Wildlife Group Tour

Cruise the Galapagos Islands with Charles Clover

Join our exclusive Galapagos cruise in conjunction with Telegraph Tours

10 days

from £6,595pp
  • Visit the Galapagos Islands with Charles Clover, former environment editor of The Telegraph
  • The best ratio of guide to passengers in the Galapagos Islands of 1: 10
  • Explore nine varied islands including Isabela and Fernandina with superb marine life
  • Eight days sailing on the Infinity, a motor boat purpose built for the Galapagos

Join our exclusive Galapagos holiday travelling with Charles Clover, the former environment editor of The Telegraph for 20 years. Spend eight days on our private charter, the Infinity, and visit islands such as Isabela, Fernandina, Bartolome, Santa Fe and Santa Cruz.

There are few places on earth that can rival the wildlife of Galapagos, with an abundance of colourful creatures seemingly unafraid of humans. There will be many opportunities to get close to the islands' unique wildlife, either on foot, by kayak, by panga (a small motorised boat) or when snorkelling. With two naturalist guides on board in addition to Charles Clover, you can be assured of receiving personalised and insightful narrative on all the wildlife and islands seen. Wildlife highlights include flightless cormorant, land and marine iguanas, two types of booby (blue-footed and Nazca), giant tortoises, Galapagos penguins, frigate birds, sea lions and many finches.

WHY SHOULD I JOIN THIS TOUR?

As an environment journalist with 30 years’ experience, Charles has covered virtually every issue that arises out of man’s treatment of nature- he is perfectly placed to share fascinating insights into his work as the executive director of the Blue Marine Foundation NGO, which campaigns to create marine reserves. Charles will give lectures during the cruise and join the excursions.

What wildlife CAN BE seeN in May in the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands are a wildlife haven, both on and off the islands. During May in the Galapagos Islands, you may be able to witness

  • Blue-footed boobies begin courtship rituals
  • Sea turtles continue hatching
  • Red-footed boobies and masked boobies breeding and nesting
  • Marine iguanas and land iguanas nesting
  • Magnificent and great frigate birds nesting
  • Tortoises laying eggs
  • Flightless cormorants, penguins and greater flamingos breeding and nesting

What is the Infinity boat like?

The Infinity is a brand new motorboat, due to start sailing in mid-2018. She is a 49-metre boat, with contemporary design, purpose-built to cruise the Galapagos Islands. 20 passengers can be accommodated across the 10 cabins, two suites and eight cabins all with private balconies and huge floor to ceiling windows.

Social areas are plentiful and spacious with both internal and external dining areas, lounge and a large sundeck with loungers and jacuzzi. Throughout the boat, windows are huge to allow plenty of natural light and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Attention to detail is high with a cruise director on board, Charles Clover and two naturalist guides, meaning a ratio of one guide to every ten clients. Snorkelling equipment, wetsuits, and kayaks are available to use during the trip.

Will the sea be rough in May in the Galapagos?

In May, the waters are usually calm, with good weather and light winds.

Is May a good month to travel to the Galapagos Islands?

May is a lovely time of year to travel to the Galapagos islands. The days are generally warm, with clear skies and temperatures averaging 25 C. Sea temperatures are also at their warmest at this time and visibility is good, so snorkelling can be fantastic.



Departing on:
  • 19th May 2019

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

STARTFINISHPrice Excluding Flights £Flight cost fromSingle SupplementTour ExpertStatus 
19th May 2019 28th May 2019 £ 6,595 £ 1,000 £ 4,945 Charles Clover Limited
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Accommodation aboard the Infinity boat
  • Bed and breakfast accommodation in Quito
  • Domestic flights between mainland Ecuador and Galapagos Islands
  • English speaking National Park guide in the Galapagos
  • Full board meals and snorkelling equipment on the boat
  • Tourist card $20 and national park fee $100
  • Transfers throughout
  • Travel with Charles Clover throughout
  • Welcome meal and city tour in Quito

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • International flights to Ecuador
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa

TO ALLOW FLEXIBILITY, OUR GROUP TOURS DO NOT INCLUDE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AS STANDARD. WE CAN ARRANGE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS ON YOUR BEHALF AND THE ABOVE IS AN INDICATION OF COST, BASED ON RETURN FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM LONDON. ALL INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Arrive in Quito
Today arrive in Quito, you will be met and transferred to the Patio Andaluz. The day is free to rest and relax after your flight or begin to explore the city.

With Pichincha Volcano on one side and Machangara Gorge on the other with the equator passing directly through, few cities can rival Quito's setting. Few also can match the splendour of its old town, with its colonial churches, mansions and plazas.

Quito was named as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. This historical city sits at 2,850 metres and has the largest and best preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.


You will be staying at Mama Cuchara, bed and breakfast

Day 2

Half Day Colonial City Tour
This tour starts in the wonderfully preserved colonial area of Quito. Visit Independence Square, San Francisco Plaza and the ornate La Compañía church.

From here continue up to Itchimbía Hill to take in the views of downtown Quito and the surrounding mountains. Visit the modern city stopping at La Capilla del Hombre (Chapel of Man), a cultural complex that describes the history of Latin America's indigenous people from pre-Columbian times to the present. It has an enormous mural painted by the famous artist Oswaldo Guayasamin, the best Ecuadorian painter of all times and founder of the complex. End at Guayasamin's former house and workshop, which has been restored to show the intimate ambience in which Guayasamin lived and worked.


Welcome Meal
This evening a welcome meal for the group will be hosted at a local restaurant.


You will be staying at Mama Cuchara, bed and breakfast

Day 3

Fly Quito to San Cristobal Island


San Cristobal Island
Arrive on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos archipelago. After passing through Galapagos National Park inspection your national park guide will be waiting to meet you and will accompany the group on the short bus ride to the waterfront. At the dock, board a panga (dinghy) to make the short crossing to the Infinity yacht. Settle into your cabin before lunch and an introdution briefing.

After lunch visit the Jacinto Gordillo Breeding Centre, a new visitor site in the northeast part of San Cristobal Island. At the Breeding Centre you will be able to admire the hatchling turtles from their birth until they are four years old when the grown turtles are taken to their natural habitat. Later visit Puerto Chino, this walk takes approximately 30 minutes to the white sandy beach where you are likely to find sea birds and maybe have the opportunity for snorkelling.

There will be two naturalist guides leading the daily excursions and giving evening briefings. Charles Clover will give two lectures on board during the voyage as well as accompanying the daily excursions.

It was Charles Darwin's 1835 exploration of the Galapagos Islands, whilst serving as a naturalist on HMS Beagle, and his subsequent 1859 publication On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection that first brought the world's attention to these fascinating islands.

Today the Galapagos remain a living laboratory of evolution where birds and animals have no fear of man. Blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants, land and marine iguanas and giant tortoises roam freely making a visit to these islands an unforgettable experience.

Located some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the archipelago is now a National Park and has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are 13 islands (isles) in total and dozens of smaller islets and rocks - all the result of volcanic activity with exotic plant life, unique wildlife species and an extraordinary landscape fringed with blue sea.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 4

Santa Fe and South Plaza Island
Step ashore at Santa Fe Island, and walk through an endemic cactus forest, looking out for the Santa Fe land iguana. The largest iguana species in the region, this endemic lizard is noticeably paler than other species. Whilst exploring, hope to spot Galapagos hawks, a variety of finches and Galapagos mockingbirds.

In the afternoon visit South Plaza Island. Take a hike through an impressive cactus forest, surrounded by land and marine iguanas. Continue upwards and, at the highest point, look out for tropicbirds and the bachelor sea lion colony. The island is also home to a large colony of smaller land iguanas, which survive on the fruits and flowers of the prickly pear during the dry season.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 5

Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos and its capital, Puerto Ayora, is the economic centre of the Islands. In the morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to visit the Giant Tortoise and Land Iguana Breeding and Rearing Program. Puerto Ayora is also a good spot to buy souvenirs.

In the afternoon travel to the highlands and visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters- the name is only figurative in that the craters are not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 6

Isabela Island
This morning, land on Isabela Island to explore the Sierra Negra volcano which is the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos with a diameter of 6.2 miles. The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to seven species of finches and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005.

This afternoon, visit The Wall of Tears which is 25 metres high and an important piece of the island's history. Afterwards, head to the wetlands of Isabela island which are located just outside of Puerto Villamil. The wetlands consist of lagoons, swamps, and mangroves and are home to a variety of unique bird species such as common stilts, whimbrels, white-cheeked pintails and gallinules. The wetlands can be visited on foot via a path through the swamps

There will also be the chance to visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre were there are 330 juvenile and adult tortoises.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 7

Isabela Island
In the morning visit Moreno Point located southwest of Elizabeth Bay. The once flowing lava has left craters in its wake which formed crystal tide pools. In the brackish pools of this area, it is possible to see pink flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules, white-tip reef sharks and sea turtles. Snorkelling and panga rides are possible here.

In the afternoon visit Tagus Cove on Isabela Island, located across from Fernandina Island. This spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s, using the area as an anchorage site. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge with wonderful views. This site is an excellent place for viewing land birds, including ground and tree finches, hawks, yellow warblers, large-billed flycatchers and even sometimes the woodpecker finch.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 8

Fernandina and Isabela Island
In the morning visit Fernandina island, the youngest in the archipelago and one of the world's most pristine island ecosystems, no foreign species have ever invaded the island. Land at Espinosa Point, walk past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions to reach the island's highlight: the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk too.

In the afternoon cross the Bolivar Channel that divides Fernandina and Isabela Islands, and explore Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Snorkelling and panga rides are possible, look out for Galapagos penguins, seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating mola mola (sun fish). Other wildlife includes blue-footed and Nazca boobies, terns and sea lions.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 9

Santiago and Bartholomew Island
This morning visit Espumilla Beach where marine iguanas lounge and the Sally lightfoot crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey right before your eyes. Snorkelling is highly recommended as you could find yourself face to face with an octopus, moray eel, shark and a variety of other species of tropical fish.

In the afternoon head to Bartholomew Island, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock. Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. Take a trail to the summit of the volcano (30 - 40 minutes) where you will see one of the best views of the islands. Also visit a small beautiful beach surrounded by the only vegetation found on this barren island. The beach is perfect for snorkelling where you may see reef shark, rays, colourful fish and even Galapagos penguin.


You will be staying at Infinity, full board

Day 10

North Seymour and Baltra Island
This morning, time allowing, stop on North Seymour Island where sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, pelicans and magnificent frigate birds can be found. After this visit head to Baltra. Disembark the Infinity and travel by bus with the guide to the airport for the flight back to the Ecuadorian mainland.

Fly Baltra to Guayaquil

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz

Patio Andaluz is a beautiful hotel, declared a Cultural Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in 1978....

View Accommodation

Infinity

Infinity

The Infinity is a brand new motor boat, due to start sailing in 2018....

View Accommodation

For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Galapagos Islands

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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John Faithfull, Travel Expert

"Personalised service. Seemed to really want to get it right for us. Very impressed when I first called and John spent 40 minutes finding out what we wanted to do and tailoring it for us."

"The expertise that John has really gave us faith in where we were going, the regions, the hotels, the trips. John knew about it all, he described them in detail, and when we asked for different regions he was straight in there with suggestions and ideas. The way the whole trip was planned and presented to us, never any pressure to book or any problem to change plans /ideas."

"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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Paul Bird, Travel Expert

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Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

Read More

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Tour Expert

Charles Clover

Charles Clover
The former environment editor at The Telegraph, Charles Clover is the executive director at the Blue Marine Foundation NGO. His book The End of the Line, and the award-winning documentary that it inspired brought the impact of overfishing into sharp focus.
Enquire about this Wildlife tour:

Group Size:

Min 13 / Max 18

Tour Expert:

Charles Clover

Departure Date (S):

  • 19th May 2019 - Guaranteed to run

Activity Gauge

  • Moderate – The tour may occasionally involve a variety of activities throughout the duration of the itinerary and will have a faster pace in certain areas, therefore, a moderate level of fitness is required. 


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