Our trips are different. This voyage spends 11 days in the Galapagos Islands. Out trips are the longest regularly available tours of the Galapagos.

It is the fate of most voyagers, no sooner to discover what is most interesting in any locality than they are hurried from it...
Charles Darwin, 1845

Our trips are educationally-oriented and are accompanied by a Tour Leader / Biologist in addition to a local Naturalist Guide. The tours are oriented to the passenger who wants to observe and learn as much as possible about the Galapagos - the animals and plants - on land and in the water.

The tours are also oriented to photographers (although you don't have to be a photographer to get full value and enjoyment from our trips). We do offer some light photographic advice and, more important extensive, unique, and excellent photo opportunities.

Galápagos Photography Tour Dates: January 25, 2017, October 4, 2017, January 24, 2018

Highlights


• Maximize and get the most out of a once-in-a-lifetime adventure travel experience. Our Workshops provide an in-depth orientation to the islands beyond the scope of most "vacation- type" tours.

• Spend a longer time in the islands than most tour groups. We feel that 11 days is the minimum time necessary to see most of the important Visitor Sites (including the outer islands) and be assured of a maximum viewing opportunity of the significant plant and animal species. We include 3 days in the volcanically-active western islands, where we whale-watch, see penguins, flightless cormorants, and giant tortoises in the wild.

• In addition to the legally-required Naturalist Guide, we provide a Tour Leader/ Biologist who gives daily lectures on natural history. The Guide's role is to escort people on shore, to provide some wildlife interpretation, and to make sure the rules of the National Park are enforced. Having a Tour Leader adds a serious educational orientation to the trip.

• Our two daily island visits are longer (2-4 hours each) than most tours. We also go on shore earlier in the day (typically landing between 6 and 7am. vs. 8am for most other vessels) to enhance viewing and photographic opportunities.

The trip begins in Quito, Ecuador. On arrival, you will be transferred directly to the HOTEL MERCURE ALAMEDA where we will spend the night. We think very highly of the HOTEL MERCURE ALAMEDA. It is said that, of the finer hotels in Quito, they have the most personal service. Our experiences strongly support this impression. Meals on your own.
Today is a free day in the High Andes city of Quito, with a spectacular old town district that is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. Nearby sightseeing possibilities include Indian markets, the Equatorial Monument, tropical cloud forests, the Amazon Basin, and active volcanoes. A wide range of half-day, full-day and multi-day expeditions are available. Lunch and dinner on your own. Lunch and dinner on your own. Overnight Quito; HOTEL MERCURE ALAMEDA. [B]
A morning flight will take you from the High Andes, to another world; the Galapagos Islands. On arrival in Galapagos we will immediately transfer to the yacht waiting at the nearby harbor. This afternoon we will begin our program of shore excursions with a visit to the island of NORTH SEYMOUR. In addition to being a major nesting area for the blue-footed booby, North Seymour is home to the largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds in the Galápagos. Both marine and land iguanas are found in good numbers here, and sea lions often surf the rocky shore break. [B, L, D]
Located in the northeast portion of the Galápagos, Tower is an outpost for many sea birds (as is Española to the south - perhaps this is why they are our two favorite islands). Depending on conditions we often will have a chance to snorkel and kayak within the bay. • Darwin Bay is an anchorage within a caldera, with surrounding cliffs forming the inner portion of the rim. Along the small beach there is a forest of salt bush where adjacent colonies of great frigatebirds and red-footed boobies nest. There are two endemic gull species found in Galápagos; lava gulls and swallow-tailed gulls – both frequently nest here. • A visit to Prince Philip’s Steps begins with a panga ride along the cliffs, watching for red-billed tropicbirds and the occasional fur seal, while squadrons of frigatebirds fly overhead in their endless piratical pursuits. On shore dwarf palo santo trees are home to a colony of red-footed boobies, while Nazca Boobies nest below on the ground. Along the lava fields storm petrels fly overhead in great numbers, while short-eared owls hunt for them among the lava cracks.
James Bay/Puerto Egas is home to Fur Seal Grotto - not only a beautiful site, but this is your only chance to get close to the endemic fur seals. Some of the best tide-pooling is also here, drawing a wonderful variety of shorebirds and seabirds, with yellow-crowned night herons and American Oystercatchers being the most commonly seen. Inland you might have a chance to see painted locusts, grasshoppers, and possibly even the Galápagos snake. Galápagos hawks are also common on the inland trail. SANTIAGO • Playa Espumilla is a golden sandy beach where sea turtles nest, and ghost crabs and wading birds abound. Beyond the mangroves that frame the beach lie saline lagoons; further in you can find some of the 10 finches that inhabit Santiago, along with the vermillion and broad-billed flycatchers. • A cruise past Buccaneer Cove shows where sailors cleaned ship, hunted meat from the abundant sea lions along the beach, and collected firewood and water. Impressive tuff cliffs frame the southern cove, while eroded cinder to the north has been carved by time into fanciful shapes
The cold waters approaching Punta Vicente Roca offer some of the best opportunities for whales and dolphins, and maybe the chance to snorkel with a mola mola. FERNANDINA • This is the youngest of the Galápagos Islands. Punta Espinosa is a wonderful visitor site, with the largest colony of marine iguanas in the islands, in addition to flightless cormorants, Galápagos Penguins, herons and Galápagos Hawks. This is often the best place to see marine iguanas in the water as they feed on the barely submerged rocks along the shore.
Tagus Cove is a natural harbor featuring steep cliffs replete with graffiti from ship’s crews dating as far back as 1836 carved into the face. The cliffs are populated by marine iguanas, penguins, crabs, sea lions, and in the crevices outside the bay, brown noddy terns and the occasional Galápagos Martin. Ground and tree finches, hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and perhaps the woodpecker finch can be viewed along the way. • Elizabeth Bay is a mangrove inlet explored by zodiac, with an amazing concentration of green sea turtles and rays. The neighboring Marielas Islets are home to the largest colony of Galápagos Penguins, with penguins often seen in the water at Elizabeth Bay.
Urvina Bay was the site of a dramatic volcanic uplift in 1954, where 4 miles of coastline suddenly rose nearly 15 feet, with the coastline driven three quarters of a mile farther out to sea. The marine remnants and giant coral heads are a stark reminder. Inland land iguanas, and an occasional tortoise, are often found here. Along the shore flightless cormorants and brown pelicans typically nest. We might have a chance to snorkel along the rocky bay. • Situated against a backdrop of 3 volcanos, Punta Moreno features views of Isabela’s Sierra Negra & Cerro Azul, and Fernandina’s Le Cumbre. The trail traverses sharp Pahoehoe lava to verdant interior and coastal brackish lagoons. You’ll find all 3 types of cactus colonizing this relatively recent lava flow. The shoreline features Blue-footed Boobies and nesting flightless cormorants while the lagoons are home to white-cheeked pintail ducks and flamingos feeding on abundant brine shrimp.
Punta Cormorant is one of the most interesting landings (on an olivine beach), with an emphasis on plant life and shore birds. A brackish lagoon is home to flamingos, pintail ducks, and commons stilts. Panga cruising and snorkeling at the offshore islet of Champion (where you might also get a glimpse of the endemic Charles Mockingbird on shore). • Post Office Bay is one the most historically famous island locations - be sure to bring a postcard or two ashore with you to "mail". • Black Beach & the Highlands - while not official park visitor sites, both are rewarding. Much of the early human history of the Galápagos, and especially the Wittmer family, played out in the highlands of Floreana. A visit to the highlands is also your only opportunity in the archipelago to search for the endemic medium tree finch. The seaside Wittmer hotel features an exhibit of early photographs of sailing expeditions and explorers to call on the island.
A trip to the Highlands (by mini-bus) traverses all 7 vegetation zones of the Galápagos. In addition to two enormous pit craters, other volcanic formations include some of the largest known lava tunnels in the Galápagos. Not surprisingly, the lush highland vegetation is home to a variety of land birds, including vermillion flycatchers, Galápagos Flycatchers, woodpecker finches, dark-billed cuckoos, and Barn Owls. Tortoises are often seen in the wild here. • Puerto Ayora is the scientific heart of Galápagos, including the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) and Galápagos National Park tortiose center, as well as the primary population center. This will be the only opportunity to see the rare Galapagos saddleback tortoises.
Punta Suarez is a paradise for birders, with waved albatross, Nazca Boobies, blue-footed boobies, Galápagos Hawks, Galápagos Doves, and also marine iguanas (the most colorful in the islands) all vying for center stage. • Gardner Bay is a tranquil white sandy beach known for sea lions, lava lizards, finches, yellow warblers, & Hood Mockingbirds, to name just a few. Gardner or Tortuga Rocks offer great snorkeling, as well as the occasional chance to kayak.
This is the easternmost island in the archipelago (and also the provincial capital). • Punta Pitt is a coastal tuff formation that serves as a nesting site for many sea birds, including blue-footed, Nazca & red-footed boobies (the only site where all 3 species might be seen together), frigatebirds, swallow-tailed gulls, and storm petrels. • Cerro Brujo is a very striking, eroded tuff cone. One of the first places visited by Charles Darwin, the beautiful white coralline sand beach and lagoon are home to brown pelicans, blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls, plus a variety of shore birds. Stroll the beach and you will soon realize that you are being watched by hundreds of shy ghost crabs. San Cristóbal is also home to the endemic Chatham Mockingbird. • Kicker Rock is a similarly eroded tuff cone, this time rising almost 500 feet from the ocean. The yacht will cruise around Kicker Rock as the sunlight plays off the contours of the cliffs and formation (complete with blue-footed boobies, Nazca Boobies, and frigatebirds).
This is a tiny islet, really more of a long, narrow sand spit, with a huge population of sea lions. Additional occupants include Sally Lightfoot Crabs and lava lizards, plus a wonderful variety of birdlife flying over. It makes a perfect "last landing" to reflect on the wonders of Galápagos experienced during your 11 days in the islands. • BALTRA - A mid-morning departure will have us back in Quito this afternoon. On arrival (late afternoon) in Quito, we will be transferred directly to the HOTEL MERCURE ALAMEDA where we will spend the night. We will have a group Farewell Dinner at one of the leading restaurants in Quito. [B, L, D]
Transfer to the airport today for your return flight home. Or, if you prefer, remain on in Ecuador for a few days exploring the High Andes, Amazon Basin, or tropical cloud forests…[B]

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 6900 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 6900 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Twin/Double Cabin

$ 7200 USD pp
Twin/Double Cabin
All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer.

Additional charges:

Galápagos National Park Entrance Fee/Migration Card + Fuel Surcharge. From: 480 USD pp

Tip Top IV

Vessel Type: Motor Yacht

Length: 27 metres

Passenger Capacity: 16

Built / refurbished: 2006 / 2015

The 125 ft, steel-hulled, TIP TOP IV was built in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2006, and totally refurbished in 2015. The design includes all modern navigation instrumentation and safety features. She has a crew of 7 and carries just 16 passengers in 10 air-conditioned double cabins (4 on the bridge deck and 6 on the lower deck). All cabins feature 2 lower twin beds, which can also be modified to create a double bed if guests prefer. The interior is very spacious and attractive, and features a library/conference room, and a spacious dining room. There are extensive outside viewing (both sun and shade) areas. Twin diesels give her a cruising speed of 12 knots. Shore landings are made via twin 17-foot inflatable zodiacs. Special equipment on board includes basic snorkeling gear to loan as well as kayaks.

 

 

 

Cabin layout for Tip Top IV

Flights to and from Quito from (560.00 USD)

Flight times and prices vary according to the month of departure.

HIGHLIGHTS OF ECUADOR

The following tour selections include half-day, full-day, and multi-day mainland tour possibilities: QUITO Colonial Architecture, Museums, Galleries; NORTH OF QUITO High Andes, Indian Markets & Handicrafts; SOUTH OF QUITO High Andes, Volcanoes, Indian Markets, Inca Ruins, Rafting; WEST OF QUITO Cloud Forests, Birding, Trekking, Biking & Zip-lines; EAST OF QUITO Amazon Basin, horseback riding, spas. PRICE ON APPLICATION

Tip Top IV

Tip Top IV in Galapagos   Tip Top IV

Galapagos    Yacht Yacht

14 Days from
$ 6900 USD pp

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0800 945 3327

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1800 107 715

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