Day 1 | Old Quito
We get the trip under way with lunch
at 12 noon, a picture orientation, then a private tour of old Quito. Among the subjects will be the Basílica del Voto Nacional [Basilica of the National Vow], street character and colour, views to the Virgin of El Panecillo in a nearby hilltop park, the Plaza de Independencia, the Presidential Palace the opportunity to shoot the guards close-up, the Church of the Society of Jesus of Quito – made entirely of gold plus the white Metropolitan Cathedral.
Quito, 1 night
Day 2 | The Cloud Forest: Hummingbirds and tropical flora
After an early breakfast we will set off towards the cloud forest. Located on the slopes of the Andes as they run down towards Ecuador’s coastal planes, large areas of the Ecuadorean cloud forest remain untouched by man and have one of the highest diversity of epiphytes (plants that grow on top of other plants) anywhere in the world, with an array of orchids and other stunning tropical flora. The forest, which is less than two hours from Quito, boasts some 9,000 species of plant with over 320 bird species recorded in the valley in close proximity to our accommodations. On our journey to the cloud forest we'll pause at a spot specifically to photograph hummingbirds. Among the species you can expect to shoot are the White-whiskered Hermit Hummingbird, Booted Racket-tail, Purple-collared Woodstar, White-bellied Woodstar, White-necked Jacobin, Brown Violetear, Fawn-breasted Brilliant, Rufus-tailed and the Green-crowned Woodnymph Hummingbird. The area around the lodge has lots of easy trails and is literally buzzing with hummingbirds with over 20 different species easily spotted in a single day. With a butterfly farm visit nearby also included, you'll have plenty to photograph.
Cloud Forest, 1 night
Days 3 + 4 | The Cloud Forest: Butterflies | Otavalo market
We'll shoot the early light near our lodge, and following breakfast additional photography of the natural history subjects surrounding the lodge, we'll head for a local butterfly farm. Among the species you can expect to shoot - they will pose for you - are the Blue Morpho, Owl, Monarch, Postman, Julia, King Swallowtail, Ruby-spotted Swallowtail, Cattleheart and the transparent Glasswing Butterfly. On our return to Quito we'll pause at the
Pululahua Crater, and
take a detour to the newest and most accurate Equatorial monument.
After an early breakfast on day 4 we set off to the foothills of the Andes southwest of Quito for the Otavalo Market. The food and craft markets are the most colorful in the Andes with fantastic photographic opportunities of people, colour and symmetry including
Still Life on the Run type of subjects. We will have lunch in a leading local hacienda, shoot some rural scenes, and return to Quito in the late afternoon.
Quito, 2 nights
Days 5 to 11 | The Galápagos Islands
We'll take an early flight to the Galápagos Islands in the morning, with the next 8 exciting days and 7 nights spent cruising between the islands of the Galápagos Archipelago.
Galápagos Islands off-shore boat, 7 nights
Map of our boat itinerary among the islands
Click on the thumbnail below for a map of the Travel Images' Galápagos Islands photography itinerary:
Itinerary overview . . .
Day 1: Las Bachas Beach, north Santa Cruz Island
Day 2: North Seymour Island and South Plaza Island
Day 3: Española Island: Gardner Bay and Punta Suarez
Day 4: Floreana Island: Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant
Day 5: Santa Cruz Island: Tortoise Reserve and the Charles Darwin Station near Puerto Ayora
Day 6: Bartolomé Island, and Puerto Egas on Santiago Island
Day 7: Rábida Island, and Sombrero Chino Island
Day 8: Black Turtle Bay on Santa Cruz Island. Flights back to Quito from Baltra
Our island itinerary in more detail . . .
Santa Cruz Island: Las Bachas
One of the larger islands, with our first port of call being at Las Bachas on the northern shore of Santa Cruz. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Marine Iguanas, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Brown Pelicans diving close to the shoreline, Frigatebirds, Common Noddies, Yellow Warblers, Franklin’s Gull, Sanderlings, Flamingos, Plovers, Whimbrels and Great Blue Herons.
North Seymour Island
A small island north of Baltra. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Swallow-tailed Gulls, Frigatebirds, Blue-footed Boobies, Brown Pelicans, Ground Finches, Lava Lizards, Galápagos Land Iguanas, Galápagos Doves, Lava Herons and Galápagos Sea Lions.
South Plaza Island
A tiny island off the east coast of Santa Cruz island. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Finches, Warblers, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Brown Pelicans, Shearwaters, Nazca Boobies, Cattle Egrets, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Ruddy Turnstones, Lava Lizards, Sea Lions, Frigatebirds, Cattle Egret, Ruddy Turnstones, Land Iguanas, Frigatebirds, cliff scenes, Prickly Pear cacti/Opuntia and Sea Purslane.
Española Island: Punta Suarez and Gardner Bay
An island that sits in the southeast region of the Galápagos archipelago. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Hood Mockingbirds, Ground Finches, Lava Lizards, a Galápagos Snake, the Waved Albatross, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Marine Iguanas, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Frigatebirds, Cactus Finches, Galápagos Doves, a Galápagos Hawk, Nazca [Masked] Boobies, Blue-Footed Boobies, American Oystercatchers, Sea Lions, Land Iguanas, a Galápagos Flycatcher, a Lava Heron and the spectacular cliff top coastline.
Floreana Island: Punta Cormorant and Post Office Bay
An island that sits directly west of Española. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Franklin’s Gull, Greater Flamingos, Violin/Fiddler Crabs, Lesser Yellowlegs, Galápagos Pintails, Sanderlings, Yellow Warbler, Ground Finches, Galápagos Flycatchers, American Oystercatchers, Whimbrels, Blue-Footed Boobies, Sting Rays and Sea Turtles in the surf, plus Daisy Trees, Mangroves, Salt Bushes, Acacia plants and island a ocean vistas. We'll also go ashore at Post Office Bay where you can send mail and/or choose the mail you want to deliver!
Santa Cruz Island: Puerto Ayora and The Highlands
The second of three landings on Santa Cruz. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were the Smooth-Billed Ani, Vermillion Flycatcher, Darwin Ground Finches, Galápagos Cuckoo, Cattle Egrets, Tree Finches, a Galápagos Rail, and of course the Galápagos Giant Tortoises. Also Quinine, Scalesia, and Flame trees, plus images around the 'capital' of the Galápagos Islands, Puerto Ayora.
Another tiny island that is home to the famed Pinnacle Rock and classic island-top vistas. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Galápagos Penguins up close, Brown Pelicans, Blue-footed Boobies, Lava and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Frigatebirds, Galápagos Hawk, Lava Lizards, Painted Grasshoppers, plus Lava cactus and pyroclastic and scoria lava.
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas
An island only slightly smaller than Santa Cruz. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Fur Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Lava Lizards, Galápagos Mockingbirds, American Oystercatchers, Whimbrels, Willets, Ruddy Turnstones, Lava Herons, Common [brown] Noddies, Galápagos Doves, and the Galápagos Penguin. Also Prickly Pear cactus, Galápagos Lantana, Lava Morning Glory plus rock and lava formations along beach.
Directly south of Santiago island and with red sand beaches. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Galápagos Mockingbirds, Wandering Tattlers, Galápagos Hawk, Galápagos Flycatcher, Blue-footed Boobies, Ghost Crabs, Sea Lions, Brown Pelicans, and American Oystercatchers. Also Black and White Mangroves, Prickly Pear cactus, and cliff scenes.
Sombrero Chino Island
A tiny island off the southeast coast of Santiago Island. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Galápagos Penguins, Galápagos Doves, Sally Lightfoot Crabs, Galápagos Sea Lions, Lava Lizards and Brown Pelicans. Also lava flows, various landscapes and the dead coral beach.
Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove
Our third and last visit shooting from the panga [zodiac]. Photographed there on a previous photo tour were Reef Sharks, Sea Turtles, sea and landscapes plus red and white Mangroves.
Galápagos Islands notes
We'll photograph on the islands morning and evening, and most days move from island to island during darkness and/or around midday.
Some islands are 'wet' landings, and others dry. The pre-trip information will suggest the best type of footwear for each situation, and the type of landing will be made known in the hours prior to departure from our boat.
While on the boat, time with be made available for Photoshop sessions and critiquing of client images with suggestions in regard to composition and exposure etcetera.
If you'd like to snorkel - which is encouraged but not compulsory - a waterproof camera or a protective camera housing is recommended. You'll be able get closer to marine creatures than you'd ever think possible. Photographed underwater on a previous photo tour were various Reef fish, Galápagos Penguins, Turtles, White-tipped Sharks [harmless!], Spotted Rays, Sting Rays and Marine Iguanas feeding and swimming.
Scuba diving is unfortunately
Itinerary continued . . .
Day 12 | To Quito
Flights back to Quito in the afternoon. The included dinner on the last night of our photography tour will feature an 'It's You!' presentation of clients in action by John.
Quito, 1 night
Day 13 | Departure day
As there isn't any photography scheduled for the day of departure, your flight home can be arranged for any time today.