Galápagos Islands Multisport Adventure

About the Experience

You are drifting, a hand dangling into the cool water …the sky above you endless and azure. This is where Charles Darwin himself once made his astounding discoveries…discoveries that would forever change our understanding of life as we know it.

You are dipping a paddle in. Out. In. Drifting along Darwin’s Bay. Below the twinkling surface, you spy a sea turtle paddling gracefully beneath you. It’s emerald green shell flashes in the light, as if in salute, reminding you of your oneness. You all came from the water, after all.

Being in Galapagos feels as if you are at the ends of the earth. The end of time. Where everything began, and where you now stand, snorkel in hand, waiting to begin the adventure of a lifetime.

Your guides talk to you about Darwin’s theories. His own adventures there on the archipelago, way back in 1835. You think of Darwin the man, observing the blue-footed boobies. You grin as lava lizards dart for cover. And you widen your eyes at the cortes rainbow wrasse, pinching yourself with disbelief at their riot of colour. They are like swimming birthday parties.

You dine with local fisherman, Jose and Maria, in the warm light of their home. You stand at the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano – an extension of the wild earth. Your muscles are alive and pulsing with energy after several miles of sea kayaking, where the wild herons watched you, noble and stern.

You know this land is revered by the scientific world. And yet, you can’t help but think that Mother Nature has never felt more mysterious…

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Galápagos Islands Multisport Adventure

About the Experience

You are drifting, a hand dangling into the cool water …the sky above you endless and azure. This is where Charles Darwin himself once made his astounding discoveries…discoveries that would forever change our understanding of life as we know it.

You are dipping a paddle in. Out. In. Drifting along Darwin’s Bay. Below the twinkling surface, you spy a sea turtle paddling gracefully beneath you. It’s emerald green shell flashes in the light, as if in salute, reminding you of your oneness. You all came from the water, after all.

Being in Galapagos feels as if you are at the ends of the earth. The end of time. Where everything began, and where you now stand, snorkel in hand, waiting to begin the adventure of a lifetime.

Your guides talk to you about Darwin’s theories. His own adventures there on the archipelago, way back in 1835. You think of Darwin the man, observing the blue-footed boobies. You grin as lava lizards dart for cover. And you widen your eyes at the cortes rainbow wrasse, pinching yourself with disbelief at their riot of colour. They are like swimming birthday parties.

You dine with local fisherman, Jose and Maria, in the warm light of their home. You stand at the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano – an extension of the wild earth. Your muscles are alive and pulsing with energy after several miles of sea kayaking, where the wild herons watched you, noble and stern.

You know this land is revered by the scientific world. And yet, you can’t help but think that Mother Nature has never felt more mysterious…

Day 1 – Transfer into Quito

Arrive in Quito Airport (UIO) anytime in the day and a Wild Women trip host will greet you and assist you with your luggage and transfer to the hotel. Most flights arrive late in the day, so this evening you can get settled and have time to rest after a long journey. Tomorrow is orientation and our travel day to the Galápagos!

Day 2 – Camping and Kayaking on Puerto Grande 

In the morning we will enjoy a welcome breakfast and orientation to our adventure ahead! We’ll then fly to Galapagos on a 1.5 hour flight to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in San Cristobal Island. On arrival, we will be transferred to Buenaventura House and have lunch and collect any snorkel gear required. Then, we will take a boat to Puerto Grande for our first kayak exploration and set up camp on Puerto Grande Beach.

We begin with an introduction to kayaking in the quiet bay right by the campsite. This kayak activity is designed to help get familiar with the Kayaks as well as be a fun and interactive session including learning the right way to use them, as well as the correct techniques and essential rescue procedures.

We will slowly paddle around the bay to get up close to the marine wildlife and shore birds. This will be a perfect time to capture pictures of blue-footed boobies and brown pelicans close up. It’s also a good opportunity to see how sea turtles take their heads out of the water to get some air. And, if we’re lucky, we’ll even find them mating in the water.

  • Distance kayaked: 0.5-1 nautical mile, easy

 

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Day 3 – Kayak Puerto Grande to Manglecito 

Our day will begin with a 3 hour kayaking excursion. We will cover a distance of about 6 nautical miles, from Puerto Grande to Manglecito. We will generally paddle close to the shore where it will be easy to approach the local fauna as they rest on the rocks nearby. On arrival, we will set up camp on Manglecito Beach and prepare for a delicious dinner cooked by our guides.

  • Distance kayaked: 6 nautical miles, moderate-challenging

 

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Day 4 – Snorkel Kicker Rock – Camping Manglecito Beach

A fully equipped boat will pick us up from Manglecito to take us to Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion). On arrival we will go snorkelling, as it is considered one of the best snorkelling spots in Galapagos. The history behind this formation is intriguing: the remains of a lava cone eroded by the sea to form two vertical rocks rising a staggering 500 feet from the ocean and making a perfect spot for snorkelling. This natural Galapagos monument is a favourite among the hundreds of tropical birds that nest here.

Schools of colourful tropical fish—razor surgeonfish, cortez rainbow wrasse, and orange-bellied triggerfish—are easily spotted against a backdrop of black volcanic rock. Also a great spot for sharks, rays and turtles. After snorkelling we will head back to Manglecito for another wonderful dinner and to sleep under the stars. 

Day 5 – Kayak to Puerto Baquerizo & Snorkel Darwin Bay

From our camp in Manglecito Beach we will paddle south, along San Cristobal Island’s coast, back to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. It is a moderate-to-challenging long distance kayak session (7 nautical miles) and it very much depends on winds and ocean currents. Paddling by the shore will give us the opportunity to quietly approach sea turtles, pelican, frigate birds and blue-footed boobies as they dive for their fish.

From our kayaks, this is the perfect occasion to see the nests of the frigate birds in the small trees by the water. After lunch at a local restaurant, we will visit Cerro Tijeretas Environmental Center. Here, we will learn how volcanic activity led to the formation of the spectacular rocks that comprise the famous Galapagos Islands, as well as discover some dramatic human encounters that took place here.

We will hike to the spot where Darwin’s HMS Beagle landed on the islands for the first time in 1835. During the walk we will learn Darwin’s theories and findings from his five-week exploration of the archipelago. On top of Cerro de las Tijeretas (Frigatebird Hill), we will appreciate breathtaking coastal views punctuated by frigate birds—“the pirates of the seas”—as they steal food from unassuming boobies. Once we descend, we will have enough time for a short snorkeling session at Darwin’s Bay, a great place to swim with sea turtles and sea lions.

Then, we will continue towards the breathtaking Carola Beach just in time to catch a glimpse of the infamous Galapagos sun setting over the islands.

We’ll rest in a lovely lodge on San Cristobal Island, and you’ll have a chance to explore and dine at a restaurant of your choice!  

  • Distance kayaked: 7 nautical miles, moderate-challenging

 

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Day 6 – Stand Up Paddle Board to Darwin Bay 

Today we will change up our paddling and venture out on our Stand up Paddle Boards into the bay that Charles Darwin first visited in Galapagos in 1835. Later we will board a motorboat for a two-hour ride towards Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island. Once we arrive, we will check in at the hotel and get ready to visit a local community development project. We will coordinate with Children of Galapagos non-profit to visit one of its most important projects in the area.

After visiting this project we will meet up with José and Maria, a local fishermen family, to visit his home and dine with them. Our dinner with them is guaranteed to be full of exquisite food and enjoyable conversation – an excellent opportunity for intercultural exchange.

We’ll spend the night at a cozy waterfront inn.

credit Chad Case

Photo credit: Chad Case

Day 7 – Kayak Punta Estrada to Isabela

Academy Bay in Puerto Ayora is the perfect point of departure for an exciting sea kayaking expedition, this easy 2 mile paddle will give us lots of time to check out the wildlife along the way!

Blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas can be observed resting as we drift past the cliffs, before crossing to Angermeyer Point and paddling past the gorgeous beach at Finch Bay. Punta Estrada is calm and beautiful bay where you can kayak close to mangroves, and see sally lightfoot crabs and lava herons.

After kayaking, we will take a two-hour boat ride to Puerto Villamil in Isabela Island and check in at our hotel.

  • Distance kayaked: 2 nautical miles, easy

 

Day 8 – Hike Volcan Sierra Negra

The one-hour drive from Puerto Villamil to the highlands of Isabela is an entirely new version of the Galapagos experience. The difference in vegetation and weather is immediately noticeable—fostered by the southeast trade winds that bring significant humidity to the southern side of the island.

The lowland landscape of prickly pear and the endemic candelabra cactus that dominate the coastal areas gives way to more lush and diverse flora, including bromeliads and epiphytes. The path leads you to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano, towering overhead at 4,888 feet (1,490 m). With its most recent eruption dating back to 2005—which deposited a dramatic new layer of volcanic lava on the landscape— Sierra Negra is still an active volcano. As the volcano with the second largest caldera in the world (spanning approximately six and a half miles), birdlife is abundant here—finches and flycatchers and the graceful Galapagos hawk dominate the skies while lava lizards scuttle down below.

After following the path from the caldera’s rim, you will encounter Volcano Chico, with its gas and steam vents in the earth’s crust called fumaroles and some odd-looking lava formations—an arresting visual record of the Galapagos Islands’ rich geological history. The numerous volcanoes and islands nearby can be marvelled at from the uppermost vantage points. While you learn about the different types of Aa and Pahoehoe lava, feel the steam and vapour beneath your feet, and witness the miracle of the creation of life within one of the World’s most inhospitable environments. Finish your day with a chance to explore and dine at a restaurant of your choice! 

  • Distance hiked: 13km/8 miles round trip, 6-7 hours with breaks

 

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Day 9 – Flight Baltra to Quito – Farewell Dinner

In the morning, we will take a two-hour boat ride to Puerto Ayora from where we will take a 40-minute transfer to the Itabaca Canal. From here, we will take a public ferry to Baltra Island (10 mins), where the airport is located. We will fly back to Quito and transfer to our hotel – this will take approximately 15 minutes. Tonight we will have our farewell dinner booked in the hotel.

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Day 10 – Transfer Out

Today, we will take a 20 minute shuttle from the hotel to make it to the airport in time to catch our flight back home… Or join us for our 4 day Amazon Rainforest Extension!

Amazon Rainforest Extension (4 days)

Located in the heart of one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet, Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park is rich with extraordinary wildlife and vibrant local culture. Spanning nearly 2.5 million acres of Amazonian rain forest. Napo Wildlife Center is a gem to be cherished and the only lodge within the Yasyni park boundaries, an important biosphere reserve and the largest tract of tropical rain forest in Ecuador.

Napo Wildlife Center is one of the most successful projects of community tourism in Ecuador. The project has an excellent standard of accommodation and service, making your stay an unforgettable experience in the most biodiverse place on the planet! It is located in the territory of the Añangu Kichwa Community totally inside of the Yasuní National Park, here, hunting and fishing is forbidden in all the area of the Community. And this is one of the main reasons why you can see so much wildlife in its natural state!

Day 1

Depart from Quito on your 30 minute flight to Coca over the eastern Andes mountain range. Land about mid morning and go through airport procedures. Take a 5 minute transfer in local chiva (hired bus) or local taxi from airport to Port La mision / Francisco de Orellana, which will drive us to embark onto a comfortable covered motor boat.

Here we start a canoe ride along the Napo river for about 2 hours. There will be a lunch box in route. Along the way birds like herons, kingfishers and others can be spotted. After arriving at NWC’s entry dock we disembark for a restroom break and then take a majestic and peaceful 1 to 2 hours dugout canoe ride surrounded by trees overhead, paddling along a narrow creek that connects to the lake where the lodge is located. There is a good possibility of seeing monkeys of various species, as well as large birds like toucans, parrots or even macaws. Late afternoon arrival to the NWC lodge with the overwhelming view of the Añangu lake, welcome drink and facilities.

Day 2

Early wake up to reach the parrot clay licks, about 1 hour away from the lodge. Arrive just before parrot activity kicks off at the clay lick between 7:30 to 8:30AM. A total of 11 species of parrots, parakeets and macaws can be seen. The visit is weather-dependent, but usually successful. Later, hike along forest trail to visit the Kichwa Community of Añangu for sharing time with a family and an intro to their daily activities. Return to the creek and hike through a Terra Firme Forest for about 30 minutes until we arrive to the second parrot clay lick where, if the weather conditions permit, we’ll be able to find different species of parrots, parakeets and even macaws. Lunch box served at the parrot clay lick observatory. Late afternoon arrival to the lodge.

Day 3

After early breakfast, depart from the lodge to the finest experience at a canopy tower on the Napo. This 36m high canopy tower is a great way to experience life above the forest floor. This is the second tower at the Napo Wildlife Center (the first is attached to the dining hall and allows great views of the lake).

The tower is located about 30 minutes from the lodge deep within the terra firme forest. As you ascend the 12-floor tower, you pass through different levels of the forest and emerge on top of a huge Ceiba tree. Here you cross onto a wooden platform that is actually built into the tree and experience a view formerly reserved only for birds. The metal tower itself was constructed to the highest standards, galvanized, and carefully inspected by engineers. Safety is the priority. The platform at the top of the tree was constructed by tree platform specialists as well.

From top to bottom, there is no finer canopy experience in Eastern Ecuador. Flocks of colourful tanagers weave through the canopy; blue and yellow Macaws fly past; a nearby Spider Monkeys searches for fruit; two species of large toucans call in the early mornings and afternoons; and the life of the forest canopy opens before you. Birds that are virtually impossible to see from the forest floor far below are suddenly right beside you, oblivious to your presence.

The canopy tower opens a whole new world to guests of the Napo Wildlife Center! Lunch served at the lodge. Afternoon visit to a terra firme trail, hike along primary forest to discover the forest interior, with possibilities of finding lizards, colourful manakins or the unique and endemic golden mantle tamarin monkeys. After the hike, explore the lake and creeks by dugout canoe with great possibilities of running into a giant otter family on the way…

Day 4

Early departure and last canoe excursion back to the Napo river. The creek may reveal new sights of giant otters, monk saki monkeys or many other rare birds. Arrive at docking area, use of restrooms and embark on motorized canoe back to Coca; approximately 2 hour boat ride. Check in for Coca – Quito flight.

Price: $1595 USD
What’s Included:
• Return airfare from Quito-Coca-Quito
• River transportation to Coca – Napo Wildlife Center
• Accommodation
• Meals
• Entrance to Yasuni National Park and parrot clay licks
• Community and naturalist bilingual guide
• Impermeable poncho and rubber boots
• All excursions and activities, as described in program

 To book your Amazon lodge extension, contact our Adventure Specialist Alice Will at alice@wildwomenexpeditions.com

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!