6D/5N Hotel Based Galapagos Package with Red Mangrove
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Please contact one of our Destination Expert here for advice or tailor made services. You can also check our 4 day or 5 day tour itineraries
Follow in Darwin's Footsteps to the Santa Cruz & Isabela Islands
Day 1: From Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos Santa Cruz Island
Upon arrival to Baltra Airport, you will be met by one of the lodge’s representatives, who will take you on the shared buses to the Itabaca Channel. This channel separates Baltra Island from Santa Cruz. We will take a public ferry to cross the two islands. Once in Santa Cruz, we will be taken to the town of Puerto Ayora to the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge.
At the Red Mangrove Lodge we will have a delicious lunch. You will be able to enjoy the local flavor as well as international food.
In the afternoon we will explore the highlands and the cloud forest of Santa Cruz. We will start at Los Gemelos, two inactive volcanic chambers that originally formed the island through their eruptions. Here we will take a short walk through a scalesia forest as we look for some Darwin finches and other endemic species.
We will then go to the cloud forest, where mud and fog are always present. This is the natural environment of the giant Galapagos tortoises, where we can see them walking freely in the mud and grazing on the fresh plants that live here. We will then explore a lava tunnel – a fascinating formation of stalactites and stalagmites remaining from the days when the lava flows were active beneath the floor of the island.
We will then go back to the Red Mangrove Adventure Lodge for dinner and to rest for the next day of our adventure.
Day 2: Kayaking at Santa Cruz and sail to Isabela
After breakfast, we will prepare ourselves to do some kayaking close to the shores of the island. Before embarking in the kayaks, a trained expert will give you instructions on how to navigate in the Galapagos seas and offer some useful advice on kayaking techniques. You can also take advantage of the crystal clear waters to do some snorkeling alongside the playful sea lions. Be sure to look for the colorful schools of tropical fishes and if you are lucky swim besides a green sea turtle.
After lunch at the lodge, you will embark on a shared boat to the island of Isabela. This navigation can take up to two hours depending on sea conditions. Once on Isabela, you will check in at the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge and then have some leisure time to explore the small town of Puerto Villamil.
We will spend the night at the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge.
Day 3: Hike to Sierra Negra volcano
Early in the morning we will depart to the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the oldest volcanoes on the island and the second-largest crater in the world. We will hike up the muddy terrain to the rim of the volcano, located at 1124 meters above sea level. From here we will have an amazing view of the entire island and the colossal crater of the volcano and the lava formations from the last eruption that took place in 2005. After walking for about 5 km around the rim of the crater, we will reach a resting spot below a tree, where we will have a snack.
The next part of the hike is only recommended for adventurous people, as it can be very demanding, walking on loose stones, over lava fields, and up steep slopes that can be slippery in some parts. On the second half of the hike we will walk to the Volcán Chico, located northwest of the Sierra Negra. Here, fumarole activity is abundant and the views of the island are magnificent.
We will then visit a local farm, where we will be delighted with delicious food prepared with some local ingredients and that unique Galapagos flavor.
You will have some leisure time in the afternoon when you can explore the island and its beauty, like Concha de Perla beach and La Galapaguera, or just relaxing on the white sandy beach and sunbathing as the deep orange sun sets.
Dinner will be served in the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge, where you will spend the night.
Day 4: Los Tuneles and the wetlands
In the morning after breakfast, we will embark on an amazing boat ride to “Los Tuneles,” an intricate lava formation in which an interior labyrinth was formed by the running lava and the erosion of water. We will have a panga (dinghy) ride around this site, and we will be able to see some marine species like rays, schools of tropical fish, and other species, while you enjoy some snorkeling in the calm Galapagos sea.
We will return to the Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge where we will have lunch.
In the afternoon, we will visit the Isabela Island Breeding Station, where you will be able to see the giant tortoises at all stages of life, from eggs all the way to the colossal giants they become as adults.
Then we visit the wetlands, a particularly curious ecosystem on the island. This is a great opportunity to spot some flamingos and other seabirds.
We will end our day visiting the beautiful Playa del Amor, a pristine beach surrounded by mangroves. Dinner will be served at the lodge, and you will receive the instructions for the next morning’s activities.
Day 5: Isabela (Tintoreras) – Santa Cruz (Charles Darwin Station)
We will depart early in the morning to the Tintoreras visitor site – a small channel where the white tipped reef sharks (tintoreras) dwell. We will embark on a small boat that will take us there; on the way, we will be able to see some marine birds, such as the blue-footed boobies and perhaps some Galapagos penguins (a petite and odd resident of the equatorial region). Walking across lava fields where marine and land iguanas rest we will reach the Tintoreras channel, where we will see the sharks swimming peacefully along the bottom of the sea.
In the afternoon, we will return to Santa Cruz; you can choose between having lunch while on Isabela or once you’re back in Santa Cruz.
Once in Santa Cruz, we will check in at the lodge and prepare to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here, you will learn more about the natural and geological history of the Islands as well as the conservation efforts being done by the station.
Dinner will be waiting for you at the lodge, and you will spend the last night here.
Day 6: Santa Cruz – Quito or Guayaquil.
After breakfast you will be transferred to the Itabaca Channel and then to Baltra Airport for your flight back to Ecuador’s mainland.
Darwin's Footsteps Reviews
I have to tell you, we had the BEST TIME EVER in the Galapagos. Everything was first class and perfect! The Red Mangrove properties, both on Santa Cruz and Isabela were beautiful. The staff were really friendly, especially in Santa Cruz and they upgraded us to a suite when we returned from Isabela. Did you have something to do with that? It was a PERFECT surprise and the room, Azul, is beautiful. It has a huge balcony overlooking the water and I LOVED it! I will pay extra to stay in that room next time.
The diving worked out really well, both on Santa Cruz and Isabela. We saw hammerheads, mantas, sea lions, a penguin and WHALES! We absolutely loved the island of Isabela and will spend more time on that island when we book our next trip with you! :-) I am thinking about starting to save money now and we can go back in 2013 or 2014.
I have loved working with you and your recommendation for us to go to two islands and stay at the Red Mangrove properties was absolutely perfect. The tours too..I almost forgot! We had a great guide, Gandhy, for 2 tours and Fernanda was excellent for the Darwin tour. On all three tours, we were the only people with our guide! Such private tours was not expected! :-) We decided not to do the Sierra Negro tour. It was really foggy and damp as well as Paul's back AND knee were really bothering him. We figured a hike would not make him feel any better. We had a great day hanging out in Isabela instead. I LOVED Isabela.
I have to run...could talk all day about how amazing our trip was and what a great job you did! :-)
I'll send you a link to pics as soon as we have them.
Sending a hug and muchas, muchas gracias por todo!
Sarah & Paul
Red Mangrove – diving program
Ya estamos de vuelta de ecuador, gracias por todo
galapagos y el pais entero increible ...
la gente del redmangroove espectacular
Red Mangrove Lodge / Full dive adventure in Galapagos
Thank you for your help in organizing our trip. We were impressed with the service at the Red Mangroove and we all felt that this was a once in-life-time trip.
USA, July, 2009