2018 February 12 to 20
2018 March 24 to April 1
A Gay Travel Adventure Tour
From hiking the rim of an active volcano, Sierra Negra, to swimming with penguins, our Galapagos gay land adventure will take us to three distinctly unique volcanic Islands. Meet blue-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and sea lions as we explore these picturesque islands.
For a more leisurely experience, see our Gay Galapagos Cruise.
The Galapagos Islands are located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador with more 95% of the islands being protected as part of the Galapagos National Park System. We will explore 3 of the 13 volcanic islands. Some of the youngest islands are still in the process of being formed.
We will learn more about the extraordinary variety of plant and wildlife as we visit the islands. There are 29 species of land birds found here and 22 of them are endemic to the islands. See the world’s smallest penguins, the bright red-chested frigate birds, the flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies, hawks and lava gulls. In the sea, we’ll snorkel to find serene sea turtles, playful sea lions, and colorful fish. Each night, we’ll enjoy the comfort of the best hotels each island has to offer.
The itinerary below is subject to change, based on the regulations set forth by the Galapagos National Park and the Ecuadorean government. These regulations are adjusted to fine-tune the management of the Islands and keep the environment as pristine as possible. If necessary, we will make adjustments and substitutions to maintain an adventuresome exploration of each island.
Day 1: Quito, Ecuador
We arrive in Quito to begin our adventure. Since most flights arrive in the late evening, there are no official activities scheduled on arrival day. Guests arriving a day early can join today’s Optional city tour of Quito, including a walking tour of historic sites, lunch together, and a visit to the equator.
Day 2: Coffee, Chocolate, and Tortoises
After a great night’s sleep, we will board our flight (included in tour price) from Quito over to Baltra, and then ferry to Santa Cruz Island. Then we head to El Chato reserve in the highlands, home to several subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoise. As we hike, we see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, and finches.
Our next stop will be at a local coffee plantation as well as a chocolatier! Ecuador is well known around the world for its coffee and chocolate.
Today we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we will learn more about many of the endemic species we will meet during our adventure, as well as the ongoing conservation efforts in the Galapagos and why they are so important to the world today.
Dinner will be spent “food hopping”, with several stops at some amazing restaurants on the island.
Day 3: Kayaking Divine Bay
We will head out to sea in our kayaks to paddle around Divine Bay. This outstanding route takes us along calm turquoise waters that wind through high-walled lava channels. Here, white-tipped sharks and rays cruise under the clear water and colonies of blue-footed boobies, tropic birds, herons, crabs and marine iguanas perch along the steep cliffs. We’ll have the lunch at a local restaurant and some leisure time in the afternoon to explore the charming village of Puerto Ayora independently.
Day 4: On to Isabela Island!
This morning we board our boat to Isabela, the largest and youngest island in the Galapagos, still being formed by five active shield volcanoes. This makes Isabela one of the most volcanically active places on earth. We’ll check into our lovely hotel and relax until lunchtime.
This afternoon we head out to snorkel Tintoreras, a set of small, rocky islets tucked in Isabela Bay. Tintoreras’ islets are filled with wildlife, most notably the Galapagos Penguin, the only penguin that lives at the equator. We will also be able to see sharks, sea turtles, sea lions and more as we explore the small coves and beaches of Tintoreras.
Dinner will be enjoyed in town at a local restaurant.
Day 5: Volcanic Highlands
Today we head to the highlands of Isabela Island and into a world of modern geological history. The continuing volcanic activity on this island is a microcosm of the dramatic geological events that have formed the Galapagos Islands over millennia. After driving up to the trailhead, we hike into a young dry forest ecosystem. Our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra, an active volcano which last erupted in October 2005. Upon arrival, we take in breathtaking views and explore the circumference of the massive crater, over 6 miles across at its widest point. On a clear day, we can see Isabela’s other volcanoes, the Perry Isthmus, and beyond.
Our hike continues to Volcano Chico, a secondary crater that has a wild landscape of puffing fumaroles and colorful lava formations. A three-course lunch will be enjoyed at Hauser House. In the afternoon, we return to Puerto Villamil to enjoy Isabel’s exotic white sand beaches.
Tonight we will enjoy a special BBQ dinner featuring feral pig.
Day 6: Relaxation
Today is your day to explore Isabela on your own or with new friends, or simply to relax. Optional activities include more kayaking or cycling, let us know what you want to do. Ask for a sack lunch to take along!
In the evening, we’ll join up again for a fun local party with music and drinks.
Day 7: Island Hop to San Cristobal
After an early breakfast, we head out on mountain bikes to explore the beautiful coastline on an exclusive trail that takes us through an incredible variety of coastal ecosystems. We will visit the massive Wall of Tears, a lava rock wall built by prisoners when Isabel was a penal colony.
As we continue riding along the coast, we explore pristine white sand beaches, mangrove forests, and brackish lagoons. This area is filled with bird life, including oystercatchers, herons, flamingos, finches and many shore birds, as well as the ubiquitous sea lions and marine iguanas.
We’ll transfer to the airport for our quick flight to San Cristobal Island and check into our prime waterfront hotel (which boasts some of the best seafood in the islands). After lunch, we continue our journey at the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics of the Galapagos.
After our visit, we hike to Tijeretas (Frigate Hill) along natural trails formed of lava rocks. The path is surrounded by native plants like Galapagos cotton, Palo Santo, acacia, and cacti, and we will spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches in the vegetation and sea cliffs.
We cool off from our hike with a refreshing snorkeling session at postcard-worthy Carola Beach, surrounded by sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas, and bask in the setting sun. After dinner, we’ll explore the friendly, laid-back beach town and stroll down the boardwalk to visit the neighboring colony of Galapagos sea lions.
Day 8: Snorkeling and Kayaking
Our second day on San Cristobal, we begin with a morning of kayaking along the coastal bays and coves of San Cristobal’s north coast, full of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. We may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visiting site will depend on the week day and Galapagos National Park regulations. We’ll put on snorkels and fins to interact with sea lions, as well as marine iguanas and countless reef fish. We’ll swim with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color. With luck, we might even see some menacing but harmless hammerhead sharks!
After a full day spent exploring the seas, we head back to hotel. For dinner, enjoy a local ceviche cooking class and a local beer!
Day 9: Homeward Bound
Today we’ll say farewell to our new gay Galapagos adventure friends, then take an afternoon flight back to the mainland. We will arrive in Quito in the late afternoon, allowing plenty of time for an overnight flight back to North America. Some flights may require an overnight stay in Quito. If needed, we can help you reserve a hotel room near the airport, or arrange additional touring in the Quito area if you have more time to spend exploring the Andes region of Ecuador.
Extend your time in Ecuador and join our Highlands Adventure Extension. Once arriving in Quito, we will spend one night in town, while getting acclimated to the elevation. In the morning we will head to the cozy hacienda for a two night stay. While there, we will enjoy horseback riding in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains with stunning views of Cotopaxi Volcano. There are opportunities to spot Andean birds on this ride.
Mountain biking will give us the opportunity to pass by the ruins of an ancient Inca fortress, Pucará del Salitre. This ride will also give amazing views of the plains surrounding the cone of the volcano; with impressive geological formations. We will also enjoy a view of Limpiopungo, a wetland of true importance for birdlife conservation in the park.
We will also have time to enjoy an easy hike to view Manto Blanco Waterfall. As well as an opportunity that will allow us to take in the most authentic views of the Andean mountains, the ancient canyon of Zumbahua, and indigenous towns and farmland as we head to Quilotoa. Here we will hike down into the crater to the lake shore of stunning Emerald Lake. You will have the option to take a mule ride back up to the top if desired.
Airport transfer to Quito will be provided in the evening on the last day after a day of activities.
When you take two tours Back-to-back, you get a discount! Contact us for details.
Price includes: Airport transfers in Quito at beginning of the tour, and in the Islands; All accommodations in a shared room (1 night in Quito, 7 nights in the Galapagos); All breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners; Round-trip Quito-Galapagos-Quito airfare in Economy Class; Transportation by air or boat between islands; Services of knowledgeable local guides, and a professional HE Travel Tour Director (subject to minimum participation); Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100) and Migration Control Card ($20); All hotel service charges, government taxes, porterage, and meal gratuities for included meals. HE Travel provides complimentary Medical & Evacuation Insurance for every US Resident on our group tours who does not have other coverage.
Not included: Transportation to and from Quito; 1 lunch and 3 dinners; Airport departure fees (though these should be included in air ticket fees); Gratuities to naturalists, ship crew, and guides; Personal items including: alcoholic beverages, snacks, laundry, and telephone calls.
Optional Tour Choices:
$1625 Single Supplement (for solo travelers who wish to enjoy a private bedroom and bathroom) – limited availability – single supplement with upgrade may be required for single occupancy
$TBA Quito City Tour on Day 1, including visit to the Equator. Available for those arriving early enough (Must be ready by 9am on Day 1)
Price includes: Airport transfers; Three (3) hotel nights with breakfast each morning, three lunches, and three dinners; All activities listed.
Not included: Dinner on first night in Quito; Drinks; Gratuities for local guides and HE Travel host (host will accompany the group pending minimum participation)
$2500 Double Occupancy
$2700 Single Occupancy
“A land-based tour was so much better than taking a cruise. Our Ecuadorian guide was excellent at getting us to participate in as many activities as possible. The hotels were great, as was the camaraderie with other travelers!” – Will Dean, Seattle, WA
“The Galapagos Islands were more amazing than I ever imagined. It was truly a one-of-a-kind adventure. The highlight for me was snorkeling while penguins darted by and sea lions played mere inches away. The island of Isabela was so peaceful with its sandy beach roads and laid-back way of life. Each island had a unique feel- all were amazing!” – Zachary Moses, HE Travel Tour Developer and Marketing Director, Salt Lake City, UT
Most of our trips draw more single travelers than couples. When couples do join us, it’s usually because they’re looking forward to interacting with a gay group; if they wanted a holiday by themselves, they wouldn’t have signed up to travel with us. Furthermore, the activities included with our trips serve as natural ice-breakers. Within a day, you’ll be traveling with friends. You don’t need to pay the single supplement if you’re traveling alone. We’ll be happy to match you with a roommate. Pay the single supplement only if you want a bedroom to yourself.
For selected trips, including cruises, we will charge half the single supplement if you request a roommate but we can’t match you with someone.
This tour starts in Quito, Ecuador. Most flights from the US arrive in Quito in the late evening on Day 1, so because our flight to the Galapagos Islands is early the next morning, our Day 1 hotel is near the airport – about a 90-minute drive from the city. If you wish to arrive early and need an extra hotel night, please advise whether you want to be at our hotel near the airport, or in the city.
The tour ends with a flight from the Islands to Quito, arriving late afternoon on the final day of the tour. Therefore, schedule your flight home in the evening of the final date shown above. If your flight is the following day, please let us know if you wish to reserve an extra post-tour hotel night at a hotel near the airport.
The Galapagos Islands are home to rich and diverse wildlife, on the volcanic islands and in the rich waters offshore. We will snorkel and cycle, kayak and hike. Most days will feature plenty of active adventure in warm weather.
You should be reasonably fit for the activities on this tour. Walking on the islands is often across rugged terrain over uneven paths. While hiking in the El Chato reserve it tends to be slick even with the rubber boots provided. You will be getting on and off boats, especially in Santa Cruz where we use water taxis.
In Galapagos, we will be staying at three beautiful hotels. In San Cristobal, our hotel is very modern and fresh and on Isabela Island we’ll have a great beach front view and an outdoor pool. On Santa Cruz, we’ll stay in a charming gay-owned hotel on the waterfront with total privacy and undisturbed quiet and wildlife viewing.
For answers to your additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 305-294-8174