The Galapagos Wilderness Experience for Students
Varies – available all year.
Easy Physical Activity. Must Know How to Swim.
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Discover the Galapagos Islands on an journey that will get you up close to amazing animals and habitats of this archipelago through outdoor adventure & science.
- Visit 4 different islands in the archipelago to learn about how species have adapted to survive in these extreme environments.
- Hike trails through other-worldly habitats like the Scalesia Forest, these trees are giant Daisies, and they are so abundant in the highlands, they have an eco-zone named after them.
- Snorkel a variety of sites on different islands with amazing marine life like schools of fish, sea turtles, marine iguanas, white tipped reef sharks, sea lions, and possibly manta rays or penguins.
- See giant Galapagos Tortoises in their nature habitat.
- See a variety of bird species like Blue-footed Boobies, Magnificent Frigate Birds, Flamingos, and all of the species of finches Darwin researched to help him write Origin of Species.
- Guided city tour of the historic district of Quito to learn about the architecture, culture, and history of the city.
- Visit the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) exhibit and participate in science experiments that can only be done at the Equator.
Santa Cruz Island
Your Tour Guide
Trip Facilitator / CEO Green Edventures Tours
Tara is the Founder & CEO of Green Edventures Tours. She has 20 years of experience curating and facilitating educational adventures in the Americas, the Caribbean, Africa, and Iceland. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in Natural Resource Management with an emphasis in Environmental Education/Interpretation. Tara has worked for notable educational, scientific, and conservation organizations and institutions such as the John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry, USDA Forest Service in the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, and Wild Studies in the Bahamas. Tara is a PADI Open Water Diver, Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver and has specialty certifications as Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver, Multi-Level diver and Night Diver. She holds current Wilderness First Aid & CPR Certifications.
►Day 1: Travel to Ecuador
Fly to Quito, Ecuador. Groups will arrive late at night and participants should have dinner at the airport on the way to Ecuador. Overnight at Hotel San Jose Puembo, or similar.
►Day 2: Travel from Quito to the Galapagos
Introduction to Galapagos, Geology in the Islands and Origin of the Species. Highland Ecosystems.
Fly from Quito,Ecuador to the Galapagos National Park. After landing in Baltra we will transfer to Santa Cruz via the Itabaca Canal to our bus waiting on the other side. As we journey to camp, students are introduced to the Highlands. As we leave the lowland desert and climb in elevation, we will experience the changes of vegetation. On top of the road we will stop to visit two sink holes, part of the geomorphological decline of the volcano. There we will walk through the Scalesia Forest. Afterwards we will visit El Chato, the tortoise sanctuary where tortoises roam freely in their native habitat. The sanctuary also has an underground lava tube to explore. Dinner at Pajaro Brujo followed by an evening presentation and Lesson #1. (B, L, D)
►Day 3: Charles Darwin Research Station & Tortuga Bay Marine Iguanas
The men in the Island, Colonization of Santa Cruz. Evidence of Evolution through tortoises.
Today we will the Charles Darwin Research Station and the home of the giant tortoise breeding center, opened in 1964 and the only place where we can see Saddle Back Giant Tortoises.
Then we will walk through the arid zone with its giant cacti ending up at Tortuga Bay, a white sand beach where sea turtle nest, marine iguanas sun bathe and shore birds feed. The group will enjoy a boxed lunch on this beautiful beach then learn to snorkel in a large tidal pool. Many invertebrates like octopuses can be found here and it will be an opportunity to snorkel with swimming Marine Iguanas.
Pizza dinner is in town at the Hernan Cafe followed by some free time to explore. Return to Pajaro Brujo about 7pm. Evening presentation followed by Lesson #2. (B,L, D)
►Day 4: Day Trip to Bartolome Island
Galapagos Geology, Species Adapted Extreme Ecosystems.
An early departure (6:00am) will take us back to the Itabaca Channel where we will board our day trip catamaran. We will then motor to the island of Bartolome off James island. Bartolome named by captain Fitzray has been called the open book of geology of the archipelago. A walk inland will take us to a famous viewpoint while we walk along crater lava tubes and different formations. In our return we’ll snorkel schools of reef fish and if we are lucky, with Galapagos Penguins. We will have breakfast and lunch on board and will be getting back to our camp late afternoon for dinner at Pajaro Brujo. 7:00pm Lesson #3. (B,L, D)
►Day 5: Day Trip to North Seymour & Snorkeling in Itabaca Channel
Seymour was created many million years ago due to the elevation of tectonic plates and the island has a flat shape with many small cliffs that serve as home for the local seabirds. Swallow-tailed gulls and frigate birds overfly the island, frigate males showing their big red throat pouches to find their mate. Meanwhile along the path, many blue footed boobies will be nesting or executing their mating ritual in which they dance and whistle in a very unique way. It is also common to see these birds flying near the coasts looking for food and dive into the water at high speed, a stunt that they are only able to perform due to a special waterproof protection on their wings. Seymour is probably the island which best displays the popular Galapagos species, as you will also be able to see sea lions, sea and land iguanas, pelicans, royal frigate birds and many others.
Afterwards the trip continues to Punta Carrion where lunch is served on board the ship. This is a great spot to snorkel and swim among rays, white tip sharks and hundreds of colorful tropic fish. Return to Parjaro Brujo for dinner. Lesson #4 before free-time. (B,L, D)
►Day 6: Transfer to Isabela Island
Volcanism and Species Adaptations to an Active Volcano.
After a two-hour speed boat ride, we will arrive to Puerto Villamil in the south of Isabela, the largest island of the archipelago. This island might be your favorite for its diversity, but we will let you decide. After the check in at Campo Duro our camp site, we will be taken to the base of Sierra Negra Volcano for a 10 mile hike along the Caldera, one the largest craters in the world. The path will bring us to Chico volcano, a recent eruption site where fumaroles and Sulphur crystals appear on the young volcanic cones on the way we will experience the changes brought by lava flows of different ages. Return to camp about 5pm. Dinner followed by a presentation and Lesson #5. (B,L, D)
►Day 7: Las Tintoreras Snorkeling & Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center
Isabela’s biodiversity. Evidence of Evolution, Tortoises in Isabela.
Embark on a short navigation to Las Tintoreras, a chain of small islets located in the south of Puerto Villamil, Isabela. This bio diverse site is home to the white-tipped sharks (Tintoreras), sea lions, marine turtle, iguanas, manta rays, and more. Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, pelicans, and Galapagos Penguins can all be found in this site. It is also one of main breeding sites for marine iguanas, and a great spot to get a close-up with them. After a hike around the islet, get back on the boat and cool off by snorkeling in the waters nearby. Swimming next to multicolor fish, starfish, sea urchins, and with luck stingrays, sharks, and sea lions is a major highlight in this adventure.
After lunch in town, we will explore the mangroves and lagoons with flocks of American Flamingos, Black Neck Stilts, White Cheeks Pintail ducks and Black Gallinules. From there we will walk to the Giant Tortoise breeding center where we will see the tortoise populations from the volcanoes of southern Isabela. Return to Campo Duro for dinner, followed by Lesson #6. (B,L, D)
►Day 8: Black to Blue: Lava Tunnels In The Sea
Marine Ecosystems Created by Lava Flows
This morning we will ride on a fast boat to the west of Isabela, towards Cabo Rosa where the area known as the Tunnels is found. This is an extensive lava flow formed by long and numerous lava tubes with collapses that result on beautiful basaltic arches surrounded by pristine turquoise waters. Here, we will have a short walk looking for marine life and birds from the land and then snorkel. This site is home to sea turtles, albatrosses, flamingos, iguanas, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, royal frigate, manta rays, penguins, sea lions, sea turtles, a variety of birds, lobsters, sea snakes, among other species. — a great last excursion in the Galapagos.
Dinner at Campo Duro, Followed by Lesson #7. (B,L, D)
►Day 9: Busses, Boats, Planes — Travel Back to Quito
This morning we’ll have breakfast at Campo Duro, and after that we will take a speed boat back to Santa Cruz. Once in Santa Cruz the bus will take us to the Canal Itabaca and from there will take another bus to the airport. From the airport in Quito we will travel to our hotel to rest after a long travel day. Dinner at the hotel. (B, D)
►Day 10: Mitad del Mundo – Transfer to Airport
The Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) is found in Pomasqui on route to the airport. On the way there, you will have the opportunity to stop off to taste the exotic flavors of the helado de paila, a type of ice popsicle made with local fruit following recipes more than 50 years old. The monument of the Middle of the World houses an ethnographic museum, which gives an introduction to the different ethnic groups that live in Ecuador. Outside the monument, you will have the unique photo opportunity to pose for pictures with one foot in each hemisphere! The monument is part of a large complex surrounded by local handicraft stores. You will also find busts of members of the French Geodesic Mission who visited Ecuador in 1736.
Another big tourist attraction is the Intiñan interactive outdoor museum. Here you will discover and participate in various physical phenomena that only occur on the equator, then you will have a small stop in the point view of Pululahua Crater before going to the airport. (B, L, D).
** Please note: The activities, lodging, guides, and schedule may change without notice as practical considerations arise during program development or onsite. **
Inclusions & Exclusions
- All guided activities and equipment.
- Full room and board (minus 1 lunch).
- Galapagos Transit Card
- Galapagos National Park Fee
- Airfare from Quito to Galapagos.
- Local guide and tour leader.
- Airfare to Quito
- Travel Insurance (approximately $136 with ExactCare Plan)
- Lunch day 8
- Personal spending money.
- Baggage fees from USA to Quito (carry on recommended)
- Packing list
- CDC Vaccinations: None are required, but some are recommend. Consult with healthcare provider.
Price: $3695 plus airfare to Ecuador + gratuity.
Installments: Yes. Final payment due 30 days prior to travel.
Spots Available: 14
All payments are non-refundable if cancelled by the participant. In the unlikely event that Green Edventures is unable to fill the trip, a full refund will be given.
Travel insurance is available and recommended.