This will be Ocean View’s biggest trip to date, it will be a 2 week trip with 7 days aboard the highest spec liveaboard in the Galapagos followed by 4 days at the Red Mangrove resort for an all inclusive stay. It is not cheap as the liveaboard alone is over £4000 (without flights), if you are interested please read on, we only have 16 spaces.
We have managed to negotiate the whole package including flights, all of our diving including diving permit, and all of the Galapagos tours for £6000, I told you it wasn’t cheap, but if you want to go on a trip like this, then this is what you have to pay. We have recently been quoted £7500 for this same trip!!
The trip will be leaving on 14th April 2017.
So what is in store?
Gently swept by the waters of three major oceanic currents, the Galapagos Islands provide a stunning range of extraordinary encounters for live-aboard divers.
Schooling hammerheads, giant whale sharks, rays of all shapes and colours, turtles, huge schools of fish, Galapagos fur seals, and astounding marine life diversity are just some of the riveting attractions of Galapagos liveaboard diving – a destination many divers feel is “the best in the world”.
This is where your adventure begins!
Sunday (Embarkation day):
• Isla Lobos – Check out dive
When you arrive at the airport at San Cristobal on Sunday the crew of the Galapagos Sky will personally meet you, collect your luggage, and escort you to the Galapagos Sky. Your luggage will be delivered to the dive deck for you. After everyone is on board, you will be introduced to the boat and do the mandatory safety briefings and drill.
Then, you will cruise to the area of Los Lobos for your check-out dive.
This will be your first underwater introduction to Galapagos sea lions and fur seals! Watch them zoom in and out and dance playfully for you!
Even on the first day of your live-aboard cruise – you begin to see the myriad and diverse land formations which comprise the Galapagos Islands topside. It is then you realize you will see nothing like it in your lifetime.
• Bartolome Land walk
• Cousins 2 dives
Bartolome is a lovely area where you enjoy a favourite land tour where you can climb to the top of the hill to see breath taking views abound. Conditions permitting, snorkeling with penguins will be allowed.
Cousins Rocks- this dive is an itinerary favourite and is done along a beautiful wall and allows for great viewing opportunities for corals, frog fish, sea horses, scorpion fish and octopus. It is also a great dive for large schools of barracuda and also hammerhead shark sightings. Sea lions will be your companions upon entry and on the safety stops.
By definition, the entire Galapagos Archipelago is geographically remote, after this day of your live-aboard cruise you head toward the most isolated, northernmost part of the Galapagos Islands – the uninhabited, untouched, twin cathedrals of world class diving – Wolf and Darwin Islands.
You will spend the next three days diving (up to four dives per day plus a night dive) the legendary islands of Wolf & Darwin.
• Tues-4 Dives at Wolf plus a night dive
• Wed- 4 dives at Darwin
• Thurs-3 Dives total, 2 at Darwin and 1 afternoon dive at Wolf before the transit back to central islands.
Diving Wolf and Darwin
Most experienced divers will agree, Wolf and Darwin can provide some of the best diving encounters in the world!
Darwin Island: Considered by many divers as the very best dive site in the world, The Arch at Darwin island honours its reputation. It is warmer by a few degrees than the central islands. In one single dive you can find hammerhead sharks, individuals, or small groups, or in large schools, Galapagos sharks, large pods of dolphins, thick schools of skipjack and yellow fin tuna, big eye jacks, mobula rays, and silky sharks. The presence of occasional tiger sharks, black and blue marlin, and killer whales adds on to this amazing diving experience. If you still have time to look for smaller stuff, you’ll find octopus, flounders, and an enormous variety and abundance of tropical fish. Darwin Island is the biggest jewel in the Galapagos Crown.
Wolf Island: One of those magical islands, with several dive sites to choose from. If you want to see sharks, you are at the right spot. This is the place for schooling hammerhead sharks, large aggregations of Galapagos sharks, and occasionally whale sharks. Seeing dolphins, large schools of tuna, spotted eagle rays, barracudas, sea lions and sea turtles is common. The bottom is an abundance of hundreds of moray eels, many of them free swimming. Being several degrees warmer than the central islands, you can look for many representatives of the Indo-Pacific underwater fauna. On a night dive here you will also enjoy spotting and watching the red lipped bat fish walk along the bottom of the sea!
Once you see Wolf and Darwin you will immediately understand why there are no shore excursions on this part of the trip – there is no way up the vertical cliffs!
• Cabo Douglas 1 dive – Marine iguana dive
• Punta Vicente Roca up to 2 dives.
At Cape (Cabo) Douglas, on the western side of Fernandina Island, we will do 1 dive Friday morning. Here you can expect to see Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, sea lions, seahorse, sea turtles, horn sharks, red lipped batfish, and occasional hammerhead sharks and white tip sharks. Also keep an eye out for chevron barracuda, snappers, yellow fin tuna, rainbow runners, and wahoo. There are also a lot of smaller fish like creole fish, parrot fish, scrawled filefish, pacific box fish, and tiger snake eels.
This day we also visit Punta Vincente Roca for up to 2 dives. Our coolest rapidly increasing favourite dive – steep, deep vertical wall covered in soft coral, sponges, and endemic black coral. Regular sightings of mola mola (oceanic sun fish,) sea horses, bullhead sharks, red lipped bat fish, various shrimp and many other marine invertebrates. Keep your eyes open for underwater “fly-bys” from the flightless Galapagos cormorants, penguins and maybe even a marine iguana. If time permits, our after-dive panga ride offers great topside photo ops for penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, sea lions, blue footed & nazca booby birds, magnificent frigates and noddy terns. The diving here is chilly, particularly below the thermocline – but not to be missed!
• Northeast tip of Isla Pinzon/Islote Dumb- 1 dive
• Puerto Ayora/Highlands tour
Isla Pinzon – While diving Isla Pinzon you will be provided with opportunities for encounters with a variety of species of sharks, sea lions, mantas, eagle rays, and moray eels. Many species of fish can be encountered including yellow tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, moorish idols, steel pompanos, snappers, grunts, creole fish, and barracuda.
The Red Mangrove Resort
We will then disembark the Galapagos Sky for our shore based part of the trip to The Red Mangrove Resort.
Your Galapagos All-Inclusive Adventure continues at this amazing resort. Red Mangrove will take care of everything including your excursions, accommodation, and all of your meals.
What Your Galapagos All-Inclusive Adventure Includes
You will be served three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and evening meal, from either a fixed menu, buffet, or à la carte. Soft drinks are included with your meals.
On this part of our Galapagos adventure, we will be choosing from activities that are subject to the daily scheduled tours of Red Mangrove:
Santa Cruz Island Activities
Santa Cruz Highlands | Tortuga Bay | Kayak and Snorkeling
Garrapatero Beach | Charles Darwin Research Center
Isabela Island Activities
Sierra Negra Volcano | Tintoreras | Los Tuneles | Wetlands
Shorter activities: Flamingo Lagoon, snorkeling at Concha Perla,
and Galapagos National Park Isabela breeding station.
Excursions are scheduled by the Red Mangrove staff and are subject to availability.
During a daily excursion, you will combine visits to two of the activities listed below. On Isabela Island, the main activities take longer than a half day, for which reason they are combined with a shorter activity (see details below). Please remember that on arrival / departure days and on days you travel between islands you will not be able to do two activities.
Below are the details for each of the above activities:
Santa Cruz Highlands
(Santa Cruz Island)
This adventure starts with a trip to “Los Gemelos” (The Twin Craters). These are two enormous collapsed lava chambers, a wonderful introduction to the majestic power of the forces of nature and the great biodiversity in the highlands of Santa Cruz. A short, easy hike will take you to Los Gemelos. They are surrounded by endemic flora and fauna (including a Scalesia Forest) where you might spot some Darwin finches or perhaps the short eared owl.
Later you will take a short ride to a 600-acre private reserve where the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze, and sleep. Sometimes it is a bit muddy here, so make sure you wear good shoes. Rubber boots are provided.
After visiting these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat, you will enter an illuminated lava tunnel where you will have the incredible opportunity to observe lava formations; lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur and mineral-colored walls.
Tortuga Bay (Santa Cruz Island)
Our escorted tour to Tortuga Bay includes a walk to Tortuga Bay through a path that merges with a giant Opuntia and Candelabra cactus forest. These are home to numerous Darwin finches, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, lava lizards and many more of the Galapagos endemic and native species.
As you enter this white sandy beach, you will have a chance to observe different marine species, like sting rays and baby reef sharks in the shallow waters of the mangroves.
After some swimming you take a very short hike to the marine iguana nesting site. The walk back is through a prickly pear forest carpeted in crimson sesuvium with black lava outcroppings home to more marine iguana colonies. A short boat ride brings you back to your lodge.
Kayak and Snorkelling
(Santa Cruz Island)
Before the start of your kayak adventure you will receive instructions on the basic techniques, a certified kayak specialist will join the tour to guarantee an outstanding and safe activity.
Even if you have never been in a kayak before, you will be paddling through the azure blue waters in no time. It is amazing to observe marine iguanas, sea lions and shorebirds from the water and to be able to look at them closely.
After kayaking you will have time to go snorkeling, with high chances to see sea lions, green sea turtles and countless schools of tropical fish!
(Santa Cruz Island)
During this escorted tour, you first leave for a 40 minute bus ride. Garrapatero Beach is located east of the small village of Bellavista in a natural, uninhabited area. The bus will take you to the spot from where an easy trail will lead you to the beautiful Garrapatero Beach in around 15 minutes.
This 3 kilometer white sandy beach is known as the best place to relax and enjoy the wonderful surroundings. It is common to find finches here, migratory birds and occasionally marine iguanas.
Charles Darwin Research Center
(Santa Cruz Island)
During our escorted tour to the famous Charles Darwin Research Center you learn more about the theories of Darwin and the evolution of the animals to be found on the islands. You will visit the interpretation center and the Fausto Llerena giant tortoise breeding center, which is well-known because of Lonesome George, who was the oldest and last giant tortoise of La Pinta Island.
Sierra Negra Volcano (Isabela Island)
You will depart in the morning after an early breakfast. Through the humid highlands of Isabela you are taken to the slopes of the Sierra Negra, considered the oldest volcano on Isabela Island. The hike to the caldera (crater) will take about an hour. If weather allows, you will enjoy breathtaking views.
The crater is the second largest in the world (after Ngorongoro in Tanzania) and measures over 10 km from one side to the other. In 2005 the volcano erupted on the north-east side of the crater, an eruption that lasted a week. The lava flows covered much of the interior of the crater and in some places rose over two meters. After hiking the border of the caldera for approximately 5 kilometers, you get to rest and have a snack under a Jaboncillo tree.
For the hardiest of the group, there is the option to continue hiking to Volcan Chico. This is located north-west of the Sierra Negra crater, where fumarole activity is abundant, and again, views are spectacular. This is not an easy hike however, as you will walk mostly over sloping lava fields. Good shoes are necessary. Remember: when walking down the lava field, you will need to return the same way back up!
Tintoreras (Isabela Island)
The Tintoreras tour can take place in the morning or in the afternoon. You are taken to the main dock to board a small boat, which will take you to the Tintoreras visitors site. On the way, you slow down to see blue-footed boobies and Galapagos penguins, sharing the same rocky sunbathing spaces.
An intriguing walk through a jagged lava field, passing abundant colonies of nesting marine iguanas and sea lions, will bring you to a canal with shallow water, where the Tintoreras (or white-tipped reef sharks) are resting. The views from here are something you will take with you for the rest of your life!
The black lava fields, the emerald green sea, the green mangroves, and the cloud-capped volcanoes of Isabela, create an afternoon backdrop you will never forget.
At the end of the walk, you can snorkel in the shallow bay, surrounded by mangroves, where you might see the white-tipped reef sharks, but also sea lions, sea turtles, and the mystery of the mangroves below the surface.
Los Tuneles (Isabela Island)
You depart for a 45 minute boatride to Los Tuneles (or tunnels) in the morning. Along the ride you will enjoy seeing beautiful Galapagos wildlife, including giant mantas rays and sea turtles.
You will make a short stop at Roca Union where you will be able to see masked boobies, blue footed boobies, marine iguanas, sea lions and occasionally fur seals.
Los Tuneles is a breathtaking site formed by lava arches on the water like labyrinths.
Enjoy a panga ride along this site and experience close encounters with many species of fish, rays, sea turtles and perhaps the Galapagos penguins whilst snorkelling. You will continue to discover this labyrinth of lava arches during a second snorkel experience.
Only here in Galapagos, will you have the chance to snorkel with penguins and sea lions in the same spot!
(This activity and time schedule may change according to sea conditions).
Wetlands (Isabela Island)
You are taken on a ride to the town of Puerto Villamil to enjoy the simplicity of this traditional island. During the visit to the Galapagos National Park Isabela breeding station, you will be able to get to know the different specifies of Galapagos tortoises and see the growing process from newborns up to centenary individuals, before leaving on a walk of around 45 minutes along a beautiful boardwalk.
Here in the Isabela Wetlands you have great opportunities to see flamingos and other stunning seabirds. Before returning to your lodge you will visit the well-known Playa del Amor (Beach of Love) and enjoy the magical feeling of this sand beach surrounded by mangroves.
Ready to get started? Reserve your place on this amazing Galapagos all-inclusive adventure now!
A deposit of £500 will be required to reserve your space, then in June 2016 we will need to pay for the flights so a further payment of £1000 will be needed with the final balance required by December 1st 2016.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your space, remember there are only 16 spaces available!