Day 1: Santa Cruz
First is your flight from the mainland of Ecuador to the island Baltra at Galápagos. Here, the guide from Red Mangrove Adventura Lodge will be waiting for you to bring you over land to the island Santa Cruz. During the trip you will make a crossing with a ferry, this will take about 10 minutes. Depending on the time you fly, you will arrive around midday in Santa Cruz, where you can check in at the Red Mangrove Adventura Lodge.
After lunch will be start the tour to El Garrapatero Beach, 25 minutes bus ride to the right spot where an easy trail leads you to the beach in only 15 more minutes. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for its flamingos and finches and a place where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. This is one of Santa Cruz's most peaceful and tranquil settings, the 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand that compose El Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It is about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora. Surrounded by beautiful mangrove trees, the beach is home to an incredible array of birds, most notably, flamingos and mockingbirds. You can also find marine iguanas, shrimp, Galapagos penguins, oystercatchers, and patillos amongst the white sands and clear blue water. There's also a freshwater lake nearby that is home to even more tropical animals, such as herons, grebes, and many of shore birds. Enjoy the wonderful swimming and snorkeling opportunities.
After being back in Santa Cruz a welcome cocktail will be served, a briefing will take place before dinner.
Day 2: Santa Cruz - Floreana
At 08:00 am you will go on a turtle adventure! The trip starts with a tour to “Los Gemelos” (the twins); two enormous lava craters. The short, easy hike to each of these craters is amazing with flora and fauna you will only find on several places in the world. This tour gives you a good impression of the power of nature and the large biodiversity of the highlands of Santa Cruz. Afterwards you will visit the 600 hectares of reserve to where the giant turtles walk around, graze and eat. It can be muddy, so you will be offered boots. With a truck you drive to the place where the turtles live and from there on you can enjoy the memorable experience of walking amongst these giant animals!
After having visited the turtles, you’ll drive in 5 minutes to the entrance of a lava tunnel. Here you will find stalagmites, stalactites and walls that have the most beautiful colours because of the minerals. Afterwards you get back to the lodge to have lunch. Around mid afternoon you leave to Floreana, this trip takes about 1.5 to 2 hours. You may even have the opportunity to see dolphins and whales along the way. Late afternoon you will arrive and stay in Red Mangrove Floreana Lodge. After a briefing, a delicious barbecue dinner will be served around 7.30pm.
Day 3: Floreana - Isabela
At around 08:00 am you leave to the highlands of Floreana, where the guide will tell you all about the first inhabited island of the Galápagos. You walk by the “Asilo de la Paz”, where you’ll see a source that has been used by pirates, whalers and the later inhabitants of Floreana, because it is one of the few sources in which fresh sweet water is available whole year round. Also you’ll visit the “Cuela delos piratas” (the pirate cave) where pirates used to hide and where the first inhabitants, the family Wittmer, gave birth to their son Rolf. Your guide will tell you all about the mystery of Floreana.
Around 11:00 am you leave for Isabela, a boat trip of about 1.5 to 2 hours. When you arrive at Isabela, you check in at Red Mangrove Isabela Lodge where a warm lunch will be served. After lunch you’ll navigate in a small boat, very calmly to Las Tintoreras, so that you’ll be able to see enough birds and fishes. On Las Tintoreras you walk over a lava field in the direction of a channel where you can see sharks resting in the shallow water. The channel is situated between a small natural lava knob and a huge lava field. The environment is indescribable: the raven lava field, the emerald green sea, the forest green mangroves and the volcanoes that will be shrouded by clouds...You won’t forget this island very easily! Also you can snorkel with sharks, sea lions, penguins and can see mangroves that are underwater. Do not worry, the sharks are not aggressive.
When you get back to the Lodge you have time to take a shower before dinner is served around 07:00 pm.
Day 4: Isabela - Santa Cruz
At 08:00 am you drive from the village along the most beautiful, white beach of the Galápagos: Long Beach (3km). You will climb the stairs of the Cerro Orchilla for a spectacular view! Chances are big that you will see marine iguanas sunbathing at either side of the road and don’t be surprised if you have to stop because a giant sea turtle is crossing the street. After this you’ll visit the “Muro de las lagrimas” (the wall of tears). From 1946 to 1959 Isabela was the penal colony of Ecuador. The prisoners needed to build a wall of huge lava stones. Because of the hard circumstances in which the prisoners lived and worked, this site is known as the wall of tears. Also you will have the opportunity to visit a turtle breeding centre, where different kinds of turtles are protected due to the treat of extinction.
Around 11:00 am you’ll navigate from Isabela to Santa Cruz, this will take about 1.5 to 2 hours. You will arrive around early afternoon in Puerto Ayora, where you will check-in in Red Mangrove Aventura Lodge and lunch will be served. Mid afternoon leave for the Charles Darwin Research Station. After this tour you’ll have some time to buy some souvenirs. Around 07:00 pm dinner will be served.
Day 5: Santa Cruz - Baltra (airport)
After breakfast, you will be taken to the airport of Baltra, three hours before you leave, for your flight back to the mainland. This concludes your memorable Galapagos adventure, for all those that have had the opportunity to visit this wonderful nature reserve, this is one that remains with you forever.