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5 DAYS / 4 NIGHTS

Classic Safaris

Designed with our years of experience living, travelling and hosting friends and guests in the Galapagos, our Classic Safaris are our best-seller. They are much more than land-based tours: they combine experiences on Santa Cruz Island — including private transfers to/from the airport, discovering the Highlands on arrival and a full day of further exploration — with two days of boat excursions to beautiful, uninhabited neighbouring islands. Based on your interests, you can add more days and activities as you wish.

Highlights

Sample Itinerary: In Brief

The below sample itinerary is just that, a sample. We are happy to change the order of activities and add days depending on your needs and interests as much as we can — just get in touch!

  • Type of activity:
  •  LAND EXPERIENCE
  •  SEA JOURNEY
  • DAY 1LAND OF THE GIANT TORTOISE
  • DAY 2EXPLORE NEIGHBOURING ISLANDS
  • DAY 3EXPLORE NEIGHBOURING ISLANDS
  • DAY 4EXPERIENCE SANTA CRUZ
  • DAY 5RELAX BEFORE MORNING DEPARTURE
  • DAY 5+…OR EXTEND YOUR TRIP TO ISABELA ISLAND
    See our Isabela Island Extensions

More privacy?

We are happy to organize:
– Fully-Private Safari: chartered boat and private guide throughout.
– Semi-Private Safari: your guide accompanies you on the shared boat excursions.

Sample Classic Safari: Full Itinerary

Designed with our years of experience living, travelling and hosting friends and guests in the Galapagos, our Classic Safaris are a combination of activities on Santa Cruz Island and boat excursions to beautiful, uninhabited neighbouring islands.

  • Type of activity:
  •  LAND EXPERIENCE
  •  SEA JOURNEY
  • DAY 1 IN SEARCH OF THE GIANT TORTOISE Welcome to the Galapagos! Your English-speaking naturalist guide meets you at the VIP lounge at Baltra Airport to escort you on your excursion across the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

    Enjoy a delicious, locally-sourced lunch at a farm in the western hills. Take in the area’s natural beauty, pit craters, lava tunnels, and learn more about the unique forest ecosystem.

    At the Tortoise Reserve, share some time in the giant tortoises’ natural habitat, surrounded by the abundant bird life of the area.End this day at Galapagos Safari Camp with a sunset cocktail followed by dinner.

    End this day at Galapagos Safari Camp with a sunset cocktail followed by dinner.
  • DAY 2&3 EXPLORE UNINHABITED ISLANDS Early morning finds you on a motor yacht to one of the neighbouring, uninhabited islands close to our island of Santa Cruz: North Seymour, Bartolomé, Plazas and Santa Fe.

    Each island is an endemic treasure to explore and enjoy. The Galapagos Marine Reserve is among the largest in the world, and snorkelling off the boat is highly recommended.

     We design our Safaris according to the best experiences possible at any given time of year and around yacht operations. We will confirm the islands you will visit once you get in touch.
  • DAY 4 EXPERIENCE THE EAST A morning drive takes you meandering over to the eastern part of Santa Cruz Island. Cerro Mesa Reserve offers spectacular views of the largest crater on the island, exotic plants and seven unique subspecies of finch, plus the elusive vermilion flycatcher.

    After lunch, we explore Garrapatero Beach with its stunning contrasts of mangroves, black lava, white sand and turquoise water — including a flamingo lagoon. Kayaking and mountain biking are optional.
  • DAY 5 RELAX BEFORE MORNING DEPARTURE Enjoy the serene nature and peace of the Camp this morning. Relax, walk, swim or enjoy the sunrise from our viewpoint before departure to the airport and your next destination. (Here’s where you’ll wish you had extended your journey!).

     Please remember that this is just a sample based on some of the options available. Get in touch so we can craft your perfect journey with us!
  • DAY 5+...OR EXTEND YOUR TRIP TO ISABELA ISLAND
    See our Isabela Island Extensions

Land Adventures on Santa Cruz Island

Land Adventures on Santa Cruz Island

From our Camp, set out to explore and enjoy the wilds of Santa Cruz with our Land-Based Safaris.

ISLAND OF FASCINATION

Island of Fascination - Crater view

Santa Cruz ranks as one of the most diverse in the archipelago. Rising up from the Pacific in the heart of the Galapagos, its Highlands — formed by volcanic upswelling a blink-of-an-eye ago in geological time — rise to over 800 metres (nearly 3,000 feet). This change in elevation creates a wonderful variety of ecosystems: the dry coast, the cooler and forested Highlands, and the transition zone between the two. This diversity of landscapes, of flora and fauna makes it a fascinating playground for our Safaris.

THERE BE GIANTS

There be giants - Galapagos

Icons of the Galapagos, giant tortoises roam (well, lumber really) across the highlands of Santa Cruz — you’ll even find them munching on grass beneath your tent in the Camp! Nearby, we can visit reserves where these galumphing giants can be viewed at close-quarters, often wallowing in muddy pools with their pals. Nearby, we explore peculiar tunnels, burrowed by rushing lava that cooled.

ISLAND LIFE

Flamingo

Santa Cruz boasts dozens of intriguing sights and experiences. If you like the idea of some time at the beach — in the company of marine iguanas, rays or turtles — then we recommend heading to either Tortuga Bay or Garrapatero (where there’s a chance of adding flamingos to your wildlife list). Kayaking can be organized at both of these beaches, and surfing at Tortuga’s wilder breaks.

For hiking and biking, the Highlands are a wonderful backdrop, where you can combine exploring strange geological formations, birdwatching for yellow warblers and Darwin’s finches, visiting coffee or cacao farms and learning about local life.

Biking

If the town of Puerto Ayora sounds more like your thing, you can wander its laid-back streets, dipping in to art galleries and craft shops, exploring the Charles Darwin Research Station and the National Park’s Tortoise Breeding Centre. enjoying lunch at a restaurant, and watching the fishermen work at their dock, where sea lions and pelicans often visit for their share of the off-cuts.

A full day on Santa Cruz isn’t enough time for all the possibilities that Santa Cruz has to offer, so we’re happy to plan more.

Day Sea Excursions

Day Sea Excursions

SAIL TO WILD, UNINHABITED GALAPAGOS ISLANDS The uninhabited islands close to our island of Santa Cruz are a world to behold. We visit North Seymour, Bartolomé, Plazas and Santa Fe islands.

Biking

NO TWO THE SAME

Their volcanic origins mean that each island is different from the other: some uplifted from the ocean floor by titanic forces, others seemingly only recently frozen in time in mid-eruption. Even their vegetation is peculiar and contrasting, with pioneering plants clinging to the slopes of ash-laden hillsides, forests of ghostly-grey palo santo trees, carpets of bright scarlet sesuvium that seem dabbed to life by an Impressionist painter…

ON THE OCEAN

Setting out from the Camp, you reach the dock on the coast where you meet the yacht’s English-speaking guide (if you are on a Semi-Private or Fully-Private Safari, you are accompanied by your own guide). You then navigate to a nearby island (times vary but not more than 2 hours of navigation time each way). There’s always a chance to swim and snorkel. After all the activities, or sometimes before an afternoon snorkel, a welcome hot lunch is served on-board.

Following are the captivating islands you can explore on your Safaris.

BARTOLOMÉ

Bartolome

Navigation time: 2 hours each way
Walking difficulty: Moderate-Hard

Bartolomé is one of the smallest islands in the archipelago, yet it has a big reputation. Climb the wooden walkway, across lava fields and between sputter cones, to the top of the hill for a wonderful reward: spectacular volcanic views towards the famous Pinnacle Rock and surrounding islands. You can snorkel with penguins and tropical fish, spot white-tip reef sharks, rays and ghost crabs.

NORTH SEYMOUR

North Seymour

Navigation time: 1 hour each way
Walking difficulty: Easy

On your our stroll across the rocky landscapes of this small island, you will come across a stunning menagerie of creatures: sea lions, gulls, tropicbirds, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas, land iguanas and a rookery of nesting frigate birds. The trail winds its way both through forest of palo santo, full of nesting frigates, and along the shoreline, where marine iguanas bask in the sun.

We also visit Bachas beach on this journey, a lovely stretch of white sand perfect for swimming.

SOUTH PLAZAS

South Plazas

Navigation time: 1 hour each way
Walking difficulty: Easy

As you disembark on South Plazas, you are greeted with the odd bark by a large colony of sea lions on the stone jetty. You might have to make your way round them to actually set foot on the island! Walking among prickly cactus and beds of bright scarlet succulent plants, land iguanas appear left and right. Reaching the wind-swept, dramatic cliffs, red-billed tropicbirds, swallow-tailed gulls and brown noddy terns glide on the currents as the waves crash below: a true Galapagos exploration. After the visit, there’s a chance to snorkel and swim in a nearby cove, hopefully meeting sea lions, turtles and myriad fish, and maybe even a white-tip reef shark or two.

SANTA FE

Sante Fe

Navigation time: 1.5 hours each way
Walking difficulty: Easy

Santa Fe’s beautiful, sheltered bay is a prime site for snorkelling with sea lions, surgeonfish, damsels, parrotfish, stingrays, and white tip reef sharks. Composed of uplifted basaltic lava, Opuntia cacti dominate this rugged island, where you can observe land iguanas among the bushes, blue-footed boobies nesting amid their rocky nests, and hopefully Galapagos hawks, the archipelago’s top avian predator, that perches on the highest points, scanning their domain for their next meals.

Fishing Like a Local

Fishing Like a Local

A DAY AT SEA WITH LOCAL FISHERMEN

Experience a day with local artisan fishermen on the seas around Santa Cruz Island. This experience gives you a chance to learn about the sea, its creatures and the lives of the fishermen, as well as including fun swimming, snorkelling and exploring little-visited secluded coves and beaches. Of course, the Galapagos’ famed wildlife will always be close-by — from boobies dive bombing a school of fish, frigate birds gliding gracefully above the boat, or maybe even a school of dolphins chasing their midday meal.

OCEAN ADVENTURE

This program is part of an initiative with the Galapagos National Park aimed at giving fishermen an alternative means to support themselves while reducing the strain caused on the islands’ marine ecosystems by overfishing. It can be enjoyed by guests young and old, no matter if they’re seasoned fishermen or complete novices. You can also decide not to fish yourself at all, and just enjoy sharing time and experiences on the seas.

Snorkel

A DAY AT SEA

Beginning early, we reach the dock on the coast where, accompanied by our English-speaking guide, a dinghy takes us over to the fisherman’s boat. The captain and crew then navigate to different spots which they hope will prove lucky (times vary). There’s always a chance to swim and snorkel, as well as to explore a secluded beach. After all the activities, enjoy our delicious and fresh picnic-style lunch prepared by our kitchen staff.

If you’re lucky with your fishing, the fishermen are happy to prepare sashimi for you on board, or once back at the Camp, you can discuss how you would like to prepare your catch with our Chef — a sushi and sashimi feast makes a fantastic way to end your day.

Included:

  • Private English-speaking naturalist guide during land excursions and transfers.
  • Accommodation
  • All meals and welcome drink
  • Airport VIP services
  • VIP Transfers & ground transportation
  • Boat excursions with snorkeling on a shared basis (get in touch to organize a private guide or to charter the boat for a fully-private experience)
  • Wetsuits and snorkeling equipment
  • Activities and visits detailed in the itinerary

Not Included:

  • Flights (all flights from mainland Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands can be arranged upon request)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US $100 per adult/$50 per child under 12; subject to change)
  • Visitor transit card (US $20 per person; subject to change)
  • Beverages
  • Laundry service
  • Insurance (please check your travel insurance is valid in your country of origin prior to your journey)
  • Gratuities

Personalize your journey!

We’re flexible and we love to personalize. How about..?

Talks with Galapagos experts, fishing trips with locals, tea inside a lava tunnel…

…picnic in the wilds, art classes, surf classes, ceviche-making and more!

 

PLAN YOUR SAFARI

VOICES OF GALAPAGOS

Our Experts Say

Stephanie Bonham-Carter
Stephanie Bonham-Carter
Founder

“Santa Cruz is among the most diverse islands in the Galapagos. We love combining explorations of the forested highlands with time at the beaches.”

Michael Mesdag
Michael Mesdag
Founder

“I’m particularly fond of the fishing trips we’ve created with local fishermen. They’re an authentic way to explore the Galapagos and are always a lot of fun.”

A few of our

Guest Reviews

5 star ratingGalapago here! Cannot say enough good things about this wonderful
place and their amazing staff! Everyone went out of their way to...
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Pinkhairedsurfergirl
12/20/2019

5 star ratingThe most wonderful place to stay in paradise! We stayed here for 4 nights at the beginning of our honeymoon. It was beyond everything we could have hoped... read more

harriet f
5/10/2019

5 star ratingSophisticated establishment with modern comfort complete with flawless service We just spent our three-day four-night vacation at the Camp and feel quite compelled to share this holistic experience with... read more

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12/20/2018