In the autumn of 1835, HMS Beagle reached the Galápagos archipelago, with a certain scientist on board. While it would be decades before Charles Darwin articulated the theory of evolution by natural selection, it was there, over two months in the Galápagos, that many of his scientific insights took root in his mind.
On this immersive and action-packed seven-day adventure on “Las Encantadas,” or “The Enchanted Islands,” you’ll see, as Darwin once did, that each island has its own unique community of wildlife. Get a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into Darwin’s world by exploring four of the most impressive islands in the group: Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, and Bartolomé. But this isn’t your typical Galápagos tour. With the help of local guides and expert wildlife biologists, you’ll enjoy an island experience beyond compare. You’ll get up close with marine critters by snorkel and kayak, have a chance to observe some of the world’s rarest species, and get a living lesson on ecology and conservation in one of the planet’s most historically important habitats.
We recommend that you have a medium fitness level to fully participate in this trip. You should be comfortable participating in the itinerary’s various water activities, which include swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking, and the optional 10-mile volcano hike, as these are highlights of the trip and some of the best ways to observe the local wildlife and geology. Please contact us directly if you have further questions about health and fitness level for this trip.
While we can offer a single accommodation for the night in Quito, travelers should be prepared to share a room. Accommodations in the Magic Galapagos Lodge are all double occupancy, and include luxury safari-style tents with en-suite bathrooms as well as four elevated tree houses, with en-suite toilets and shared shower facilities. Showers have hot water, and there is (limited) wi-fi in the main lodge area. Accommodations at Floreana Lava Lodge are all double occupancy, and each room includes en-suite bathrooms with hot water. Keep in mind that there is very limited wi-fi at both of our lodges. Our hotel on Isabela is an all-inclusive, sustainable resort right on the beach.
You should plan to arrive in Quito by 4 p.m. on June 4, and depart from Quito anytime after 7 p.m. on June 11. Should you like to spend any extra days in Quito before or after our week together, we’re happy to arrange extra hotel nights for you.
Space at these remote lodges is limited, which means you will be sharing a room with one or two fellow travelers. For this trip, we cannot offer a single accommodation option aside from your night at the hotel in Quito.
The International Ecotourism Society has formally defined ecotourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people, and involves interpretation and education.” In other words, it is an effort to combine sustainable travel with ecosystem-level conservation and the explicit recognition of and respect for the rights of indigenous people. That’s why ecotourism is more than just “nature tourism”; it has the explicit goal of benefiting local communities both environmentally and economically. By providing financial incentives through tourism, these communities can become empowered to fight against poverty, and in achieving a more sustainable sort of economic development, can better resist other more exploitative industries like mining, agriculture, ranching, or logging. Ecotourism has also motivated the traditional tourism industry in general to move towards more “green” or sustainable practices.
All you need to enter and depart Ecuador is a valid passport with evidence of return or onward travel. With a U.S. passport, you will automatically receive a free 90-day tourist visa. For more information, see the State Department’s Ecuador travel page.
The cost for this trip includes ground and water transportation, domestic air travel to and from Baltra Island in the Galapagos, food, lodging, park entrance fees, local guides, and all activities for a tight-knit group of 14 explorers. We chose the accommodations based upon several factors including sustainability; sustainable and fair ecotourism providers can cost a bit more. By traveling with us, you will also get the rare chance to learn from and nerd out with Phil Torres and Jason G. Goldman, both of whom are wildlife biologists, skilled photographers, and seasoned science journalists who have traveled the globe in search of gripping stories about the natural world.