November 7th thru November 17th, 2016
Space is limited to only 14 participants
The Thumbnail Sketch
This exciting trip has been designed to maximize photographic opportunities for participants. Our group will have the entire boat, which is critical because it ensures that we will have total control over when we get on and off the islands. I can pretty much guarantee that we will be the first folks on the islands every morning and the last people off the islands every evening. In this way we will take advantage of the nice warm light of early morning and late evening. Most boats don’t even get their people on the islands until 10:00 or 11:00 am, you can imagine what the light on the equator looks like at that time of the day, not to mention how inactive the wildlife is during the middle of the day. The middle of our days we will be snorkeling, cruising to another location, downloading and editing images and, having classroom discussions. Late afternoons and evenings we will be back on the islands photographing. While we are sleeping we will be cruising to our next location. Each morning we will awaken to a great breakfast with a totally new view, and a great new destination to explore.
While in Quito we will be staying at Casa Alisoa four star luxury hotel. I like to spend two nights at the hotel at the beginning of the trip. This does two things, it gives us a day to explore the city of Quito. It also gives us a buffer day to solve any unforeseen travel problems ie, missed connections, lost luggage etc. We will spend another night at this same hotel at the end of our trip. While touring the Galapagos Islands we will be aboard the Millennium, an 82 foot diesel powered catamaran. The Millennium features spacious twin bed cabins, each cabin has an ocean view, individually controlled air conditioning, and a private bath with full shower and most have a private balcony!. The boat also has many common areas, including numerous sun decks, a bar and lounge area, dining area and living room. Meals will consist of the finest international and local dishes prepared using fresh ingredients. Each meal will include a choice of meat, poultry or seafood. Special dietary choices and needs will be gladly accommodated. In addition to the ten crew members taking care of our every need. There will also be a highly trained Galapagos Islands guide on board with years of experience and a passion for sharing their knowledge of the wildlife, biology, geology and natural history of the islands.
Day 1 November 7, 2016 Arrive Quito check in to hotel.
Day 2 Explore the city of Quito.
Day 3 Santa Cruz Island
Morning: Flight to Galapagos from Quito Airport The flight from Quito to the Galapagos is approximately 2 ½ hours on a Boeing 727. (The cost of this flight is included in the cost of the tour.) Upon arrival at Baltra travelers pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands and to pay the park entrance fee of $100, and $10 for the INGALA card which is an identity card that you need . Guides will meet you, collect your luggage and escort you on the short bus ride to the harbor. Motorized rafts, called ‘Pangas’ will transport you to the Millennium our crew will welcome you on board. After departure and lunch, the first island visit is made.
Afternoon: Santa Cruz Highlands Begin your Galapagos tour at the Santa Cruz Highlands. Walk along a path and observe the hills, ferns, volcanoes, and rich wildlife of the area. View giant tortoises, forest, mockingbirds, Bahama ducklings, white-cheeked pintail ducklings, Darwin finches, and many other species. Explore the underground lava tubs with your local guides.
Day 4 Isabela Island
Journey to Tintoreras Islet for snorkeling. These turquoise waters are the homes to white-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos Penguins, marine turtles and sea lions.
In the afternoon, explore the wetlands(Puerto Villamil), which features lagoons, swamps, and mangroves. Walk along a path that winds through the wetlands
Day 5 Isabela – Fernandina Islands
Visit Isabela’s Wetlands, which consist of lagoons, swamps and mangroves. Take a foot path which winds its way through the swamps.
Visit the Tortoise Breeding Center to learn about tortoise conservation in the Galapagos Islands. Giant tortoise eggs are collected and brought to the center to be hatched and taken care of for five years before being released into the wild.
Day 6 Fernandina – Isabela Islands
Visit Espinosa Point to view hundreds of marine iguanas as they gather on the black lava rocks. Walk around to see the various lava flows.
Day 7 Santigao – Chinese Hat
Travel to Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) to view a colony of sea lions on the white coral sand beach. See American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Penguins, and Sally-Lightfoot Crabs as they travel over the volcanic rocks.
Day 8 Santa Cruz Island – Black Turtle Cove- North Seymour
Set sail for Black Turtle Cove to view black and whitetip reef sharks, sea turtles, golden cow-nose rays, spotted eagle rays, and the occasional hammerhead shark. The shallow inlet of Black Turtle Cove provides protection for juveniles of several species and is ideal for snorkeling
Day 9 Bartolome – Santiago
Visit Pinnacle Rock and the White Sand Beach for opportunities to photograph the Galapagos penguin. Snorkel and play with sea lions as they scoot towards you on the sand.
Day 10 Santa Cruz Island – Bachas Beach – Return to Quito
Venture over to Santa Cruz Island and stop at Bachas Beach, one of the main sea turtle nesting sites in the Galapagos.
Transfer to the airport for your connecting flight back to the Quito. Transfer back to Casa Aliso and enjoy an evening at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel Casa Aliso in Quito
Thursday, November 17th Transfer to airport for flight home. Unless you are fortunate enough to be joining me for the four day extension to Tanadayapa (see below)
Based on double occupancy. Need a roommate we can help with that.
Please call Steve to register 810-231-8118
Update 9/15/15 filling fast only 4 spots remain!
For a more pictures and a complete trip report please see my post about this amazing destination. http://www.stevegettle.com/pages/2008/07/20/the-galapagos-islands/
Also here is a participant gallery from our 2013 trip Participant gallery
Deposit of $1,000.00 with your reservation
Second payment of $3,000.00 due February 1st, 2016
Final payment of $2,995.00 due on June 1st, 2016
Price does not include, air travel to and from Quito*, gratuities, entrance fee to the park ($100.00) and INGALA card ($10.00) lunch and dinner while in Quito (breakfast is included with room), any alcoholic beverages on the boat.
***Note price does include roundtrip flight from Quito to the Galapagos Islands
Four day extension to the Tandayapa Lodge in the
heart of the cloud forest
After the Galapagos cruise join me for four days and three nights at the beautiful Tandayapa Lodge. This amazing lodge is located on the west slope of the Ecuadorian Andes, it is one of the premier locations in the cloud forest for photography. With over 30 species of hummingbirds recorded at the feeders and over 15 species seen on most days it is the best place I know to photograph these tiny jewels. Check out this video recorded at one of the feeders: Tandayapa Feeder Video. I will be bringing my high-speed flash setup for participants to use. All you will need is a camera that accepts a PC cord and a 200mm or greater lens, in addition to the hummingbirds there are also over 300 species of other birds. The lodge also has butterfly feeders and lights set up at night that attract the most amazing collection of moths and insects I am sure you will ever see. A great trail system winds through the forest to allow you to photograph the many unique plants and insects of the cloud forest.
On our last day on the way back to Quito we visit Refugio Paz in search of the stunning Andean Cock-of-the-rocks displaying on their lek. Being at a different elevation this refuge will offer up a totally different variety of plants, birds, and insects for us to photograph. This is also very likely the best place in the world to be virtually guaranteed of photograph Antpittas, a very unique and elusive bird of the jungle!
Then one more night in Quito to relax and recharge before we begin our journey home the next morning.
Here is a link to some of the Hummingbirds images I made a few years ago hummingbirds
Only $995.00 per person
Only 8 spots available
Register at 810-231-8118
Price includes all ground transportation, lodging, and all meals while in Tandayapa.