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Galapagos Experience

Overview

Island Hop, Volunteer and Travel! All in One Experience!

Are you searching for more than the average cruise journey around the Galapagos? Instead of spending your entire trip boat-bound, do you want an experience offering exploration, volunteer opportunities, and travel time in the beautiful Islands?

If you have answered yes to these questions then The True Galapagos Experience is for you. Cultural enthusiasts, conservation specialists, lovers of the outdoors and travel fans alike will find something for their needs here.

This programme incorporates an array of exhilarating activities including: swimming with sea lions, snorkeling with sharks, playing with giant tortoises, volunteering at local reserves, strolling along crystalline beaches, island hopping and much more; this is not just a trip, this is The True Galapagos Experience.




So what are you waiting for? This is your chance to create lifelong memories and simultaneously make a lasting positive difference to the Galapagos Archipelago. Do something unique; a lot of people may travel to the islands, but not everyone leaves after enjoying a rewarding experience like this one.

Note: We run small groups with limited capacity, therefore due to high demand we recommend bookings are made as early as possible.

Program Highlights and Benefits:

 

  • This programme offers a way to explore the “true” Galapagos Islands, just like Darwin did.
  • It includes a unique itinerary with local specialists combining excursions and wildlife interaction with volunteering activities in different islands.
  • There is flexibility to enjoy a wealth of other amazing activities and excursions, such as diving with sharks, snorkeling with sea lions, and much more.

  • With the aim of being socially responsible, this programme circulates it´s revenues within the local community, significantly increasing employment. This is an action rarely seen in traditional cruise companies, who tend to give nothing back to the neighborhoods in which they operate.
  • With the aim of being environmentally responsible, this program maintains a lower environmental impact than traditional cruise tourism. 
  • We provide a detailed scientific briefing. During your orientation in Quito a local scientist will hold a class to provide important information about the problems facing the Galapagos´. You will also be schooled in how beneficial and essential your volunteer work will be to the future of the Islands.
  • We offer great value. A one week traditional cruise excursion in the Galapagos costs around 2500USD. For the same price or less we can give you a true Galapagos Experience, the rewards and memories of which cannot be compared to run-of-the-mill Island boat trips.


 

How Does This Trip Make a Difference?

The demand for cruise companies and tours has grown in recent years, bringing an increase in pollution and noise which has negatively effected local ecosystems and the behavior of native animals. The development of a sustainable source of local income is essential for the healthy maintenance of the Galapagos Islands, and pivotal in preventing the depletion of the Island´s natural resources. However, cruise companies do not hire local providers or companies, and so the local community does not benefit from this lucrative source. This is where Lead Adventures is different. We invest most of our profits into local businesses in an effort to stimulate economic growth. We do not have the environmental impact of cruise based tourism. Choose us, and you choose to help locals and protect the natural surroundings of the Galapagos.

 

 

Join us for the Experience of a Lifetime!

 

Accomodation and Meals

Santa Cruz Hotel

    
This newly renovated complex has 19 rooms complete with wireless internet, hot water, air conditioning and flat screen TVs in selected rooms. Enjoy the brand new swimming pool, the common dining area, and the spectacular terrace view of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Fish Markets. The dedicated staff take pride in offering outstanding personalized service for every guest. Each morning a continental breakfast can be savored in the dining area near the pool. The quality service provided and array of amenities offered allow for a truly relaxing escape, in one of the last natural paradises on earth. 

Housing at San Cristobal Project  

The station at the San Cristobal project is comprised of two houses constructed from native bamboo and cement. Each house contains 11 rooms and common areas for rest and relaxation. The dining and kitchen areas are separate from the main houses. The accommodations are rustic, with space for groups of up to 45 people. Researchers can obtain necessary permits with assistance from the foundation. The reserve has electricity, but there is no internet or telephone access.

San Cristobal Hotel

    

Volunteers participating in projects during Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays will be accommodated in a local hostel in town, staying in shared rooms with fellow volunteers. The hostel is centrally located close to many tour operators and wonderful beaches.

Isabella Hostel

    
On Isabela Island participants will be accommodated in a family hostel, in double and triple rooms. The hostel has hot water, electricity, a spacious dining room and common areas to relax and socialize with other volunteers. It is located just one minute away from Purto Villamil beach.

Meals

Santa Cruz San Cristobal Isabela
Breakfast included per day except for Saturday ans Sunday Breakfast included in the project. Meals are not included on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Breakfast Included 

Itineraries

Galapagos Experience Itineraries

Three Week Summary

ITINERARY: Three Week Summary Starting on Sunday

Week 1 - Santa Cruz Island highlights include:

  • Conservation volunteer work.
  • Observe giant tortoises in their natural state at Primicias Range.
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Station.
  • Enjoy the pristine white sandy beaches of Tortuga Bay.
  • Tour Academy Bay by boat, including snorkeling at Loboria Island, & hike to Las Grietas for a swim in the crystal-clear water beneath lava rock cliffs.
  • Free time for independent exploration and activities.

Week 2 - San Cristobal Island options include:

  • Speedboat to San Cristobal Island.
  • Volunteer project for five days with the San Cristobal Station.
  • In your free time, you can visit the Interpretation Center in town to learn about both the geological and human history of the islands, conservation issues, and natural history. After viewing the exhibits, take a walk along winding paths leading from the Interpretation Center to Playa Punta Carola (about 35 minutes), a favorite spot for surfing, or on to Cerro Tijeretas where you can snorkel with sea lions, and on to Frigate Bird Hill, a nesting place for frigate birds. Along the way are plants, lava lizards, and other animals endemic to this area. (optional)
  • Relax at Playa Mann beach where you can soak up sun near the sea lions or rent kayaks to explore along the shoreline.
  • Book a tour with a local operator for a day trip to the impressive Kicker Rock to snorkel or dive where you can see sea lions, turtles, hammerhead & galapagos.sharks, etc (extra cost)

Week 3 - Isabela Island includes the following tours:

  • Giant Tortoise Breeding Center.
  • Boat trip to Las Tintorera Islet to snorkel & hike, observing penguins, iguanas, reef sharks, sea lions and birds.
  • Hike to Volcano craters of Sierra Negra & Volcan Chico to see the lava formations and unique landscape.
  • Snorkel in “Los Tuneles”.
Program's Routes Galapagos Experience 3 weeks

Two Week Summary

ITINERARY: Two Week Summary

Week 1 - San Cristobal Island highlights include:

  • Snorkel in the Lobos Islands with Sea Lions
  • Observe high-flying boobies and frigate birds from the the famous Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock)
  • Volunteer with Conservation projects at the Biology Station
  • Free time for independent exploration and activities

Week 2 - Isabela, Floreana and San Cruz Island highlights include:

  • Go on a trekking tour to Sierra Nmost beautiful volcanoes in the world.
  • Snorkel in "Los Tuneles"
  • Explore the lava-made caves once used by pirates.
  • Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center.
  • Observe white tip sharks resting on “Islote Tintoreras.”
  • Observe the Giant Turtles in the Primicias Ranch.
  • Enjoy a guided walk through the dark lava tunnels as our guide explains the origin of this island.
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Station.
  • Tour through the Academy Bay, where you can observe the diversity of the underwater world and you can opt to explore Tortuga Bay Beach, one of the most pristine white-sanded beaches in Galapagos.

Program's Routes

Program’s Routes Galapagos Experience 3 weeks

Ten Days Summary

ITINERARY: Ten Days Summary

Week 1 - San Cristobal Island highlights include:

  • Snorkel in the Lobos Islands with Sea Lions
  • Observe high-flying boobies and frigate birds from the the famous Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock)
  • Visit the Breeding center, home to tortoises and iguanas in the Charles Darwin Station

Week 2 - Isabela and San Cruz Island highlights include:

  • Go on a trekking tour to Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the most beautiful volcanoes in the world.
  • Observe white tip sharks resting on “Islote Tintoreras.”
  • Explore Tortuga Bay Beach, one of the most pristine white-sanded beaches in Galapagos.
  • Volunteer in restoration projects.

Program's Routes

Program’s Routes Galapagos Experience 10 Days

Pricing

Boats and Cruises vs. The "True" Galapagos Experience.

When comparing our prices with traditional cruise companies you will notice that a standard 5 day boat cruise costs close to 2,100 USD, whereas we offer a 10 day true experience for the same cost. Furthermore, the memories made and rewards felt from our trip cannot be compared to being secluded on a boat!

Program Prices 2015!

Galapagos Experience from 10 Days Program from $2090.00 USD
Galapagos Experience from 2 Weeks Program from $2290.00 USD
Galapagos Experience from 3 Weeks Program from $2490.00 USD

Additional Costs

National Park Entrance Fee $100.00 USD
Ingala Card Fee $20.00 USD
TAX Isabela Island $5.00 USD
Round Trip Galapagos Flight  $560.00 USD
Single Suplement 10 days TBC
Single Suplement 2 weeks TBC
Single Suplement 3 weeks TBC

 


Contact us and one of our travel experts will help you with a full budget description for your Travel Experience


 

What is included and what is not?

WHAT IS INCLUDED?

  • An airport pickup and drop off upon arrival and departure.
  • Full Accommodation in Quito.
  • Logistic and scientific Orientation in Quito at Lead Adventures Office.
  • Full Accommodation in The Galapagos Islands.
  • Transportation between islands in Galapagos.
  • Excursions and activities in Galapagos. Some meals in Galapagos (ask for description).
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • 24-hour emergency contact number and support.

WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED?

  • International flights.
  • Any activities beyond your planned itinerary.
  • Alcoholic beverages/extra snack.
 

We have tailored this trip to suit school groups, families, couples, etc. Customized Options

Optional Add ons

  • Extra weeks in Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal.
  • Day trips to other islands.
  • Diving courses.
  • Extra volunteer work weeks.
  • You can add Spanish classes in Quito prior to your program. The classes include host family accommodation and 20 hours per week of Spanish Lessons for a cost of 300 USD per week.

Available Dates

Testimonials

Lisa Teo (25)
CANADIAN

The volunteering at foundation reserve is the most memorable as we get to contribute back to the Galapagos National Park as well as making new friends and understanding the objectives/ problems of conserving the Islands. You will need too have an open mind to try new activities such as planting, counting slugs for research program etc and be flexible about schedule at times. Simply unforgettable. I had the best time doing new things while making new friends.

Andrew Dainty (32)
AUSTRALIAN

Santa Cruz volunteering, a very good placement great food, great people. Great experience. I will remember this experience for the rest of my life.
Thank you 

Jacquie Grocott (56)
FRANCE

Have thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip. Thank you so much for organising it so well. Every plan went well with being met and bookings and everything.

Alison Chopping (18)
USA

I have thoroughly enjoyed my second visit to Galapagos. Thank you for the smoothness of the overall organization. I would be happy to recommend Lead Adventures to my friends at home

Amira Abdus-Salaam (48)
United Kingdom

From the moment we landed in Quito the adventure began. The people there were wonderful, the hotel we stayed in was amazing and I enjoyed the weather. After spending sometime in Quito, we headed to Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, then Isabella which happened to be my favourite island. I really enjoyed helping out in the different conservation projects on the islands and seeing how the climate, animals and the vegetation changed from Island to Island. I met some amazing people during my time there and wish I could do it all over again. Every second moment spent there was one to remember. I am really glad I was able to be apart of this adventure and wish more people would follow in our footsteps.

Triona Browne (23)
United Kingdom

In the Galapagos program I was involved with, there was a very clear schedule of activities that was followed. This made the program run very smoothly. In the office, the staff was very helpful and had excellent English. They helped me to change some of my itinerary and accommodations rather easily. 

John Wealthall (34)
United Kingdom

All in all, it was a great experience. I saw so much wildlife and met some very interesting people as well as getting a full understanding of Ecuador and the Galapagos. Thank you very much for the great time.

Cathy Klinesteker (18)
United States

I chose LEAD Adventures because it had a base in Ecuador and I wanted to give back to the local economy. I really liked the idea of seeing the Galapagos through two lenses: as a volunteer and as a tourist. 

Moira Wood (26)
United Kingdom

The Staff at LEAD Adventures was always welcoming and ready to help me in anyway necessary. They were very understanding about storing luggage and changing rooms if we needed it. We were ready to work very hard for our program, but once we arrived we were happy to find out that there was free time off too to explore the surroundings.

Catherine Oliver (19)
United Kingdom

The hostels provided in the program were good clean accommodations. They were very comfortable and enjoyable. The staff at LEAD was always available to listen, very helpful and friendly. Perhaps a small guide booklet with suggested tourist sites for visitors in Quito could be available at the hostel to explore the city. Many, many thanks. 

Rachel Shingaki-Wells (35)
Australia

I would recommend this to friends, I had a great time and was comfortable. Many thanks to lead staff for being very flexible in my travel arrangements. Isabella was great, Volcan Chico was very fun, las tintoreras tour was excellent.

Yvonne Gregory (34)
United Kingdom

Enjoyed the whole Ecuador and Galapagos Experience. Tours in Galapagos excellent. While in Quito, Lead-Adventures staff very helpful in all inquiries, and a lovely host family. Very good i-to-i Spanish lessons.

Contact Us

Start planning your adventure with one of our Local Specialists