom, front porch, reading and shade area to allow privacy and enjoyement as you gaze upon the sea.
If you don’t have 8 days then we also offer a vareity of accommodation only options and shorter itineraries – for more ideas and inspiration call 01822 616191 or Contact Us.
Days 1-2: Walk amongst giant tortoises
Your galapagos experience begins on the island of Santa Cruz with a short walk to a beautiful white beach with flamingos and finches abound. During your first 2 days you will also see galapagos penguins, iguanas and take a unforgettable walk amongst tortoises in the wild.
Day 1: Quito or Guayaquil – Santa Cruz
AM: Upon arrival on the Galapagos Islands you will transfer via ferry and bus to the town of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Check in at Santa Cruz Aventura Lodge. Lunch at Lodge.
PM: Tour to Garrapatero Beach which is a 25 minutes bus ride to an easy trail that leads you to the beach. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for its flamingos and finches and a place where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This is one of Santa Cruz’s most peaceful and tranquil settings, the 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand that compose El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise.
Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds, most notably, flamingos and mockingbirds. You can also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water.
Dinner & Overnight at Aventura lodge.
Day 2: Santa Cruz – Floreana
AM: Breakfast at the Lodge. This morning the adventure starts with a trip to “Los Gemelos” (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers, a wonderful introduction to the majestic power of nature and the great biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Highlands. This short, easy hike to each of the twins is swarming with endemic flora and fauna, including a remnant of Scalesia Forest, draped in liverwort, lichens and mosses, where it’s easy to spot some Darwin finches and perhaps the short eared owls.
After “Los Gemelos”, a short bus ride will take us to a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze, and sleep.
Walking among the tortoises in ther wild, will be one of the most treasured moments of your trip. After visiting these prehistoric creatures on their natural habitat, we’ll take a 5-minute ride to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high in most places, this is an incredible opportunity see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, mineral-colored walls, and the rippled floor formed from lava along this unique lava formations.
PM: After lunch, we depart to Floreana. Our journey will take about 2 hours depending on sea conditions. Arrival at Floreana Island. Upon arrival, and before check in, visit Black Beach, a black sand beach where you can swim, snorkel, or simply relax watching a beautiful sunset and great scenery. Walk back to the lodge.
Check in at Floreana Lodge.
Dinner at Local Family House, briefing and overnight at the Lodge
Days 3-4: Snorkel with sea lions and turtles
Your next two days begin with a short hike to Cerro Allieri with breathtaking views before some beach time to snorkel and swim. Other highlights include a pirates cave, spotting the infamous blue-footed boobies and snorkeling with sea lions, sea turtles and the (unagressive) white-tipped reef sharks.
Day 3: Floreana
AM: Breakfast at a local family’s house. This is a great way to share the insights of the Galapagos with a local family.
After breakfast we take a short bus ride in a traditional bus called a “chiva” (without windows and doors) until the entrance of Cerro Allieri one of the highest points in Floreana (340m) from you can enjoy an overwhelming view of different landscapes and the town of Puerto Velasco Ibarra.
The hike around Cerro Allieri takes around two hours round trip. One of the main attractions of Cerro Alieri is its unique vegetation. Of 48 species of identified plants, 56% are native and 33% are endemic. They are shrubs and trees of Darwiniothamnus tenuifolius, Lippia salicifolia, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, Linum cratericola, Scalesia pedunculata, and so on. The Linum Cratericol, is a species critically endangered. It was believed extinct until 1997, when GNP and CDRS personnel rediscovered it. Now, only 40 plants are found, and have not yet regenerated
This is also a good spot to find Darwin finches, and among them, the medium tree finch, a species also consider critically endangered.
Return to town and typical lunch with a local family.
PM: After lunch, enjoy an exciting walk to La Loberia, one of the most beautiful spots in Floreana where you can swim and snorkel, or just take some time to explore the little town of Puerto Velasco Ibarra, and be ready to capture the beauty of the islands as a reminder of this memorable experience.
Dinner at Local Family House, briefing and overnight at the Lodge
Day 4: Floreana – Isabela
AM: Breakfast at a local family’s house. This is a great way to share the insights of Galapagos with a local family.
After breakfast, depart to the highlands of Floreana. During the bus ride, of about 40 minutes, your Naturalist Guide will be pointing out the wildlife and filling you in with the colorful history of Floreana’s first inhabitants, like Patrick Watkins, the Wittmers, the Baroness, and the Ritters, re-telling the legend of the “Floreana Mystery”, which involves the mysterious deaths of several inhabitants, mystery that has never been solved.
At 450m high, we reach “Asilo de la Paz” (Peace Asylum), just behind Cerro Las Pajas (Straw Hill) in the agricultural area of the island. Attractions here include a prirate cave and freshwater spring.
We will check into the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge and have a hot, wholesome lunch.
PM: After lunch, departure to “Las Tintoreras” and Bay Tour. At the main dock, we will board a smaller craft to head out across the port, slowing down to view blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins sharing the same rocky sunbathing space. After docking we take an intriguing walk through a jagged lava field, passing abundant colonies of marine iguanas and sea lions, to see a small canal of shallow waters, full of resting white-tipped reef sharks.
The views from here are something you will take with you for the rest of your life! The black, treacherous lava field, the emerald green sea, the green mangroves, and the cloud-capped volcanoes of Isabela, create an afternoon backdrop you are not likely to ever forget.
Once you finish the walk, you can snorkel in this warm, shallow bay surrounded by mangroves, for an opportunity to see white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, and, of course, the mystery of the mangrove below the surface. Don’t worry, white-tipped reef sharks are not aggressive merely fascinating.
Once we return to the lodge, we’ll have a bit of time to relax and shower before dinner.
Overnight at Isabela Lodge.
Days 5-6: Volcanos, Snorkelling & Organic Farms
After a walk around the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra with the 2nd largest caldera in the world why not relax in a hammock at an organic farm where giant tortises roam. Day 6 includes the opportunity to snorkel with penguins and sea lions before a relaxing afternoon.
Day 5: Isabela
AM: Breakfast at the lodge. Departure for Sierra Negra Volcano. We will drive up through the humid highlands of Isabela, to the slopes of Volcan Sierra Negra, considered the oldest volcano on Isabela. We will hike about 400 mts to reach the rim of the caldera (crater), from where the views are breathtaking! With 4 miles across (10km), it is the second largest caldera in the world (The largest is Ngorontgoro in Tanzania).
On 22 October 2005 an eruption, that lasted one week, occurred in the northeast side of the caldera of Sierra Negra volcano. The lava flow covered much of the interior of the caldera and in some places rose more than two meters. After bordering the caldera some 5 kms on and easy trail, will relax a bit and have a snack at a nice resting site under a “Jaboncillo” tree.
For the hardiest of the group, there is an option to continue on an especially difficult one hour walk to Volcan Chico, just northwest of the caldera where fumarole activity is abundant, and again from here, the views are spectacular. This is not an easy hike, however, because it is mostly across sloping lava fields.
After returning from Sierra Negra, we will have lunch at Campo Duro.
PM: Campo Duro is a beautiful organic farm whose owners prepare delicious food with vegetables and fruits grown locally at the farm. Prepared at a lava rock-grill, enjoy a healthy meal and after lunch take a walk among the fruit trails or just take a nap in one of their hammocks and breath the clean air above a big Mango tree.
In liaison with the Galapagos National Park, this property also takes care of giant tortoises under a special “patronage” program that your guides will carefully explain to you.
Back to the lodge, you will have time to discover Isabela on your own. Enjoy snorkeling, swimming or simply relax or walk the town to discover the typical Galapagos style of life.
Briefing and dinner at the Lodge.
Day 6: Isabela
AM: Breakfast at the Lodge and departure by fast boat to Los Tuneles
On this trip, you will see beautiful Galapagos wildlife such us giant mantas rays, sea turtles, sea lions, and more, as we sail out from the majestic Sierra Negra Volcano.
While snorkeling at this site you’ll experience close encounters with many species of fish, rays, sea turtles and perhaps the Galapagos penguins.
Only here in Galapagos, you are able to snorkel with penguins and sea lions on the same spot! (This activity and time schedule may change according to sea conditions).
Return to the lodge.
PM: Late lunch at Isabela Lodge. Afterwards time to relax and discover the town of Puerto Villamil on your own.
Days 7-8: Wall of tears and Lonesome George
Walking to the the Wall of Tears (a unique construction built by prisoners centuries earlier) you will encounter lava lizards and tortoises. Back on Sant Cruz island you will meet Lonesome George – the world’s rarest creature.
Day 7 : Isabela – Santa Cruz
AM: Breakfast at the lodge. Departure to the “Humedales” (Wetlands) Tour. We begin with a drive out of town along the beautiful white sand palm lined beach of Villami, one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Galapagos. This beach, straight from the cover of a travel magazine, stretches on for 3 kilometers before the National Park boundaries, where we will walk up the trail to the summit of Cerro Orchilla, for an astounding view from the top.
Then, we will visit the “Muro de las Lagrimas” (Wall of Tears), a unique construction built by the backbreaking labor of prisoners of a penal colony centuries earlier.
On the path to the Wall of Tears you will see many lava lizards, endemic and native flora, Darwin finches and perhaps, if you are lucky, some young Galapagos tortoises, released after been born at the breeding centre Arnaldo Tupiza in Isabela.
Lunch at Isabela Lodge.
PM: Depart to Santa Cruz. Our navigation will take about 1.5 to 2 hours depending on sea conditions.
Arrival and check in at Santa Cruz Aventura Lodge.
Then, enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs in the world and perhaps, meet the most famous giant tortoise: Lonesome George, also known as the world’s rarest creature. Discovered in 1971 on Pinta Island, he is the very last of his kind.
Founded in 1964 the Charles Darwin Research Station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, with the unique purpose to study, support and instrument the conservation efforts of the islands.
Dinner and overnight at Aventura Lodge.
Day 8: Santa Cruz to Quito or Guayaquil
AM: Breakfast at the Lodge. Depart for your transfer to the airport of Baltra, on time for your flight back to the mainland. Transport and guide included from the hotel to the airport.
Price & Whats Included
Starting from £1995 per person in standard double room.
*10% Service Charge as per Ecuadorian Law.
*All Meals mentioned on the programs.
*Soft drinks during meals.
*Excursions with a English speaking Naturalist guide, provided by the Galapagos National Park.
*Free internet wireless service while in Santa Cruz and Isabela.
*When in Puerto Ayora free use of bikes.
*25% discount for children under 10 years old.
*All snorkeling gear.
*All diving equipment except dive computers which can be rented separately.
Rates do not include:
*Air ticket to /from Galapagos
*Entrance fee to the Galapagos National Park ($100 International visitors)
*Control Visitor Card ($10)
To book or for further information or alternative itineraries call on 01822 61 61 91 or contact us.