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Kayaking Manglecito

 

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Camp and Kayak the Galapagos

This adventure offers something truly unique:  an opportunity to camp under the stars of one of the Galapagos Islands’ secluded beaches. 

Very few companies have been permitted to do this which means you’ll be among a select few people to be lulled to sleep by the gently crashing waves of this pristine coastline.  The Galapagos also offers some spectacular kayaking sights as you glide through the turquoise waters for an up close view of the unique wildlife of the archipelago.

This exhilarating adventure begins in Ecuador with a boat ride through the Manglares-Churute Mangrove Reserve, followed by visits to ancient Inca ruins and the infamous Inca Trail.  After a few days you’ll leave the mainland and fly to the Galapagos Islands where you’ll hike to the spot where Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle first landed in the islands and learn about the fascinating exchange between the natural environment and the peoples who have lived here.  Discover the history of Darwin’s five weeks here and see for yourself what he saw that later changed the way humans understand the world.

And don’t forget the water – you’ll get the chance to snorkel with giant sea turtles, sea lions, and schools of brilliantly coloured fish, birdwatch on deck over delicious meals,  play in the surf at Puerto Grande, and enjoy several relaxing boat rides as you travel from one island to the next.

Trip Highlights:

  • Luxury night’s camping on the Galapagos Islands.
  • Kayak around the lava formations of Bahia Puerto Velasco Ibarra and loberia.
  • Swim and snorkel to explore the underwater wildlife of the Galapagos
  • Tour cocoa, coffee, and banana plantations
  • Visit a local school in Cuenca to share with local children and learn some traditional dances and songs
  • A picnic lunch on the top of Cojitambo Hill with a 360 degree view of the Inca ruins in the valleys below
  • Explore Cuenca, a colonial town that has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Hike through El Cajas National Park and afterward relax in the natural hot springs at Banos de Cuenca
  • Enjoy the infamous Galapagos sun set over the island from Carola Beach
  • Explore Floreana Island – the first inhabited island of the archipelago – and learn about its interesting human history

Bring an empty memory stick for your camera as this adventure is one you’ll want well-documented.  It’s 12 days of extraordinary sights and inspirational experiences combining nature, culture, history, and adventure into one incredible journey.

Enquire today to learn more.

ITINERARY

Day 1:
Welcome to Ecuador  and private transfer in Guayaquil
Upon arrival in Guayaquil, Ecuador, one of our local staff members will meet you at the airport and assist you with your luggage and your transfer to the hotel (about 10 minutes).

Meals: No meals included
Accomodation:Windham Hotel Guayaquil

Day 2:
Morning: Boat ride in Manglares – Churute Mangrove Reserve.
Being 25 miles south of Guayaquil, the Manglares-Churute Mangrove Reserve covers about 123,550 acres and is home to a tropical dry forest and what is considered to be the largest mangrove reserve in Ecuador. The muddy estuaries of the River Guayas are home to the mangroves, which bridge the gap between land and sea in coastal zones, covering around two-thirds of the Reserve and where shrimp farming has been outlawed due to its impact on the area’s natural ecosystems. In addition to diverse wildlife, vegetation rich in balsa and oak trees, punctuated with orchids and bromeliads, surround the mangroves and if we are lucky enough on our boat journey, we may even spot the horned screamer bird, among other creatures equally delightful and intriguing.

Afternoon: Continue with a scenic drive from Guayaquil to Cuenca
From Manglares – Churute, we continue on one of the most scenic drives that the western slopes of the Andes have to offer. We will drive up and over the cordillera, enjoying magnificent views as we drive away from the coast. We will have the chance to see cocoa, coffee, and banana plantations in this scenic drive. After three hours, we will reach the Valley of the Tomebamba River where the charming and colonial city of Cuenca is located.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accomodation: Hotel Casa de Aguila or similar

Day 3:
Morning: Visit the small and charming town of Cojitambo, the elementary school and its Inca Ruins
Cojitambo Mountain is a volcanic formation and one of the hidden gems of Ecuadorean tourism.  Located 30 minutes from Cuenca, we will visit a local school in the small town of Cojitambo to share with the kids and teachers a dance or song from our culture and they will teach us something from theirs.  The visit is sure to end with a game of soccer with the children.  Then, we will drive to the top of Cojitambo Hill filled with fields of crops and a 360-degree view of the valleys and Inca Ruins, which were of great importance when the Inca and Cañari people lived here before the Spanish conquest.  Here, we will enjoy a delicious picnic lunch.

Optional: Rock Climbing (extra cost)
Cojitambo Mountain is the most famous rock climbing spot around Cuenca, with some hundred routes, and approximately 200 routes more are still waiting to be opened. In this volcanic formation, you will have the opportunity to try your hand at rock climbing. Don’t worry if you have never rock climbed before, since our expert will teach you how.  While you are climbing, make sure to take in the astonishing views.

Afternoon: Cuenca City Tour
Cuenca is a beautifully preserved colonial city with a vibrant culture nestled in the lush green hillsides of the Andes mountain range.    As Ecuador’s third largest city, Cuenca oozes a predominantly ‘small town’ feel boasting a distinctive Spanish architectural style dotted with French influences, which you can easily see in the churches, murals, stained glass, and ceramics.  Steeped in rich Incan history, Cuenca is home to Incan ruins and the infamous Inca Trail originating in Cusco and connecting the Ecuadorean coast and Amazon Jungle.  You will observe the traditional dress and Panama hats, which are actually from Cuenca not Panama. UNESCO proudly declared Cuenca a World Heritage Site in 1999. We will finish the city tour at our hotel to get ready for dinner.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Accomodation: Hotel Casa De Aguila or similar

Day 4:
Morning: Hike El Cajas National Park
The pretty Tushipungo Valley sets the scene for this hike. Meander through cattle farms until arriving at the spectacular El Cajas National Park, a stretch of protected land extending for 71,000 acres and home to an incredible 230 glacial lakes. Here, you’ll traverse rolling paramo grasslands through wild quinoa and rosemary. And don’t forget to bring your binoculars, as there is an abundance of birds and mammals such as the Andean fox, whitetail deer, and spectacled bear. The history behind the ‘U’ shape of the lake, the lowest elevation in El Cajas National Park, is due to prehistoric glacial activity.  Take the small path through the cloud forest, along rippling brooks and around the lake, for excellent nature watching.

Afternoon: Visit Baños de Cuenca Thermal Springs
Within in a 15 minute drive from the city of Cuenca lays the very picturesque town of Baños de Cuenca, featuring Thermal Springs and Spas. The hot springs are naturally heated from the underground volcanic activity, making it a great place to relax after hiking. Thermal springs offer a variety of advantages for the body such as muscle relaxation, promoting blood circulation, and purifying the skin.  The Spas offers a steam room, mud bath, subterranean hot and cold pools, an outdoor hot pool, and a restaurant. You can choose from a select massage menu and enjoy food in the restaurant while taking in the beauty of the Andes.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Accomodation: Hotel Casa de Aguila or similar

Day 5:
Flight from Cuenca to Guayaquil, connecting flight to San Cristobal Island in Galapagos
After breakfast, we will take a shot transfer to the airport where we will catch a 40-minute flight to Guayaquil and then a connecting flight to San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos Archipelago. Upon arrival in Galapagos, a representative will meet us and assist us with luggage and transfer to the hotel.

Afternoon: Visit Cerro Tijeretas Environmental Center and Hike Tijeretas Hill
Cerro Tijeretas Environmental Center is our first stop on the Archipelago. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to understand just how volcanic activity leads to the formation of the spectacular rocks that comprise the famous Galapagos Islands, as well as learning about some dramatic human encounters that took place here. Hike to the spot where Darwin’s HMS Beagle landed on the islands for the first time in 1835. During the walk, listen to explanations of Darwin’s theories and findings from his five-week exploration of the archipelago. On top of Cerro de las Tijeretas (Frigatebird Hill), soak up breathtaking coastal views punctuated by frigate birds—“the pirates of the seas”—as they steal food from unassuming boobies.  The descent gives us the opportunity for a short snorkel session at Darwin’s Bay, a great place to experience swimming with sea turtles and sea lions.  Then, the trail continues to the breathtaking Carola Beach just in time to catch a glimpse of the infamous Galapagos sun setting over the islands.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Accomodation: Hotel Katarma

Day 6:
Morning: Snorkel Kicker Rock
Another exciting day on the water! On board a large, fully equipped boat, we set sail along the waves for the one-hour journey to the spectacular Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion – taking its name from its shape), more commonly known as Kicker Rock, rising a staggering 500 feet from the ocean and in turn making way for a perfect spot to engage in world class snorkeling. Schools of colorful tropical fish – razor surgeonfish, cortez rainbow wrasse, and orange-bellied triggerfish – to name but a few – contrast against a scenic backdrop of volcanic rock, punctuated by the odd sea turtle gently floating along.

Afternoon: Visit Puerto Grande and navigate to Manglecito Beach Camp
Back on the boat, a fresh and nutricious lunch awaits us on the deck. While we eat, we can observe the pelicans and boobies diving in search of theirs! Before heading back to our camp, we will visit another one of the beautiful white sandy beaches in Galapgos, Puerto Grande.  Here, you can either relax on the beach and take in the magnificent views or jump in the water again for some more snorkeling.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Accomodation: Manglecito Camp Site
* Shared boat services for groups up to 4 clients. 5 or more will have private service

Day 7:
Morning: Relax on the isolated Manglecito Beach
The white sandy beach of Manglecito will inspire you to kick off your shoes and head for a peaceful stroll along the shoreline under the Galapagos sun.  Or perhaps you would like to take a refreshing swim in the tranquil waters of the bay.  Once you have explored the area, you can relax on the beach.
This is an opportunity that only few have.

Afternoon: Kayak from Manglecito Beach Camp to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (5 miles)
After breakfast, we will hop in our kayaks and paddle from Manglecito Beach Camp. This is a great journey which allows us to paddle between Isla Lobos and San Cristobal Island, where the turquoise waters are home of rays, sea turtles, sea lions, and more. Kayaking will allow us to get an up close view of the unique wildlife that lives in the Galapagos Islands.  If we get lucky, some playful sea lions will follow us as we paddle northwards. Upon arrival in Puerto Baqurizo, we be transferred to our hotel.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Accomodations: Hotel Katarma site

Day 8:
Morning: Navigate from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz
After breakfast at camp, we will navigate for aproximately 45 minutes back to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno in  San Crsitobal Island. Along this ride, we will have an opportunity to see the blue footed bobbie, brown pelican, and marine iguana as they rest on the rocks.  Upon arrival the inspectors of the National Park will do the proper inspection before we take our next boat for a 2-hour ride to Puerto Ayora in Santa Cruz Island.

* Shared boat services for groups up to 4 clients. 5 or more will have private service

Afternoon: Recreational Kayak in Academy Bay to Punta Estrada
Academy Bay in Puerto Ayora is the perfect point of departure for an exciting sea kayaking expedition.  Blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas can be observed resting as we drift past the cliffs before crossing to Angermayer Point and paddling past the beach at Finch Bay to reach our final destination Punta Estrada. Punta Estrada is a calm and beautiful bay where you can kayak close to magnificent mangroves, home to golden cow rays, sally light foot crabs, and lava herons. The kayaking trip will take you down a tranquil canal with prickly pear opuntia cactus sprawling from solid rock and common noddy birds nesting nearby.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Accomodation: Hotel North Seymour

Day 9:
Morning: Visit Giant Tortoises in the wild on the Higlands of Santa Cruz Island
In order to get up close and personal with the giant Galapagos Tortoise, we will take a 40-minute journey from Puerto Ayora to private farms that conserve pristine, native, and endemic vegetation for the habitat of these magnificent creatures. These majestic giant tortoises of Santa Cruz—part of a family best known for their dome-shaped shell and gigantic form—are often found partly submerged in mud ponds to combat skin parasites or to regulate their body temperature on warm and sunny days. After becoming acquainted with your new hard-backed friends, continue to explore the volcanic origins of the island by journeying through the intriguing Lava Tunnel.

Afternoon: Visit Garrapatero Beach
After lunch, we will continue on to the trailhead of El Garrapatero, which will take us on a 10-minute walk over a boardwalk to Garrapatero Beach. El Garrapatero is a wide bay with multiple sandy beaches and surrounded by mangroves. Behind the beach is an area with a fresh water lake where you, sometimes, can come across pink flamingos, herons, grebes, stilts, and other shore birds. The beautiful turquoise waters are a perfect place for you to do some swimming and take in the splendid Galapagos scenery.  Once we are done playing on Garrapatero Beach, we will return to Puerto Ayora.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Overnight Hotel North Seymour

Day 10:
Morning: Boat Ride from Santa Cruz to Floreana Island
In the morning, we will board our speedboat for a ride of about 2-hours to Floreana Island, one of the islands with the most interesting human history, and one of the earliest to be inhabited.

* Shared boat services for groups up to 4 clients. 5 or more will have private service

Afternoon: Visit Asilo de la Paz
Later, we will visit the area where the first inhabitants lived. While exploring, try to imagine yourself living here during the 1800s and 1900s like the original settlers.  See what is left of their settlement and you will understand the difficulties involved to maintain life here. Also, we will find clues to try to understand all of the mysteries of this island, while enjoying close up views of local wildlife dominated by Darwin’s finches, giant tortoises, fruit trees, and mockingbirds. Maybe you will be able figure out what happened to the baroness and her three servants!

Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Accomodation: Hotel Santa Maria

Day 11:
Morning: Kayak Bahia Puerto Velasco Ibarra and Snorkel La Loberia
Today, we will board our kayaks to explore around the lava formations of Bahia Puerto Velasco Ibarra and Loberia. This relaxing activity will let us get close to blue footed boobies, iguanas, and sea lions as we paddle around the tranquil bay. Once we reach the site known as La Loberia, we will jump in the water to explore the shallow sandy bottom of the site.  We will have the chance to observe the underwater life swimming in and out of lava rocks and sand bottom caves. Get your camera ready because it is common here to swim with elegant sea turtles, playful sea lions, rays and a milliard of tropical reef fish.

Afternoon: Boat ride from Floreana to Santa Cruz Island
After lunch we will board our boat back to Puerto Ayora where our guide will assit us with transportation back to the hotel.

* Shared boat services for groups up to 4 clients. 5 or more will have private service

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accomodation: Hotel Santa Maria

Day 12:
Flight from Galapagos to Guayaquil, Connect with International Flight.
A representative will pick you up at the hotel and transfer you to Itabca Canal for a ferry cross to Baltra and a short bus ride to the airport in time to catch your flight back to the mainland.

Dates: Private tour minimum 2 people.

If you’re an individual looking to join a fixed date tour get in touch via our enquiry form.

Length: 12 days / 11 nights

Price from: TBC – please enquire

What is included

  • Local guide in the southern highlands
  • Galapagos naturalist guide
  • Double or triple accommodation in hotels
  • Meals as per the itinerary above
  • Motor boat transportation for daily activities
  • Motor boat transportation between Islands (San Cristobal – Santa Cruz / Santa Cruz – Floreana / Floreana – Santa Cruz)
  • Ground transportation
  • Airport transfers
  • Visits
  • Bottled water
  • Tips for carriers and porters

What is not included

  • Roundtrip international flight to Guayaquil.
  • Internal flights (Guayaquil-Galapagos-Guayaquil) (approx $550 * Subject to change)
  • Transportation Cuenca – Guayaquil (approx $110 * This could be flight or ground transportation)
  • Galapagos taxes =  $100 * To be paid directly in Galapagos
  • Galapagos tax TCT = $20
  • Tips for guides and staff
  • International Airport Tax (check if it is included in the international ticket)
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Insurance of any type.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary.

 

Operator

With more than 20 years experience pioneering new routes and adventures in the region, these guys seriously know their stuff and are always innovating to create new experiences in unexplored places.

They operate with one of the lowest guide to guest ratios in the region with a big focus on customising each customer’s experience so you get the most from your trip. Feedback from customers is consistently high and a percentage of each trip is donated to the local community through their social responsibility programmes.

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