Your agenda has been designed to visit the most memorable locations at a pace that allows you to absorb every moment.
May 1-10, 2017 | 10-Day Customized, Small Group Retreat
Snapshot of Our Special Plans
GUIDED TOURS WITH FIELD ECOLOGISTS – Visit locations on and off the well-worn path: The historic Charles Darwin Station – volcanic cones and flows – the dark ecology of caves — visits to private ecological preserves — the wild land and water habitats of turtles & tortoises, exotic birds, seals, iguanas, penguins and much more.
TIME TO LINGER — On our trip, your days will be filled with amazing activities, but you are encouraged to move at your own pace. Capture that last photo, take time for your inspirational moments.
TRAVEL & PLAY OPTIONS — Hiking – biking – boating – snorkeling – kayaking. Travel between the islands on boats and small airplanes (if you have a preference, we’ll work to accommodate you.)
PERSONAL TIME IN PRISTINE ENVIRONMENTS — Daily mindfulness to enhance your conscious connection with your adventures, helping to make every day a transformative experience.
CREATURE COMFORTS — Tropically-beautiful eco-accommodations – Enjoy sustainably harvested fine dining – massage – yoga & stretching – foodie tours and more.
Click on a tab to learn about the day’s activities
MEET UP IN QUITO, ECUADOR
Because we’ll be arriving at different times, we’ll all meet up for a “Bienvenido” drink and evening briefing at a hotel convenient to the airport. Then we get a good night’s sleep because your islands adventure begins tomorrow.
TRAVEL TO AN EXOTIC DESTINATION
Leave Quito early – Fly to Galapagos main airport on Isla Baltra – Take a ferry & bus to main island of Isla Santa Cruz – Catch a Lanchita (motor boat) for a voyage to Isla Isabela – Your destination is the Puerto Villamil. Reward yourself with a cold drink and welcome dinner at your oh-so-beautiful tropical beach hotel.
Once we’ve oriented you to Isabela’s opportunities, we’ll take a guided tour with a Galapagos Park ecological guide. You’ll take a nature walk through wetlands and microclimates to visit the Darwin turtle-breeding center. Later we’ll also explore the Wall of Tears, a WWII prisoner site. In the afternoon, enjoy a self–directed bike tour in the park. You’ll never get a chance to be so close with wildlife as here. Get your cameras ready!
TIDAL POOLS AND ESTUARIES – LAS TINTORERAS
Take a private charter boat to a calm turquoise bay, where you can observe sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, rays and even penguins. The bay is connected to a shallow crevice of crystal clear water, and when the tide is low, the entrance closes. In this crevice, you can see reef sharks swim along with other small fish and sea lions. We may even see the caves of the sleeping sharks.
VOLCANO & HIGHLAND EXPLORATION
The Sierra Negra volcano is the oldest of 5 active volcanoes on Isabela. Our guide will hike with us to this ancient caldera (a large volcanic crater) where we’ll investigate the tenacious flora and fauna that somehow survive in the bleak landscapes of recent lava flows from Volcan Chico. After, we’ll visit forested highlands and have lunch at Camp Duro Ecolodge, a quaint highlands farm with giant tortoises. We’ll cap the day with a walk through one of hidden caves filled with oddly adapted small creatures. (Note: The volcano hike is NOT recommended for children under 12, seniors, overweight adults, or people with physical limitations. Alternate activities will be provided for those who are unsure of hiking that day.)
VOLCANIC WATER EXPLORATION – LOS TUNELES
A series of lava flows have created hundreds of arches and tunnels above and below the water. These surreal geological formations are outdone only by the extraordinary collection of creatures that call this place home: a wide variety of sea turtles, sea horses, blue-footed boobies and more. The water is so still that the undersea universe is visible from above as you trek across the lava bridges and from below as you snorkel in this unique habitat. The treacherous maritime entry into this maze of passages is not always possible, which is why we’re going in May.
CHANGING ISLANDS – ISABELA TO SANTA CRUZ
We’ll bid farewell to Isabela on two chartered small aircraft. You’ll get a bird’s eye view of incredible volcanic landscapes and the multitude of smaller islands on the way. On our way back across Santa Cruz, we’ll visit unique highland wildlife areas for lunch before returning to the quaint village of Puerta Ayora. There, your hotel is situated within easy walking distance to the Darwin Institute and animal sanctuary
CREATE YOUR BEACH DAY
Santa Cruz is the main island, and it offers more services, restaurants and shopping. But don’t let that fool you. Wild beaches and water experiences are only a moment’s exploration away. Tortuga Bay features beaches with more free iguanas per square inch than anywhere else we know. Take a water taxi across the lagoon and hike to Las Grietas (crevices). From the top of these canyons, you can dive into deep, clear pools. In the evening, you may want to sign up to be part of our group’s customized, executive foodie tour of local restaurants.
MORE WATER EXPLORATION
Your last full day to enjoy the islands. We’ll take two private charter boats and guides to the isolated Pinzon & Palmas beaches where you can explore, swim with the sea lions or just go fishing. In the afternoon, shop for those final souvenirs and then enjoy a special celebration dinner courtesy of your hostesses, Sigrid & Kimberly.
We head back across Santa Cruz and return by ferry to Baltra for the journey back to Quito. From here, we’ll help you connect with your airplanes home – unless you’re staying for our extended tour of Quito and the Andes….but more on that later.
YOUR ORGANIZERS AT
SIGRID TIDMORE is the Chief Artrepreneur of Cosmic Tapestry. She is a well-known environmental illustrator, writer and organizational communicator. Formally in leadership with international nonprofits, she organized ambitious missions to exotic destinations from Mexico to India, from Guatemala and to China. She now lives on Ecuador Pacific Coast and manages creativity and ecotourism retreats…that is, when she’s not busy working on a gallery exhibition of her paintings that capture traditional life of her adopted home. She’s been to the Galapagos numerous times to illustrate and is she is fluent in Spanish.
KIMBERLY FINN is an event planner by trade with over two decades of experience in cultural heritage tourism. She also plans arts & culture and economic development & urban planning events including the Tampa Downtown Partnership’s Urban Excellence Awards in its tenth year. She hails from a long line of Adirondack outdoorsmen. A lover of nature, she has organized numerous beach cleanup efforts, hosted educational programs for boaters about manatee protection and has volunteered on dunes restoration and sea turtle nest protection projects.
Holds Your Place Until Thanksgiving!
WHAT’S THE PRICE?
Shop around, and you’ll see that even though our tour is exclusive and exquisite, it’s still modestly priced. Reservations for this 10-day Retreat start as low as $3995/person for double occupancy. We expect this adventure to fill up fast, but you can reserve your place, risk-free, for $750 until Thanksgiving.
Read what’s included: CLICK HERE