2017 May 8 to 16 – Open
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.
Day 2: Island Hop! San Cristobal
After a great night’s sleep, we will board our flight (included in tour price) from Quito over to San Cristobal Island. We will settle in at the island’s newest five-star hotel and then prepare ceviche together, introducing our taste buds to local flavors.
This afternoon we’ll stroll to the local Interpretation Center to learn about the geology and natural history of the archipelago. A lava trail through a dry forest ecosystem gets us close to native cacti, acacia, palo santo and Galapagos cotton. At Punta Carola, sea lions are basking! Later tonight we’ll enjoy our Welcome dinner together.
Day 3: Snorkeling and Kayaking
Today’s journey will take us to some remarkable offshore snorkeling sites and along the best kayaking route in the Galapagos! We leisurely paddle along the northern coast, exploring bays and coves full of wildlife. We will visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo.
After returning to our hotel for our last evening in San Cristobal Island we will savor another delicious dinner together.
Day 4: On to Isabela Island!
Enjoy a great aerial view of Galapagos as we fly over to Isabela. This is the largest and youngest island in the Galapagos, still being formed by five active shield volcanoes, which makes Isabela one of the most volcanically active places on earth.
Once settled in, 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.
After our ride and a rejuvenating lunch at our lavish hotel, 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.
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. A sack lunch is included for you to take along!
In the evening, we’ll join up again for a fun local party with music and dinner.
Day 7: Boat Ride to Santa Cruz
After an early breakfast, we will board a speed boat and continue our journey to our third and final island, Santa Cruz. Once we are all nestled in at our beautiful waterfront hotel, we will head back 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, tropicbirds, herons, crabs and marine iguanas perch along the steep cliffs. We’ll have the afternoon and evening to explore the charming village of Puerto Ayora independently.
Day 8: Coffee, Chocolate, and Tortoises
Today we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, where we will learn more about many of the endemic species we met during our adventure, as well as the ongoing conservation efforts in the Galapagos and why they are so important to the world today.
Then we head to El Chato reserve in the Santa Cruz highlands, home to several subspecies of Galapagos giant tortoise. Hiking through El Chato’s beautiful highland scenery with these lumbering giants is an unforgettable experience. As we hike, we see other highland wildlife such as pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, and finches. We’ll also visit a freshwater lake where frigate birds gather to wash the salt off their feathers.
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. Our farewell dinner will be spent enjoying a “food hopping” style dinner, with several stops at some amazing restaurants on the island.
Day 9: Homeward Bound
Today we’ll say farewell to our new gay Galapagos adventure friends, then take a ferry to the airport on Baltra Island for our 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.
For those with more time to spend in the area, we recommend a gay multisport adventure in Ecuador in the Andes Mountains. Horseback riding through the hills, hiking down into an extinct volcano crater and visiting the Middle of the World Monument!
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 and lunches, most 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; 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
“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