Get the best of both worlds by exploring an active volcano in the Galapagos Islands, together with day trips to rewarding visitor sites of the National Park & Marine Reserve. The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel (Santa Cruz Island) joins forces with Scalesia Lodge (Isabela Island) and develops a stunning week-long program in the Galapagos. Get ready for one of the most highly anticipated voyages in the Galapagos.
Fly from Ecuador’s mainland to Baltra Island and take a very scenic inter-island flight to Isabela Island. On arrival, you will be met by one of our local representatives and transferred to Scalesia Lodge. Lunch will be served at the lodge. In the afternoon, and after a deserved rest, head out to your first afternoon of discovery. You will learn about the youngest side of the archipelago while exploring the rewarding visitor sites of the National Park, wetland lagoons, and the Giant Tortoise-breeding Centre. Wrap up your day at the stunning white beach of Puerto Villamil before returning to the lodge for dinner.
Sierra Negra Volcano.
Enjoy an early breakfast before setting out to explore Isabela Island. Walk along the rim of Galapagos’ largest caldera – one of the largest in the world – and see recent volcanic activity (last eruption in 2005) and the resulting fascinating formations. A light snack will be provided along the way while lunch is served back at the lodge. Wildlife focuses on the Darwin finches, Flycatchers, Mockingbirds, and occasionally the Galapagos Hawk and rail. Stroll the beach at Puerto Villamil or rest in the afternoon.
After breakfast, you will drive down to the wharf of Puerto Villamil and board the bay cruiser to explore the maze of reefs and islets off the shores of Isabela. The visit includes a dry landing and a short walk over volcanic terrain (730 m/0.5 mi total distance). Relevant wildlife includes Boobies, Herons, Penguins, Marine Iguanas and the White-tipped reef sharks in the nearby lava crevasses. Bring your bathing suit as you will enjoy snorkelling in the shallow reefs. Lunch at Scalesia and later in the day, you can explore the wetlands of coastal Isabela. Sunsets at Puerto Villamil are spectacular!
Today you will fly back to Baltra, to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast, Scalesia Lodge’s staff will bring you back to Puerto Villamil’s airport. Your guide will lead you across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island. The day’s visit includes a brief exploration of Los Gemelos, a natural volcanic formation in the upper end of the windward side of the island. Surrounded by a forest of high growing endemic daisies, this area is home to some of the most elusive land birds of Galapagos. You will also visit the Tortoise Reserve, impressive lava tunnels and enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the highlands. In the afternoon, you will reach Puerto Ayora’s only pedestrian neighbourhood, Punta Estrada, where the Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel is located. Check-in and enjoy the hotel’s beach front facilities.
Start the day with the Finch Bay’s generous breakfast, featuring local and international favourites, before leaving for El Manzanillo. Located in the loftier region of the island, Manzanillo is within the natural path of one of Santa Cruz’ species of giant tortoises. A short walk will lead you to the grazing grounds and water ponds where these giant reptiles wallow in mood pools. The cooler highlands are also home to many interesting land birds, plants, and trees exclusive to these islands. You will stop briefly at the Twin Craters, Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
In the afternoon, you will stop briefly at a local sustainable ranch before returning to enjoy the hotel facilities.
Santa Fe Island on board Yacht Sea Lion
After breakfast, you will board Yacht Sea Lion minutes away from the hotel at Academy Bay. The yacht will cruise to Santa Fe, an impressive volcanic island 16 nautical miles away from Puerto Ayora. After a wet landing on a fantastic white sandy beach amongst basking Sea Lions, you will walk along a rocky terrain to find the island’s highlights the endemic Santa Fe land Iguana patiently waiting under the enormous giant cacti for falling fruits and pads. Other relevant species today are Pelicans, Boobies, and the archipelago’s top predator, the Galapagos Hawk. Return to the yacht and enjoy one of Galapagos best snorkelling sites. Lunch on board Yacht Sea Lion. Upon the cruise back to Puerto Ayora, you can see the sea surface for pelagic birds and whales.
Tortuga Bay, Playa Brava, and Playa Mansa
After breakfast, leave for Tortuga Bay, voted as Ecuador´s best beach. Walk from Puerto Ayora’s western border, 2km along a fairly flat and straight paved path, where you will explore and understand more about the arid zones deciduous forest and its inhabitants. First, you will arrive to Playa Brava, a stunning 1km long snow-white beach, a seasonal nesting site for the Green Sea Turtles. A few minutes further, you will reach Playa Mansa, a secluded natural mangrove cove, with clear and tranquil waters, ideal for swimming, snorkelling, paddling on tandem kayaks, or simply enjoying the landscape from the shade of a mangrove. You will board a small yacht to sail back to the hotel´s dock at Academy Bay. Lunch at Finch Bay.
Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island
For the afternoon, the grand finale includes strolling around the Charles Darwin Research Station where the highlight is the conservation program for the iconic Giant Tortoises.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Baltra Island airport for your ongoing flight.