Tour

Galapagos Islands 2025

StartsDec 3rd 2025
EndsDec 12th 2025
LeaderSteve Gettle & Nicole Sudduth
Price$9,650
Deposit$2,000
Participants14 (Only one spot remains for a male to share a room!)
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Do you love the thought of being around wildlife that shows no fear towards humans? Does the thought of walking on the same island that Charles Darwin once walked intrigue you? How about snorkeling with playful dolphins and curious sea lions, or watching manta rays and sea turtles gliding near shore?

If you are looking for an epic, once in a lifetime photography tour destination that focuses on wildlife, then look no further! All you have to do is book your flight to Quito, Ecuador, and let us take care of the rest, your only concern should be that you have charged batteries and plenty of memory cards!

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Logistics

While in Quito, we will be guests at Patio Andaluz, a four star luxury hotel for the first two nights of our trip. This schedule provides us with an important buffer day to solve any unforeseen travel problems i.e. missed connections, lost luggage etc. This also gives us time to explore Quito, one of the trendiest, most interesting and culturally vibrant cities in South America. There is also “old town”, which is packed with historical architecture, gold embellished churches, culture, food, and shopping.

While touring the Galapagos Islands, we will be aboard the very comfortable Anahi, a 90-foot powered catamaran yacht. The Anahi features spacious twin bed cabins, each having a spectacular ocean view. Each cabin has large windows for wonderful views, individually controlled air conditioning and a private bath with full shower.

The boat features many common areas, including numerous sun decks, a bar and lounge area, a dining area and living room as well as a jacuzzi and sun deck. Meals will consist of the finest international and local dishes prepared by our Chef using fresh ingredients. Meals will include a choice of meat, poultry or seafood. Special dietary choices and needs will gladly be accommodated. You can relax and feel safe knowing that there are 10 highly professional and experienced crew members taking care of your every need. Also throughout our entire voyage we will have the benefit of our very own Galapagos Islands tour guide: a virtual encyclopedia of all things Galapagos with years of experience and a real passion for sharing their knowledge of the islands wildlife, biology, geology and natural history of the islands.

***If you plan to arrive early, before the start of our tour***
You will need to make your own extra/early arrival lodging and airport transfer arrangements at Patio Andaluz or be at Patio Andaluz by December 3.

Itinerary

Day 1

Wednesday, December 3
Arrive in Quito, Transfer to our hotel, Patio Andaluz

***If you plan to arrive early, before the start of our tour***
You will need to make your own extra/early arrival lodging and airport transfer arrangements at Patio Andaluz or be at Patio Andaluz by December 3.

Day 2

Thursday, December 4
Explore Quito on your own or relax for the day and get ready for the adventure ahead!
We will meet tonight for our Welcome Dinner.

Day 3

Friday, December 5
Short in-country flight to Baltra Island where we will board our boat, get settled in and get underway!

Our first adventure into the Galapagos islands will be Santa Cruz Island, Bachas Beach. Here, we will have our first encounters with species such as flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and migratory and aquatic birds. This is also one of the main nesting sites for sea turtles on Santa Cruz island.

Day 4

Saturday, December 6
Today will be spent exploring Genovesa island, also known as Bird Island or Tower Island.

We will visit Darwin Bay in the morning where we expect to see swallow-tailed and lava gulls, yellow-crowned night herons, lava herons, yellow warblers and mockingbirds. Frigate birds and red-footed boobies breed in abundance here as well.

Our afternoon will be spent exploring El Barranco. This part of the island is populated by red-footed boobies and frigate birds that nest in trees and Nazca boobies that nest on the ground. Small marine iguanas are also found here. Along the trail we may see lava cactus and a large lava field where thousands of storm petrels swirl through the sky. This is also the best place to see the endemic short-eared owl since it preys on the petrels.

Day 5

Sunday, December 7
This morning we will visit South Plazas Island. Here we will find sea lion colonies, land and hybrid iguanas and countless birds soaring by the cliffs. This is one of the smallest islands yet it is home to the largest populations of land iguanas that can be visited.

In the afternoon, we will enjoy Santa Fe Island. Red-billed tropicbirds, shear water petrels and swallow-tailed gulls are some of the birds nesting along the cliffs. We may even see mockingbirds, finches and the Galapagos Hawk. Land iguanas and lava lizards are also found here.

Day 6

Monday, December 8
As we get up in the morning, we will be at San Cristobal Island. Our morning will be spent at Punta Pitt, located on the easternmost side of the island. This is the nesting site for numerous sea birds and is one of a few places where you can see three species of boobies (red-footed, blue-footed and nazca) as well as two species of frigatebirds.

For the afternoon, we will head over to Leon Dormindo and Lobos Island, also known as Kicker Rock. This is one of the best places for snorkeling. We may spot sea turtles, marine iguanas and various tropical fish.

Day 7

Tuesday, December 9
This morning, we will visit the Galapagos Turtles Breeding Center of Cerro Colorado. Here we can observe giant tortoises living in a semi-natural habitat and learn about their origins, evolution and threats by introduced animals.

In the afternoon, we will head to the Tijeretas Hill/Interpretation Center. The center provides a nice introduction to the history and ecology of the island. It is also the starting point for a great walk to a beach where we may find frigatebirds roosting, iguanas catching some rays, turtles swimming just off shore, and sea lions resting along the shore (or in our path).

Day 8

Wednesday, December 10
Today will be spent on Espanola Island. We will start our day visiting Punta Suarez, one of the most memorable walks in all of the Galapagos. This is our chance to see the waved Albatross, an extremely rare endemic species that only makes its home on Espanola. Here we will also see the famed red and green “Christmas” Iguanas, also only found on this island. Large colonies of blue-footed boobys, nazca boobys, mockingbirds, lava lizards and sea lions are also found here. If we are lucky, this is also where we may see the Galapagos Hawk.

Our afternoon will be spent at Gardner Bay. This is a fantastic place to enjoy and photograph sea lions along a long white sand beach. You can also go for a swim here – maybe a sea lion will join you!

Day 9

Thursday, December 11
Today we will explore Floreana, starting with a morning at Punta Cormoran which hosts a large flamingo lagoon. Here we may also see common stilts and white-cheeked pintails. We will also visit the Devils Crown, one of the best snorkeling locations in the Galapagos. This location is a volcanic crater that was eroded by waves leaving the sides poking out of the water.

We will end the day with a visit to Post Office Bay and Peace Heaven Highlands, which is a scenic location surrounded by Scalesia trees and the chance to see giant galapagos tortoises that prefer highland conditions.

Day 10

Friday, December 12
In the morning we will visit Darwin Station before heading back to Baltra airport for our flight back to Quito and international flights home. Flights typically depart around midnight.

*If you decide to stay later or have a flight departing on December 13, we recommend staying at the Wyndham Airport Hotel. It is very nice and convenient for flights home.

Booking

Price
$9,650
Deposit
$2,000
Payment schedule

Deposit of $2,000.00 with reservation
Payment #2 of $4000 due January 15, 2025
Final payment of $3650 due August 15, 2025

* Pricing based on double occupancy

Included
– All lodging
– Welcome dinner in Quito and all meals aboard the Anahi
– Roundtrip flight from Quito to Baltra Island
– Professional tour guide and boat crew

Not included

– Air travel to and from Quito
– Gratuities
– Travel Insurance
– Any alcoholic beverages
– Entrance fee to the park ($100.00)
– INGALA card ($10.00)

Optional Extension

Ecuadorian Amazon Extension

StartsDec 12th 2025
EndDec 17th 2025
Price$3,500
Deposit$1,000
Participants7 (Registration Just Opened!)
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Getting to our destination is part of the unique adventure of this trip. We will take a motorized canoe along the Napo River and then transfer into other boats that take us along the black-water channels to our lodge. The lodge, operated by a local tribe, will be our base as we explore and photograph wildlife and wild habitats that surround us. We will visit a clay lick to see parrots and parakeets, scan the trees for howler, squirrel and tamarind monkeys, watch the rivers for giant otters, caiman, iguanas and more, go out at night for frogs and insects, and peek under giant tree leaves for roosting bats. This will be a photographic adventure with subjects at every turn. The colors, the sights, the sounds, they will excite your senses and spark your creativity!

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Logistics

Our lodge for this incredible experience is an oasis nestled within rich lagoons within the Ecuadorian Amazon. Our location, Sani, is run by the local Kichwa tribe that has historic roots within this jungle. The lodge is in the heart of the Amazon with palm-thatched cabins connected via a boardwalk to the spacious outdoor deck and other common areas all overlooking the river and jungle beyond. Our guides here who have become like family, will share the wildlife and richness of their jungle and community with you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nxiJ0JDZzg

Thanks to Mike Whear for the video from one of our past trips! To see some of his incredible photography visit his facebook page


Itinerary

Day 1

Friday, December 12

Following our Galapagos trip, we will be back in Quito. We will overnight at a local hotel.

Day 2

Saturday, December 13

We will take a morning flight from Quito to Coca, meeting our motorized boat transfer at 11am. From here we will take a ride up the Napo River, then transfer to paddled canoes as we make our way through the lagoons to our lodge, nestled within the Amazon. After settling in we will photograph around the lodge and perhaps do a night hike and some macro photography of jungle creatures!

Days 3 thru 5

Sunday, December 14 thru Tuesday, December 16

Each day we will explore different areas of this wonderful jungle area. With canoe rides through the jungle, walks along trails, a canopy tower that takes us to the tops of trees and excursion opportunities day and night, our opportunities to photograph wildlife and nature at its richest is here. If conditions are good we will also visit a clay lick where hundreds of parrots and parakeets come in to eat clay.

Day 6

Wednesday, December 17

After a canoe ride back down the river, we will take a short flight from Coca back to Quito and then take our international flights home (most depart around midnight)


Price
$3,500

Deposit
$1,000

Register
Payment schedule

Deposit of $1,000 due with reservation
Balance of $2,500 due January 15, 2025

* Pricing based on double occupancy
** Single Supplement $800 (while available)

Included
– All lodging while in Amazon and Quito
– All meals
– All ground and boat transportation
– All field trips to Photo Locations

Price does not include

– Air travel between Quito and Coca
– Gratuities
– Travel Insurance
– Any alcoholic beverages

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Description

Our very well thought out trip to the Galapagos Islands was created to maximize photographic opportunities for our participants. From past experience, we’ve realized the importance of having total control over when we arrive and when we leave the islands. As photographers, it’s critical to be on the islands at first and last light. Missing the opportunity to take pictures during this time of ideal lighting is simply not an option! Folks that stay on those larger boats waste time standing in line, to get rushed through the visits to shore, and often don’t get on the island until 10:00 or 11:00 in the morning, and have missed that “golden” hour!

For this reason, we have chosen to secure a private boat just for the members of our group. We will be aboard the Anahi, a 90-foot foot diesel powered catamaran yacht. Having our own boat means total control over our own schedule. Our group will be the first on the island, and last to leave. This way we will be sure to take advantage of the increased animal activity blanketed by the nice warm light of early morning and late evening. In the mid-day, when the animal activity slows and the lighting becomes too harsh to produce quality photos, we leave the island and head back to our boat.

Our afternoons will be spent snorkeling, cruising to another location, downloading and editing images, and having classroom discussions. Late afternoons and evenings, we are back on the island, making the most out of the increased wildlife activity and that beautiful golden light. At night, while we are sleeping, the boat will be cruising to our next destination. Each morning, we will awaken to a freshly prepared breakfast, and a brand new island to view and explore, and make more amazing photos!

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