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Galapagos Islands Retreat


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Galapagos Islands Retreat

APRIL 12-17, 2019

OVERVIEW

Our Galapagos Islands retreat is a bucket list outdoor adventure that will sweep you away on an unforgettable journey. 

Glide across crystal clear water with dolphins, sea lions and seals by paddleboard, exploring beautiful bays, coastlines and remote sandy beaches - home to fascinating Galapagos wildlife such as sea turtles and marine iguanas.

Beginner to experienced paddlers will soak in the sights while honing their paddling skills with the help of your expert instructors and retreat hosts: Carleen Birnes of Mantra Fit and Jessie Benson of B'More SUP.

We've partnered with experienced naturalist guides who will lead us on hikes up volcanos, bike rides down from the highlands and through nature reserves where the giant tortoises and marina iguanas prosper.

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SOAK IT IN

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

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

 

Itinerary

DAY 1

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!

DAY 2

Visit Charles Darwin Research Station, Visit Tortoises in the Highlands, Public Boat to Isabela

Breakfast and Lunch provided

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.

DAY 3

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. 

DAY 4

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 - hoep for clear skies to get some good 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.

 

DAY 5

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!

DAY 6

Optional Morning SUP, Depart San Cristóbal for Guayaquil or Quito

Breakfast provided

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 sourveniers, 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 sup
galapagos islands stand up paddle

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS RETREAT PRICE: $4199 PER PERSON

WHAT'S INCLUDED

  • 5 nights of hotel stays (Apr 12-17)
  • Flights between Quito and the Galapagos
  • All Land, Air and Sea Transport in Galapagos
  • Naturalist guide
  • 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
  • Drinking water

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
  • Drinks other than water
  • Tip for tour guide

TRAVEL NOTES 

  • Make plans to arrive in Quito, Equador on April 11 so our adventure posse can take the first flight out to the Galapagos on the 12th. 
  • Flight and Quito hotel recommendations will be posted soon.

Email interest and questions to carleen@mantrafit.com. 

Earlier Event: August 30
Community Yoga Class Schedule