Galapagos
Galapagos
Galapagos
Galapagos

Galapagos 

An Adventure Tour in Nature’s Paradise

Year Round Dates Now Available!

Overview

Overview

Getting up close with a blue-footed booby doing its courtship dance. Coming eye to eye with an albatross on its nest. Snorkelling with playful sea lions. Watching tiny penguins zip by. Swimming in peaceful coexistence with turtles. Observing giant tortoises — older than you are — at close quarters. These are just some of the encounters that made us fall in love with the Galapagos, and we always knew we’d eventually craft a Hidden Places journey here.

A Galapagos adventure is one of life’s most transformative experiences. We’ve put in the personal touches, attention to detail, and appreciation of authentic travel that we’re known for. We include two nights in Quito, staying in the heart of the Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the option of a brilliant walking tour to its historic sites and stunning plazas.

Our Galapagos tours are now available year round, and we can accommodate a group as small as one person! (Hey there, you.) We work with beautiful boats of the highest standard, each taking a maximum of sixteen guests. The crews are highly confident and experienced, and are positively obsessive about safety. Each boat has a wonderful itinerary taking to you deep into our favourite spots in the Galapagos, and our onboard naturalists (go ahead, call them at 2 a.m) provide a wealth of insight into these legendary islands.

For your personalized Galapagos tour, just let us know when you want to go and how many are in your party — we’ll do the rest.

Itinerary 1

Itinerary Highlights – Eastern and Central Islands

Day 1 — Quito

Relax in the beautiful inner courtyards of our hotel, a carefully restored historic building in the heart of Quito’s Centro Historico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 2 — Quito

Step out of the hotel for a fascinating walking tour through the beautiful plazas, elaborate churches and colourful streets of the Centro Historico.

Day 3 — Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

Fly from Quito to the fabled Galapagos. Look for the famous giant tortoises in the lush green highlands, have lunch at a farm, and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Day 4 — Espanola Island

Loll with sea lions on a huge white sand beach, and snorkel among them off a nearby islet. Marvel at the remarkable courtship dance of waved albatross, and watch them launch off the cliffs to majestically soar on seven-foot wingspans.

Day 5 — San Cristobel Island

Revel in the antics of blue-footed boobies and go snorkeling to find silver tipped and Galapagos sharks. Hike to the only fresh water lake in Galapagos, and learn about the human history of these islands.

Day 6 — Santa Fe and South Plaza Islands

Find the largest land iguanas in Galapagos amid giant Opuntia trees, swim with manta rays and green turtles, and on surf-sprayed cliffs watch swallow-tailed gulls, Audubon’s shearwaters and red-billed tropicbirds ride the updrafts.

Day 7 — Genovesa Island

Hear the ululating of great frigate birds with their red pouches inflated, and meet red- footed boobies and Nazca boobies, Galapagos doves, swallow tailed gulls, and yellow crowned night herons. See thousands of storm petrels flying back to their lairs and, with luck, the illusive short-eared owl.

Day 8 — Santiago and Bartolome Islands

Check out heaps of marine iguanas on the lava beach and fur seals in the intricate grottos. Climb up through a stunning moonscape for some great views. Snorkel with penguins!

Day 9 — Rabida and Sombrero Chino Islands

See brown pelicans strut on a red beach and pink flamingos step through a briny lake, take some final shots of blue-footed boobies and sea lions and go snorkeling to see eagle spotted rays.

Day 10 — Galapagos to Quito

Back to this beautiful Andean city for a lovely celebration dinner in a special restaurant.

Day 11 — Quito to home

After breakfast, sad farewells to your new-found friends and transfer to the airport!

Email us for a detailed itinerary.

Itinerary 2

Itinerary Highlights – Central and Western Islands

Day 1 — Quito

Relax in the beautiful inner courtyards of our hotel, a carefully restored historic building in the heart of Quito’s Centro Historico, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 2 — Quito

Step out of the hotel for a fascinating walking tour through the beautiful plazas, elaborate churches and colourful streets of the Centro Historico.

Day 3 — Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

Fly from Quito to the fabled Galapagos. In the lush green highlands, look for the famous giant tortoises. Lunch at a local organic farm, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Day 4 — Floreana Island

Flamingos! Snorkeling with scores of curious sea lions! Bizarre tales of the island’s human history and a few delightful surprises!

Day 5 — Southern Santa Isabela Island

Don a snorkel and mask to see the rare Galapagos penguins whizzing past underwater, then find one of their nests on a dramatic lava flow.

Day 6 — Northern Santa Isabela Island

Wander across a beach created by volcanic uplift less than 60 years ago, come eye to eye with the largest land iguana in the Galapagos, and hike a splatter cone for spectacular 350 degree views.

Day 7 — Fernandina Island

In this most remote and pristine corner of the Galapagos, be charmed by the antics of a flightless cormorant bringing ‘presents’ to his mate on their nest, and watch what appears to be lava rock turn into huge heaps of marine iguanas.

Day 8 — Santiago Island

See fur seals snoozing on rock ledges, go snorkeling with green turtles and hang out with sea lions on an idyllic white sand beach.

Day 9 — Santa Cruz and North Seymour Islands

Make your farewells to friendly Galapagos sea lions on a fabulous swimming beach, wander past nesting magnificent frigate birds, and watch the antics of blue footed boobies as they mate and nest.

Day 10 — Galapagos to Quito

Back to this beautiful city in the Andes, for a lovely celebration dinner in a special restaurant.

Day 11 — Quito to home

After breakfast, sad farewells to your new-found friends and transfer to the airport.

Please note: this itinerary serves as an example of trip highlights and is subject to change.

Email us for a detailed itinerary.

FAQ

FAQ

Where are the Galapagos Islands and how do I get there?

They are part of Ecuador and lie 1000 kilometres off its coast. Our trip starts and ends in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, which you can fly to through Houston or Miami. From Quito our group takes a domestic flight to Baltra, in the Galapagos, where we meet our yacht.

Why should I go to the Galapagos?

We believe everyone should go there, at least once! The creatures that live on the Galapagos Islands and in the waters around them have no fear of humans, so the wildlife encounters are unparalleled. Coming face to face with a waved albatross as it calmly sits on its nest, watching close-up the hilarious courtship rituals of blue footed bobbies, seeing tiny Galapagos penguins zip past you while you are snorkeling and having juvenile sea lions playfully twirl around you– these are unforgettable experiences. And they only scratch the surface of the amazing things that happen and the unique species you observe on this magical trip.

Will the islands be crowded?

Only 6% of the National Park is open to visitors – a great way to ensure that the wildlife on the islands is properly protected. So you will often see other boats in most of our anchorages. But the National Park goes to great efforts to avoid too many people on one site at any one time, for the sake of the visitors but most of all for the sake of the islands’ fauna and flora. Also, our Naturalist Guide is highly skilled at deciding when our groups should go ashore, avoiding busy times so that you have the best experience possible.

What do we do in Quito?

We spend a total of three nights in the beautiful Old Quarter of Quito, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the second day of the trip we have a fascinating walking tour of this area. We stay in a lovely, historic hotel, eat great food and soak in the atmosphere of this fabulous city!

What are the physical activities on the trip and what level of fitness do I need?

You do not have to be very fit, but a level of agility is important. In the Galapagos Islands we have two on-shore visits a day. Each of these involves getting in and out of Zodiacs – always with the strong arms of our crew members to assist you. On land, each excursion involves about two hours of walking. The pace is slow, as we constantly stop to observe and discuss wildlife, but we are sometimes moving over very uneven ground, such as lava flows and boulders. We also go snorkeling at least once a day for about 45 minutes, and usually get in and out of the water from the Zodiac, with the help of a ladder and our crew.

Please also note that Quito is 9000 feet above sea level, so it’s important to pace yourself in terms of physical activity. If you have a heart or lung condition please check with your physician to make sure you can handle the elevation.

I’m a vegetarian, is that a problem?

Not at all, but please let us know in advance, and advise us on what you can’t eat.

Do I need a visa?

North Americans do not need a visa however you will need a passport that is valid up to 6 months after your trip in Ecuador ends.

Do I need insurance?

Medical insurance, including emergency evacuation, is mandatory on all our trips. We also strongly advise you to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Do I need vaccinations?

You should make sure that your routine vaccinations (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) are up to date. From the time of writing it is advisable to be inoculated against hepatitis A and typhoid. If you are planning a trip to the Amazon, you should have a shot for yellow fever and take malarial medication. Please note that these are guidelines, and it is advisable to check with your physician or local travel clinics.

Are bugs a problem?

There is no malaria in Quito or the Galapagos, and few bugs to worry about. In the Galapagos it’s worth having some anti-bug spray along for when you are on the beaches (sand flies) or hiking in areas with long grass.

What does the Trip Price cover?

Airport transfers on the first and last days of the trip, all cultural tour guiding and entrance fees, all accommodation and meals, bottled water in Quito and bottled water and soft drinks on the Galapagos cruise.

What does the Trip Price not cover?

International flights, domestic flights from Quito to the Galapagos, National Park fees (US $ 100) soft and alcoholic drinks in Quito, alcoholic drinks in the Galapagos, personal insurance and gratuities.

How can I access cash when I’m on the trip?

There are ATMS in Quito airport and close to our hotel. During the Galapagos cruise we will spend an afternoon in the town of Puerto Ayora, where there are ATMS.

What clothes and equipment will I need?

When you sign up for the trip, we will provide you with a comprehensive clothes and equipment list.

I’m more into physical activity than my partner, is that a problem?

One of the beauties of our mothership trips is that they offer a great deal of flexibility in terms of activities. In the Galapagos, if one of you wants to take a break, you can skip an excursion, relax on the boat and enjoy wildlife viewing from the deck. During our Quito tour you will always be in walking distance or a very short taxi ride from our hotel.

I’m travelling alone, is that a problem?

Absolutely not. We have many guests who travel with us on their own. They appreciate the camaraderie of our Hidden Places groups, and usually go home with newfound friends.

Can I talk with someone who has previously travelled with you?

Of course. Just ask and we will put you in touch with one of our regular Hidden Places guests.

“You walk among clattering four-foot marine iguanas heaped on the shore… You swim with penguins; you watch flightless cormorants dance beside you, ignoring you, waving the black nubs of their useless wings…The animals have not been persecuted, and show no fear of man. You pass among them as though you were wind, spindrift, sunlight, leaves.”

– Annie Dillard – Life on the Rocks: the Galapagos

Trip Details

Land Cost
From US $5300 per person


Dates
Year round


Length
11 days


Accommodation
Hotels – 3 nights
Mothership – 7 nights


Group Size
1-16


Begins/Ends
Quito, Ecuador


Activities
Nature walks, snorkeling, swimming, bird and wildlife watching

  • Fantastic is the word, all around. The itinerary, the guides, the crew, the boat, the people, the islands, the wildlife, the food. Wow, you put together a great trip! Thank you for everything.

    Kaselle and Allan B Toronto, Ont.
  • The boat and crew, the hotel and staff - all top of the line. As for the Galapagos, one is left almost without words. A feeling of being at the beginning of time... one of the most incredible experiences of my life!

    Cheryl F San Diego, CA, USA
  • Galapagos is one of the last places where magic still happens between all creatures. I will treasure our trip forever.

    Chris R Carlsbad, CA, USA
  • Our trip to Quito and the Galapagos Islands far excelled our expectations... Each day was unique and varied. Thank you for your attention to details... You brought together the best resources to make this the trip of a lifetime.

    Marcus and Donna M Mississauga, Ont, Canada
  • The animals were the stars, but close behind was the boat experience, with first class service, amenities and food. I would recommend this trip to everyone - but to do themselves a favor and go the Hidden Places way for a first-class adventure.

    Chris R California, USA
  • Thank you for such a wonderful exploration of the Galapagos Islands. Your attention to details, top notch boat and crew, superb Quito historian and inspiring naturalist guide made this the trip of a lifetime.

    Jim and Marty G.  
  • It has been a dream come true, the most fantastic trip I’ve ever taken in my life. I came face to face with nature at her best. I thank Hidden Places for this.

    Maureen M Beverley Hills, CA, USA
  • These islands are truly evolution’s workshop. Everyone should come and savor the boobies, frigates, sea lions, iguanas and of course the giant tortoises. What a place!

    Carolyn M Charlestown, SC, USA
  • I’m spoiled forever. To have sea lions swirling playfully around me while snorkeling, to look penguins in the eye, to walk among nesting birds as if I was invisible - where else will these things be possible?

    Yvonne T Austin, TX
  • I had read of the Galapagos and seen the photos, but all pale to the reality which is almost overwhelming. I feel blessed to have met this enchanted place and I loved every minute of the trip. Unforgettable!

    Ward B Point Richmond, CA, USA
  • Fantastic is the word, all around. The itinerary, the guides, the crew, the boat, the people, the islands, the wildlife, the food. Wow, you put together a great trip! Thank you for everything.

    Kaselle and Allan B Toronto, Ont.

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