Galapagos A Family Volunteer Vacation

Memorable Moments

  • Get up close to giant sea tortoises while volunteering at a conservation sanctuary.
  • Snorkel with penguins, reef sharks and sea lions in crystal-clear waters.
  • See first-hand the unique biodiversity that has inspired scientists for generations.
  • View creatures in their natural surroundings on uninhabited islands.
  • Kayak in search of the famed blue-footed booby.
  • Create unforgettable memories in one of the most pristine places on our planet.
Stunning Wildlife

Itinerary

Day 1: Most flights arrive to Quito in the evening. You'll be met at the airport by your Discover Corps host who will accompany you to our hotel in Quito where we'll also have dinner as travelers arrive. (D)

Day 2: Tour the cobblestoned streets of Quito's UNESCO-listed colonial center as well as seeing the city's more modern side. Ride a cable car to a nearby mountain summit and enjoy a bird's-eye view of the city and the surrounding volcanic peaks before dining at a chic restaurant. (B, L, D)

Quito - Historical District

Day 3: The day starts before sunrise with an early morning flight from Quito to Baltra Island. You'll have a chance to grab a bite at the airport or eat the snacks served on the flight. Upon landing in Baltra, we'll cross the channel to Santa Cruz island and have lunch near the harbor before we take a boat to Isabela island. After checking into our hotel, we'll have the evening free to explore the town Puerto Villamil, the third largest human settlement in the archipelago. (L, D)

Day 4: One of the most spectacular sites for snorkeling off the coast of Isabela is Los Tuneles, or The Tunnels. Take a 45 minute boat ride out to these tangled formations of hardened lava that lie next to mangroves. These unique formations of underwater tunnels or above-water bridges create one of the most astonishing locations for viewing sea turtles, rays, white-tipped sharks, and a variety of seabirds. This full day excursion is the perfect way to dive into the Galapagos! (B, L, D)

Los Tuneles or The Tunnels

Day 5: Spend the morning kayaking along the coast of Las Tintoreras in search of the famed blue footed booby. For those who don't want to jump in and snorkel along the way, there are double-seat kayaks to relax in. We'll paddle out to some of the boobies' favorite hangout spots, viewing wildlife along the way. After a picnic lunch, we'll switch it up and do a beachside walk to a mangrove forest. By arriving during low tide, we'll be able to walk among the mangroves and view a whole ecosystem of animals that are not normally visible. (B, L, D)

Day 6: Before sunrise catch our boat to ride about three hours to the island of Santa Cruz. A quick stop to drop off our bags at the hotel and then we head to the tortoise sanctuary. We'll spend the morning exploring the famous lava tunnels on their property. These were formed by hot liquid rock that created twisting channels through the island. Over time, the outer channel hardened and cooled and the interior lava flowed out and left a hollow, cave-like structure. After lunch, volunteer at the sanctuary doing whatever is most needed. Mostly, we will be removing invasive species or planting endemic species throughout the reserve. As this is an area where tortoises roam freely, you may end up face to face with one of those magnificent creatures. (B, L, D)

Tortoise Sanctuary

Day 7: Pre-Breakfast visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the conservation projects across the archipelago. After breakfast, take an hour-long trek to the floury white sands of Tortuga Bay where you can visit marine iguanas, go swimming, or simply soak up some sun. Spend another afternoon volunteering at the tortoise sanctuary in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

Day 8: Today we venture out to the tiny, uninhabited island of North Seymour. Unlike other islands that were formed from lava, this one was created by seismic uplift. North Seymour is home to one of the largest populations of blue-footed boobies and majestic frigate birds with their red, giant balloon-like throat sacks. Witness the interesting relationship between these two species: boobies are excellent hunters and fish in flocks, whereas frigates are pirates that swoop down on the boobies to force them to drop their prey. Then, the aerobatic frigate swoops down and picks up the food before it hits the water. On our way back, we'll stop at another island known for its magnificent beach. Snorkel with sea lions or simply relax on the beach. Upon returning to Santa Cruz, you will be free to independently explore the many restaurants in town for dinner. (B, L, D)

Frigate Bird

Day 9: Travel to the island of Daphne, a small island only accessible to scientists. Snorkel the waters around the island and explore the unique underwater landscape. We continue the boat ride to the island of Pinzon. There is a protected bay near Pinzon that offers some of the best snorkeling in the archipelago; jump in from the boat to see penguins, sea lions, and a kaleidoscope of reef fish. Upon return to Santa Cruz, we'll enjoy a delicious farewell dinner to celebrate our journey. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Head to the airport in Baltra in the morning to catch our flight back to Quito. Mose flights depart around noon and travelers are free to grab a quick lunch in the airport or eat the food served on the plane. Most flights arrive in Quito in the afternoon, and since most flights depart for the US in the evening, you'll be free to have dinner in the airport at your leisure before catching your flight home. (B)

Gorgeous ocean view

Duration: 10 days

Cost per person: $3,795 (double occupancy)

Optional Single Supplement: $400 per person

Dates:

March 11-20, 2017

June 10-19, 2017

July 1-10, 2017

August 5-14, 2017

November 18-27, 2017

Credits:

Discover Corps

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