Experience one of the world's premiere nature and wildlife destinations with a custom expedition in the Galapagos! For those that crave an insider's track to local life, 'The Mountains and The Sea' private tour will allow you to embrace the romance of exploration and discovery in the Galapagos with a true local flavor. Every day of your adventure will offer new adventures and memories, as you explore the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Observe the wildlife in their natural habitat, investigate the wonders of the underwater world and get to know the locals through a variety of activities and excursions. This journey offers you the chance to discover nature at it's finest, with unique landscapes and picturesque views, drastically different from island to island. Welcome to an exclusive and fascinating slice of paradise!
Upon arrival at the Baltra Airport you will need to pay for the Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100 USD cash per person adult/$50 USD children under 12, subject to change without notice). Upon meeting your guide (he/she will be waiting holding a sign with your names on it) they will assist you in transferring to your accommodations on Santa Cruz island. (This service is on a private basis.)
Magic Galapagos is situated amidst a giant tortoise sanctuary, allowing you to experience some of the Islands’ the most iconic wildlife right outside of their tents. The only crowds you will see are the millions of stars in the night sky, the only noises you'll hear will be the gentle breezes and the measured passage of giant tortoises.
Santa Cruz Island is located in the center of the Archipelago of the Galapagos and is the second largest island after Isabela. Santa Cruz is the main port of entry for most itineraries in the Galapagos as it is located adjacent to the Baltra Airport.
Santa Cruz's main town, Puerto Ayora, is located on the southern shores of the island and are a great basis to explore the surrounding area. Highlights include visiting the Charles Darwin Station, Tortuga Bay or Los Gemelos.
After enjoying breakfast this morning, you will be driven to an off-the-beaten-path area of Santa Cruz Island to Garrapatero Beach. At the beach, you will jump into your kayaks and paddle from the beach along the bay for about 45 minutes. You can also take a short walk to the brackish lagoon where you will have high possibilities of pink flamingos sightings.
Next, continue to the Cerro Mesa viewpoint, from where you can admire the whole southern shore of Santa Cruz with breathtaking views. Afterwards, proceed to one of the iconic formations in Galapagos that resembles a crater where you will begin a hike downhill for about 30 minutes to the bottom of this collapsed crater. You will explore the crater floor and relax before embarking on the hike back uphill (45 min - 1 hr). During your hike, you will have excellent opportunities to spot endemic species such as the woodpecker finch, or if you're very are very lucky, giant tortoises.
After a delicious lunch, you will get a different taste of the Galapagos island, beyond the wildlife. You will visit “EL Trapiche” (trapiche is the Spanish word for sugar mill). You will have the opportunity to glimpse into the daily lives of the locals by learning the production sugar cane. Here you can see how this rustic, mule-driven sugar cane press operates. You will also learn about different cane alcohol distilling techniques as well as some traditional coffee roasting tricks.
Lastly, you will finish the day with the visit to Los Gemelos (the twins), two large craters that were once underground magma chambers. When the magma chambers caved in they left two huge, impressive looking craters. You will come upon the underground lava tubes, which are more than half a mile long. Your guide will accompany you to provide information this unique setting and flashlights to watch your step! Walking through the lava tubes is truly a surreal experience. (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast, you will head into Puerto Ayora town where you will embark on the 3 km boardwalk to Tortuga Bay, where you can spot marine iguanas, go for a swim, snorkel or just relax on the pristine sand. Turtle Bay is a beautiful white sand beach, named accordingly because it is a nesting site for the black turtle.
After a hearty lunch, you will visit The Charles Darwin Research Center, which is the hub of all scientific research in the Galapagos Islands. It is from these headquarters where all the most sensitive conservation projects are being directed. The conservation and preservation of giant tortoises and marine iguanas are some of the examples of the Center’s labor. You can walk along the core of the Research Center where you can find corrals where the giant tortoises are housed for breeding projects, as well as the corrals of land iguanas that are being studied. The Research Center has a brand new Interpretation Center providing a recap of the most important samples of the Center's collection.
Next, you will continue your day in town to Chocolápagos where you will meet the owner Juan Daniel Navarro, who will explain the history of cacao in Ecuador and around the world. He was born in Galapagos and has a beautiful family with whom he started this sweet business a few years ago. Juan Daniel will demonstrate the tempering process and how to make a delicious chocolate tortoise. You will have the chance to choose between two types of ganache to fill your chocolate, the toughest decision of the day!
After indulging in your handmade chocolate, you will return to the Galapagos Magic Tented camp for your last evening in Santa Cruz. (This service is on a private basis.)
Savor one last breakfast among the company of the giant tortoises before continuing your Galapagos journey onward. After breakfast, you will be privately transferred to the Puerto Ayora dock in good time to join the public speed boat to San Cristobal. This speedboat journey will take approximately 2.5 hours.
Upon arrival, you will disembark from the speedboat and be assisted to the Casa Blanca hotel, ideally located across the street. Check in and enjoy the remainder of the day as you wish! Explore around town or walk to the nearby Playa Mann to relax with the playful sea lions!
Formerly called Chatham Island in honor of William Pitt, Earl of Chatham and 19th century British Prime Minister, San Cristobal is the most easterly point of the Galapagos Islands. You will see a statue of Charles Darwin here, marking the site where he first disembarked on the 16th of September 1835. Darwin is long gone however, and now the big attraction on San Cristobal is the sea lions. lions. There are thousands on the Island, in colonies and small groups. These animals are surprisingly tame and will let you approach with no problem. The colonies of Frigate birds that inhabit the island are also something to see with their spectacular red chests. Also worth mentioning is the impressive Leon Dormido, a rock formation that is a great place to snorkel among dolphins and hammerhead sharks, and be dazzled by myriads of luminous fishes.
Today you will have multiple activity options to choose from! We have selected the following suggested program to give you an idea of what is possible to do with this day (Please Note: This activity can be replaced with one of the other optional activities noted in the drop down below. Please let your travel specialist know your activity preference during the planning process).
Enjoy a full day excursion to explore Kicker Rock. Early this morning you will meet your guide and try on some snorkeling gear in a small protected bay with calm waters and playful sea lions. Once you are properly outfitted you will depart from Baquerizo Moreno Port and head to the impressive Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock.
Leon Dormido is made of two rocks in the form of an obelisk jutting dramatically out of the sea, and is considered one of the top snorkel and dive sites in the Galapagos. There you will have a chance to use your snorkeling equipment to explore a channel between the rocks. Stingrays, white-tipped reef sharks, hammerhead sharks, turtles, tropical fish and eagle rays all live in the waters around Leon Dormido and if you are lucky you may even get to spot dolphins and whales!
The primary attraction of this site is the coral sand beach. It is an excellent place to swim and snorkel. Cerro Brujo is the remains of a tuff cone. It is one of the first sites visited by Charles Darwin. Captain Fitzroy climbed to the top of the hill to scout out reefs. It has an impressive landscape, where it is often possible to see coastal and migratory birds, including pelicans, blue-footed Boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls, as well as sea lions and marine iguanas. At times the lagoon is completely dry and deposits of salt may be found in the bottom. The people of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno used to use the lagoon as a salt mine. (This service is at an additional cost.)
Although your Galapagos adventure must come to an end today, you will be leaving with new friends, amazing experiences and memories to cherish for the rest of your life. Once you have checked out of your hotel, you will be met by your driver and transferred to the San Cristóbal airport in good time to board your ongoing departure flight to Baltra or directly to the mainland (direct flights are available between San Cristóbal and Guayaquil). (This service is on a private basis.)
However, we don't blame you if you decide to extend your journey in the Galapagos! There is still exploring to be done in other Islands or on the mainland, visiting the spectacular peaks of the Andes or the lush jungle of the Amazon region!
The Galapagos Magic Tented Camp is a tortoise camp, perched in the highlands of Santa Cruz and surrounded by a Scalesia forest and volcanic caves. This is the native habitat for wild tortoises, where you will be able to enjoy an intimate encounter with nature. The areas around the campsite are home to several dozen giant tortoises, seen roaming around property from June through February. During the months of March, April and May the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes remain, so keep your eyes out!
Hotel Casa Blanca is located in the main street of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. The hotel has an incredible ocean view. Each room offers a cozy atmosphere and furnished by inspiration of the enchanting Islands. Hotel Casa Blanca has 7 comfortable rooms, located in 2 floors, each room has its own style. All the rooms has private bathroom, hot water, air conditioning and fan, TV cable, frigobar, WiFi. It is located close to the pier, restaurants and souvenir shops.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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