The Galapagos Islands are a world renowned showcase of biodiversity. Simply put, nowhere else is quite like it. This isolated volcanic archipelago has been relatively untouched for thousands of years but, believe it or not, even after you’ve enjoyed the rare species in this tropical paradise the Galapagos Islands will keep on giving. We’re talking, of course, about the incredible scenery to be found here.
This ten-day photography adventure will see you traverse the Galapagos Islands with you camera in hand, capturing the majestic wildlife, stunning coastal scenery and volcanic landscapes of one of planet Earth’s most untouched destinations. 1000km from the coast of Ecuador, you’ll witness giant turtles, unspoilt habitats, and the many scars of what remains one of the world’s most volcanically active regions.
On this Galapagos photo tour you’ll be led every step of the way by experienced local guides and an expert photographer. Respected Icelandic nature photographer Iurie Belegurschi will be heading the expedition, ensuring that you are ready and able to capture perfect shot after perfect shot.
OOn day one of our Galapagos photography adventure, the group will meet in Quito, Ecuador. You will be collected from the airport and transferred to our hotel - it shouldn’t be more than a 15 minute drive. We’ll spend some time getting to know each other and discuss the trip to come.
On day two we will drive out of Quito and head north. After 2 hours or so we will reach the Indian market town of Otavalo, in the shadows of the Andes. The town is famous for its artisanal handicrafts and market, so we will stop off for some souvenirs. There will be plenty of points at which we can stop on the journey. The scenery is spectacular, so our cameras will always be ready. We’ll have lunch in Otavalo before heading back to the capital for dinner. This extra day in Quito ensures that we have some wriggle room, should anyone be delayed or have problems with their luggage.
On day three we’ll catch a flight from Quito to Baltra airport on Santa Cruz Island, a central point in the Galapagos archipelago. Our expert local guide will be waiting for us at the airport, and will quickly take us via dinghy to La Beluga island, which will be our base for the rest of the trip. The tour will start fairly gently, so we’ll enjoy lunch and head off for a snorkel with the local sea lions.
After our snorkel, the group will walk to Dragon Hill, a pointed mountain and a fantastic spot to enjoy panoramas of the views all around. There we will shoot in the afternoon light and discover a nearby lagoon that’s home to flamingos, iguanas and pintail ducks.
The group will start day four with an energising breakfast and delicious coffee on Santa Fe, a small, central island of the archipelago. After breakfast we’ll take another snorkelling trip and explore the volcanic rocks and marine life.
After lunch the group will set out on a photography walk along the south of Santa Fe, hopefully getting up close to sea iguanas, a nesting site for pelicans, an untouched sea lion colony, tropical birds and much more. We will also stroll along a cliff top that looks out into the open ocean, so we will have our cameras at the ready in case an orca or pod of whales comes to the surface.
Overnight we’ll take a trip to San Cristobal, on the eastern edge of the archipelago and thought to be one of the oldest islands in Galapagos. We’ll arrive in time for sunrise and wake to see the spectacular Kicker Rock, two pointed mountains of lava emerging from the open ocean. At over 500 feet tall, Kicker Rock is the perfect destination for a sunrise photography shoot. After, the group will snorkel through the narrow channel between the two rocks, often inhabited by majestic sea turtles and friendly sharks.
After breakfast the plan is to enjoy the sights of Witch Hill, an old volcanic cone overlooking a white sand beach that’s often home to an array of wildlife. If we’re lucky the group will spot sea lions, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and waders.
In the afternoon will head to the west side of the island, and visit the port of Baquerizo Moreno. where we will assess the conditions and move on to either the freshwater lagoon of El Junco or the bird colony at Cerro Tijereta. After that, we will enjoy one of the highlights of the trip: a visit to the Giant Tortoise breeding center.
In the evening we will begin our cruise to the next island, Española.
Española represents the southernmost tip of the Galapagos Islands, and takes things a step further when it comes to remote species of wildlife.
Gardner Bay, on the north of the island, has stunning beaches and is famed for its friendly sea lions. Huge iguanas will also happily model for our photos, and none of the species here carry any kind of fear about human contact - quite the opposite.
We will take another snorkeling trip, this time seeing firsthand countless tropical fish, and, if we’re lucky, more reef sharks and turtles. Our afternoon shoot will occur as we hike along the of Punta Suarez, known for its dramatic volcanic scenery and geothermal activity. At one point there’s a blowhole that fires hot seawater 20m into the air. The area is also packed with rare birdlife found only on this island, so we will spend plenty of time learning how to capture them in full flight.
On day seven the group heads north to the central island of Santa Cruz, the second largest and most populated in the archipelago.
Upon arrival we will visit the Charles Darwin Station, a giant tortoise and land iguana breeding program. After taking plenty of pictures with the majestic tortoises, a quick drive will see us reach Los Gemelos, two craters found in the highlands of Santa Cruz. There we will come across a staggering array of plants and birds, as we stroll through tropical forests, and take close ups of orchids, mosses, exotic lichens, short-eared owls, vermillion flycatchers and eight species of Darwin finches.
After lunch the plan is to visit Puerto Ayora, a welcoming village with cafes and shops catering to the tourists that come here. Before long we’ll be back on the boat and witnessing yet another marvellous sunset from the deck.
During the night we will sail peacefully into the island of Sombrero Chino. It’s a small volcanic island close to the coast of Santiago. The name of the island translates as Chinese hat, which is an attempt to describe it’s round shape. The area is fantastic for photography; clear azure waters, lapping waves, (hopefully) blue skies and the contrast of dark, moody volcanic backdrops.
Here we will also discover yet more Galapagos wildlife, from curious sea lions to iguanas and the local penguins. We plan to snorkel among the coral reefs and take a look at the world underwater, before taking a trip to Sullivan Bay. Only accessible for small boats like ours, the bay gives us exclusive access to a spectacular lava flow field formed only 100 years ago.
On day nine we will explore what is widely regarded to be the Galapagos Island’s most interesting destination. Genovesa is the most northern part of the archipelago and has a distinctive horseshoe shape. A large crater left over from a volcanic eruption has gradually slipped into the ocean, and is now Darwin Bay, banked on both sides by dramatic cliffs humming with birdlife. In the center of the island lies Lake Arcturus, a salt-water lake thought to be less than 6,000 years old.
Genovesa is also known as “Bird Island”, which you’ll start to appreciate when strolling along the white sands of Darwin Bay. On all sides the group will see thousands of seabirds, from frigate birds to red-footed boobies, Noddy terns, lava gulls, storm petrels and finches. The chorus can be a little overwhelming, so to cool off we’ll take another snorkel trip along the cliffs and hope to encounter some of the native turtles and hammerhead sharks.
In the afternoon the group will enjoy a photography session via dinghy, as we glide along the water to capture the vast cliffs, fur seals and seabirds.
On the final day of this Galapagos photography tour we will be determined to go out in style. In the morning we’ll enjoy an unforgettable sunrise shoot at Turtle Cove, a lush tropical lagoon on the north of Santa Cruz. The cove is home to a mangrove forest and as a result is known for its green and varied habitat. The water is packed with fish, early morning attracts winged visitors such as herons, egrets, and pelicans, ad we will watch as they dive for their breakfast while the sun comes up.
As we float silently along in our dinghies, it’s likely that beneath the surface we will get our last glimpses of Galapagos turtles, rays and sharks, who all enjoy a swim in the morning light. This incredible sunrise experience is a fitting way to say goodbye to Galapagos, and a great example of everything that’s fantastic about this unspoilt paradise.
Our return flight from Batra will leave to Quito later in the day, and from there you can head home.
If you cancel and the Workshop is otherwise filled, we will refund you the full amount you have paid towards the tuition, minus a $300 service charge. If you cancel and the Workshop does not fill, then you will be refunded according to the following schedule, based on the full fee of the Workshop:
Greater than 60 days from the start date of the Workshop: full refund minus $300 fee.
45 days: 75% refund
30 days: 50% refund
Less than 30 days: no refund
Refunds will be paid by the same method that the original payment was made.
Refunds will be initiated within 72 hours of the time that the request is approved.