This tour allows you to discover the islands of Santa Cruz, North Seymour and Isabela in a unique way while you enjoy many activities such as kayaking, snorkeling and watching marine iguanas or sea lions in their natural habitat and more
Once you arrive to Galapagos you will take the bus to the Itabaca Channel to cross from Baltra Island to Santa Cruz.
On the other side of the channel on Santa Cruz Island, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel. Later in the afternoon you will join a shared tour to the highlands. The highlands of Santa Cruz are a deep green, contrasting beautifully with the lower areas of the island. The dominant vegetation in the highlands are the Scalesia trees. In the highlands is a private reserve where Galapagos Tortoises roam freely, grazing along the fields. Walking among the wild tortoises will be one of the most treasured moments of your time in Galapagos. After visiting these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat, we take a 5-minute ride to the entrances of lava tunnels. The tunnels are illuminated and the top of the tunnels reach nearly 20 feet in height in most places and are about 1350 ft long (450 meters). This is an incredible opportunity to see lava stalagmites, stalactites, mineral-colored walls and ripple floors formed from previous lava flows.
North Seymour Island is teeming with wildlife and is one of the best visitor sites in Galapagos! You may have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana because they are everywhere. Blue-footed boobies’ nest on either side of the trail where mating pairs will perform their courtship dance. Further along the rocky shore a strip of white-sand lies inland and large flocks of sea birds are seen in massive flocks in feeding frenzies, diving into the ocean all at once; rendering a picturesque seen the same as ages long past. The trail in North Seymour Island also turns inland to reveal the largest nesting site of the magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos Islands. These huge acrobats have a 5-foot wingspan and males display bright red, scarlet gular pouches when on the look out for a mate. These frigate birds can be seen sitting precariously on low branches watching over their chicks.
At 7:00 am take the speedboat from Santa Cruz to Isabela. Arrival time to Isabela is about 9:30 am and there is time to arrive to your hotel and leave your belongings and have some free time. In the afternoon you then begin your first Isabela tour to the Wetlands. The wetlands are a series of different trails that can lead you to various sites depending on the day/guide and itinerary you are presented with. The various sites are: El Cerro Orquilla – a sightseeing point, El Estero – mangrove and majagual forest and penal colony, La Poza Escondida – rock and woods trail, Pozo Redonda – lava tubes, El Tunel del Estero – lava tunnels and marine landscape, La Playa del Amor – coral and sand beach, Mirador de los Tunos y Pozas Verdes – trails with sightseeing points, and La Playita Beach. There is also an old cemetary that is on the way to the wetlands when coming from Puerto Villamil, the main port and town of Isabela. Another interesting place to visit is the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center. This was created in order to protect the Isabela Giant Tortoise, and here their efforts are focused on breeding species of Giant Tortoises that are in danger of extinction, as well as rehab programs in an effort to bring the Giant Tortoises back to their original habitats in various islands. They have a great interpretation area where you can learn more about their conservational efforts and the animal welfare at this center. In the same area of the breeding center is a trail that leads you to a lagoon where flamingoes can be seen, as well as ducks and marine iguanas. Close by the town of Puerto Villamil there is another popular lagoon known to be home to pink flamingoes that you can visit during your free time.
“Los Tuneles” is one of the most spectacular visitor sites for scuba diving and snorkeling on Isabela Island. The water is shallow and very clear, offering perfect views of this sea sanctuary. A series of lava flows produced such unique geological formations such as a series of arcs and tunnels underneath and above the water that it has created a perfect habitat for many Galapagos species. The entrance to the site is sometimes tricky as the access can be complicated. The best time to visit the tunnels is between the months of January and May and the average water temps is between 64 – 71-degree F (18 and 22 degrees C).
To get to the tunnels it is an exciting boat adventure where you can see large quantities of seabirds such as blue-footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, Nazca boobies, and more. Aquatic species that may be seen are marine iguanas, sea lions, manta rays, penguins, lobsters, and sea snakes, not to mention the amazing array of tropical fish species. After the tour you return to your hotel to collect your belongings and meet at the port to take a speedboat back to Puerto Ayora for your last night in Galapagos on Santa Cruz Islands.
Based on your departure flight time, a driver will transfer you from your hotel in Puerto Ayora and back to the Itabaca Channel. Once you arrive you will take the ferry back to Baltra Isand and take the bus to the airport for your returning flight back to Quito or Guayaquil.
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Gulliver Expeditions is a tour operator that offers unique Ecuador and Peru tours. Specialized in adventure travel such as climbing, mountain biking and horseback riding. We offer both pre-planned packages as well as tailor-made tours that can include the Amazon rainforest, once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos cruises and expeditions to Machu Picchu.