RELAXING TOGETHER OR WITH THE FAMILY IN A BEACH FRONT HOTEL.
Isabela is the only island of the Galapagos chain that actually spans the equator. You’ll be based in Villamil, a sleepy fishing village situated in a sheltered cove on the South Eastern end of the island. Your hotel, a comfortable modern two story building, sits on a spectacular three kilometer long palm studded white sand beach. The hotel has a family atmosphere and no effort is spared in making you feel at home. In the morning you can enjoy a stroll along the sand before breakfast, read a book during the heat of the afternoon, and finish off the day with a cocktail while enjoying the warm equatorial night. And all this with the murmur of the Pacific Ocean in your ears.
Day One: First on the menu is a visit to the breeding centre where the Islands’ Giant Tortoise population is presently recovering. Expert guides will explain the process of breeding and then releasing these giant slow moving creatures whose Spanish name (meaning saddle) gave the Islands their present day name.
Day Two: We start the day by visiting el Cura and then move on to El Mango with their stunning views of the southern part of Isabela. The walk then takes us up to the spectacular crater of the Sierra Negra, the second largest in the world, and then on to Volcán Chico (little volcano) at the eastern rim of the crater, where you’ll get a glimpse of the fascinating process that formed the Galapagos. Two recent eruptions have laid the geology of the islands bare, and you can see and explore massive lava flows, small cones and miniature tunnels. Here you’ll be able to picnic on the top of the volcano and enjoy truly spectacular views over the central and northern parts of Isabela, as well as Fernandina, Pinzón and Santa Cruz Islands.
Day Three: Today we’ll take a short tour of the small islands of Tintoreras, a Galapagos in miniature. Here we can see white tipped sharks at rest, plus sea lions, turtles, rays and penguins. We’ll also have the chance to snorkel in the bay. In the afternoon we’ll walk the Wetlands Trail through the mangroves (all four types of mangrove tree can be seen) and marine iguana colonies, and enjoy the network of paths, beaches and historic sites. At the end of the Trail is the Wall of Tears, built in the late 1940’s by Second World War prisoners held at the US base that existed here at that time.
Day Four: Today we say goodbye to Isabela and fly over the spectacular island scenery once more to Baltra, where we board our return flight to Quito.
For those who just hate to leave this paradise, there’s the option of adding another day for a visit to the island’s spectacular tunnels:
This is the chance to have your second encounter with Galapagos underwater life.
The day starts with a visit to Roca Unión, a small island full of life, where we’ll snorkel amid clouds of brightly-colored fish and watch sea lions and blue footed boobies from the surface. At Turtle Cove, a secret spot used by fishermen, that today is considered one of the island’s major attractions, there are plenty of opportunities to snorkel through a maze of small islands and arches (and for the experts, tunnels) in the company of fish, sea turtles and occasional white tipped sharks and rays. There are more opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles at Finado, and from our boat out on the open water, the chance to watch sea turtles and manta rays against a background of varied coastal beaches and rocky shores where sea turtles nest.
The afternoon is free for wandering about or relaxing in a hammock and reading. A delicious evening meal will be served in one of the village’s friendly restaurants.