SAVE THE RAINFOREST
1. Arrival in Quito, transfer to the Hotel Alston, settle into the hotel
Day 2. Trip to Galapagos-travel from Quito to Guyaquil, and then on to
San Cristobal. Late afternoon trip to one of the local beaches for snorkeling,
swimming, beach combing and or viewing marine Iguanas---much of this depends on
the arrival time.
Day 3. Trip to Galapagos tortoise reproduction center. Here students will learn about the arrival, evolution, history and current status of the sub-species of tortoise on San Cristobal. Students will be guided through the reproduction facility and will be able to view and photograph recently hatched tortoises and large individuals. Details related to their reproduction will be explained.
Hike to look out and lighthouse. Here students will have a view of the coastal area surrounding Puerto Chino, which was one of the first areas that Darwin landed in Galapagos. There is a fenced off section protecting a very rare plant species there and students will also be able to climb up an antique lighthouse for a more ample view of the coast line.
Hike to Puerto Chino Beach over lava fields. Here students will see first hand the dry forest habitat particular to San Cristobal. At Puerto Chino Beach there are many opportunities for viewing some of the more well know shore birds of the islands including the blue-footed booby and the magnificent Frigate Bird.
Puerto Chino is a white sand beach, and there are great opportunities for body surfing here. Lunch will be at Puerto Chino.
Return to Cerro Verde for a snack stop and then on to the EL Junco Volcano where students will view the most significant body of fresh water in the islands. There a various endemic bird species found at this high elevation site.
Return to the Jatun Sacha-San Cristobal Biological Station- Dinner and evening lecture on Ecuador's Natural history and related conservation and development themes.
Day 4. Snorkeling. This is a day spent down at the some of the world's most spectacular snorkeling sites near Puerto Baquerizo about 30 minutes from the station. We will start at Tijerettas Bay with a short snorkeling lessons and then in small groups will explore the rocking reefs in this spectacular snorkel site. We will have field guides available and will lead groups to some of the most species rich portions of the bay for viewing fish. Explanations of where the different fish assemblages come from and information on the effects of currents will be presented to the group either at the site or during an evening lecture.
Evening--Dinner, Music, and short orientation to the following days boat activity
Day 5. -Boat trip to Punto Pitt. Here is a small rocky island which is one of three sites in the islands where the red-footed booby can be observed. Many other species including owls can be observed on the island. The beach here is green and there are huge colonies of sea lions and many large Marine Iguanas with some impressive very dry canyons as a back drop. We will lead the group up one of the canyons for a view of the landscape. There will also be ample time on the beach for close-up observation of some very large marine Iguanas
Or: Trip to Sleeping Lion Rock, Puerto Grande and the Sea Lion Island. All three sites are spectacular for snorkeling and offer a very different assemblage of fish for viewing. At Sleeping Lion, groups will swim through "Shark Alley" where they will likely see "White Tipped and Galapagos Sharks" and occasionally Hammerheads. Sea Turtles are often seen along this se wall-cliff which rises about 600 feet out of the water. Along the sea wall are opportunities to see many fish species, sponges and corals.
The sea lion island is a great place for viewing Marine Iguanas both on the rocks and diving to feed on Algae, Sting Rays, Manta Rays, and many other species. On the island itself are colonies of Galapagos Sea Lions, and nesting colonies of Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds.
Puerto Grande is a shallow bay where we will stop and eat lunch at mid day. Here there is a beautiful white sand beach, mangroves, and good snorkeling especially for viewing puffer fish along the rocking portions of the shoreline.
Evening barbeque dinner. Shopping and strolling in town.
Day 6. Depart for Isabella: Isabella is the largest and most active island in the Galapagos archipelago. It is made up of 5 volcanoes. The town Puerto SanVincente is on the south eastern point of the island. It is abeautiful beach front town with about 2.000 residents. From town it is possible to see penguins, flamingos, frigite birds, blue footed boobies, brown pelicans, sea turtles, white tip reef sharks and many other species.
Excursión Volcán Sierra Negra (horse back ride)-Tintoreras.(snorkel)The trip up the volcano is spectacular. Sierra Negra is the 2ndlargest cauldera in the world. It is one of the active volcanoes inGalapagos. Tintoreras is a short boat ride from the town. At lowtide the white tip reef sharks get trapped in these lava channels.when I was there I saw about ten all at once. They rest in thechannels and when the tide goes up they leave to feed. Overnight in hotel in San Vicente.
1. volcanic formations
2. colonizer species
3. Myths and reality about sharks.
Day 7.- Túneles (bajo el agua)-Centro de crianza. Wall of tearsThe tunnels are one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen.It is an area where the lava ran into the sea and has formed channels,bridges, and tunnels in the ocean. The lava protects it from the openocean so it is calm for snorkeling. There are tons of sea turtles,sharks, schools of fish, eels and lots more. It is a great place forbreeding because it is protected so you see a lot of young animals.The Wall of Tears is a huge wall that prisoners in the penal colony onIsabella were forced to build. Many people say that you can hear theprisoners crying when you go to the wall.
1. Geologic formations
2. marine ecology
3. protected fisheries
4. special look at the Galapagos Marine Reserve
Day 8. Depart for Santa Cruz. Visit Charles Darwin Station and take bus ride up to view craters of twin volcanos. Overnight in hotel.
Day 9. return to Quito. Afternoon tour of colonial downtown. Evening farewell dinner.
Day 10. return to US