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Galápagos Islands - Lord Fairfax College with Ann and Rob Simpson

   

July 09, 2014 - July 19, 2014

  • Introduction
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Pricing
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This 11-day program aboard M/Y Tip Top III invites you to photograph the serene volcanic landscape of the Galápagos Islands. In 1831, Charles Darwin found a place where some birds no longer fly, tortoises weigh 500 pounds, Antarctic penguins live on the equator, and Blue-footed Boobies perform elaborate dances for their mates. Explore the wonders that inspired Darwin`s theory of evolution, an idea that not only influenced his own life, but also changed the history of the world.

Please note: This program is sold out. Contact us if you`d like to receive information on 2015 dates.

Extend your trip with a pre-extension or post-extension.

Discover and photograph the magical biodiversity and biogeography of this world-famous archipelago.

Explore the islands in search of iconic wildlife like Blue-footed Boobies, sea lions, and marine iguanas.

Hike to the summit of Bartolomé Island for a view of Pinnacle Rock.

Snorkel with sea turtles and other marine wildlife.

Learn about conservation efforts at the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center on Isabela Island.

Visit a cactus forest, volcanic sea cliffs, dark red beaches, and coastal mangroves.

See the "geographic center" of the Galápagos, home to the most diverse volcanic rocks on the islands.

Walk in Charles Darwin`s footsteps and explore the sites that inspired his theory of evolution.

July 09 - Quito

Upon arrival in Quito you will be met and escorted to your hotel. You may consider joining the optional pre-trip extension to Tandayapa and Antisana (see separate flyer). Overnight Hotel Sheraton Quito

July 10 - Quito

After breakfast this morning head out for an excursion to the Otavalo Market with lunch. Return to the hotel for dinner this evening. Overnight Hotel Sheraton Quito (BLD)

July 11 - Galápagos

This morning, head to the airport for your flight to the Galápagos Islands. Please note that there is a weight limit of 44 pounds on the internal flights and bags should be packed accordingly. Upon arrival, meet your naturalist guide and transfer to M/Y Tip Top III. After boarding, attend your first orientation and enjoy a light snack. Disembark at Playa Las Bachas and visit a flamingo lagoon. Optional time is offered each day for swimming, snorkeling and/or kayaking. Attend an evening orientation about the origin and evolution of the Galápagos Islands, and enjoy a welcome cocktail with the entire crew, followed by dinner. Overnight Tip Top II (BLD)

July 12 - Galápagos

After breakfast, make a wet landing at Sullivan Bay, a perfect place to get a feel of the volcanic origin of the islands. Return to the boat for lunch, followed by a dry landing on Bartolomé Island in the afternoon to hike to the summit. During the hike, it’s possible to observe colonies of marine iguanas and lava lizards, and on the summit you’ll see an impressive view of the surrounding islands, including the eroded tuff cone of Pinnacle Rock. Return to the yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation. Overnight Tip Top II (BLD)

July 13 - Galápagos

Today you’ll go for a panga boat ride and make a dry landing on Prince Phillip’s Steps (El Barranco), to walk and observe the interesting lives of the birds here. Enjoy lunch aboard the boat. Later in the afternoon, make a wet landing at Darwin Bay, home to frigatebirds, herons, mockingbirds, boobies, shorebirds, turtles, marine iguanas and more. Eat dinner on the yacht, and then attend an orientation to learn about conservation efforts to protect the islands. Overnight Tip Top II (BLD)

July 14 - Galápagos

After breakfast, make a wet landing on James Bay (Puerto Egas) for an opportunity to observe sponges, snails, hermit crabs, a variety of shore birds, barnacles, the endemic four-eyed blenny, marine iguanas and sea lions. Return to the boat for lunch. In the afternoon, the boat will navigate around Buccaneer Cove (Caleta Bucanero), an area with steep cliffs and dark beaches. This was a popular place for 17th and 18th century buccaneers to careen their vessels. The cliffs and pinnacle are used as nesting areas by several species of sea birds. Make a wet landing and walk along a coastal trail to visit an abandoned salt mine. Return to the yacht for dinner and attend the nightly orientation. Overnight Tip Top II (BLD)

July 15 - Galápagos

This morning you’ll take a panga boat ride to Punta Vicente Roca for a chance to observe sea lions, marine iguanas, Blue-footed and Masked Boobies and Flightless Cormorants. Eat lunch aboard the boat. Make a dry landing on Punta Espinoza in the afternoon to observe a large colony of sea lions, marine iguanas and Flightless Cormorants as well as clumps of lava cactus. Return to the yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation. Overnight Tip Top II (BLD)

July 16 - Galápagos

Today you’ll make a wet landing at Urbina Bay, a coral area with land iguanas, Flightless Cormorants and giant tortoises. Take a panga boat ride to Tagus Cove, which is located between the shoulders of two volcanic craters that protect it from the open sea. It is possible to observe Galápagos Penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions and a variety of birds, including Flightless Cormorants and Blue-footed Boobies. Return to the yacht for lunch. In the afternoon, take a panga boat ride around the islets of Elizabeth Bay to look for marine iguanas, marine turtles, seabirds, shorebirds, herons, Galápagos Penguins and Blue-footed Boobies. Return to the yacht for dinner and your nightly orientation. Overnight Tip Top II (BLD)

July 17 - Galápagos

Today begins with a dry landing at Las Tintoreras. The islet has a small bay of calm, turquoise waters home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sea turtles, sea lions, Galápagos Penguins, rays and often white-tipped reef sharks. Then, you’ll go on an expedition to Sierra Negra Volcano, which has a crater that is 10 kilometers in diameter. Take a 45-minute bus ride to the highlands of Isabela and walk through slopes of the volcano. Optional horseback riding is available for an additional cost. The trail will take you to Volcan Chico (on the northeast of Sierra Negra Volcano), a fissure composed of scum and lava. The sulfur, iron and cooled magma create a colorful landscape. Return to the yacht for lunch. This afternoon, visit the breeding center Arnaldo Tupiza to observe native plants and tortoises of different ages and sizes and learn about the reproduction of giant tortoises. Next, visit the Wall of Tears, a historic site that was a penal colony for 13 years, where prisoners built a wall with huge blocks of lava as punishment. There you may see lava lizards, Galápagos finches and hawks. Before returning to the yacht, visit Los Humedales to see a series of lagoons, mangrove species, flamingos and numerous migratory birds. Return to the yacht for dinner and the nightly orientation. Overnight Tip Top III (BLD)

July 18 - Quito

After breakfast, disembark to the pier for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and its Interpretive Center. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Quito. Lunch will be served during your flight. Late afternoon arrival at the hotel, where farewell dinner will be served. Overnight Hotel Sheraton (BLD)

July 19 - Farewell!

You may consider joining the optional post-trip extension to the Amazon (see separate flyer), or transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)

Pricing

$4,295

Cost does not include international airfare (estimated $750 from Dulles) or gratuities. Galápagos National Park fee and inside-Ecuador flights are included.

Contact Debbie Sturdivant Jordan at 866-748-6146 or debbie@holbrooktravel.com, or contact Ann and Rob Simpson at annrobsimpson@snphotos.com