Specialists in Inspirational Holidays & Wildlife Travel

 

Located about 600 miles west of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands were created five million years ago by undersea volcanic eruptions. They are the Islands that changed the world forever, an untainted laboratory of life and home to some of the strangest creatures on earth like the sneezing marine iguanas and the diving flightless cormorant.

The 13 major islands, 6 smaller ones and numerous islets were accidently discovered by ships becalmed off the coast of South America, who found themselves drifting west on the Humboldt current into the waters of the Galapagos Islands. The first recorded discovery was made by the Bishop of Panama, Tomas de Berlanga, in 1535 en route to Lima.

The archipelagos unique location on the equator and the upwelling of ocean currents have created one of the most unique places on earth, where penguins and sea lions live in the tropics and the nutrient rich waters are a paradise for seabirds and marine wildlife.

Ecuador & Galapagos Islands

Ecuador is a true geographical wonder that cannot fail to impress , from the snow-capped Andean mountain range, the sun-soaked Pacific coastline, to its lush rainforests, Ecuador truly has is all. Despite its diminutive size, Ecuador was declared by Conservation International to be one of only 17 countries in the world that are considered "mega diverse,'' in fact Ecuador is by area the most megadiverse country in the world, and its geographical, biological and cultural diversity is unparalleled.

In the small country of Ecuador there exists a fantastic biological diversity. With so many incredible landscapes, ecosystems, as well as plant and animal species to protect, it’s no wonder that Ecuador has 44 protected areas, which include every single one of the ecosystems of this country. Some of these protected areas are as big as a province or as small as an urban park. Of the 28,356,100 hectares of Ecuador’s area, 4,675,376 hectares are part of protected areas. This means that 17% of Ecuador’s total land area is protected.

While hikers and trekkers will definitely want to visit the imposing Andean summits of the Avenue of the Volcanoes, wildlife and nature enthusiasts can head into the extensive reserves of the Amazon jungle. The coastal areas are excellent places to relax and enjoy the coastal tranquility while also discovering the incredibly bio-diverse marine life of Ecuador, with its many rays, manatees and whales.

Ecuador & Galapagos Adventure

Get to explore the Amazon as well as the Galapagos, for some of the most incredible wildlife viewing opportunities that the world has to offer. After your comfortable stay in the Amazon, you will also be able to explore some Andean Cloud Forest, as well as go horse riding, or perhaps relax in some hotsprings set amidst the Andes mountains. Finally, board one of the most elegant sailing vessels in the Galapagos and cruise throughout the islands spotting all manner of marine and terrestrial wonders along the way, from the brightly coloured Sally light foot crabs, to blue footed Boobies to giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sharks, rays and much more.

Galapagos - Home to some of the most unique species in the world, many of which are endemic such as the Galapagos tortoise, marine and land iguanas, the flightless cormorant and, of course, Darwin’s famous finches. It was here that Darwin observed how different species adapted to fit different niches on individual islands, giving rise to his idea of natural selection published in is treatise ‘On the Origin of Species’ in 1859. Which ultimately, was to revolutionize our scientific understanding

The opportunities for wildlife observation are incredible and seemingly endless. The islands are world renown for its birds such as boobies, flightless cormorants, pelicans, penguins, and many others.

The creatures on land and in the air represent only a portion of the life in and around the Galapagos. Underwater is a variety of vibrant tropical fish, giant rays, turtles, eels, dolphins, sharks and even whales.

Giving nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts from across the globe a chance to observe some of the most rare and beautiful creatures on the planet in their natural habitats, in this, a veritable treasure-trove of natural wonders that awaits your personal discovery.

We are able to offer exclusive encounters and unique experiences for those with a spirit of adventure and passion for life. In addition to offering experiences such as walking and trekking tours, kayaking, mountain biking and horseback riding activities. We believe that by making a connection with local people helps improve the experience for everyone and helps foster respect for native and traditional peoples and cultures. To this end we also offer visitors a unique opportunity to share time with people from ancient Amazon forest cultures: the Huaorani, the Secoya and other native people that share and preserve this globally important ecosystem. Travellers can learn to see their world through the eyes of the people that live there, and learn what it means to have the rainforest as a home, and to have to fight to preserve it.

Visitors will make an ongoing connection with local people, and help support their efforts to conserve their natural environment and traditional ways of living.

Travellers will have the opportunity to kayak on slow Amazon rivers, walk through the forest in the company of people from an age old culture who still maintain their traditional lifestyle, learn traditional skills, and come to know the plants and animals whose habitat this is.

Birders Paradise – Cloud Forest

An internationally recognised ‘important breeding area’ for birds: more than 390 species have been seen in the area’s extensive primary forests, among them 30 species of hummingbird, as well as toucans, and the famous Cock of the Rock.

It is possible to hike to the tops of mountains with spectacular views over the forest, and venture deep into the heart of the cloud forest. For those lucky enough, they may even catch a glimpse of the rare spectacled bear.

Ecuador’s Pacific Coast has everything, and all within easy reach of Guayaquil, the country’s largest city and newest tourist destination, with its comfortable hotels, and impressive boardwalk flanking the broad, slow flowing, River Guayas.

On the Pacific coast visitors can enjoy sun and sand, tropical rainforests with their colourful animals and birds, beach front hotels and hostels, and of course, the enticingly warm waves of the Pacific Ocean. And after the beach, there is the famous Isla de la Plata, the Galapagos in miniature where Sir Francis Drake is supposed to have hidden a large treasure; coral reefs with their shoals of magnificently coloured fish; the chance to kayak through the magical mangrove forests and, best of all, whale watching expeditions between June and October, when these magnificent creatures come to Ecuador’s coast to calve.

And if that’s not enough, there’ s the chance to explore historic pre-Inca archaeological sites, some belonging to cultures more than 2,000 years old.

Where the green–fringed beaches meet the Pacific Ocean. From north to south, beautiful beaches line the Pacific coast, interspersed with busy ports, charming fishing villages, modern cities and protected tropical forest.

The pre–Inca and pre-Columbian cultures and their other– worldly interpretations of their surroundings are interwoven into these pristine beaches. The coast has a great diversity of ecosystems and for bird lovers shelters about 700 species of bird.

Galapagos Explorer

Come and explore the wonders of the Galapagos on this enchanting 7 night cruise on one of our award winning luxury yachts, with a night either side in the historic city of Quito.

Because the quality of your holiday experience is of the utmost importance to us, we choose who we work with exceptionally carefully. If If you would like to know more about our  award winning and valued partners in the Galapagos, click on the links below:

The vessels we use in the Galapagos...

Amazon Explorer

Get to explore the Amazon for some of the most incredible wildlife viewing opportunities that the world has to offer. This Amazon cruise includes visits to an amazing variety of ecosystems can only happen on board the Manatee Amazon Explorer. The Cuyabeno Wild Life Reserve, the Yasuní National Park (the biggest in Ecuador), Limoncocha Biological Reserve (the only one in Ecuador), the tree tower , the paddle canoe trips, explorative walks, as well as the opportunity to meet the indigenous tribes of the region.

First class fleet...

Since 1990 this first-class fleet includes three identical motor-yachts and a custom-designed dive boat - all unmatched for comfort and safety. Sailing with only 20 fellow guests, venturing ashore in small groups of ten, you’ll experience these islands in a highly personal, close-up way. And you’ll also be pleased to know of their reputation for environmental integrity. They are committed to preserving the Galapagos National Park and have received many plaudits for their efforts.

A Pioneering Family...

Karl, Gus, Hans and Fritz Angermeyer arrived on Santa Cruz in 1937 to escape the turbulence in Europe. Their parents were keen for their sons to flee, and sold their home in order to purchase them the yacht which they named after their mother, ‘Marie’. They sailed first to Holland, then onto England.

They had heard about the Galápagos Islands from a sea captain, who had de- scribed the islands as a paradise–a place to have true adventures, with an ocean brimming with fish and foot trees. Well he painted a very pretty picture but the reality of life on the Islands was a lot tougher than he made out.....

These itineraries are just a small selection of what we offer, feel free to get in touch for a tailor made itinerary or for more Ecuador & Galapagos holiday suggestions

Sample Itineraries...

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For more information contact us on +44 (0) 7414 00 66 03| paul@greigsmithtravels.com
Greig Smith Travels Ltd. Registered Company Number 7786310. 32 Drake Road, Chafford Hundred, Essex, RM16 6PS. UK
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