Take an early flight to the Galápagos Islands. In the afternoon, visit North Seymour Island to look out for blue-footed boobies.
Have an amazing wildlife experience visiting North Seymour Island –this island is teeming with life! Follow trails to see all the action (you may need to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana while walking). See blue-footed booby nests where mating pairs perform their courtship dance. Head to a rocky shore to see flocks of pelicans having lunch in a dive bomb feeding frenzy, then turn inland to a large nesting site of magnificent frigatebirds. These huge, dark acrobats have two-metre (6.5 ft) wingspans, and males, with their puffed-up scarlet throat sacks, sit precariously perched in low bushes to watch over their equally large chicks. Top off the excursion with a snorkel among sea lions and rays.
Visit Cerro Brujo to explore its coastline, and look for wildlife on the beach, in the water, and in the air. Learn about the human and natural history of the area from the Galápagos CEO. Take a refreshing dip in the turquoise water, and head out on a short walk to a freshwater lagoon –a great place to see flamingos.
Embark on a snorkelling adventure at Kicker Rock, one of the most stunning landmarks in the Galápagos Islands that’s home to an incredibly diverse range of marine life that inhabits the nutrient-rich water. Explore the rock which rises 150m (492 ft) above the ocean’s surface, and is divided into two parts by a narrow channel navigable by small vessels. See an array of sharks and fish that are drawn to the rock and provide for an exhilarating unique snorkelling experience.
Snorkel right off the beach at peaceful Isla Lobos, amid the families of sea lions and their inquisitive pups looking to play. Spot nesting frigatebirds and the famous blue-footed boobies resting on the shore. Be sure to bring your camera to catch some snaps at this prime wildlife watching haven.
Explore this tiny island by foot and boat for some great wildlife encounters. Take a panga ride to view the sea and shore birds nesting and feeding. Spot a small colony of blue-footed boobies as well as two species of sea lions.
Head to Punta Suárez on Española Island, the southernmost island in the Galápagos archipelago and home to several wildlife species. Hike to the top of the cliff for spectacular photo opportunities, and explore the island’s untamed natural beauty.
Visit Gardner Bay’s magnificent white sandy beach,home to sea lions and sea birds. Be sure to explore the beautiful turquoise water and its incredible sea life. Spot young sea lions and large schools of surprisingly big tropical fish, including yellow-tailed surgeon fish, king angelfish, and bump-head parrot fish.
Enjoy fantastic snorkelling at Gardner Bay. Further out towards Tortuga Rock and Gardner Island, see schools of large colourful tropical fish. Spot an occasional manta ray gliding by as well as whitetip reef sharks napping on the bottom. Also, get the chance to swim with the sea lions –it’s an opportunity not to be missed!
Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible bird life. Spot red-billed tropic birds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.
Visit Santa Fé for amazing wildlife watching opportunities. Hike towards the cliffs along the island’s northern shore to view the forest of giant prickly pear cactus (Opuntia), which is home to endemic land iguanas. It is also one of the best locations to see sea turtles, swim with sea lions, and get a glimpse of a white tip reef shark.
In the morning, visit the Charles Darwin Research Center and spend some time wandering through town before flying back to Quito.
Visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center a great place to observe many species of tortoises and land iguanas in captivity. Brought back from the brink of extinction, see the famous Galápagos tortoise up close –a corral houses adult tortoises, and a nursery cares for the young until around age three when their shells have hardened.This area also houses the Charles Darwin Research Station, a scientific organization initiated in 1964, which works to preserve the Galápagos’ ecosystem through the conservation efforts of scientists, researchers, and volunteers. While the offices themselves are not open to visitors, the research station provides a study location for international scientists and environmental education for the local community.