Galapagos Islands Retreat
APRIL 12-17, 2019
This spring, we invite you to join us on an unforgettable journey to the tropical Galapagos Islands.
Experience the joy of paddling with dolphins and sea turtles across crystal clear water, exploring remote coastlines and sandy beaches, where iguanas like to sunbathe with the blue-footed boobies.
Your retreat hosts, Carleen Birnes (Mantra Fit) and Jessie Benson (FloYo), have crafted a retreat that will immerse you in nature's beauty and wonder, helping you shed life's daily stressors with fellow travelers who share your love of exploration, movement and mindfulness.
When we arrive to the islands, our naturalist guides share all their insider knowledge, leading us on hikes up volcanoes, bike rides down from the highlands, and walks through nature reserves where the giant tortoises and marine iguanas live.
The Galapagos are said to leave an imprint on your soul. Restoring a sense of calm and belonging that carries with you - for a lifetime. Its power resides in its rustic, natural beauty that only few get to experience so intimately. We hope it will be you.
Continue scrolling to learn more about the adventures we have in store.
Embrace the Journey
~ Carleen & Jessie
SUP along coastlines and sheltered bays with dolphins, sea lions and sea turtles
See the famous giant tortoises in their natural habitat
Snorkel at the famous Kicker Rock and at Tintoreras
Stay on three inhabited islands of the Galapagos
Hike up an active volcano and across lava fields
Mingle with the locals and experience Galapagueno hospitality
Arrive Santa Cruz, SUP at Tortuga Bay or Devine Bay
Lunch and Dinner provided
We have arrived!! We'll head to Tortuga Bay or Devine Bay, depending on sea conditions. Tortuga Bay has a sheltered area where you can paddle along some mangroves, looking for sea turtles or even baby sharks! Devine Bay offers a fun paddle across some mangrove and prickly pear areas where marine iguanas are plentiful. There is even a small shipwreck to discover. Don’t forget your waterproof cameras to capture all the wildlife who will join us on our SUP excursions!
After returning from our paddle adventure, our guide will lead us to the Calle de los Kioskos (Kiosks Street). This little back street is is bustling each night with outdoor dining offering fresh local cuisine from small stall restaurants. You'll be eating side by side with the locals!
Visit Charles Darwin Research Station, Visit Tortoises in the Highlands, Public Boat to Isabela
Breakfast and Lunch provided
SOAK IT IN
Wake up to a restorative sunrise yoga flow and then head to the edge of town for a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. We’ll learn about their efforts to repopulate the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. From the collection of the eggs to the age of release, we’ll observe how the giant tortoises are raised and readied for life on their own. Lonesome George, the famous tortoise that died in 2012 is also found here in a special climate controlled room.
Then we head up to the highlands to see these gentle giant creatures in the wild, stopping at a private giant tortoise reserve. You’ll be able to see these massive creatures in their natural habitat cooling off in a watering hole or munching away on tasty greens. You’ll also have the chance to explore lava tunnels and gain a better appreciation of the natural forces that created these islands.
After an energizing lunch in the highlands, we’ll hop on board for our boat ride to Isabela Island – the largest island in the Archipelago. The ride can take 2-3 hours, and sometimes we will spot whales and playful dolphins along the way. After arrival and check-in, go for a stroll through the picturesque town of Puerto Villamil. Along its white sand beach, we’re sure to find the perfect spot to toast in our first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.
Hike Sierra Negra Volcano, SUP Isabela Bay Optional SUP Surfing
Breakfast and Lunch provided
Lace up your hiking boots – we’re hiking up a volcano! Sierra Negra is one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos; its last eruption was in October 2005. As we hike to the perimeter of the caldera, we’ll be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands like the bright red Vermillion Flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Once we reach the rim, we’ll be met with a 9km view that stretches across one of the most active calderas in the world.
We’ll continue around the rim, stopping at various lookouts along the way. Volcano vents dot the landscape and colorful minerals can be found in some lava rocks. Both “aa” and “pahoehoe” lava flows have occurred here, creating an otherworldly-looking landscape. We’ll cross fields of lava and small lava tunnels until we reach a lookout that boasts breathtaking views across the island.
A picnic lunch is typically enjoyed on the volcano at a special lunch stop, after we successfully make it to the crater. As we rest up and prepare our descent, start thinking about what kind of SUP adventure you want this afternoon.
As we paddle in and around isabela Bay, we'll discover Galapagos penguins (the only penguin found north of the equator), sea turtles and rays, who frequent these shallow waters. Also keep an eye out for Blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and pelicans resting along the shore and in nearby mangrove trees.
If you're feeling the stoke, you can head down the beach a bit further to try some SUP surfing.
You also have the option to rent a bike and head to the Wall of Tears.
Then return to town just in time for a sunset dip before your independent dinner.
Walk and Snorkel at Tintoreras, Fly to San Cristobal, Bike to La Loberia
Breakfast and Lunch provided
After breakfast, prepare yourself for more marine iguanas than you can imagine! A hike at Tintoreras takes us along some marine iguana breeding areas. You will likely see many juveniles plus some very big, colorful males. The lava landscape here is also quite interesting. Depending on tides, the Tintoreras excursion includes a snorkel before or after the hike. Colorful fish, sea birds, and perhaps some sleeping sharks may be seen. Sea stars, octopus and many other creatures are in this area too!
In the afternoon, after we’re dried off and have had lunch, an inter-island flight takes us to San Cristobal, the oldest and eastern-most island of the Galapagos archipelago. The flight takes about 20-30 minutes - when skies are clear, you can capture amazing photos of the islands below!
The airport in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is only a 5 minute drive from town, so it is a quick and easy transfer to your hotel. After all the hiking and paddling, let’s try something different this afternoon - biking! We start from a look out in the highlands and cycle down, at a leisurely pace, to La “Loberia”. This is an area frequented by sea lions. There we’ll be able to watch sea lions sunbathing and vying for our attention. They play, they nap and sometimes, they pose for pictures! If you’re keen for a swim, hop on in.
On the way back to town, your guide will point out their favorite spots to dine.
SUP to Tijeretas, Snorkel at Kicker Rock, SUP along Coast, Optional Visit to Interpretation Center
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner provided
Time to get back on your SUP and enjoy a longer cruise along the coast, passing beaches and cliffs. Our destination is Darwin Bay, where Charles Darwin made his first landing in the Galapagos! Rising high above the bay is Tijeretas, or Frigatebird Hill. Many frigate birds nest here, as do some other birds such as boobies. It is also a popular place for sea lions and marine iguanas to be seen swimming around. Soak up the wildlife, maybe jump in for a swim, and then get ready for Kicker Rock.
Leon Dormido as it’s known by the locals, is the remains of a volcanic tuff cone rising over 143 meters out of the ocean. If Kicker Rock were a building, it would have almost 50 floors! Snorkeling along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation, we’ll be on the hunt for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, and, with any luck, a Galapagos Shark or two. Don’t worry: they won’t be as interested in you as you are in them!
After what is surely to be a thrilling snorkel, we head back towards the coast by boat. There are a few beaches and bays that we like to explore, and today we’ll check them out on our SUPs! Perhaps there will be some easy waves to surf, or maybe there will be some sea lions waiting for us. Play along beautiful white sandy beaches - a great way to finish off our final water activity of this tour! We'll enjoy lunch on the boat (no food is allowed to be brought on land), before we head back to town.
Late afternoon, we'll explore town. You can visit the Interpretation Center on your own and learn about the history and mystery of the archipelago. This educational center explains how the islands were discovered and what makes them so special. You can learn about Charles Darwin’s visit and the present day efforts to protect this amazing World Heritage site. There’s a short hike up to Tijeretas as well, so we can look down on the bay where you visited by SUP in the morning!
Tonight, we head to one of our favorite spots for some dining. It’ll be a well-deserved farewell feast as this is the last night in the Enchanted Islands!
Optional Morning SUP, Depart San Cristóbal for Guayaquil or Quito
On your last day, you get to choose how you’d like to spend your morning. Get in a good sunrise beach bootcamp workout, shop for souveniers, go for a swim, or grab your board for a final paddle with sea lions. Then fly back to the mainland, and head home with a head full of memories, heart filled with peace and new found connection to our beautiful world and all its living creatures.
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS RETREAT PRICE: $4199 PER PERSON
5 nights of hotel stays (Apr 12-17)
Flights between Quito and the Galapagos
All Land, Air and Sea Transport in Galapagos
Stand up paddle instruction
Yoga and beach bootcamp classes
SUP, bike and snorkel gear for included activities
All activity fees
Tips for local support crew
WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED
Flights to and from Ecuador
Hotel and meals on April 11
$100 park entry fee - cash only
$20 ingala fee - cash only
Meals not specified in Itinerary
Tip for tour guide
Make plans to arrive in GYE or Quito, Equador on April 11 so our adventure posse can take the first flight out to the Galapagos on the 12th.
Flight and April 11 hotel recommendations will be emailed direct.
$500 NON REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT DUE UPON SIGN UP (Four Spots Available)
$1850 NON REFUNDABLE PAYMENT DUE NOV 15
$1849 REMAINING BALANCE DUE FEB 1
Check made out to FloYo, mailed to 4018 Cloverland Drive, Phoneix, MD 21131
PayPal (Friends and Family Option only) firstname.lastname@example.org