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The Ark Archipelago - Central Islands - 2016

Quito’s great but lacks sea lions and red lava crabs – so we ditch it after a night.

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Day 1 : Quito

Explore Quito, the capital of Ecuador and the highest capital city in the world with a judicial building. La Paz, in Bolivia, is the actual highest capital city in the world, but it doesn't have a judicial building. We think someone, somewhere was extremely bored when they gave Quito that title. Before meeting your new travel crew, eat a bucket load of empanadas and wash it down with a vino tinto. Hello South America!

Day 2 : Isla Santa Cruz - Las Bachas

Ready, set, Galapagos. Hitch a flight out to the famously stunning archipelago, meet your sturdy sea vessel (she goes by the name of Daphne) and hit the white sands of Las Bachas. If you’re lucky, indulge in a little afternoon playdate with the Pacific green turtle, marine iguana, Sally Lightfoot crab, flamingo, whimbrel and maybe even the great blue heron.

Day 3 : Isla North Seymour - Isla Bartolomé

Sail on to North Seymour Island and snorkel with white-tipped reef sharks and Galapagos sea lions. Be on the lookout for the huge frigate bird – if you happen to see one swelling up like a balloon and shaking, don’t worry, that’s just their mating call. Don your walking shoes, climb the 360 steps to the island’s summit and get your panorama on.

Day 4 : Isla Santiago

If you’ve never seen black sand before, then this is going to eye opening. Roam the tidal pools formed from ancient lava flow, stroll idyllic James Bay and get your pirate on over at Buccaneer’s Cove – the stuff of local legend. If you’re lucky, spot the elusive mockingbird (not to be confused with Katniss Everdeen’s Mockingjay).

Day 5 : Isla Isabela - Isla Fernandina

Paddle on to Tagus Cove, a former place of anchorage for pirates and whalers who collected turtles for their trips. We’re not quite sure what they did with said turtles, nor do we want to know. Snorkel the surrounding cove and check out ancient graffiti.

Day 6 : Isla Isabela

Less than a million years old, Isla Isabela is considered a young geographical area. Home to blue lagoons, three active volcanoes, mangrove forests and a lava field, this island may be a baby but it’s the bombdiggity. Boat on to Elizabeth Bay for the world’s smallest penguin and Blue Footed Boobies (hehe, boobies).

Day 7 : Isla Isabela

At Las Tintoreras there is a viewing walkway where you can look down into a narrow channel and see sharks and sea lions going about their business. You know, swimming around and such. It’s a bit peeping-tom-esque, but it’s worth it. After that, it’s snorkel o’clock.

Day 8 : Isla Santa Cruz

Carry on to Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill) and head to the brackish lagoon. The bird watching here is ace, as far as bird-watching goes. Keep your eyes peeled for Darwin’s Finches, Galapagos mockingbirds and yellow warblers. You know, all the good ones.

Day 9 : Charles Darwin Research Station - Baltra - Quito

Keen to know more about the archipelago’s natural and human history? Want to get up close and personal with a giant tortoise? Well, the Charles Darwin Research Station can definitely help you out. Ask all of the questions and take all of the pictures before bidding the Galapagos farewell.

Day 10 : Quito

Return to Quito, where civilisation awaits. Reflect on the last 10 days of your life, and all the new animal (and human) friends you made along the way. The Galapagos is sure to leave a lasting impression on you, kind of like when you sleep on a pillow crease and wake up with red marks all over your face, but nicer.

Basic Details

Starts in: Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Ends in: Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador
Group Size: maximum 16


- The tortoises of Charles Darwin Research Station
- UNESCO World Heritage-listed Colonial Quito
- Bartolome's lunar-like landscape
- Meet Sally Lightfoot whilst crusing the Galapagos
- Puerto Ayora

What's Included

- Services of an expert English-speaking naturalist guide and a crew of 6 onboard the Daphne.- Return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands.- All meals and accommodation on board the Daphne.- Excursions during the voyage.- Transfer to and from Quito Airport on Day 2 and Day 9.- Snorkelling equipment (wetsuits can be hired at an additional cost).

Meals Included: 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners

What's NOT Included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, entrance fees, Galapagos transit card, Galapagos National Park fee, Isabela Island port fee, wetsuit hire, other meals, drinks, optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips for the guide and crew members and items of a personal nature.

Accommodation Styles

- Hotel
- Motorised Yacht

Important Information

Please noteThis trip is operated by our sister company, Intrepid Travel.FUNDAR Galapagos* FUNDAR Galapagos, based on Santa Cruz Island, is an organization that works with the Galapagos community, to develop alternative and responsible approaches to local environmental issues. A key initiative is an organic farming program on FUNDAR’s Pajaro Brujo Reserve. Most produce in the Galapagos is imported from the mainland, and this program is creating opportunities for locals to grow organic food, encouraging healthier and more sustainable lifestyles within the community.Through the Intrepid Foundation we are raising funds in support of FUNDAR’s organic farming program as well as its weekly educational workshops for students on farming, reforestation and leadership skills.Meals & Dietary requirementsAll meals are included whilst on the Daphne. There is a chef on board who cooks up local and international cuisine daily.
Should you have a special diet requirement (for example vegetarian, celiac, vegan, severe food allergies) it's essential that you inform Geckos of the specific details at least 10 days prior to departure, in order to make sure the chef on board the boat or on the island can request the necessary food supplies.Your groupYour group will be a mixture of Geckos booked passengers and other international like-minded travellers from our partner company, Intrepid Travel.
Changes to ItineraryThis maritime component of this trip is operated by a fully licensed Ecuadorian shipping operator. The Captain of the vessel will do all that is possible to adhere to the outlined itinerary however it may be changed without previous notice due to such reasons as weather conditions or changes to the Galapagos National Park's regulations. We ask you for your patience and understanding with any changes outside our control.Minimum ageThe minimum age on this trip is 15. Please note that triple cabins are not available. If travelling with a child, the child will need to share with one of the adults, and the other adult will share with another adult passenger, or pay a single supplement.M.Y DaphneThe Daphne is a motor yacht. She has a comfortable lounge and dining area, as well as a sun deck where you can view the wildlife or just kick back and relax. She has eight well-appointed, air-conditioned cabins each with en-suites and safety deposit boxes.Cabins:4x lower deck twin cabins1x upper deck double cabin3x upper deck twin cabinsSpecifications:Built: 1997Re-furbished: Jan 2015 Length: 21 mBeam: 6 mEngines: 2Speed: 10 knotsPassengers: 16Crew: 6 + 1 English speaking naturalist guideAccommodation on board is based on twin or double share. Single supplements are available on request should you require a cabin to yourself. Single passengers cannot be booked/confirmed in a double cabin unless a single supplement is paid.Please remember that the sun in the Galapagos can be quite fierce. Make sure you bring along a hat, sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen. You should also bring insect repellent for use on some shore excursions and excursions into the mangroves.
Diving in the GalapagosWe do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Geckos internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.
Wetsuit HireWetsuit hire is not included on the Daphne and can be organised on the boat at an additional cost. Depending on the length of your trip the cost will be as per below:10 day trip: US$407 day trip: US$256 day trip: US$20

About this page

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. You can check the most up-to-date version of the trip notes online at www.geckosadventures.com. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or your nearest Gecko's office. We are here to help you!

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