Opuntia Multiactive Adventure
PROGRAM 7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS
Experience a different way to discover the magic of the Galapagos Islands, filled with adrenaline and adventure. Enjoy close encounters with the unique wildlife of the islands while you enjoy doing some kayaking, snorkeling, and trekking.
Accompanied by a team of certified adventure and naturalist guides, your adventure will take you to the best and most beautiful sites of the Galapagos Islands, complemented by the high standards and hospitality of the Opuntia Lodges, you will have an adventure of a lifetime.
Highlights of the trip:
- Kayaking among sharks, iguanas, sea turtles and other sea creatures.
- Trek accompanied by the giant Galapagos tortoises in their own habitat.
- Discover a unique landscape while you hike the Sierra Negra volcano.
- Take part in the thrilling adventure of the biking route on Isabela Island.
- Enjoy the idyllic beaches of white sand and turquoise waters.
- Learn about the Islands and their ecosystem with expert naturalist guides.
- Enjoy the local hospitality and cuisine in the Opuntia Lodges.
- Boat travel time: 2-3 hours per crossing
- Small aircraft flight time: 50 minutes
- Walking or snorkeling duration: 2 to 4 hours per day
- Season: All year
- Altitude: Sea level to 2,000 feet (600 meters)
- Average temperatures: December to May: 80ºF to 90ºF / 25ºC to 30ºC. June to September: 60ºF to 70ºF / 15ºC to 20ºC. October to December: 70ºF to 80ºF / 15ºC to 25ºC.
- Water temperature: The waters of the Galapagos Islands are a unique mixture of warm and cold water, ranging between 65ºF and 85ºF.
- Packing list: hiking shoes, water sandals, rain jacket, flashlight, water bottle, non-cotton trekking gear, sunblock, hat, and mosquito repellent
Please note: This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, last-minute weather conditions or adjustments of the Galapagos National Park.
Opuntia Multiactive Itinerary:
Day 1: Arrival / Interpretation Center / Hike and Snorkel at Tijeretas
After flying into San Cristobal Island, you will be welcomed at the airport and receive a lunchtime briefing at Casa Opuntia hotel. Our journey begins at the Interpretation Center where we will learn about the geology and history of the Galapagos, and the amazing wildlife which inhabit its shores.
We then hike the lava rock trails to Tijeratas while your naturalist guide highlights the various flora and fauna along the way. A myriad of birdlife such as pelicans, boobies, mockingbirds, and the famous Galapagos finches can be spotted amongst the cacti, acacia, and palosanto growing on the sea cliffs. As well as the unique species on show, the hike offers marvelous views of the rugged coastline and the sleepy town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
On our return trip, we will stop at the picturesque Carola Beach, where we can swim or snorkel in the natural habitat of turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas. After dinner, we have the opportunity to discover the tranquility and friendly atmosphere of the town. A vast colony of native Galapagos Sea lions is located just a five-minute walk away from the hotel, so a quick stroll down the boardwalk is highly recommended.
Spend the night at Casa Opuntia Hotel. (L, D)
DAY 2 : Sea Kayak and Snorkel, Isla Lobos, and Leon Dormido in San Cristobal Island
The morning is spent kayaking coastal bays and coves teeming with wildlife. Sea lions and sea turtles, as well as frigate birds and blue-footed boobies call this place home. After paddling to Isla Lobos, we snorkel amongst marine iguanas, sea lions, and innumerable reef fish. This site is considered by many to be the best spot in the Galapagos for encountering sea lions.
We will then head out towards open sea and Leon Dormida (Kicker Rock), two magnificent rock formations rising above the ocean. Below the waves, millions of fish swim around us, whilst overhead thousands of sea birds clamber for room on the exposed rock faces. Between the two rock walls, we find some of the best snorkeling in the islands. Spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, and fish of every size, shape and color inhabit this area. It is even possible to see hammerhead sharks if the conditions are favorable.
After a full day exploring the seas, we head back to our San Cristobal hotel, Casa Opuntia, for a taste of local delicacies and some rest and relaxation. (B, L, D)
DAY 3: Mountain Bike and Wildlife Discovery, Beaches, Mangroves, Lagoons and Islets in Isabela Island
After breakfast, we fly to the largest of the Galapagos islands, Isabela Island. Formed by the action of 6 shield volcanoes, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active places on Earth and remains in constant evolution. We mountain bike to El Muro de las Lagrimas (The Wall of Tears), a towering wall of volcanic basalt built by inmates of the post-war prison which was housed on Isabela.
We continue along sandy white beaches and past poison apple woodlands, mangrove forests and saltwater lagoons, an area where giant tortoises and flamingos are prevalent. After lunch, we travel to an area made up of small islets with wonderful hidden coves and beaches called Tintoreras. Here, we will find sea lions and sea turtles, alongside reef sharks and the endemic Galapagos penguin.
As the afternoon fades we shall retire to Iguana Crossing, our exquisite Isabela Island hotel for a well-deserved rest. Pamper yourself in its infinity pool and hot tub, or unwind on the neighboring white sandy beach. After a dinner characterized by a fusion of exotic and local flavors, we recommend wandering down to the beach or along the sand streets of this serene town. Overnight at Iguana Crossing. (B, L, D)
DAY 4: Hike Active Volcanoes and Lava Formations in Isabela Island
Today, we drive among the highlands until we reach the end of the road. This will be the start of a hike into the world of recent geological history.
On our hike up, we will have the opportunity to cast our gaze over the nearby volcanoes and the magnificent sea views. Nonetheless, you will be astounded when you reach the rim of the Volcan Sierra Negra. Its caldera is the second largest on Earth, covering 30 square miles. You can walk around the rim admiring the views on offer, and if you are up to it, there is the prospect of continuing on into the caldera of Volcan Chico, where you will be welcomed by an unearthly scene with endless hues of oranges, reds, blacks, and yellows. Here, you can explore puffing fumaroles and spectacular lava formations.
Spend your last afternoon in this lazy coastal town relaxing on its stunning beaches and soaking up the island’s atmosphere. Overnight at our Isabela Island waterfront hotel, Iguana Crossing. (B, L, D)
DAY 5: Tortoises, Pirates, Lava Tunnels, and Volcanic Sinkholes in Santa Cruz Island
After breakfast,we take a speedboat to Santa Cruz Island – keeping an eye out for whales and dolphins along the way. After arrival, our destination is “El Chato”, a reserve located in the Santa Cruz highlands, and a place where we can observe the Giant tortoise in its natural environment. It is truly an honor to walk amongst these captivating creatures, who can live for over 175 years. You will also see pintail ducks, finches, frigate birds, egrets, and hopefully the striking vermillion flycatcher.
Our journey is continued with a trip to some breathtaking lava tunnels, once the realm of pirates and their plundered booty. Continuing on to “Los Gemelos”, two vast volcanic sinkholes at the top of the island, we hike through a forest of endemic scalesia trees, where we will be on the lookout for the short-eared owl. The trees are covered with ferns and epiphytes that give the forest an ethereal, otherworldly feel.
In the late afternoon, we retire to our Santa Cruz Galapagos hotel, the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. Expect fine treatment at this relaxed guesthouse, located in its secluded vantage point overlooking the bay, coastline, and town. (B, L, D)
DAY 6: Kayak along a Lava Wall, Channels and Hike to Tortuga Bay in Santa Cruz Island
Today we explore the coastline of Santa Cruz, and kayak around Punta Estrada and Divine Bay. We paddle into the crystalline turquoise waters that cut through the looming lava channel walls. Beneath the translucent waters, it is common to find rays and white-tipped reef sharks. You can also paddle up to the daring blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally lightfoot crabs, and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs.
After lunch, our destination is the world-renowned Tortuga Bay. A 40-minute hike takes us through a unique dry forest and past many magnificent species of birds and plants endemic to the Galapagos, leading us to one of the most beautiful beaches found on these islands. Take time to relax on its fine sands or swim in its refreshing turquoise waters.
Return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy your last evening on the Galapagos Islands. Overnight at Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. (B, L, D)
DAY 7: Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz Island and Return Flight to mainland
Our final day begins with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research station, where we will learn about the natural history of the islands and the current conservation measures being taken to protect them. The Research Station hosts and harvests endemic Galapagos plants, land iguanas, and giant Galapagos tortoises for educational, scientific, and conservation purposes. Here, we will discover the diverse evolutionary paths the various giant tortoises from different islands took over the millenia.
After our visit, we transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland. (B)
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