Natalie In Patagonia Top Ten Bucket List Trips For 2018

Natalie's Top Ten Bucket List Trips For 2018
Wildfoot travel expert Natalie Natalie Greenhalgh has always been passionate about travelling. Seeking out new places and new travel experiences is something she has done all her life. Always lining up the next life-goal or travel-target. So who better to ask to put together her top ten bucket-list adventures for 2018? Here’s Natalie’s top ten. How many of these adventures would you add to your bucket list?

We all do it, every year we make a list of new year’s resolutions that often tend to be about bettering one’s self. And we can’t think of a better way of doing this than to travel. So book your time off, pack your bags and set off for a new destination! It’s a great big world out there, so here are some highlights that we at Wildfoot Travel would highly recommend.

Beautiful Patagonia

Hike Hidden Pathways in Patagonia

Celebrating 200 years of independence this year, Chile is unlike any other place on earth. Isolated from the rest of the world with the vast Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atacama Desert to the North, the soaring Andes to the East and the wilds of Patagonia to the South, these extreme environments make for a remarkable country. In my opinion, Patagonia is the most beautiful spot on the planet…an otherworldly dreamland of majestic mountains, deep blue glaciers and fairy-tale woodlands, a trek in this remote wilderness will stay with you for life.

When? Chile’s summer months of December to March are warmest and best for trekking. Visit in October and November for Wildflowers.

Diving in the Galapagos

Go Goggle-eyed in the Galapagos

As a wildlife destination, the Galapagos offers a once in a lifetime experience, where adventurous travellers can get extremely close to exotic animals and aquatic life. These isolated islands are home to the marine and land-based animals that have enthralled biologists and nature lovers since Darwin’s day, and the fearless and friendly animals that roam this untouched natural world are in abundance.
Easily one of the best snorkelling spots in the World, there is over 15,000 square miles of protected, marine reserve waters. Unlike Scuba Diving, no special training is required for snorkelling, so if you can swim and breathe through a snorkel, you’re set! I will never forget watching green turtles paddle in front of me as two sea lions were demanding my attention as they circled me then swam up and looked me in the eye. Marine iguanas are warning in the sun, Galápagos penguins dive in, and hammerhead and white-tipped sharks lurk in the depths.

When? Unlike most wildlife destinations, there’s no wrong time to visit & go snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands. There are two distinct seasons in the Galapagos. The dry and cooler season runs from June to November while the wet and warmer season lasts from December through the end of May.

Penguins on South Georgia Island


Sit among King Penguins in South Georgia

When you land on South Georgia, a spectacularly beautiful and remote sub-Antarctic island, you will be amazed at the sight of 300,000 king penguins crowding the beach. These beautiful birds are recognisable by their orange throats and jet black heads. As they stand shoulder to shoulder on this tiny island, you certainly feel like a guest in their home! But they are very welcoming hosts and are often happy to come a little closer and say hello. And it’s not all about penguins, if you want to spend time with the greatest density of wildlife on the planet, you can expect to see seals, petrels, albatrosses, prions and much more.

When? The short expedition season runs from November-March when the sea ice breaks up to allow passage. November offers the chance of also seeing elephant seals on South Georgia, whilst December and January have warmer temperatures and welcome penguin chicks at this time of year.

 

walking safari in Zambia

Walk amongst the wild things in Zambia

The concept of walking safaris was born here, in South Luangwa National Park. One of the best wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and well-known for its World class guides, it is home to some of the highest concentrations of animals in Africa. Don’t be daunted by the prospect of walking, exploring the area on foot makes you really appreciate the bush as you become a part of the landscape. You may stumble upon a baby elephant learning to use its trunk, watch a wallowing hippo or two or stay as still as humanly possible as a Lion watches you through the grass. But you also take the time to learn about the plants, seeds and insects and how they all work so brilliantly together in this fascinating system. So if you’re after a safari that doesn’t just tick off the big 5, walk amongst the animals that call this place home and see how it all fits together, you will not be disappointed.

When? Some camps in Zambia are only open in the dry-season between June and October. As the heat increases towards the end of August, there is a greater concentration of game.

northern lights in scandanaviaBe in awe of the Aurora Borealis whilst Whale watching

Walking out of a bar in Reykjavik, I looked up and caught a glimpse of the northern lights. Despite the light pollution, I could faintly see the beautiful light show that was happening right above me. I stood in awe for a few seconds before the magical lights disappeared, and I made a promise to myself to make a trip one day specifically to see this sight “properly”. There are many places to see this natural phenomenon, but why not combine this with another wonderous experience…whale watching. Take a winter trip aboard a traditional two masted schooner and sail in arctic waters, looking for orcas and humpback whales, which follow the herring shoals at this time of year. Whales by day, northern lights by night…what could be better?

When? Darkness is the key, and nowhere is darker than Scandinavia in winter! Best seen in the Northern Hemisphere between October – March, the closer to the Arctic circle the better.

Peek at Jaguar’s in the Pantanal

Think of a wildlife destination in Brazil and most people would suggest the Amazon. But the Pantanal is Brazil’s less-famous great wilderness…and the best place in the world to spot the elusive Jaguar. Because the Amazon is so dense, often people can be disappointed with what little wildlife they see, but the Pantanal is like the jungle without the trees – wildlife can be easily spotted.  This vast wetland is also home to giant otters, huge caiman, capybara, anteaters, almost 700 hundred bird species and much more. Exploring this wilderness by boat or on foot, you will have the opportunity of seeing very rare and iconic wildlife up-close.

When?  Seasonally flooded in the wet season between December – May, the Pantanal is best visited in winter with September and October usually seen as the best months to visit for Jaguar spotting.

Feel free in the faraway Falklands

With some of the World’s wildest and remote landscapes, the Falkland Islands are a wonderous place and incredibly bio-diverse. A little bit of Britain at the end of the world, the real citizens here are the animals. With 5 penguin species (Kings, Rockhopper, Magellanic, Macaroni and Gentoo), dolphins, whales, sea lions, leopard seals, elephant seals and not to mention over 200 species of birds…if you are after a wildlife trip with a difference, the Falkland’s will not disappoint. Stanley, the capital of East Falkland Island is often at the start of your adventure, with Volunteer point not to be missed…home to the largest colony of King Penguins on all of the islands. Then take a short plane hop to Sea Lion Island, Darwin, Pebble Island, Carcass and West Point Island, each island offering a unique and unforgettable experience.

When? OctoberMarch is generally considered the best time to visit, with the start of the warmer weather bringing new life and later on in the season, the better time for whale watching.

The Icebergs in Greenland's Disko Bay

 Dance amongst the Icebergs in Disko Bay, Greenland

Ok, so you might not dance but this is Disko Bay, a UNESCO world heritage site thanks to its outstanding natural beauty. Greenland is the worlds largest island, with the worlds largest national park, and on the West Coast you will find Illullisat, a harbour town on Disko Bay whose name translates literally to “icebergs”, and you will see why. Disko bay is packed full of beautiful icebergs of all shapes and sizes rising majestically from the sea. And this is just one tiny highlight of this huge island that has so much to offer.

When? Most people visit in summer (May – September) when temperatures can reach a balmy 10 degrees Celsius! Enjoy the midnight sun at this time too, with most areas lit up around the clock from June – July.

See the sunrise over Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia

The climb up this 85m sand dune (in sand no less) will leave you short as breath as you reach the top. Short of breath for the climb you have just experienced but also short of breath when you see the beauty of the sunrise over Sossusvlei. As I watched the sun come up and change the colours of the landscape, the orange of the sunrise combined with the rust-red of the Dunes was so intense and I remember feeling lost in that moment, whilst nature showed just how beautiful she can be. Just one highlight of my trip to Namibia, this is one of my favourite countries as it has everything to offer, fantastic wildlife and national parks, preserved ancient cultures, dramatic landscapes and lovely little seaside towns.

When? A year-round destination, Namibia has over 300 days of sunshine per year! Wildlife can be easier to view in the drier months between May to November.
sloth hanging from a tree in the rain forest of costa rica

Go coco for Costa Rica

As a country, Costa Rica has so much to offer, especially for wildlife enthusiasts! Costa Rica covers 0.03 percent of the earth’s surface, but it contains nearly 6 percent of the world’s biodiversity.  Around 25% of the country’s land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world. Sloths, Whales, Turtles, Monkeys, Tapirs and hundreds of bird species…it is packed full of wildlife! If you’re after a bit of adrenalin, try white-water rafting, ziplining and canyoning…just a few of the activities on offer. And with coastlines on both the Pacific and Caribbean, there are many beach spots to relax after a busy trip around this wonderful country.

When? The driest and sunniest time of year to go is between January to April with January and February being the busiest time to go. Temperatures and rainfall can very though with Rainforests, Cloud Forests, mountains and 2 coastlines all battling it out!

Find out more about any of our trips here

Natalie Top Ten Bucket List Trips For 2018

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Lizards on the Galapagos Ecuador Wildlife Spectacular Cruise Cynthia Bressani’s Ecuador/Galapagos Photo Gallery

Cynthia Bressani joined us for another adventure recently. This time Cynthia opted for our ‘Wildlife Spectacular To Ecuador and The Galapagos’. Here she kindly shares her photos from that trip in this beautiful and varied photo gallery.

Thanks for sharing the photos with us Cynthia.

If you’d like to know more about our Galapagos/Ecuador Wildlife Spectacular click here

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Volcano hiking and exciting diving

Part 4

Adding to my previous report of time spent at the Galapagos Islands, I have to say that another captivating moment was watching a small pod of orcas hunting off Fernandina’s coastline. Although their appearance was brief, it brought goose bumps. One orca attempted to snatch a sea lion from the rocky coastline only a few metres from where we were stood receiving a short briefing from our guide Renny about the island’s interesting geology.orcas

These creatures always amaze me with their sheer power and pack mentality which, combined, makes them fearsome predators. However, if I were to pick a non-wildlife moment that took my breath away, it would have to be reaching the summit of Sierra Negra. Sierra Negra, an active volcano on the island of Isabela, rises 1,124m above sea level – and at about six miles wide, its caldera is the world’s second largest.

As we came over the summit, the clouds that had engulfed us for the past couple of hours seemed to part, revealing a vibrant blue sky that provided a perfect backdrop against the green tree line and black volcanic rock.kicker-rock

Our guide stressed how lucky we were to see the sky like this, as it is more commonly hidden in dark rain clouds and mist! The view was undeniably spectacular, and the many photos I took never did it justice. A moment better stored in memory than on an SD card.

I’m a water baby at heart, which is probably why this archipelago resonates so deeply with me. I’ve dived and snorkelled at what are regarded as some of the world’s best sites, but this still has to rank in my top three. Every time I entered the water, there was something remarkable there – from cheeky juvenile sea lions that would grab my fins given half a chance, to the smallest, multi-coloured coral feeders. What great attractions of a diving trip in the Galapagos from WILDFOOT…

sealion-and-penguiniguana-and-stop-sign

Over the week, we snorkelled with sharks, turtles, penguins, seals, sea lions, eagle rays, marine iguanas and so much more. As with my previous visits to the Galapagos Islands, the time spent in the water was undoubtedly the real highlight for me. I can’t wait to start planning my next trip back here!

 

If you would like to learn more about booking a Galapagos diving trip with WILDFOOT, simply contact our friendly and professional team today.

 

 

 

 

 

Galapagos adventure activities by the Estrella del Mar

Part 3

Having already been out in the Galapagos Islands for almost a week before meeting my new group at the dockside in Puerto Ayora, I felt very at ease with the sea lions and iguanas that seemed unwilling to move out of our way as we tried to board the panga sent to pick us up.

lots-of-iguanas

fur-sea-lion

Our home for the next seven nights was the Estrella del Mar, a spacious eight-cabin boat with a wrap-around deck for maximum wildlife viewing opportunities. The Estrella has seven crew members and a bilingual, certified naturalist with an incredible knowledge of the local wildlife, vegetation and geology. The Estrella is very efficiently run, with two panga boats shuttling the 16 clients back and forth to the islands for wet and dry landings and deep water snorkel dives.

However, more importantly, the crew seem to know how to have fun and add to the trip’s overall enjoyment – their passion and enthusiasm was contagious. The camaraderie among the crew members and their overwhelming desire to please us was very easy to see, leaving me feeling relaxed.panga-majestic

Our cruise took us to the islands of Santa Cruz, Rábida, Santiago, Chinaman’s Hat, Fernandina, Isabela and San Cristóbal, with multiple landings or snorkelling excursions at each. The diversity of each island and each day was just incredible – you never knew what to expect next.

From such an eventful week, it is difficult to isolate just one highlight, but there were a few particularly notable moments. These included watching a group of blue-footed boobies dive-bombing for their dinner on Santiago Island, a ritual almost as mesmerising as their mating dance.

As we stood admiring the beach’s pelicans, Sally Lightfoot crabs and iguanas, we noticed a small group of boobies congregating in the sky above us. Then, all of a sudden, they dropped together like torpedoes, plunging deep into the water in search of fish. They repeated this spectacular display over and over again, barely pausing to swallow the fish they caught on the previous attempt.flying-boobies

Read the fourth part of this story in the next WILDFOOT blog post. In the meantime, enquire to our team now about the Galapagos adventure activities that will give you memories to last a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

Catching sight of amazing wildlife on the Galapagos Islands

Part 2

We enjoy countless intimate and close-up wildlife experiences during our Galapagos stay. However, for me, the highlight is our day at Genovesa. I hear the anchor drop shortly after 5am and get up on deck to see sunrise. I quickly realise that we have stopped in Darwin Bay, the submerged caldera of a dormant volcano.

Embracing ‘the bird island’

As the sun emerges, the sky fills with birds. No wonder it has gained the reputation as ‘the bird island’; within half an hour or so, I am surrounded by frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, red-billed tropicbirds, Nazca boobies and red-footed boobies.

After breakfast, we travel to Prince Philip’s Steps, where we start the trail that winds its way around the island, leading us through huge colonies of mating boobies and frigate birds. Watching these courtship rituals so close up is truly awe-inspiring. Particularly memorable is watching a short-eared owl hunt a petrel in broad daylight, a technique adopted only by owls on the Galapagos.2h3a9275

img_5624

Snorkelling among hammerhead sharks

Later that morning, we try to escape the blistering heat by taking to the water – and what a treat is in store for us! James leads us to a shallow piece of water protected by the cliff line. This is known as a cleaning site for hammerhead sharks, and doesn’t disappoint. Within two minutes of being in the water, I quickly spot the outline of a hammerhead shark below me, and then another and another. To snorkel among so many of these wonderful creatures is truly a dream come true.

dsc_1756

Even within this relatively short itinerary, we noticed the striking diversity of the islands’ geology and topography, with each island having its own personality and history. In one day alone, we walked along the red sandy beaches of Rabida, explored the black lava tunnels and formations of Chinese Hat Islet, and snorkelled in crystal clear blue waters full of multi-coloured coral.

Why visit the amazing Galapagos only once?

No two landings on the Galapagos are ever the same, and this wonderful diversity makes the longer itineraries extremely rewarding. I was relieved that, when I finally disembarked the Majestic in San Cristobel, I wasn’t flying home like many of my fellow travellers, but instead had another exciting cruise to join later that day. Thanks to WILDFOOT, Galapagos cruise tours could welcome you, too.

 

Contact WILDFOOT today for more information about our Galapagos cruise packages, designed to enable you to discover this truly remarkable part of the world.

 

Recalling my trip around the Galapagos Islands on board the Majestic

Part 1

Despite having only recently visited the Galapagos Islands, I had an overwhelming desire to return, feeling there was unfinished business. My previous trip focused on the southern and western islands – and, as colleagues and friends told me the other half of the archipelago offers a very different experience, I was left with no option but to board a plane back to ‘paradise’.

img_5256

Within moments of landing at Baltra airport, wonderful memories of my last visit came flooding back. As we made our way down to the nearby pier, we were greeted by the coolly confident sea lions. These relax in areas typically reserved for humans as though they own the place, which isn’t far from the truth! They were here before mankind and are one of the reasons we flock to the islands in our thousands each year. Nonetheless, it is still slightly surreal to see them basking in the sun in the children’s playground or on the sun loungers while families and beachgoers frolic nearby.

img_5385

img_5446

The fearless nature of the local wildlife is without doubt one of the most striking features of the islands and appealing to wildlife enthusiasts and photographers alike. I certainly enjoyed it from what was, on this occasion, my home – a beautiful motor yacht called the Majestic, specifically designed and built for Galapagos cruises. With a maximum of 18 guests, it offers a very intimate and personal experience. The social areas on board are tastefully furnished and very spacious, in particular the sundeck, which includes a Jacuzzi. There were nine crew members on board led by an extremely experienced captain, Juan and one certified, bilingual naturalist, James.

m-majestic-exterior-5

img_5671

Over the next few days, we navigated around the central islands (Santa Cruz, San Cristobel, Rabida etc.) and out to the most northern island, Genovesa, with several landings and snorkelling opportunities at each. The team on board do their utmost to cater to all of our needs, whether it be a particular dietary request at dinner or to have ‘just another 5 minutes’ with a turtle or the photographers among the group searching for the ‘perfect’ image. Flexibility and patience is paramount on a small group expedition like this – and thankfully, James has an abundance of both.

img_5198

img_5288

Stay tuned for the second part of this story in the WILDFOOT Journal – and feel free to contact our team if you would like to learn more about our acclaimed and comprehensive Galapagos cruises.

 

Get even closer to the action with a Galapagos camping experience

Are you looking for the adventure of a lifetime? If so, we are certainly specialists in such a thing here at Wildfoot Travel. Although we are renowned for the quality of our cruises, we can also help if you are interested in embarking upon a Galapagos camping experience. Let’s take a look at what you will have lined up if you opt for a camping adventure on the Galapagos Islands.

Choose our nine-day camping adventure and you will be able to snorkel with sea lions, explore the islands via public speedboats and camp right in the centre of the action. This experience can include visits to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre and the Charles Darwin Research Station, as well as the epic Sierra Negra volcano. You will pay less than you might have expected for this week-long trip, and if you want to indulge in a vastly rewarding fact-finding mission, you won’t be left disappointed.

After arriving in Quito on the first day, you will spend days two and three flying to Baltra Island, transferring to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz, where you will be able to explore the town at leisure, and then head off by speedboat to Floreana Island in the afternoon. You can then get yourself settled in the camp, where you can rent a kayak, swim or simply relax. Also included in this part of the trip is the opportunity to snorkel in Loberia and take in the majestic highlands.

On the fourth and fifth days, you will take a boat to Isabela Island and embark on visits to Flamingo Lagoon and the Tortoise Breeding Centre. You will also be able to hike the Sierra Negra Volcano for magnificent best views.

On days six and seven, you will transfer via speedboat back to Santa Cruz Island. You can pay a visit to Charles Darwin Station and walk to Tortuga Bay for kayaking, or just watch the marine iguanas coming in and out of the surf, visit the lava tunnels and stroll amongst giant tortoises. You will then be able to spend time in town with the group, bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands and fly back to Quito to enjoy a final night out.

Here at Wildfoot Travel, we pride ourselves on our unrivalled first-hand knowledge of all of the regions that we can guide you round. We are waiting to hear from you if you wish to embark on a thrilling Galapagos camping adventure, so why hesitate to embark on a trip that – for once – really does live up to the billing of ‘a journey of a lifetime’?

Introduce your family to the wonders of the Galapagos

We can help if you wish to embark on the educational adventure of a lifetime with your family. How so? Well, here at Wildfoot Travel, we specialise in the very finest family friendly tours to the Galapagos.

That may seem to be a contradiction in terms – bringing your entire family to one of the remotest regions on Earth – but rest assured that with the Galapagos Islands steadily becoming more accessible than ever before, the leading operators are also able to provide travellers with all of the comfort and amenities that enable them to bring their entire family with them for the ride.

Indeed, we firmly believe here at Wildfoot Travel that the Galapagos region is the ideal destination if you are keen to educate your kids about the wonders of nature and the relationship between human beings and the natural world.

Our Galapagos tours are incredibly varied and allow you to not only get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating species from the natural world, but also engage in all sorts of activities including cycling, snorkelling, walking and surfing. You can even use our tours to unwind on the beach in an idyllic location – just the kind of thing that you would expect on a ‘normal’ holiday!

Our team possesses an exceptional knowledge of the Galapagos and their history and is here to help you to make the most of your tour. Kids are more than welcome on the cruise boats and will get many opportunities to partake in activities like kayaking and snorkelling.

Our eight-day itinerary is designed with families in mind and is perfectly suited to kids aged six and over. Popular things for families to do while on a tour to the Galapagos include taking a snorkelling trip to Isla Lobos to witness marine life like sea turtles and sea lions.

You will benefit from seven nights of B&B hotel accommodation when taking advantage of our Galapagos family holiday package, as well as a visit to the Interpretation Centre. Also part of the itinerary is a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre, a Tortuga Bay walk, a trip to the Charles Darwin Research Centre and snorkelling and swimming at Loberia. If all of this sounds good to you, why not drop us a line today to chat about your trip with a member of our expert team.

Wildfoot Travel is associated with Arctic Bound and Antarctica Bound, which were established more than 25 years ago. We help people to see the most spectacular regions of the world with their own eyes, so talk to us today if you are keen to embark on an out-of-the-ordinary travel experience that you and your family will never forget. Why wait any longer to get in touch?

Uncover the Galapagos with your little explorers!

Sometimes you want to treat your family to an experience that they will never forget, away from the bustling crowds of the obvious touristic cities and back into the heart of nature. If you are currently trying to find the perfect destination for your own little explorers, why not take them to a destination where nature is right under their noses, on a Galapagos family cruise?

Ecuador’s spectacular Galapagos islands offer a seemingly primordial environment, where humans can interact with a whole host of inhabitants including rare birds, iguanas, giant tortoises and sea lions. The islands are extraordinarily well preserved and the animals that live there show no fear of people, making it the ideal place to teach your family about the importance of nature and conservation.

With itineraries that are designed for fulfilling exploration of some of the best wildlife regions on the islands, you can rest safe in the knowledge that the Galapagos experts are leading you through locations that your family will be talking about for the rest of their lives.

Although many may not consider the Galapagos islands to be a family friendly destination, our especially designed cruises here at Wildfoot Travel have been tailor made to ensure that family members of all ages can take part in some truly once-in-a-lifetime activities. Along with the on-board entertainment, the tours of the Galapagos encompass all manner of fun-filled activities.

There really isn’t anything like leaving the beaten path and enjoying the peace and quiet of an island paradise, with activities like snorkelling, kayaking or simply paddling in the pristine waters adding an extra layer of family fun!

When you consider just how few opportunities most of us have to see animals such as giant tortoises and sea lions in their natural habitats, a Galapagos family cruise is the perfect way to create these memories and experiences for your little ones. As you walk among the colonies of birds and animals, you will be able to explore a world that is in stark contrast to the busy cities and modern holiday destinations that many of us have become accustomed to – and jaded by.

Why not try something a little different on your next break and revel a once-in-a-lifetime trip with your family to the islands that really do showcase the best of the natural world?

5 Galapagos activities that you can’t miss

The Galapagos Islands… legendarily remote, famed for their plentiful endemic species that had scarcely encountered human beings prior to Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835. Today, the isles remain a grand frontier of nature, with a meagre 26,000 human population across their 8,000 square kilometres.

However, paradoxically, this is not a corner of the globe with a lack of things to do. Indeed, here are just five of our favourite Galapagos multi activities here at Wildfoot Travel.

  1. Snorkelling

The Galapagos beg to be discovered underwater, a whole new world opening up when the visitor dons the snorkel and flippers that can be rented nearby.

Whether you dive beneath the surface while on board a cruise or on a day boat excursion, you can expect to see little less than the greatest feast of marine life able to be experienced on planet Earth, encompassing turtles, sealions, marine iguanas, parrotfish, puffers and sharks.

  1. Kayaking

If you want to be there on the water surface near one of the islands as rays and turtles break cover and in order to get the best vantage point for spotting cliff-nesting birds, you really can’t beat kayaking, which is often available from our cruises at no additional cost.

  1. Walking

Even those who stick to dry land, however, are in the perfect position to get up-close and personal with rare and mysterious birds, trees, cactus and plants. Walks are possible on both the populated and uninhabited islands, although any on the latter must be in the company of an official guide.

  1. Cycling

Fans of Galapagos multi adventures can scarcely miss the opportunity to rent a bicycle and ride to the lava tunnels and giant tortoise reserve in the highlands, or take on one of the many other cycling trails around the island of Santa Cruz.

  1. Sailing

There is a real sense of adventure to sailing around the Galapagos, with yachts and sailing boats able to be chartered for a day or longer. However, with visitors not being permitted to land on any of the inhabited islands or even many parts of the main islands without an official guide in attendance, you will also need to plan your journeys carefully in advance.

Visit the section of the Wildfoot Travel site that is dedicated to Galapagos multi activities to discover the full range of activities that we have available on our trips to this truly remarkable area of the Pacific Ocean.

Explore Galapagos in style with Wildfoot Travel

When it comes to Galapagos cruises, Wildfoot Travel sets the standard. We offer a range of packages to those wishing to explore the fascinating Galapagos islands and can cater for those on a budget as well as travellers with more to spend.

Visitors begin their experience at the San Cristobel or Baltra airports after travelling from the Ecuadoran mainland. They then board cruise boats (which can take the form of catamarans, sailing boats or yachts) carrying between 16 and 20 people. National park tour guides offer a valuable insight into the history of the islands, and meals and excursions are available alongside transfers to and from the airport. Visitors can also travel on large luxury vessels that offer a world-class experience.

The islands are heavily associated with Charles Darwin, who discovered wildlife unique to this part of the world before writing his iconic book, The Origin of the Species. The volcanic islands offer lava fields, lagoons, clear blue waters and craters. The islands’ wildlife put them among the nature lovers’ most sought-after regions. Some of the species that you may come in close contact with include sea lions, turtles, iguanas, blue & red footed boobies, frigate birds and reef fish..

Our La Selva Amazon Ecolodge & Spa + Galapagos Luxury Cruise Packageis for you if you wish to explore this magical part of the world in style. You’ll find yourself sailing in luxury onboard Ocean Spray, Cormorant or Petrel for a number of days and nights after unwinding in sumptuous surroundings in the La Selva Amazon Ecolodge and Spa. You will also get the chance to see the Amazon rainforest up close and personal. All transfers are included in the price and you will end your trip by enjoying three nights in an idyllic Quito hotel.

We have unrivalled knowledge of the region and you can get in touch with us at any time if you require any in-depth information on making the most of your adventure. Our relationships with some of the most prominent cruise operators and adventure trip providers in Galapagos and Ecuador have helped us to become one of the leading players in our field.

You can count on Wildfoot Travel to deliver the South American trip of a lifetime, so get in touch with our expert team today to learn more.

Great sights to enjoy on a diving trip at the Galapagos Islands

You can catch sight of much of it on a diving trip in the Galapagos Islands.

The Galapagos Islands are actually part of the South American country of Ecuador, but they lie 563 miles away from the western coast of Ecuador’s mainland and consist of over 20 islands, with the result that there is no shortage of sea to enjoy. And, of course, by “enjoy”, we don’t just mean looking at the water – we also mean diving into it!

A stay in the islands arranged by Wildfoot Travel can include time strapping on the vital diving equipment before disappearing under the water to get close to fish, turtles, rays and even sharks. Want to take a day trip to the sea from one of the main islands or sail to a range of promising dive locations using a live-aboard boat? We can make either a reality.

Actually getting into the sea can be the only option for seeing much of the fascinating Galapagos marine life, and it’s certainly worth the dive, as the animals you could see dolphins, lobsters, crabs, corals and starfish. At certain times of the year, you can also check out migrating whales and even whale sharks.

Expert dive masters

Indeed, certain times of year can be better for seeing particular underwater wildlife than others, which begins to explain why you are likely to much appreciate the expert dive masters that you can turn to during your diving trip at the Galapagos Islands. These are qualified divers who can point out which diving locations have which attractions, and also ensure your safety through, among other practices, warning you what dangers lurk where.

We hardly have sufficient space in this article to go into the finer details of the amazing feasts for the eyes that are in store on a Wildfoot Travel diving trip at the Galapagos Islands. We urge you to read more of the relevant sections of the Wildfoot Travel website to learn more about diving adventures!

Getting to Galapagos from Europe

Although there are no direct flights to Galapagos from Europe there are a number of airlines providing routes to Ecuador, with the main airports of Quito and Guayaquil being the most popular and accessible. From Ecuador you can then catch a short flight to Baltra or San Cristobel and begin your Galapagos adventure.

Alternatively, many travellers choose to use a stop-over in Ecuador as a chance to explore this wonderful country. At Wildfoot we believe that any trip to the Galapagos Islands should include, at the very least, a trip to Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. If you have come all this way you may as well see as much of what that this intriguing part of the world has to offer as you can!

Quito sits over 9000 ft above sea level and is a town rich in Spanish colonial architecture, including the opulent gold church of the Jesuits. The old town of Quito is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site and being dramatically situated so high up in the Andean foothills the town is a must see for photographers and lovers of spectacular views and awe-inspiring scenery. Quito has a warm and relaxed traditional Ecuadorian Sierra culture and is packed with colonial monuments and architectural treasures, all of which can be soaked up via a ride on the famous TelefériQo – an exhilarating sky tram ride up through the Pichincha Volcano to the top of Cruz Loma. The Equator is also only 45 minutes’ drive from Quito so you will have the perfect opportunity to test out the famous theories of peculiar happenings associated with the Equator.

There are a number of Ecaudor land based trips available which take in all of these remarkable sights and are a fantastic way to start off, or complete, your once in a lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands.

At Wildfoot we are approved British Airways appointed operators and our team of travel experts are experienced in finding the very best air packages for our customers to a huge variety of destinations throughout the world, so if you need any information on getting to the Galapagos or exciting things to do along the way please feel free to contact us and we will be delighted to help.

Activity-packed land based itineraries on the Galapagos Islands

For many of those who stop off here, by water is exactly the experience, but here at Wildfoot Travel, we are equally delighted to be able to offer a complete range of land based itineraries on the Galapagos.

Whilst we will always maintain that the Galapagos Islands are very much made for exploring by boat, we also appreciate the preference of some of those who travel with us to keep their feet firmly on dry land. This is why we offer the opportunity to stay on just one or two of the islands, transferring between them by speedboat or light aircraft as and when necessary.

With Wildfoot Travel, you may choose a seven day package incorporating a stay at Galapagos Safari Camp, the perfect stop-off point from which to tour the islands of Santa Cruz and Isabela, taking in the giant-tortoise reserve and lava tunnels as well as the luxury Safari Camp itself. Those with families with children over six years old, meanwhile, often opt for our eight day family package that encompasses everything from time at the Charles Darwin Interpretation Centre to an Isla Lobos snorkelling trip for seeking out marine life such as manta rays, sharks, sea turtles and myriad colourful fish.

Then, there are those travellers who would instead like to pack as much activity as possible into a much shorter break – those who would especially appreciate our four day package staying at the opulent Finch Bay Eco Hotel in Puerto Ayora. This package gives travellers the chance to visit the Charles Darwin Centre and take in birdlife and marine iguanas at Tortuga Bay.

A world of thrilling and stimulating adventure waits to be discovered through land based itineraries on the Galapagos Islands, put together by established experts in wildlife and adventure travel, and with the most competitive deals on offer thanks to close working partnerships with the leading Galapagos adventure trip providers. Visit Wildfoot Travel today to get a taste of just some of the land based itinerary packages that we can offer, and don’t forget that if you prefer, we can tailor-make your perfect itinerary just for you.

5 sights to capture on your Galapagos photo adventure

So, what are the five things that you simply must snap on your next Galapagos photo adventure?

Birds

You simply can’t expect to find anywhere in the world that offers richer birdlife than the Galapagos, around 170 species having been spotted here. From the endless variety of finches that enchanted Charles Darwin, right through to red and blue footed boobies, pelicans, penguins and albatross, this corner of the globe is a paradise for bird photographers.

Mammals & Marine life

Amazing giant tortoises and the iconic land and marine iguanas, with no fear of humans, abound and if you have ever wondered what occupies the depths of the sea, the abundant marine wildlife of Galapagos will give you a fair few answers. Turtles, crabs, whales, dolphins, sharks, rays… they are all represented, some of them only being visible to divers and snorkelers, so you will need to be prepared to get your feet wet!

Weather

One of the things that so captivates many photographers about Galapagos is the astonishing clarity of the local air, but there’s so much more about the islands’ climate that adds atmosphere and interest to the pictures taken here – from the sometimes dense fog to the frequent drizzles and cold winds that characterise the cooler months.

Natural scenery

Any Galapagos photo adventure will inevitably take in the islands’ diverse land and seascapes – after all, as a backdrop to the region’s spectacular wildlife and towns, they are as unavoidable as they are breathtaking, especially the volcanic landscapes, more reminiscent of the surface of the moon! You won’t run out of them, either, across the 18 main islands, three smaller islands and 107 rocks and islets.

Major towns

Yes, even the Galapagos have them – although ‘major town’ is defined slightly differently in this legendarily remote part of the world, with even the most populous town – Puerto Ayora – having a mere 12,000 inhabitants. The darker side of history is represented here too with the remains of a notorious prison colony on Isabela. Urban landmarks combine with rural landscapes to make for some similarly stimulating and oft-overlooked photography opportunities.

Reasons to choose Wildfoot Travel as your wildlife travel specialists

There are memorable holidays and then there are truly remarkable journeys. The unforgettable tourist expeditions that Wildfoot Travel give you the option to embark upon certainly fall within the second category. We are renowned and experienced wildlife travel specialists, born out of a company called Arctic and Antarctica Bound, which has operated for more than 25 years. With Wildfoot Travel, however, the same team sought to look beyond even the undoubtedly spectacular polar regions.

Continue reading