Galápagos: the enchanted islands
In the autumn of 1835, the HMS Beagle reached the Galápagos archipelago, with a certain naturalist 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 the underlying scientific insights took root in his mind.
On this immersive and action-packed adventure on these storied and breathtaking 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 some of the most impressive islands in the group.
With the help of local guides and expert wildlife biologists, you’ll enjoy a tropical island experience beyond compare. Get up close with the islands' marine critters by snorkel and kayak, have a chance to observe some of the world's rarest species as you hike the islands' volcanic crags, and get a living lesson on ecology and conservation in one of the planet’s most historically important habitats.
From giant tortoises to marine and land iguanas, friendly sea lions to blue-footed boobies, flamingoes to splashing frigatebirds, get up close and personal with some of the planet’s most magnificent and iconic wildlife.
As soon as we arrive at the airport on Baltra Island, it’s time to change into your bathing suit because we’re diving right into action: kayaking and snorkeling in the stunning Itabaca Channel, between Baltra and Santa Cruz Island. Keep your eyes open for blacktip reef sharks, green sea turtles, and lava herons.
Board a private, motorized yacht for a day trip to one of the smaller, uninhabited islands, like Plaza Sur, where we’ll look for the rare hybrid land-marine iguana, or Bartolome, where we’ll hope to see some of the island’s resident penguins, or Seymour Norte, where we’ll scan the skies for the scarlet-throated magnificent frigatebirds!
Hike to the rim of Isabela Island’s Sierra Negra volcano - so active it erupted as recently as June 2018. After soaking up the otherworldly beauty of the world’s second-largest crater (after Ngorogoro in Tanzania), continue on to Volcan Chico, where you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for the iguanas’ smaller counterparts, the orange-throated lava lizards.
Learn how Galápagueños (that’s what Galápagos residents call themselves) cultivate food sustainably during a farm visit. Watch as the rustic, mule-driven sugar cane press operates, learn how cane is distilled into alcohol, and observe (and sample) some traditional coffee roasting procedures.
Hike the highlands of Floreana Island to reach Asilo de La Paz, the freshwater spring that (still!) supplies freshwater to the entire island. Explore the caves used by pirates of yore while searching for those famous finches.
“The Galapagos is like nowhere else on earth. Nearly every animal you see is endemic to the archipelago and you don't have to go far to find them. We were even able to swim with green sea turtles right off the coast near our lodge! The schedule was jam-packed with many activities.”
“Jason and Phil were very knowledgeable, as always. They are friendly and enthusiastic and do a good job explaining the things we are seeing - whether it is local wildlife or local farming practices. They also do a good job making sure everyone knows when they need to be where and that we are prepared and ready at the appropriate time. Always fun and interesting to spend time with them - it's kind of like hanging out with old friends!” —Jen Cross