Galapagos Photography Special
Galapagos Photography Special 13 Days aboard Galapagos Sea Star Journey
This excellent 13 day itinerary will bring you up close to remarkable wildlife & stunning scenery in the company of experienced photography guide Carlos Palma who will offer tips on capturing the perfect images. Born & raised on the Galapagos Islands, Carlos knows & loves these islands like no other & will be delighted to share this passion with you as you discover what makes the Galapagos so special. Sailing aboard the boutique style Sea Star Journey yacht you will visit remarkable islands such as Isabela, Fernandina, Española and San Cristobal amongst many others. With stays in Quito and Guayaquil on either side of your voyage, and snorkelling and kayaking included throughout, this is the perfect way to see the Galapagos in style.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
- Sail aboard a beautiful 16-passenger yacht
- Discover some of the Galapagos’ most enchanting islands
- Witness a wide array of wildlife including Galapagos tortoises, penguins, sea lions and sharks amongst much more
- Abundant birdlife throughout including many endemic species
- Visit the Charles Darwin Station
- Enjoy exciting land excursions and Zodiac cruises
- Travel in the company of a renowned photography guide, learning hints & tips along the way
- Snorkelling & kayaking available free of charge
- 1 night hotel stay in Quito pre-voyage with breakfast included
- 10 nights aboard Sea Star Journey on a full-board basis
- 1 night hotel stay in Guayaquil post-voyage with breakfast included
- English speaking guide & private transportation
- Tours & airport transfers as described in itinerary
- Snorkelling & kayaking equipment while at sea
ITINERARY12 Nights 13 Days
- Day 1 | Quito
- Day 2 | Fly to Galapagos
- Days 3 - 4 | Isabela Island
- Day 5 | Fernandina & Tagus Cove
- Day 6 | Santiago Island
- Day 7 | San Cristobal
- Day 8 | Española Island
- Day 9 | Floreana Island
- Day 10 | Santa Fe & Santa Cruz Island
- Day 11 | North Seymour & Santa Cruz
- Day 12 | Mosquera Islet & Flight to Guayaquil
- Day 13 | Guayaquil - Depart
Having arrived independently to Quito airport, your guide will meet you at arrivals to transfer you to your hotel. This overnight accommodation will allow you some time to explore the world’s second highest city including its colonial centre which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, its fantastic museums and galleries and its remarkably picturesque setting.
1 night’s accommodation at Illa Experience Hotel or similar, with breakfast included.
Fly to Galapagos
After breakfast at the hotel this morning your guide will meet you for your transfer to Quito airport and your included flight to the Galapagos. Upon arrival in Baltra airport an entrance fee of $100US (unless it has been prepaid) must be paid to the Galapagos National Park in order to conserve the islands. After clearing customs, a tour representative will meet you at arrivals to collect your luggage and to escort you to the bus for your road journey to Puerto Ayora Village.
Having arrived in Puerto Ayora Village there will be time to visit the interesting Charles Darwin Station to see some Galapagos tortoises and learn all about the very important work that the centre carries out in the fight to protect and conserve the islands and their unique wildlife, before boarding the Sea Star Journey to begin your sail.
In the evening you can settle in on board, get to know your crew and shipmates and enjoy the first of many delicious meals specially designed by the onboard chef. Important briefings will also be delivered to inform you of the rules and behaviours around the abundant wildlife you will witness throughout the course of your trip.
Your first full day in the Galapagos Islands will take you to a delightful place called Tintoreras off the south coast of Isabela Island where the first of many Zodiac rides will take you to land. Wildlife you can expect to see here include Lava herons, sea lions, Galapagos penguins and Tintoreras (White-tipped reef sharks).
In the afternoon we will then sail to Puerto Villamil to make land to discover the very impressive Sierra Negra Volcano. Sierra Negra is the second widest crater in the world at 6x5 miles wide and this thoroughly enjoyable excursion will offer you incredible views over it and the rest of the surrounding volcanoes and lava fields. This will be achieved by a walk through the highlands to the Sierra Negra slope and then a hike to the volcano rim. You can also hike to Chico Volcano to watch the striking lava formations, examples of the geological occurrences that have created the Galapagos Islands.
On day 4 you can explore more of Isabela Island, the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago, as we make land at Punta Moreno on the north coast of the island. A fantastic walking trail here along a lava flow Pahohoe will take you through a complex of coastal lagoons, where several unique species of birds can be found.
In the afternoon it will be time for another exciting Zodiac excursion as we explore the Elizabeth Bay area, starting with a visit to the Marielas islets where the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos is found. Sailing through the coves surrounded by red mangroves we will be on the lookout for marine wildlife including sea lions, sea turtles and Pompano and Dorado fish, as well as enchanting birdlife such as Galapagos Hawks, golden rays, spotted eagle rays, flightless cormorants and brown pelicans.
Fernandina & Tagus Cove
Staying around the Isabela Island area we will make a quick trip over to the nearby Fernandina Island to visit the Punta Espinoza visitor site. Here you will find some of the largest gatherings of marine iguanas which are truly a remarkable sight to see in such large numbers. You can also be on the lookout for good numbers of flightless cormorants who offer a great insight into Darwin’s theory of natural selection as we learn all about how they had to adjust their means of survival over the course of time.
Later in the afternoon a Zodiac cruise will bring us back across to Isabela Island to visit Tagus Cove, an important area for spotting Galapagos penguins and more flightless cormorants. After Zodiac cruising along the cliffsides we will make land to enjoy a 30 minute hike to the top of a cliff which will reward in lovely views over the uplifted ultra-saline lake of Darwin Lake, the surrounding volcanoes and the impressions of historical pirate and buccaneer activity in the form of graffiti markings along the cliffs.
Our first stop today will bring us to the James Bay area of Santiago Island where we will make land at Espumilla beach to visit an important site for nesting marine turtles as well as the Palo Santo forest. Later we will move on to the famous black beach of Puerto Egas to enjoy an exploration of this volcanic area and learn all about its colourful history.
Having sailed south east across the archipelago, today’s adventures take us to San Cristobal Island where our first stop will be the island’s capital, Port Baquerizo Moreno. From here you can take a 1 hour panga boat ride across to the tiny island of Isla Lobos. On the island you can enjoy a walk across the volcanic rocks and sand to search for sightings of the famous blue-footed boobies as well as large colonies of other seabirds and sea lions.
Having returned to the main island, the next visit will be to Puerto China on the south coast of the island where the stunning beach is a hotspot for wildlife including large numbers of sea lions. There are also many endemic species to be found on this island including the lava lizard, Chatham Leaf-toed Gecko and the San Cristobal mockingbird.
Before returning to the yacht there will also be time to visit the Breeding Center Jacinto Gordillo which is a fantastic place to observe Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat.
A peaceful morning awaits as we arrive at Gardner Bay on Española Island to enjoy some relaxation on the beautiful beach that is found here. This is a great place to simply soak up the surroundings, enjoy a swim or some snorkelling, take a gentle kayaking excursion or observe sea lions along the shore and sharks in the crystal-clear waters.
The afternoon will offer some more excellent birdwatching opportunities as we visit the rocky lands of Suarez Point to see one of the most impressive and varied colonies of seabirds in the Galapagos.
Our next island for discovery is Floreana Island where we will arrive at Punta Cormorant to see one of the best flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos. This beautiful spot located between two tuff lava cones is also home to various other species of shorebirds including white-checked pintail ducks and common stilts amongst many others.
On Floreana we will also visit Post Office Bay, the landing area for some of the first colonists and the site of the Galapgos’ famous ‘wooden barrel post office’. At Baroness Bay there will be excellent kayaking opportunities as you get the chance to paddle through the inlets to see sea lion colonies and seabird nesting sites. This exceptionally scenic area offers fantastic photo opportunities, especially from the deck of your yacht where you will be able to see the unique landscape of islets, bays and wide forests.
Santa Fe & Santa Cruz Island
Moving back north across the archipelago we will visit Sant Fe where we will disembark to look for the great number of endemic species which can be found here including Galapagos mockingbird, Galapagos snake, Galapagos hawk and one of the two species of land Iguanas on the islands. Snorkelling here is a thrilling experience as you come up-close to tropical fish and playful sea lions.
On the nearby tiny island of South Plaza we will discover that despite its size, it is home to an outstanding amount of interesting species including a huge population of iguanas including land, marine and hybrids. Birds found here include red-billed tropicbirds, Swallow Tailed Gulls and Audubon shearwaters.
North Seymour & Santa Cruz
Day 11 will take us to the uplifted and flat island of North Seymour where we will find a large population of the distinctive magnificent frigatebirds. This will also be one of the best opportunities of your Galapagos cruise to spot and photograph the famous blue-footed boobies. A delightful circular path will take you across the island to a beautiful, rocky shore where the spectacular scenery and enchanting birdlife will surely astound.
Leaving North Seymour behind we will return to Santa Cruz Island to enjoy a brief exploration of Bachas Beach west of Turtle Cove. The soft white sand here is a favoured spot for sea turtles and a nearby lagoon is often frequented by flamingos and other coastal birds.
Mosquera Islet & Flight to Guayaquil
Our final morning in Galapagos allows for one last adventure as we visit the small islet of Mosquera to enjoy its sea lion covered white sandy beach and excellent populations of shorebirds. This is a great spot to observe Sally light-foot and Red Lava crabs, and you may wish to enjoy one last chance to snorkel along the reef of rocks and coral before we make our way back to Baltra airport for your flight to Guayaquil.
Upon arrival in Guayaquil your guide will meet you at arrivals to transfer you to your hotel for your included overnight stay.
1 night’s accommodation in Hotel Del Parque with breakfast included.
Guayaquil - Depart
After breakfast at the hotel this morning a transfer will be provided to Guayaquil Airport for your onward or homeward flights.
What Our Customers
• Although we thoroughly enjoyed the Galapagos it was mainland Ecuador which really took us by surprise with such a diversity of landscape and wildlife and incredible hospitality everywhere we went. Our local guides were so knowledgeable and helpful and our driver Manuel had a terrific sense of humour. We had some fantastic birding at both Mashpi, Le Selva and of course our day trip to Paz de Las Aves Reserve where we were lucky enough to see both the ‘Cock of the Rock’ and the giant antipitta. The devil nose train journey was as thrilling as we hoped and we even got lucky with Cotopaxi and got some lovely clear photos so all in all couldn't ask for more.
• This was an excellent trip from start to finish. Bellavista Lodge was a particular favourite of ours, so tranquil and a superb base to watch birds and wildlife while experiencing real Ecuadorian hospitality. Our guide, really knew his stuff and was so passionate about his job ,in fact all the local guides were excellent. I have to say a special word about Juan, our driver, who was so charming and funny, he really added to the overall enjoyment of the trip. The number and variety of birds we saw was amazing and I would have no hesitation in recommending Ecuador to other keen bird watchers.
Fantastic holiday with more wildlife than I was expecting. The Napo Wildlife Centre was wonderful, we were looked after with such care and attention and our guides’ knowledge of the areas’ and flora and fauna was outstanding, what they didn’t know probably wasn’t worth knowing. The food was so varied and they coped amazingly with my food intolerances, better than most European restaurants!!! Waking up to the sound of the howler monkeys will always live with me as will seeing my first Kinkajou, something I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Thank you for an amazing two weeks.
We had an amazing time in the Galapagos, thank you.We really enjoyed ourselves and will certainly come back to you next year.
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