Galapagos Island Tours
"You have not visited Ecuador, unless you have seen the enchanted Islands".
Perhaps a bit strong as our climbers share our love and enthusiasm for Ecuador's great climbs of the mighty volcanoes, but true enough in the unique nature of Galapagos. Famed land of the pirates and the endemic species explored by Charles Darwin, a trip to Galapagos after your climbs makes much sense.
Alpine Ascents has teamed up with local experts to seamlessly transition you from climber to naturalist, and explore the great Islands. With small and large boat choices and a host of other options, we invited you to explore our Ecuador extension.
Prices for these journeys range from $2000 - $4000 per person based on boat size and length of journey with additional park fees and domestic flights. Please find a sample itinerary below and we look forward to organizing the right journey for your budget, following your Volcanoes of Ecuador Expedition.
Inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample Itinerary 5 days / 4 nights
Day 1: AM - San Cristobal airport
Departure from Quito or Guayaquil to San Cristobal (2 ½ hour flight). Passengers are picked up at the airport by our naturalist guides and taken on a ten minute bus drive to the pier to board the M/V Galapagos Legend.
PM - Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill (San Cristóbal)
Dry landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, capital of the Galapagos Islands. Passengers visit the Interpretation Center, an excellent place to learn about Natural History in the Galapagos. The Museum of Natural History displays information on the volcanic origins of the islands, their remoteness from the continent, ocean currents, climate, the arrival of the different species and their colonization, among other points of interest. The human history is also showcased, chronologically narrating the most significant events related to the discovery and colonization of the islands. Tijeretas Hill involves a high intensity walk amidst beautiful landscapes and a magnificent view at the foot of a frigatebird nesting colony.
Day 2: AM - Gardner Bay, Gardner & Osborn islets (Española)
Wet landing on a beautiful white coral sand beach guarded by a colony of sea lions. There are no trails, so we stay along the shore where we can spot Galapagos hawks, American Oystercatchers, Galapagos Ground Doves, Hood mockingbirds, Yellow Warblers, lava lizards, marine iguanas, and three species of Darwin's finches: a subspecies (Geospiza fuliginosa) of the Large Cactus Finch, which is similar to the large ground finch, the Small Ground Finch (Geospiza fuliginosa) and the Warbler Finch (Certhidea Olivacea), another endemic subspecies. Swimming and snorkeling offer a great variety of Galapagos marine wildlife: king angelfish, Creole fish, damsel fish, parrotfish, manta rays, and white-tipped reef sharks.
PM - Suarez Point (Española)
Dry landing. An island of geological interest, we explore volcanic formations and a riveting wildlife: large sea lion colonies and seabirds including Española mockingbird, Nazca Boobies and the spectacular Red-billed Tropicbird. You will also encounter marine iguanas, lava lizards, and the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs.
A somewhat lengthy hike will bring you among Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies, right up to nesting grounds that sometimes overlap the trail. Other birding favorites include Galapagos Dove, Galapagos Hawk, Swallow-tailed Gulls and the world's largest colony of Waved Albatross, an unequivocal highlight during mating season (May-December).
Admire the island's dramatic backdrop, featuring the famous Soplador, a seaward blowhole that shoots water some 23 m. (75 ft.) in the air.
Day 3: AM - Post Office (Floreana)
Wet landing. Located on the north side of Floreana, the bay is so-named because in 1793 Captain James Colnett installed a wooden barrel which served as an informal post office for sailors passing through, who would take letters with them to their destinations. Today, our visitors continue the tradition by placing unstamped postcards inside the barrel that should reach their destinations for free. It can take weeks, months, even years, not arrive at all, or even arrive before you!
We may also encounter Darwin's finches, Yellow Warbler and lava lizards. Great snorkeling opportunities with Green Pacific Sea Turtles as well, this island is best known for its endemic vegetation: Scalesia villosa, Lecocarpus pinnatifidus, and Galapagos milkwort. Snorkelers can practice on the main beach among playful sea lions.
PM - Cormorant Point / Devil's Crown / Champion (Floreana)
Wet landing, on an olivine green sand beach. We hike from the black mangrove beds to a brackish lagoon, which usually holds one of the largest flamingo populations in the Galapagos. This island features some endemic plants such as Scalesia villosa, white and black mangrove, and holy stick. The trail continues to a beautiful white-sand beach, one of the most important nesting sites of Green Pacific Sea Turtles. It is important to avoid walking in the water due to the Sting Rays that may be hiding in the sand, which can be dangerous if accidentally stepped on. From the beach one can spot sea turtles, Blue-footed Boobies plunging into the water, and small reef sharks floating along the shoreline in search of food. This coral-sand beach marks the end of our trail, and we head back to the olivine beach we landed on to swim or snorkel amongst sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions and, on a good day, white-tipped reef sharks. A small colony of penguins resides on Floreana and can sometimes be observed as well.
Day 4: AM - Highlands (Santa Cruz)
Dry landing. A 45-minute bus ride will take us to the Santa Cruz highlands, located to the northwest of Puerto Ayora, where we will find a natural reserve with giant tortoises. These enormous and slow-moving reptiles are responsible for the island's name and therefore approaching them in their humid and forested abode is always an inspiring adventure. They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years. Additionally, travelers can walk inside surprising lava tubes.
PM - Fausto Llerena Breeding Center - Charles Darwin Station(Santa Cruz)
Dry landing. We visit the Station where the Galapagos giant tortoise breeding program takes place as part of our efforts to preserve the fragile Galapagos environment and where the famous Lonesome George (the last surviving specimen of his specie) lived for decades. Admire a prickly-pear cactus forest and variety Darwin's finches and other land birds. The Darwin Station also works providing environmental education to communities and schools within the islands, and to tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands. You will also have some free time to visit the town and shop for souvenirs.
Day 5: AM - Daphne
We circumnavigate the islet of Daphne, an eroded tuff cone formation that was created by successive volcanic activity, for an opportunity to see Darwin's finches, Blue-footed Boobies, Nazca Boobies, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Brown Noddies. Afterwards, you will go straight to the airport for return flight to Guayaquil or Quito.
Napo Wildlife Center
Napo Wildlife Center is the most luxurious lodge in Ecuador's Amazon and 100 % community owned. It is part of an environmental project, conserving 82 square miles of pristine lowland rainforest.
The lodge itself is beautiful with local architecture, hardwood floors and well considered amenities. Nearby blinds built at parrot clay licks bring the action to you, a 120-foot canopy tower deep in the forest allows you to experience the life above the forest floor, and the natural attractions are simply unmatched in Amazonian Ecuador.
Location and access: Napo Wildlife center is located in the Orellana province, two hours by canoe from Coca. To get to Napo Wildlife Center, guests fly by jet from Quito to the town of Coca (officially known as Francisco de Orellana) on the Napo River. After a short drive from the airport to the dock, we board a large, motorized, covered canoe for a scenic two-hour trip down the Napo River. Upon arriving at the entrance to the NWC Reserve, we switch to smaller, dugout canoes and are paddled up the blackwater creek to the lake and lodge (no motorized transport is allowed on the creek or lake so that wildlife isn't disturbed).
PREMIUM TOUR EXTENDED STAY - 5 DAYS, 4 NIGHTS
Most of the walks will take place on firm land forest. This pleasant activity will give us the opportunity to feel the forest floor. Here, the assembly of the forest, the sounds, scents, colors and sometimes wildlife activity, will amuse us. Long, short or medium length walks could be arranged and would depend on you. In all the the hikes, we will be accompanied by a native guide who will introduce to us the secrets of medicinal plants and their applications. And, if you interest is insects and frogs, we recommend the walks in the forest at night.
DAY 1: A rewarding 30 minute flight to Coca over the eastern Andes mountain range is the beginning of this amazing experience.
After landing, a short 5 minute drive to the port in the Napo River will take you onto a comfortable covered motor boat. Here we start a boat ride along the Napo for approximately 2 hours. Some aquatic birds can be spotted on the way. After arriving at Napo Wildlife Center's welcoming area, we take a magical and peaceful 1 hour dugout-canoe along a narrow creek that connects to the lake where the lodge is located. Great chances to spot wildlife, various species of monkeys as well as large birds like toucans, parrots or even macaws. Late afternoon arrival at the lodge. After dinner a short introductory walk and cayman observation in a paddle canoe are the last activities before a well deserved rest.
DAY 2: After a buffet breakfast, experience the life above the forest floor visiting the 36-meter canopy tower. This tower is located about 20 minutes from the lodge deep within the forest. Get a very good sample of the 567 species recorded so far, with a close look at colorful tanagers, macaws, toucans, flycatchers and even Spider or Howler Monkeys feeding themselves on the nearby trees. The canopy tower opens a whole new world to the guests of the Napo Wildlife Center. Return to the lodge for a typical Ecuadorian lunch. After lunch there are many options to choose from before you start the afternoon activity: swim in the lake with your guides, climb the dinning room tree tower for more birds, or just relax in your hammock. In the afternoon, hike through a marvelous terra- firme forest to discover the ecology and the role of plants in the complex world of the Tropical Rain-Forest: vines, ancient trees, bromeliads, orchids stand out in this impressive natural garden. After the hike, explore the surrounding creeks with possibilities of running into a Giant otter family. Dinner at 7:30pm.
DAY 3: This morning we visit the best parrot clay licks in Ecuador!!! Early start and paddle downstream on the Añangu creek as far as the welcome area. Then, take the motor boat for a 10 minute ride for a wonderful view of thousands of parrots such as Amazon-Mealy, blue-headed, orange –cheek, among others, landing on the earth to eat the clay. Later, back to the welcome area and a short hike to the parakeets' clay lick, where hundreds of cobalt-winged parakeets remain on the top of the trees searching for the best time to eat the salts, chemicals and minerals contained in the organic matter. Lunch in the welcome area. In the afternoon, visit the interpretation area to see the traditions of the ancestral Kichwa community of Añangu and share a traditional ceremony with the shaman. Back to the lodge late in the afternoon where you'll be welcomed back with a refreshing fresh juice. Dinner at 7:30pm.
DAY 4: This morning we hike along the Tiputini trail and its terra-firma forests and swamp forests, searching for more wildlife such as Golden-Mantled Tamarins, White-Faced capuchin monkey, two and three toed sloths, pigmy squirrels, carnivores and their tracks on the forest floor. Back to the lodge for lunch and a well deserved rest. In the afternoon paddle canoes will take you to explore deeper areas in the surrounding creeks with more possibilities of seeing unique wildlife. After dinner a video about the community and Napo Wildlife Center will be shared with you.
DAY 5: Early breakfast, and last excursion canoeing back to the Napo river, the creek may reveal new sights of Giant otters, Monk Saki monkeys, hoatzins, blackcapped donacobius or other birds. The motorized canoe will return you back to Coca, for the flight back to Quito.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a sample itinerary subject to change due to weather conditions, safety, and particular interests of guests and groups. Changes and additions are made in order to maximize wildlife viewing and wilderness enjoyment, cultural interaction with local people, and all possible time at the richest rain forest in Ecuador: the Yasuni National Park.
ROOMS & FACILITIES
The Main Hall
The central structure, or main hall, of Napo Wildlife Center, where meals are served, also offers several comfortable social areas, including a full-stocked bar, reading lounge where briefings may also be conducted and a 20-foot high observation tower that provides a 360-degree view of the surrounding wilderness. There is a short trail that runs behind this building, very popular for evening strolls where busy nocturnal creatures come to life. A combination of the main hall's location and the traditional openness of Kichwa architecture make it comfortable even during the heat of midday.
Napo Wildlife Center: The most luxurious lodge in Ecuador's Amazon:
- The lodge consists of 16 luxury cabañas and a large dining hall with a library and a well-stocked bar. - Attached to the bar is a 50-foot viewing tower from which you can see the Andes on a clear day! - The rooms are huge (over 450 sq. ft.), always clean, and include:
- One king-sized bed and one twin-sized bed (up to 3 people)
- Safety deposit box in each room
- Private bathrooms with on-demand hot water showers
- Private porches with lake views
- 24-hour electricity with plenty of lights and plenty of 120v outlets
- Ceiling fans and secure screens for plenty of bug-free ventilation
Comfort & Amenities
Napo Wildlife Center was built on a particularly privileged lakeside location, providing a refreshing breeze, wonderful scenic views as well as a relatively bug-free environment. The main hall and all cabins are equipped with high electric ceiling fans (cabins also with high quality screens).
Hybrid systems, solar panels, state-of-the-art batteries and noiseless diesel engines provide 24-hour electricity and plenty of 110-volt outlets in cabins and the main hall, with also the possibility of 220-volts in certain areas of the lodge. Feel free to ask the administration if you need these.
We utilize the lake's water for the bathrooms at the Lodge. The water is clean and safe for use, as it undergoes a wetland wastewater treatment system of the highest caliber to avoid lake pollution. Drinkable water is always available in big plastic containers so you can refill your own bottles. The idea is to use the least amount of plastic possible. Hot water is available at all times.
Our 24-hour library offers a wide variety of books from Natural history, biology, conservation, literature as well as magazines and scientific reports. We suggest not to take books to your rooms so all guests have the opportunity to enjoy them.
You have the possibility of shopping for souvenirs, as well as personal care items and useful accessories at the lodge boutique. Handicrafts are also sold at the interpretation center's gift shop located at the first clay lick.
Internet service is always available at the lodge at a reasonable price for guests use at anytime. This will be added to your bill.
The Napo Wildlife Center has a two-way radio (vhf and hf) that connects the Lodge, our office in Quito, our office in Coca and all the facilities. Mobile service can sometimes reach Añangu.
We provide first aid kits for eventualities during excursions; our excursion leaders have basic medical training to help in case of an emergency.Logbook
Register your rare or uncommon sightings together with your naturalist guides, so future guests can appreciate the wide biodiversity of the Amazon.
For vegetarian or special diet requests, please contact the lodge manager; anything can be arranged.
In your room you will find a white bag and form to be filled out. A reasonably priced laundry service will be added to your bar bill.
Price per person in double room: $1,300.00
The Price includes:
- All the meals while at Napo Wildlife Center
- Transportation from the airport in Coca to Napo Wildlife Center and vice versa
- All excursions with a native guide and a bilingual naturalist guide
- Entrance fee to the Yasuni National Park
- Rain ponchos
- Rubber boots
The price does not include:
- Flight Quito - Coca - Quito (approximately $ 170 per person)
- Personal expenses