Galapagos Islands Small Group Tour
Join us next time! (Dates TBD)
"I feel extremely fortunate to have gone to the Galapagos Islands with PhotoFly in June 2021. The wildlife there is fascinating. Accommodations were top-notch and our local guides incredibly knowledgeable. I can't say enough wonderful things about our tour leader. Super, super funny, patient, caring, thoughtful, diplomatic, organized - he made all of us feel included and taken care of." - Nora, Galapagos '21
A custom-designed adventure in style throughout the best of this sacred place for so many & from all walks of life. Anyone with a love for nature, science, wildlife, snorkeling, diving, hiking, photography, or just plain adventure, should have this iconic destination at the top of their bucket list. This Galapagos group tour also offers a glorious blend of luxury, adventure, & up close and personal experiences! Our 2021 trip sold out fast, so get your deposits in ASAP and don't miss out next year!
The Galapagos is an expensive, "up-market" destination but we've created something special at an amazing value! Take a look at the details below and you will see that our small group trip is arguably the best deal out there when you factor in everything we have been able to include!
Part 1: Santa Cruz Island & Her Nearby Gems
Santa Cruz is the most important island in the Galapagos archipelago with the only substantial port town of Puerto Ayora. The "bustling" town is home to the vast majority of all residents of the islands combined topping out at a staggering 12,000 people. This offers insight into the amount of conservation and protected land on the island despite having the only major town in the whole volcanic island chain. From white sand beaches teeming with endemic marine iguana, lush highlands where some of the only giant tortoises in the world still roam, turtle coves, thriving reefs, ancient calderas, & of course, Darwin's Finches all live in harmony with the small human population here (for once!).
Day Boat Excursions
*For our two full days staying on Santa Cruz, we'll head off island on exciting day trips via yachts in search of biological wonders!
* Santa Cruz Highlands, Los Gemelos: Discover "The Twins" or "Los Gemelos" - two large craters in the center of the island. They are the remains of collapsed volcanic magma chambers. The sides are now thriving with vegetation and nearby lava tunnels are waiting to be explored.
* Bartolome Island: Formed by different volcanic parasitic cones known as lava bombs, spatter, & cinder cones, the combination will feel as if we are walking on the moon. En-route to the summit, impressive views of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone Pinnacle Rock make for incredible & iconic panoramic photographs. We'll also encounter & photograph marine iguanas, lava lizards, and blue-footed boobies along the way. Next, we'll make our way down to the beach for snorkeling and a chance to see the famous Galapagos Penguins, sea turtles, and White-tipped Reef Sharks among a great variety of colorful fish.
The largest of the Galapagos islands came to be from the merging of 6 different volcanoes (5 are still active!). Well known for having the second biggest active crater in the world, Isabela is located on the western side of the archipelago and has one of the richest marine ecosystems. Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, Marine & Land Iguanas, and many Marine Birds reside on Isabela and offer a picture of the evolving process that these species went through. As you can see on the right, the island is shaped EXACTLY like a seahorse!
* "Tintoreras" Snorkeling Experience: The Spanish name comes from the white tip reef sharks “Tintoreras” which are frequently seen in this area. This is a perfect place to practice snorkeling and have a great chance of encountering sea lions, marine iguanas, & penguins!
* Los Humedales Mangrove Excursion: Explore the natural complex with various trails in this biologically significant mangrove environment. Aside from the four different species of mangroves, we'll have the opportunity to see and photograph pink flamingos and other rare birds. The entire area is dotted with solitary beaches, lava tunnels, natural pools, & estuaries fantastic for landscape shots!
* The tours to all islands listed above are subject to availability and regulation guidelines. The park service sometimes changes regulations and rotates the islands that tourists are allowed to access with little or no prior notice. The above islands are the most likely places we will get to visit but may be substituted with other nearby sites/islands which have similar and/or different flora and fauna.
Part II: Private Luxury Yacht Island Hopping
Our next experience is special and one that is sure to wow friends and family with the images captured and stories to share. We'll board our very own private cruising yacht and embark on a journey throughout the eastern Galapagos Islands. Aboard the Coral II, we'll live in the perfect combination of classic beauty and exquisite style. Built in Holland, the ship surpasses all the standards you would expect from a high-class yacht, providing a slightly larger than average (and therefore more stable) cruising vessel while maintaining the friendly atmosphere of a small expedition yacht.
Every cabin features handsome wood decoration, along with air-conditioning, a private bathroom, safe deposit box, telephone, and your choice of background music. Additionally, the Coral has plenty of room to relax with three sundecks (some shaded), a jacuzzi, comfortable dining room, and lounge. Our very own naturalist guide, captain, and full board service staff will pamper us throughout!
*Since we are chartering this amazing boat just for our travel club, there are two cabin categories: standard plus, & jr. suite. The Jr. Suites have a total supplement of 275.00 USD per person (a ridiculous steal!) and first to submit a deposit & request these cabins will get them. *More cabin details within the daily itinerary- E-mail us!
* El Chato Tortoise Reserve: Journeying across Santa Cruz into the highlands, we'll be delighted by the variety of life and geology. Santa Cruz Island offers excellent opportunities for viewing wild giant tortoises, both roaming through pastures in the agricultural zone and in the El Chato Tortoise Reserve. Walk into the forest overgrown with lichens & ferns, and listen carefully for the sound of heavy footsteps and shrubs being slowly crushed as the tortoises make their way through the brush! The pond at El Chato is surrounded by forest where short-eared owls, Darwin’s finches, Vermilion Flycatchers, Yellow Warblers, Galapagos Rails, and Paint-billed Crakes can also be seen.
* Charles Darwin Research Station: An awesome and fascinating visit to give true perspective for the rest of the adventure! Founded in 1959, it has a Natural History Interpretation Centre and carries out educational projects in support of the Galapagos National Park Service. The Park has the following development programs: conservation of natural resources, management of flora and fauna, and sustainable use of resources. Others are related to environmental education, marine resources, agricultural development, monitoring and vigilance. Their aim is to conserve this natural habitat and allow tourists to appreciate all these unique species.
* South Plaza Islet, Land of Red & Yellow: An impressive cactus forest where colorful yellow and red land iguanas live will be our introduction to this small landmass. Another peculiar thing to see in South Plaza is the unique, hybrid iguana (sea and land). During the time of year we'll be here, the landscape should be gleaming with the vegetation's glow of reds, greens, and yellows (Great landscape shots!).
* Santa Fe Island, White Sands, Cactuses, & Giant Iguanas: White sand beaches surrounded by sea lion colonies lined with endemic cactus forests is just one appeal to this natural wonderland. It is also home to the Santa Fe land iguanas, the largest in the entire archipelago. Other species which reside here are the Galapagos hawk, Galapagos snakes, rice rats (one of the few endemic Galapagos rodents), a variety of finches, and one of the four mockingbird species on the islands.
*Lobos Islet: A small population of blue-footed boobies and great frigatebirds nests here, along with a colony of sea lions. Our walk will introduce us to these colorful species to admire and photograph.
* North Seymour Island: Formed by a series of underwater volcanic eruptions, this island is the home to large nesting colonies of blue-footed boobies (awesome to photograph!), great frigate birds, and swallow-tailed gulls. Land iguanas and Galapagos snakes can be encountered on a lucky day as well!
* Mosquera Islet, Land of Sea Lions: This flat, sandy island has a huge colony of sea lions and is also an excellent site to observe & photograph shorebirds such as herons and lava gulls. Hop into the water for a snorkel to discover the sea lions and unique water creatures not found on the land!
Single Supplement: $1495.00 *Limited Singles Available
Optional Jr. Suite Cabin Upgrade: $275.00 (double occ.) / $550.00 (single occ.)
*Limited Cabin upgrades Available
Cancellation Policy & Refunds
*There is a $100.00 administrative fee for all cancellations. Cancellations made 185 days (September 12th, 2022) or more prior to trip departure date are fully refundable except for the $100 fee. Cancellations less than 185 days (September 13th, 2022) prior to the trip departure date will receive no refund of the full amount due. No refunds on unused portions of the tour. Credit card fees and paypal processing fees cannot be refunded. After airline tickets are issued, airline cancellations are per the airline’s policy and are usually non-refundable and changeable with a fee plus new ticket price. Travel insurance is strongly encouraged (ask us about policy options). *Hotels subject to change based on availability
COVID Cancellation Policy – Local Planet Travel Services OR Guest may cancel this reservation if the USA or country(s) we are visiting mandates a country-wide closure due to COVID. If this happens, you would receive a full refund. If guest chooses, the funds can remain on file and be applied for any future tour with PhotoFly Travel Club. *Please note bank merchant service fees when using a credit card are non-refundable.
MANDATORY VACCINE REQUIREMENT: The safety of all our guests is a top priority regardless of where our adventures take us. All travelers are required to have an approved COVID-19 vaccination to participate in this tour. Travelers that meet this mandatory requirement can join our adventures after 14 days have elapsed since their final dose. Proof of vaccination must be provided by emailing a copy of the participant's COVID-19 vaccination card to firstname.lastname@example.org upon sign-up. *Guests who are not vaccinated for medical reasons are exempt from this mandatory vaccine policy with proof from a certified medical professional.
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325 Rocky Slope Road, Suite 104-240
Greenville, SC 29607
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CST # 2101181-40