8 Day/7 Night Itinerary: This will start with the first two days from the 5 day schedule and then continue with the following schedule.
DAY 3: FLOREANA
We'll wake up and have breakfast at a nearby restaurant and then we'll be able to enjoy the natural beauty of Floreana. After breakfast we will take a 20 minute bus ride in a traditional bus called "chiva" (without windows and doors) to Cerro Allieri one of the highest points in Floreana from here you can enjoy a spectacular view of the different landscapes and the town of Puerto Velasco Ibarra. The hike around Cerro Allieri takes around two hours . 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 critically endangered species. It was believed extinct until 1997, when GNP and CDRS personnel rediscovered it. Now, only 40 plants are alive and have not yet regenerated. This is also a good spot to find Darwin's finches, and among them, the medium tree finch, a species also consider critically endangered. Return to town and enjoy 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. We'll dine at the home of a local family in the evening.
DAY 4: FLOREANA-ISABELA
Early wake-up call and then breakfast at a family home. An open-top bus will begin its journey to the gorgeous Floreana highlands and your guide will tell the wild history of the first Galapagos island ever settled. A brief walk up to the Asilio de la Paz will reveal one of the only constant fresh water supplies in the islands, an attraction for settlers and pirates alike. Pirates Cove is aptly named as a cove of shelter for real pirates who carved a hollow into the soft stone. It's the same place where Margret Wittmer, one of the very first settlers, gave birth. Her son, Rolf, is still living in the area today. The unique stone structure of the landscape has given rise to the nickname “the Stonehenge of Floreana.” Bird hill is where massive flocks of Floreana Finches take roost and affords the hiker a breathtaking view of both the sea and the lower island. After this you'll see more magnificent tortoises at a nearby tortoise reserve. During all this your guide will continue to fill you in on Floreana's history, with tales of the Baroness and the Floreana Mystery, where several settlers mysteriously died.
At around 11:00 AM we'll leave for Isabela and past Isla Tortuga, which will be filled with sea birds like the blue-footed booby and the frigate. Hopefully you brought a pair of binoculars, because you'll want them here. Around 1:00 PM we'll sail into Isabela atop crystal clear waters filled with sea lions, sea turtles, and frolicking penguins. The Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge follows with a hot lunch. At 2:30 PM we'll begin the Las Tintoreras and Bay Tour. We'll board a small skiff and follow the course of the island to a nearby dock. Ashore once again, we'll head through a AA lava field, again seeing the extravagant blue and red marine iguanas, and then a sight you'll never forget: a canal filled with reef sharks no more than 2 feet under the surface. You'll breathe in the scenery from this vantage point, taking in the emerald sea, the black, exotic dried field of lava, the deep, lush canopy of the mangrove forest and the hazy volcanoes in the background. It is an epic view for sure. After we get back to the dock you'll have to opportunity to snorkel among the gentle reef sharks and the darting penguins.
DAY 5: ISABELA
Your wake-up call will be at 6:00 AM sharp, you'll receive breakfast and then be on your way to Sierra Negra by 8:00 AM. We'll take 4x4 jeeps through the nearby transitional zone and up to the highlands that cover the luscious slopes of the Sierra Negra Volcano. Once the vehicles can't go any further, we will continue our trek uphill. After the hike, we will come upon the caldera at Sierra Negra. It is four miles across and the second largest in the entire world. The view is absolutely incredible. We'll stop for a breather and a quick snack right on the caldera edge. From here we have the option of continuing another hour across sloped lava fields to Volcan Chico, where the view is even more glorious. This is only recommended for the hardiest of groups, as some areas may become treacherous.
We'll have lunch at Campo Duro, a great local farm who's owners will prepare lunch made from their own produce on the unique lava rock grill. Follow the fruit tree trail and enjoy some fruit along the way or just rest under the giant Mango tree in a hammock and watch the giant tortoises that the farm protects in liaison with the National Park. Back to the lodge to either relax on the beach or enjoy the town on your own before dinner at the lodge.
DAY 6: ISABELA
After a relaxed breakfast at the Lodge we depart for Los Tuneles an amazing lava formation of tunnels and arches formed when the hot lava met the sea. From Puerto Villamil it takes about an hour to get to Los Tuneles. On this trip we will enjoy seeing the beautiful Galapagos marine life - giant mantas on the surface, sea turtles, and more as we sail out from the majestic Sierra Negra Volcano. Experience close encounters snorkeling with many types of tropical fish and penguins! Only in this piece of paradise are you able to snorkel with penguins, tropical fish, and sea lions. (This activity and time schedule may change according to sea conditions). We return to the Lodge in the mid afternoon to enjoy a late lunch then we have time to relax and discover Isabela on our own.
DAY 7: ISABELA-SANTA CRUZ
Breakfast is followed by departure at 8:00 AM. This day starts out with a scenic drive past Long Beach, arguably the most beautiful beach in the Galapagos. We'll pass 2 miles of the white sand spectacle before arriving at the National Park, where we'll stop for a bit and climb to Cerro Orchilla to enjoy the breathtaking views. The drive will be spotted with sunbathing iguanas and we might have to stop once or twice for a giant tortoise to lumber across the road. There will be beautiful colored birds every where that the guide will point out and identify as they swoop over head and perch in the trees. There are more tortoises in Isabela than anywhere else, and lava barriers created forced divergence that brought about several different species. A quick stop at the Tortoise Breeding Center gives you the opportunity to see many of the diverse species and spot the differences. Later in the morning we'll head back towards Santa Cruz and stop at the Aventura Lodge for lunch. At 3:00 PM we'll depart to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we'll have a fascinating tour. After this, we have a bit of free time to enjoy some shopping on Charles Darwin Avenue.
DAY 8: SANTA CRUZ-QUITO/GUAYAQUIL
After an early breakfast we'll sail back to the airport to catch our flights home.