The Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel (on Santa Cruz Island) has joined forces with Scalesia Galapagos Lodge (on Isabela Island) to offer a week-long program in the Galapagos, including inter-island flights, day trips to Galapagos National Park aboard a private yacht, “glamping” in the highlands of Isabela Island, and visits to remote and mysterious places that illustrate the incredible diversity of the archipelago. Highlights include: touring Quito's Old City, glamping in safari camp-style tents, snorkeling with sea turtles and other marine wildlife, hiking active volcanoes, visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station and tortoise breeding facility, and exploring various islands by motor yacht. For more information, visit Scalesia Galapagos Lodge. Prices for the 8-day/7-night tour start at $5,751 USD per person.The tour begins in Quito, Ecuador’s charming Andean capital, where guests will spend a night in an ornate Renaissance-inspired mansion in the heart of the Old City. Next, travel by air to Isabela Island, taking in the breathtaking scenery from a twin engine light aircraft, before ascending into the highland forests that envelop modern safari-style tents at Scalesia Galapagos Lodge. Nearby volcanic islands of twisted lava and sparkling sandy coves await exploration, with daily excursions from the lodge to encounter the graceful marine creatures and trusting wildlife that make the archipelago so unique. The tour finishes off at the stylish Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, located on a tranquil beach within easy reach of the region’s oldest and most beautiful islets.
The best time to visit the Galápagos Islands is from December to May. Though the Galápagos is beautiful year-round, these months offer temperatures ranging from the low 70s to mid-80s, making pleasant conditions for hiking and wildlife-spotting.
Day 1 - Private transfer to a luxurious boutique hotel in the main square of Quito's Old City. Casa Gangotena is a restored Renaissance-inspired mansion, with ornate neo-classical furnishings and spacious rooms. Relax in the terrace bar or the quaint patio garden, sample delicious food in the small restaurant and enjoy the complimentary cultural activities on offer.
Day 2 - Journey to Isabela Island on a twin engine light aircraft. Enveloped in wild forests, the Scalesia Galapagos Lodge features an ultra-contemporary glass-fronted main building housing the restaurant and lounge areas. Stay in one of the 16 safari camp-style tents, fully-equipped with a king-sized bed and modern facilities. Soak in the easy-going atmosphere and choose from an astounding range of excursions and activities on offer, including hikes, volcano visits and snorkeling trips as well as wildlife-spotting.
Day 3/4 - Choose from a wide range of excursions on offer at Scalesia Lodge, with different activities scheduled each day. Visit the white tip reef sharks and penguins of islet Tontoreras, or the thriving mangroves, natural pools and solitary beaches of Los Humedales, frequented by magenta-hued flamingos. One of the best snorkeling destinations is Los Tuneles, a marine paradise where lava flows have produced many arches and tunnels both under and above water.
Day 5 - Transfer across the Itabaca channel to Santa Cruz, the most populated island in the Galápagos. Drive up into the rugged highland forests to reach the twin volcanic craters Los Gemelos. At 600m above sea level, these volcanic sinkholes are home to many Darwin’s finches. Finch Bay overlooks the lush greenery and glittering waters of Punta Estrada.
Day 6 - Join highly-qualified naturalist guides for a day of exploring nearby islands on Finch Bay’s own motor yacht. The island you visit will depend on the day of the week. In the evening you have the option to dine al fresco, enjoying a 3-course meal set up especially for you on the beach.
Day 7 - Divine Bay is a tranquil haven for wildlife, protected from ocean swells by natural volcanic reefs on one side and a gallery of mangrove trees on the other. Hundreds of herons cross the bay each morning and return at sunset, while noddy terns and blue-footed boobies perch along the cliffs. Snorkel in the inviting waters of the cove, where sea turtles graze on seaweed, hundreds of reef fish species swim about the lava crevices, and young reef sharks and rays employ the brackish streams as havens from large predators while they mature.
Day 8 - Head home