Wild Latitudes


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The Galápagos Islands

Natural History Cruise

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The Galápagos Islands are a natural wonder without equal, home to an incredible array of iconic animals. Located on the Equator, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, this archipelago is a must-see destination for any nature lover.

On this tour, you’ll experience spectacular wildlife up close, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and special birds like the Waved Albatross, Blue-footed Booby, Galápagos Hawk, and the diverse species known as “Darwin’s Finches.”

Join your guides to go birding, hiking across volcanic landscapes, snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, and visiting famous sites such as Post Office Bay.

Our adventure will take us to four of the archipelago’s major islands: San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, and Santa Cruz.

We'll be cruising from island to island on the Coral II, a lovely ship chartered exclusively for our group. Each comfortable cabin has AC and a private bathroom. The friendly staff will cook us delicious meals, and we can enjoy cocktails and camaraderie on the top deck in the evening.

This tour of the Galápagos Islands is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will take you on a journey through time and space to a unique place... A place where nature is still largely untouched.

EXTENSION TRIP TO THE CLOUD FORESTS OF ECUADOR: Continue your adventure by exploring the rich neotropical biodiversity along the western slopes of the Andes. The cloud forests and lush lowlands are home to a mind-blowing array of colorful birds, including toucans, tanagers, woodpeckers, trogons, and over 60 hummingbird species!

We’ll go birding in nature reserves across a wide range of elevations. Our comfortable, charming lodges cater specifically to birders and nature lovers. Bird feeders and viewing platforms are plentiful on this itinerary, providing you with opportunities for amazing photos and close up views of spectacular birds.

TRIP LEADERS on EXTENSION: Dan Van den Broek and Ivan Phillipsen.

Tour Highlights

 Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin as you cruise from island to island, seeing a landscape that has changed little since the voyage of The Beagle.

 Get up close and personal with the endemic birds, reptiles, and marine creatures of the Galápagos.

 Go home with wonderful photos of wildlife that is very cooperative, including Marine Iguanas and Giant Tortoises!

 Snorkel with sea lions and countless colorful fish in the clear, blue waters.

 Visit a breeding colony of the beautiful Waved Albatross and see their courtship behavior.

 ON THE EXTENSION: Walk through the cool cloud forests on the slopes of the Andes, which are overflowing with tropical birds.

 ON THE EXTENSION: Stay at amazing birding lodges and, at the viewing areas, watch the endless parade of hummingbirds (over 60 species possible!) and colorful tanagers.

Crooked TreeCaye CaulkerSanta Cruz Is.The Galápagos IslandsFloreana Is.San Cristóbal Is.Española Is. NQuitoECUADOR

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2

Arrive to Quito, Equador and, after introductions, stay a hotel near the airport. Fly the next day out the Galápagos Islands and board our ship. Take an afternoon walk to see birds and ocean views.

Day 3

Explore two beautiful sites on the Island of San Cristóbal

Day 4

Go for an extended walk on Española Island, to see a wide variety of special birds, including the Waved Albatross and Nazca Booby. In the afternoon, we'll visit a huge white sand beach. Relax, walk, or snorkel as you please.

Day 5

A full-day exploration of Floreana Island. Here, we'll find more endemic birds. Possibilies include American Flamingos and Galápagos Penguin. We'll also visit the fascinating historical site, Post Office Bay.

Days 6-7

Today, we ride overland in a comfortable bus on Santa Cruz Island. The highlands here are lush with cool, green forests. The highlight will be seeing Giant Tortoises at a nature reserve! We then fly back to the mainland and stay at a hotel close to the airport. Some of us may return home the next morning. Those of us going on the extension will continue the adventure tomorrow!

Cloud Forest Extension Itinerary

Day 1

Ride in our comfy coach to the high-elevation Yanacocha Reserve. We'll talk an old road to see many special birds here. In the afternoon, we'll head west and to slightly lower elevations to our wonderful birding lodge.

Day 2

We’ll offer some pre-breakfast birding at our lodge, which is incredibly birdy. In the afternoon we'll visit Alambi Reserve, where over 40 hummingbird species have been sighted!

Day 3

This day will be dedicated to exploring a fantastic low elevation site called Rio Silanche Bird Sanctuary. We will bird along the road, on the trails, and from the top of the observation tower.

Day 4

Mashpi Amagusa is a designated Important Bird Area. We'll bird along the footpaths and at feeders of this protected area. The avian diversity here is unreal!

Day 5

In the early morning, we visit an active Andean Cock-of-the-Rock lek. It's an unforgettable experience! Then we go birding in the Angel Paz reserve. With luck, we'll get to see several species of shy antpittas here. We return to Quito in the afternoon, to stay at a very pleasant hotel in the heart of Old Town.

Day 6

A day in the vibrant city with multiple options, including a city tour.

Day 7

Farewells all around as our grand adventure in Ecuador comes to its end. Adios!

COST of MAIN TRIP: $5,995


START DATE: October 17, 2023

DURATION: 7 days (+7 for extension)

GROUP SIZE: Up to 16

TRIP FOCUS: Birding and Natural History


  • Domestic flight to/from Quito to the islands
  • Double-occupancy lodging
  • Ground and water transportation
  • Breakfasts, lunches, some dinners
  • Excursions and park fees
  • Guiding services

Get the brochure for this tour

The PDF brochure includes:

  • A detailed itinerary
  • Tour Map
  • Registration Info


Ivan Phillipsen, Co-owner of Wild Latitudes, is a passionate naturalist with a background in scientific research. He holds an M.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in zoology. Natural history is Ivan’s true passion and what he is most excited to teach to others. Although he is fascinated by just about every aspect of nature, Ivan is particularly fond of birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, plants, and geology. Everything is interconnected in nature and Ivan takes a holistic approach when teaching about the natural world.

Dan Van den Broek spent the past 18 years leading birding tours throughout the world, sharing amazing experiences with hundreds of people. He believes that to understand the rich and varied lives of birds opens a window into the interconnectedness of our world. Critical to our understanding of nature and conservation is to consider how people and nature can coexist in a mutually beneficial way and vital to travel is to ensure that people and nature benefit from tourism.

If you love nature travel, you’re in good hands with us

How We Travel

We gauge the success of a tour on how well it was enjoyed by all. Providing a rich, rewarding experience for each individual is our top priority. Our tours generally have an easy pace so that everyone gets to experience all a region has to offer.

We create a friendly, non-competitive atmosphere that encourages tour participants to help each other in the field. Just as safety and comfort are cornerstones of our tours, so are humor and the simple joy of learning. The good cheer and camaraderie on our tours often inspire post-trip get-togethers and new, life-long friendships.

Our Focus

We’re crazy about birds, but they are only part of the story.

Our tours offer a holistic experience by taking the time to appreciate all of the animals we encounter– including mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects. They all interact and play vital roles in their ecosystems. We also take time on our tours to explore the plants and geology of the regions we visit.

Fostering a deeper understanding of new cultures is one of our goals. On your tour, you’ll taste exotic cuisine and hear local music. You’ll have time to peruse the market, stroll through villages, and share stories with the people you meet.

Protecting the Wild

Ecotourism is a powerful tool for protecting the wild regions of the world. For example, parts of Uganda are now devoted to the conservation of the Mountain Gorilla. Though still endangered, ecotourism has pulled this species back from the precipice of extinction.

We aim to make a positive conservation impact wherever we travel. We often use local guides and stay in small, locally-owned lodges. On every trip, we donate to a local conservation organization that works to protect a native species or ecosystem. When you travel with Wild Latitudes you are helping to protect wild places and the amazing species that call them home.

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