(Guayaquil, Quito, Mindo)
Discover the breathtaking wilds of the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador’s tropical cloud forests through the lens of your camera with world renowned photographer Jonathan R. Green. With photographs featured in everything from Time magazine and BBC Wildlife to The Royal Geographical Magazine, Green previously worked as a naturalist Galapagos National Park and the Darwin Research Station, is a consulting Scientist for the Charles Darwin Foundation, is a member of the prestigious Explorers Club and has lived in Ecuador since 1988.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, voyage through the legendary isles of Darwin aboard the Eclipse, the most luxurious expedition vessel the Galapagos has to offer. Guests will learn the secrets of nature photography during hands-on workshops, interactive presentations, underwater photo safaris, and detailed follow ups. Led by certified naturalist guides and Green, take incredible photos of giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, sea lions and more . This active adventure allows you to snorkel with large marine creatures, spot whales on zodiac rides, walk on pristine beaches, visit the Darwin Research Station and stargaze under the equatorial sky.
Next follow Green into the realm of the rainforest, a hideaway in the clouds located at the heart of the Mashpi Reserve and your 5-star eco-lodge. There go wild on jungle walks, learn the secret to night photography on on night hikes, unveil the ancient Yumbo civilization at archeological sites, try sky biking, fly in a gondola swim in waterfalls and more. Photograph howler monkeys, caimans, toucans, tree frogs and more before returning from this trip of a lifetime.
Price is $12,995 per person based on double occupancy. Departs September 19th 2014 and November 14th 2014.
Minimum group size 10, maximum group size 15. Please note departures are not guaranteed until 120 days before travel, and we advise you do not book international air until the tour has been confirmed. Deposit is due upon booking, and refundable up until 120 days before travel. At 120 days before travel, and upon departure guarantee, final payment is due. Minimum traveler age is 18.
Your host, Jonathan Green, has over 25 years experience as a naturalist, diver and photographer. Green’s work in Galapagos and the Antarctic has received global acclaim. A graduate of the University of London with a BSc in Combined Sciences, his love for marine life took him to Ecuador where he trained as a naturalist with the Galapagos National Park and worked at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Green has been published in Time Magazine, BBC Wildlife Magazine, The Royal Geographical Magazine, and exhibited at the Natural History Museum of London, Olympia Exhibition Centre of London, and others across the world. In 2009 Green led an underwater filming expedition to unexplored areas of the Antarctic resulting in a documentary that garnered international attention. He is a current Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society of London and The Explorers Club.
Green is the founder of the Galapagos Whale Shark Project which, together with the Galapagos National Park and the Charles Darwin Foundation, has undertaken extensive satellite research of this enigmatic species. He hopes in the near future to use a submersible to follow the whale sharks down into their domain, beyond the depths divers can reach to determine if the Galapagos Marine Reserve is indeed where the whale sharks are pupping, a fact that to this day remains a mystery.
An arrival transfer in Guayaquil will be provided.
Today is an arrival day, and the evening is free.
Conveniently placed in Ecuador, a strategic point in South America, the Hilton Colon Guayaquil hotel combines excellent service and a laid-back resort feel with a convenient location only few minutes from José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport. With 294 fully renovated rooms and suites, you can enjoy your spacious guest room and stay connected with wireless internet access. Get to work at the desk or just relax with a movie on the flat screen TV. Connecting rooms are perfect for those travelling as a family. Step up to an Executive Room or suite and benefit from extra space, a range of special touches and exclusive access to the Executive Lounge where complimentary snacks and refreshments are served.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel.
Transfer back to the Guayaquil airport for your onward flight to the Galapagos islands.
Fly from Guayaquil to Galapagos on a direct flight. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours.
The $100 entrance fee to the Galapagos Islands Park and the $10 Tourist card are included in your booking. Please note that the following routing outline is a guide only - the program may vary according to National Park policies and regulations, weather conditions, seasonal changes, safety precautions and wildlife encounters.
A fuel surcharge is applicable to all vessels cruising in the Galapagos and all flights to/from Galapagos. These surcharges have been included in your trip price.
Upon arrival at Baltra Airport, you pass through an airport inspection point to insure that no foreign plants or animals are introduced to the islands. After this, you will collect your luggage, and take a short bus ride to the harbor where you will board your cruise ship.
Begin your visit with a stop at the North Seymour Islands. After a dry landing, you will see swallow-tailed gulls and sea lions. This site is known as a major nesting colony for blue-footed boobies, and it has the largest colony of the magnificent frigate bird (a different species from the great frigate bird). Here you will also be able to see both endemic species of iguanas, the marine iguanas and the land iguanas.
This evening enjoy a naturalist's briefing on the next day's activities, followed by dinner on your cruise ship. Tonight's dinner is special, as it will be your first introduction to your travelling companions, as well as your host for the trip: acclaimed photographer Jonathan Green.
For those looking for a Galapagos adventure cruise in style, the 16-passenger Athala II provides a cozy small yacht atmosphere, comfortable accommodations, personalized service, a dedicated cruise director, and more. This Motor Catamaran was specifically designed and built to cruise the Islands providing comfort and excellent stability for those looking for a Galapagos adventure cruise in style.
Enjoy breakfast on board.
First stop: Dry landing on the northern part of the Islet. The walk begins with an impressive cactus forest surrounded by land and marine iguanas. As we reach its highest point, be on the lookout for tropicbirds and a bachelor sea lion colony. In South Plaza there is a large colony of the smaller sized land iguanas. The population is approximately 300 individuals. They feed on all kinds of vegetation, but during the dry season survive on the fruits and flowers of Opuntia cacti. Due to their proximity with marine iguanas, this is where we will encounter the one and only Galapagos hybrid iguana.
Enjoy lunch on board the ship.
Located in the southeastern part of the Galapagos, Santa Fe island was formed from an uplift and is not of volcanic origin, which is why it is mostly flat. There are some theories which state this could be the oldest island in the Archipielago. Santa Fe is the home of a number of endemic species like the Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos snake, Galapagos mockingbird, rice rats and one of the two species of lands Iguanas of the islands. After disembarkation in the beautiful and clear waters you will be in contact with one of the many sea lion colonies. Along the trail many salt bushes can be seen as well giant Pickly pear cactus; gigantism is a characteristic of oceanic islands. There are great possibilities of snorkeling with playful sea lions and tropical fish.
This evening enjoy a naturalist's briefing on the next day's activities, followed by dinner on your cruise ship.
Prepare for a wet landing on the eastern tip of the island. Pitt Point is an eroded tuff cone; the trail that ascends from the beach provides spectacular views of the shoreline. This is the only site in the Galápagos where the three species of boobies can be found together, as well as the two frigate species, plus a colony of bachelor sea lions along the beach. After the walk, if conditions are favourable, there is a chance to swim from the beach.
Lunch will be served onboard.
A dinghy ride along the shores takes guests to Cerro Brujo’s white coraline beach (wet landing). The beach is a large expanse, great for walking, with rewarding birdwatching, including blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, herons, frigate birds, and more shore birds. Also, look out for Galápagos sea lions. Highlights ashore include the Chatham (San Cristóbal) mockingbird, Chatham lava lizard; both species are endemic to this island, and seen nowhere else in the Galápagos. These are the same shores that Charles Darwin walked upon, back in September 1835, as San Cristóbal was the first island where he set foot in the Galápagos.
Today start off with a wet landing at the historical Post Office Bay to learn about the human side of the islands, its early inhabitants and the adventures of pirates and whalers. There is an old barrel adorned with a variety of signs pointing the direction and giving the distance to places all over the world. It is here that early settlers or visitors would leave their mail in hopes that someone going in the right direction might take their mail and deliver it or pass it on. A short walk from the famous barrel takes you to a tunnel formed by lava flows. Down a tricky path you can observe Darwin’s finches, Galapagos mockingbirds, yellow warblers and lava lizards. The Baroness's Viewing Point is the perfect place to take in the beautiful landscape that defines Floreana, and a great spot to learn about the intriguing history of the Baroness and her three lovers.
Lunch will be served onboard the ship.
After lunch, take a wet landing on a green sand beach at Cormorant Point, followed by a hike on well-marked trail to a large, brackish lagoon. Here you will see one of the biggest populations of flamingos on the islands. Champion is a favorite snorkelling site filled with colorful fish, sea lions, and the occasional shark or sea turtle! Novice snorkelers can practice back on the main beach where the sea lions are playful, while experienced snorkelers can roam the waters.
Elizabeth Bay is one of the furthest points of the Galapagos that will be visited on this cruise. A panga ride around two islets called the Marielas offers a wide variety of bird life, such as flightless cormorants, herons, and blue-footed boobies. Then we will enter a sheltered cove – a wonderful mangrove ecosystem that is a refuge for sea turtles and rays.
Enjoy lunch back onboard the ship.
Next visit Punta Moreno, embark onto a young lava field and see a dramatic landscape of pahoe-hoe lava that stretches to the foot of some of the most active volcanoes in Galápagos (Cerro Azul and Santo Tomás a.k.a. Sierra Negra). The landscape will be briefly interrupted by small scattered brackish lagoons. Lush vegetation and brightly coloured birds are a striking contrast to the surrounding jet black lava. A panga ride along the shore will reveal mangrove tenants like rays, young sharks, nesting pelicans and flightless birds like penguins and the endemic cormorant.
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, staffed with international scientists conducting biological research and conservation projects. Here you will see the Giant Tortoises that are part of the breeding program of Fausto Llerena. If time permits take a stroll along the main street of Puerto Ayora and enjoy a snack or the views across the harbour.
Transfer by bus across Santa Cruz Island and take a short ferry ride to Baltra where the airport is located.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Fly from Galapagos to Quito via Guayaquil. The flight duration is approximately 4 hours.
Transfer between the Quito airport and your hotel for the evening.
Tonight there will be free time for you to enjoy an independent meal in town, or simply relax at your hotel.
Casa Gangotena is a newly-restored historic mansion overlooking Plaza San Francisco. This three-story accommodation harbours 31 rooms which showcase eye-catching style, contemporary design, antiques, fine furnishings, modern technologies and quintessential comforts. The hotel is at once intimate – like the family home it was – and sophisticated, with all the facilities and services today’s world travellers expect. It mimics the soothing hues and stylish comforts that greeted its residents and their guests for decades.
Breakfast will be included at your hotel.
This morning you will depart Quito for Mashpi Lodge. Take the highway north, passing the Equator Monument and Latitude 0. Climbing up to the western pass, we detour for a short break at the viewpoint of the Pululahua Crater, a dormant volcano. From here, it’s downhill towards the Pacific Ocean, turning off the main highway onto rural roads.
About two hours after leaving Quito, we reach the archaeological site-museum of Tulipe, where we stop to explore the grounds and learn about the Yumbo people who created the water pools and structures here.
About an hour and a half later, we arrive at the entrance to the Mashpi Reserve which extends over the surrounding 1,300 hectares – a haven for wildlife and biodiversity – and then continue to the Lodge itself, arriving around noon.
Here guests are welcomed with a refreshing drink and checked in to their rooms.
Lunch is served, followed by a short time to relax.
After lunch, the afternoon’s activities begin. These will depend on factors such as physical abilities and weather conditions. You may hike to the Observation Tower or Hummingbird Viewpoint, ride the canopy gondola, or bath in local waterfalls.
Optional night walks head out from the hotel following dinner.
Mashpi Lodge is set within a 1000 hectare private reserve, which is part of the globally important bio-region - the Tumbez-Choco-Darien - that stretches from Panama, through Colombia and Ecuador, to northern Peru along the Pacific slopes of the Andes. The area around Mashpi Lodge is world-famous as a biodiversity "hot spot", particularly when it comes to flora and avifauna. Mashpi Lodge is located on a high plateau, ideally situated to give breathtaking views of the forest and valleys from nearly every angle. The lodge, built with the latest techniques, is designed to blend beautifully with its surroundings. It features contemporary, minimalist design and decor, mixing warm earth tones and clean lines: a cozy cocoon amid the forest with the natural world just beyond, ideal for contemplation and relaxation.
Enjoy breakfast at the lodge.
For those who want to enjoy the beauty and magic of dawn in the forest – which is when most birds are active and calling, as well as when views are often most spectacular – early morning activities are organised before breakfast.
Following breakfast, head out from the lodge to explore, returning for lunch and a rest, before enjoying an afternoon amid nature.
Tonight you will enjoy a beautiful last dinner with the group, and with Jonathan Green.
This morning enjoy your last breakfast in the jungle, before departing to return to Quito.
Transfer back to Quito for your departure flight home.
Mark Dornfeld ,
November 11, 2013
"My wife and I had a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves. All the accommodations that you booked for us were exceptional and our drivers and guides were lovely. We had great weather the whole trip and only lost one activity due to high winds. As you know this is a beautiful part of the world so my camera was snapping all the time. We would definitely use your services in the future for this type of travel. Thanks for all you help and expertise........be well.....m.d."
Jack Gregory ,
November 11, 2013
I wanted to give you a little feedback on our recent trip to Peru.
In a word – EXCELLENT – especially the high quality people you work with in Peru. We have taken tours all over the world, S. Africa, France, England, Vietnam, China to name just a few, and the service we received in Peru was far beyond and of the other experiences we have had. The attention to detail was very much appreciated, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport and complete, hassle free, handling of all our details truly made this a stress free experience.
Special thanks to:
-The entire reservation system and the people I came in contact with that process...every detail accounted for
-The people that looked after us in Lima
-Andre, the young man in Cusco who faithfully phoned every night just to make sure the day went well, my wife was well and that we knew what we had to do the next day.
-The Sumaq hotel in Aquas Calientes...you can tell the level of service by the details...I watched a waitress hold a high stool for a lady to prevent her from tipping backwards as she got on the stool, the lady didn’t even know the waitress did it....that’s client care.
-Especially Mariela, the tour guide in Cusco...highly knowledgeable, passionate, personable and shows great care for the people she guides.
Hainsworth Sherry ,
November 05, 2013
Clients were very impressed. Guides were amazing and accommodation was beyond expectations. They will definitely travel with you again and they have highly recommended Kensington Tours.
Hope I can work with you again the in the near future.
Scott Parks ,
November 05, 2013
Sandy and I are back from Peru and had a wonderful time. Kensington seems to have the best contacts in each country and Peru was no exception. I wanted to take the time to give you some specific feedback on each segment of out trip.
The “Hotel B” in Lima is fantastic. It’s an old house that has been turned into a small Hotel. The people are great and the location in Barranco is just what we like.
The Inkaterra Amazonica is probably the best place place to stay in the Amazon region. The rooms give a real feel of the sounds of the rain forest.
The hotels in both Cusco and Aquas Calientes were perfect with great locations. We added an additional day in Aquas Calientes which gave us three days in Machu Picchu. For us, this was well worth it and gave us the time we wanted to see all aspects of Machu Picchu. Pictures did not do justice to the site, although we got some great pictures.
The trip to see the Nasca Lines was, also, worth the time. Our guide added some side trips including lunch at a local winery which we really enjoyed. The Hotel Paracas was an unexpectedly high quality resort and a great way to end our trip.
Thanks for your help we look forward to next year
June Murray ,
August 20, 2013
"Buenas Noches Brandi-
I filled out the survey but I wanted to send you a note to say thank you. Our trip was the stuff lifelong memories are made of and I mean every part of it. From our time spent in Quito, to the Safari Camp and Isla Isabela. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the staff at our accommodations and the expertise of all our guides (most especially Tanya Helmig at the Safari Camp). We hope to go back for an extended stay.
I have attached 2 photos for you of Bart and I. I think the joy is clearly evident- thank you for making it possible.
Barbara Mackey ,
July 22, 2013
"We just completed a family trip to Costa Rica, with three families traveling from different locations. All the coordination efforts were made easily and efficiently by our Kensington representative, Brandi Merchant, who was wonderful; an absolute delight to work with. All the accommodations were first class and the guides knowledgeable and very punctual. We will be using Kensington again!
Cindy Thoene ,
July 22, 2013
What an AMAZING trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously…the trip of a lifetime!
We returned late on Thursday and had out of town visitors through the weekend and we are just now unpacking and getting back to non-vacation reality.
I will share my feedback and get pictures sent to you soon.
Thanks for everything….truly a perfect trip!
July 24, 2013
Our trip was wonderful, we had a great time, wish we could have spent more time. In fact, I now know I would have spent more time in Cuzco and the Machu Picchu area.
Machu Picchu was fabulous.
Margot, our guide, and the driver, were absolutely wonderful, low key, very personable, very accommodating, really good. We didn't end up with enough time on the last morning in Cusco to finish the tour, but got a feel- of Sacsayhuman, Qengo, Koricancha. We saw Ollayantatambo, and went to Moray and Maras, and Wayra ranch which was also outstanding, on the next day, but did not do Pisac and the market. We got tired and ran out of time so cut a couple things. Louis the coordinator was good as well.
Would love to go back and learn more some time.
The coordinator in Lima was extremely nice too, and very helpful.
In fact, we loved the food, the people and everything. The Libertador Palacio , the Tambo del Inka and the Sanctuary were indeed outstanding hotels. LAN was all on time, great service.
Thank you again for all your help.
Nick Baxevane ,
July 08, 2013
"The trip to the Galapagos Islands, Machu Picchu and Easter Islands was exciting, relaxing, active, social, exhilarating and that is just the start.
Everything was planned out smoothly and went smoothly. The only disappointment I had with this trip was it ended too soon.
Congrats to Kensington Tours...GREAT JOB IN PLANNING."
Beth Jones ,
June 20, 2013
"Hi Cindy – just returned from our trip of a lifetime!
Thought of you several times…. The logistics were smooth, the hotel choices luxurious, the personal tour guides a highlight.
I’ve already referred you and Kensington to a few people for planning a similar trip.
Thanks again for making the trip easy and accommodating my personal preferences!
Looking forward to working with you again!
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