Follow the BBC to the Galápagos Islands with these holiday ideas
A brand new three-part BBC One series about the Galápagos Islands begins this week. Liz Bonnin and a team of world-renowned scientists assemble for Mission Galápagos, one of the most ambitious scientific expeditions ever attempted in this remote archipelago. Catch Galápagos this Thursday 30 March on BBC One at 9pm. Inspired by the programme? Here’s a selection of wildlife-rich Galápagos holiday ideas from Travel PR:
NEW: Sustainable island-hopping with local fishermen – Galápagos from £3,140 pp with TravelLocal
TravelLocal enables travellers to create bespoke itineraries with local experts. This six-night trip in the Galápagos Islands is a great example, featuring private boat and hiking tours with local former fishermen who know the islands like the back of their hand. Snorkel with hammerhead sharks and rays, hike through rich jungle packed with rare species and explore hidden areas which have only recently been open to local fishermen. There’s also a day’s volunteering to help with a reforestation project to protect native species. The trip costs from £3,140 pp (two sharing) including six nights’ eco-friendly B&B, transfers, internal flights, excursions and the services of local guides. International flights extra. Call TravelLocal on 0117 325 7898 (www.travellocal.com).
In the footsteps of Darwin – Galápagos from £2,795 pp with Activities Abroad
Discover the wilderness of the Galápagos Islands on this thrilling six-day family tour. The islands’ rich history is one of pirates, explorers, travellers and, of course Charles Darwin, who formulated his ground-breaking theory of evolution here. The itinerary includes sea kayaking, snorkelling, an active volcano hike, giant tortoises, Santa Cruz, sea kayaking, a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and more. The price is from £2,795 pp (minimum age eight), including six nights’ full-board in boutique hotels and activities. Various departures from April to December. Call AITO* member Activities Abroad on 01670 789 991 (www.activitiesabroad.com).
Journey across the Equator – Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands from £8,390 pp with Kudu Travel
Explore the Galápagos Islands aboard The Beagle, a teak sailing yacht with just six cabins. Enjoy daily walks on the islands with a naturalist guide, and swim and snorkel to spot turtles, sea lions, fur seals, eagle rays, Galápagos penguins and shoals of colourful fish. The tour (19 November-5 December) also takes in mainland Ecuador, with colonial Quito and a four-day train journey on the Tren Crucero through the Andes. The price is from £8,390 pp (two sharing) including 16 nights’ full board (nine nights in hotels/seven nights on the yacht), all land/rail transport/internal flights (Guayaquil/Baltra/Quito), entrance fees, sightseeing and activities, the services of English-speaking local guides and a Kudu Travel tour leader. International flights (Quito) extra. Call AITO* member Kudu Travel on 01225 436 115 (www.kudutravel.com).
Highlights of Ecuador & the Galápagos – from £2,995 pp with Jules Verne
If time is of the essence, this 11-night escorted tour distils the Highlights of Ecuador & the Galápagos into one affordable itinerary. After discovering delights such as Quito, Antisana Natural Reserve and the Devil’s Nose railway in Ecuador, fly to the Galápagos where visits to the Charles Darwin Research Centre, North Seymour island, South Plaza and Bartolomé, as well as myriad wildlife encounters, await. Departing 2 May, 8 August, 5 September, 10 October & 7 November, the price is from £2,995 pp (two sharing) including flights (Heathrow), transfers, nine nights’ B&B, full board in the Galápagos, one lunch and one dinner, Galapagos National Park entrance tax, excursions, and the services of guides and local representatives. Two overnight flights. 2018 departures also available. Call Jules Verne on 020 3553 3722 (www.vjv.com).
Set sail in the Galápagos Islands – from £4,695 pp with Naturetrek
This 13-day holiday includes a week-long cruise around the Galápagos Islands in an elegant schooner, accommodating just 16 passengers. With daily landings at wildlife-rich sites, accompanied by an expert natural historian, there is also the chance to snorkel with young Galápagos Sea Lions. There’s time to explore the charming Ecuadorian capital, Quito, as well as a choice between birding on a visit to the Antisana volcano or a cultural visit to Otavalo, a bustling and colourful Andean market town. With departures in May and December, the trip costs from £4,695 pp (two sharing) including international flights, 12 nights’ accommodation, most meals, and all excursions and activities. Naturetrek also offers two-week Galápagos cruises. Call AITO* member Naturetrek on 01962 733051 (www.naturetrek.co.uk).
Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands – from £3,699 pp with Sunvil
This eight-night holiday combines the cities of Ecuador with the Galápagos Islands. After a day exploring the capital, Quito, fly to the Galápagos islands for a five-day cruise aboard the spacious and comfortable MV Santa Cruz II, with bar, restaurant and lounge plus the option of al-fresco dining. Spot bizarre wildlife, including blue and red-footed boobies, marine iguanas, giant tortoises, sea lions and more on excursions led by naturalist guides. See a different side of Ecuador with the final two nights spent in bustling Guayaquil. The price is from £3,699 pp (two sharing), including flights (Heathrow), two nights’ B&B in Quito, four nights’ full board on the cruise vessel, two nights’ B&B in Guayaquil, excursions and transfers. Call AITO* member Sunvil Latin America on 020 8758 4774 (www.sunvil.co.uk).
*AITO is the Association of Independent Tour Operators: more than 120 specialist travel companies providing an unrivalled collection of holiday ideas that cover every corner of the world. Consumers booking with AITO can be assured of high-quality holidays and excellent personal service. Visit www.aito.com for further information.
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