Journey to the Galapagos Finch Bay 2020
February 23, 2020 - March 04, 2020
Meeting point:
Palm Beach, FL (KPBI)
11 days / 10 nights
3,410 NM
Day 1 - Sunday, February 23: Palm Beach, FL → Kingston, Jamaica → Cartagena, Colombia (555 + 455nm)

Air Journey will greet you at Palm Beach International (KPBI) for a briefing about the forthcoming flight.

Our flight today will bring us over Cuba before landing in Kingston (Jamaica) to refuel. We’ll then continue on to Colombia – one of the most ethnically diverse nations in South America – for our visit to Cartagena, undeniably one of Latin America’s most beautiful cities lost somewhere in time between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, with the Caribbean sea as a sparkling backdrop. Sir Francis Drake laid siege to the city but the fortress walls and cannons remain, making the area within the old walled city a living museum.

There will be time to relax before we enjoy a well-deserved welcome cocktail and dinner.

Hotel : Sofitel Santa Clara
Welcome cocktail and Dinner included
Day 2 - Monday, February 24: Cartagena

Experience Cartagena’s colonial charm with its tiled roofs, balconies and flower-filled courtyards. Relive history in the old walled city, the Ciudad Amarullada, where we’ll explore the four sectors, each one with a peculiar story to tell: San Diego, La Matuna, Getsemani and Santo Domingo.

There will be a stop for lunch in the Old City as we enjoy the highlights of this beautiful city.

Hotel : Sofitel Santa Clara
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Day 3 - Tuesday, February 25: Cartagena → Guayaquil, Ecuador (795nm)

After breakfast we will transfer to the airport for our flight to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Strategically located in the downtown commercial and banking heart of the city, the Hilton Colon Guayaquil is only a short transfer from the airport.

Hotel : Hilton Colon Guayaquil
Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 4 - Wednesday, February 26: Guayaquil to Baltra, Galapagos – Manzanillo Tortoise Reserve

Today we will fly via commercial airline (ticket not included) to Baltra in the Galapagos. Upon arrival in Baltra, we travel across the Itabaca Channel to Santa Cruz Island where a bus takes us to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Here we visit the Giant Tortoise Reserve in their natural habitat, a once in a lifetime experience! Make sure you wear outdoor clothing and sturdy footwear this day.
Manzanillo is on the natural path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher, moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. Year round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-colored pond (impressively colored by surface red pond-weeds). The area is teeming with life: chirping vegetarian, smalltree, large-tree and woodpecker finches, mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit
After lunch and exploring the Tortoise Reserve, we continue our road south bound across Santa Cruz Island to Puerto Ayora, the Galápagos’ most populous town, where we board the hotel’s fiber glass boat (called a “panga”) for the short hop across to the “German Neighborhood.” This part of Puerto Ayora can only be reached by boat and there are no cars. A short walk along a path takes us to the hotel. Welcome to the Finch Bay Eco Hotel!
This afternoon is free to enjoy the hotel’s attractions: the pool and bar area, the white coral beach in front of the hotel, or swing in their hammock.

Hotel : Finch Bay Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Day 5 - Thursday, February 27: Punta Carrion and South Plaza Island

Today we visit this small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs. See sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors according to the season.
We cross the island of Santa Cruz to meet the yacht at the Itabaca Channel. At Itabaca, we embark on the Sea Lion Yacht and immediately get acquainted with the safety procedures, as well as facilities of the vessel. The captain will soon set course to the first stop, Punta Carrión, at the north-eastern tip of Santa Cruz Island. Our guides will seek out the best site along the cliffs for an enjoyable snorkel. Back on board, we continue sailing round the eastern coast of Santa Cruz until we reach a group of islets and rocks: South and North Plaza are twin, crescent-shaped islands. While the northern twin remains accessible only for scientists, South Plaza is one of Galápagos most impressive visiting sites.
Only 426 feet wide, it was formed from uplifted seabed, giving it a tilted tabletop aspect. Our landing is in the channel between North and South Plaza, where the island slopes down toward the water. The approach makes for a lavishly colorful sight! The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. The rocks have grown thick with green seaweed in places, speckled with bright orange “Sally light foot” crabs. Further up the shore, a carpet of scarlet Sesuvium succulents serves as groundcover for a grove of luminescent-green, prickly-pear cacti. Yellow and gray land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for pears to drop.
The trail gradually follows the tilt of the island to the cliffs that overlook the ocean to the south, where swallow tailed gulls nest. Redbilled tropic birds, masked and blue-footed boobies ride the gusty currents. The overlook is a great place for spotting large marine life such as manta rays. Surf pounds an inlet at the western corner of the island, where a colony of bachelor sea lions make their home, accounting for the surprising surface of the rocks, polished by the oils of their fur.

Hotel : Finch Bay Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Day 6 - Friday, February 28: Santa Fe Island

Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the archipelago. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted, and you can see where underwater lava once cooled off (pillow lava).
A wet landing on a sandy white beach brings us into contact with one of the many sea lion harems. Bulls vie for the right to be Beach Master, while smaller males masquerade as females and make stealthy mating moves. Galápagos hawks are often easily approached, perched atop salt bushes.

The giant prickly pear cacti found here live up to their name with tree-sized trunks! Our goal is to spot one of the large species of land iguana native to Santa Fe. Beige to chocolate brown in color with dragon-like spines, these huge iguanas truly resemble dinosaurs. An indigenous species of rice rat also inhabits the thickets and lucky hikers can spot harmless Galápagos snakes. After the hike, there is nothing more inviting than a swim in the calm waters of the bay, a great snorkeling opportunity with diverse marine life.
This is a walking excursion and involves uneven rocky terrain.

Hotel : Finch Bay Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Day 7 - Saturday, February 29: Tortuga Bay Beach and Charles Darwin Station Research

Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means turtle, since it is the favorite place for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Tortuga Bay with a beautiful white sand beach is considered the most beautiful of the Galápagos Archipelago. There is excellent bird watching along the path with plenty of Darwin’s Finches and other sea birds.  
There are two beaches at Tortuga Bay. The one on the west is perfect for swimming, snorkeling or relaxing as the water is calmer and the second, separated by mangroves, is great for surfing. Sea lions, marine iguanas, pelicans, and more marine birds are commonly found along the beach. Then we return to the hotel for lunch.  
The headquarters of the Galápagos National Park Service and The Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation center open to the public and also one may view the tortoise rearing program. Unfortunately, the number of tortoises is so reduced in the wild that this is the only place where many visitors to Galápagos have the chance to see tortoises.

Hotel : Finch Bay Hotel
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Day 8 - Sunday, March 1: Baltra Island to Guayaquil

After breakfast we leave the Finch Bay Hotel for an over land transfer to the airport in Baltra to take the flight back to the continent.

Upon arrival in Guayaquil, transfer to the Hilton Colon Hotel. The afternoon is free for you to relax and explore the city on your own.


Hotel : Hilton Colon Guayaquil
Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 9 - Monday, March 2: Guayaquil → Panama City, Panama (665nm)

Fy to Panama. Enjoy a scenic approach to Panama City including a beautiful view of the Panama Canal.

Hotel : Waldorf Astoria Panama
Breakfast and Dinner included
Day 10 - Tuesday, March 3: Panama City

Our full day sightseeing tour includes a one-hour excursion on the Panama Canal with the opportunity to spot green iguana and three-toed sloth resting on tree branches, crocodile, osprey in the hunt for peacock bass, snail kite and keel-billed toucan among other wildlife.

We will then proceed to the Miraflores Lock where you will be able to watch ships entering the lock and discover the new museum where you can test your skills to enter the lock on a simulator.

A buffet lunch will be served at the Miraflores Restaurant providing a great view of the canal.

In the afternoon, we will continue with a walking tour to view the historical landmarks of World Heritage-listed Casco Viejo.

Hotel : Waldorf Astoria Panama
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included
Day 11 - Wednesday, March 4: Panama City → Grand Cayman →Key West, FL (625 + 315nm)

We will transfer to the airport and fly to Key West to clear US Customs. There will be an optional technical stop in Grand Cayman to refuel.

Breakfast included