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Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Photography Tour

Also includes the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest plus Butterflies and Hummingbirds


  January to April: This photography tour is not currently in the schedule, but can be added by request

  12 nights/13 inclusive days  |  Maximum of 12 participants, and a minimum of 8 participants

  $7,484 USD per person  |  Single room supplement for land-based portion is $430

  The deposit for this photography tour is $500. Make a deposit, or pay your tour balance here

  Explore our discounts for client loyalty, early enrollment, 2 trips in 12 months, referrals and more

  Do you have a question? Ask us via email: Click here
  Arrival and departure airport: Quito, Ecuador [UIO]
  Arrival window: For a variety of travel related reasons, arriving one day early is recommended
  Search fares at Kayak, Skyscanner, Orbitz, Google Flights or your favorite airline
Galápagos Islands photo gallery
  View a map of our boat itinerary here
  Map of overnight locations on land
  Map of our ocean itinerary
  Client responses to our photo tours
  For the single supplement, cancellation policy and enrollment guidance see below

This photo tour will run with one or more participants. Please note that our group limit is not a requirement!  12 places are available at this time
  Updated: Saturday the 27th of May, 2023

This photo tour has sufficient enrollments, and is a 'go'. However, do please consult with us prior to arranging your travel for the trip!  Indicates that we have sufficient enrollments and the trip is a 'go'
This photo tour will run with one or more participants. Please note that our group limit is not a requirement!  Indicates that this trip requires the minimum number of participants as indicated on line two above


Photo tours to the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador


              Enroll for our photo tour              Email your photo tour question


Photography Tour Overview:
  A thirteen day journey that takes us from tropical cloud forests literally buzzing with Hummingbirds, to the high Andes of Ecuador where we'll photograph at a butterfly farm. Then via a colorful Indian market and onto the Galápagos Islands for a seven night cruise to photograph the wildlife and scenery on some of the most spectacular islands in this remarkable archipelago. Also included in the itinerary is old Quito, the Andes mountains, Otavalo market, and the Cloud Forest.

The Galápagos Islands - the Enchanted Isles - are perhaps the only great natural paradise remaining in the world in a near pristine condition. Several species are endemic to the islands, found there and nowhere else on earth. Many others are globally rare, but because of their isolation from the mainland they are unafraid of humans and more approachable than anywhere else. This combination of fearless wildlife and a dramatic volcanic landscape offers incredible photographic opportunities including Galápagos Giant Tortoises, Sea Turtles, Land and Marine Iguanas, Lava Lizards, Sea Lions, Fur Seals, Blue-footed and Masked Boobies, Waved Albatrosses, Frigatebirds, Penguins, Flamingos, Lava Herons, Lava Gull, Swallow Tail Gull, Hawks, Red-billed Tropicbirds, Mockingbirds, Finches and many more species that are easy to photograph. As with all of our photography tours, early and late shooting is scheduled for each day.


Our itinerary . . .
But first things first! We suggest that you set your camera's clock to the local time, as your images will then synchronize with the times in our included photo tour field notes.


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.
Near 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.
Near 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:


Galapagos Island photo tour

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.


Bartolomé Island
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.


Rábida Island
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 et cetera.

  • 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 not available

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 on this tour by John.
Near Quito, 1 night


Day 13  |  Departure day
As there isn't any photography scheduled for the day of departure on this trip, your flight home can be arranged for any time today. Transport to the airport is included unless you’re staying on for a day or more.

Local Guide/Driver for land-based portion of the trip
Galápagos Islands approved local Guide/Naturalist for boat portion of the trip
Travel Images' Guide: John Baker


Private boat:
Our intention is that we shall have exclusive use of our own boat in the Galápagos Islands with only Travel Images' clients on board. Because we're a photography tour group and the light is important to our groups, we shall be on the islands as early and as late as is permissible.


Enhancing Your Photography Skills
Describing the assistance you'll receive on one of our photography tours takes more than a few words, so for greater detail please go here.


Exertion level: This photography tour is classified as 'non-strenuous' to 'strenuous'

A majority of the islands have easy trails

Española Island has a rugged, boulder-strewn trail, but there easier alternative route available

The view over Bartolomé Island requires the ascension of 380 wooden stairs

In every other respect this photography tour is considered non-strenuous to mildly strenuous


Do you need a Visa for travel to Ecuador?
Travelers from all countries can do a quick check of visa requirements here or here
Our international clients may need to contact the embassy of their intended destination in their own country for a visa. Go here or here


Do you need vaccinations for travel to Ecuador?
See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here


Photography Tour Cost, Deposit, Cancellation Policy and Enrollment Guidance


Trip Cost: $7,484 USD per person for double occupancy during land and cruise portions of the trip


Single Supplement for the land-based portion of the tour:  $430*
There is no single occupancy available on the boat as all clients traveling as a single are required to room share. We will endeavor to match you up with a same sex partner, but this cannot be guaranteed.

* Do please note however that even if you share a room on board the boat, you may still request a single room for the land-based portion of the trip.


Deposit: The deposit for this photography tour is $500. Make a deposit, or pay your tour balance here


Cancellation policy: Go here

Enrollment guidance: Go here


Included in the Trip Cost: The following items are included in the trip cost . . .

  • Accommodations and on land, and 7 nights at sea

  • Land transport in mainland Ecuador

  • All meals and non-alcoholic beverages throughout the trip

  • Estimated Galápagos National Park fee of $100

  • Estimated $20 transit card fee to enter Galápagos

  • Domestic roundtrip flights: Quito-Galápagos Islands-Quito

  • Snorkeling equipment

  • Guides: Photography instruction by John, and a local Spanish/English speaking naturalist

  • Following the trip you'll receive detailed field notes describing the time, place and subject of each photo stop, plus image uploads to a private web page of clients 'in action' on the trip

Not Included in the Trip Cost: The costs for these items are the responsibility of each participant . . .

  • Your flight from home to Quito and back

  • Boat crew gratuities

  • Alcoholic beverages - The boat operator permits clients a 'tab', payable at the conclusion

  • Trip Cancellation Insurance

  • Airport departure taxes, if applicable

Please note: The boat operator reserves the right to change the itinerary without previous notice due to weather, National Park regulations or fresh notifications, or unforeseeable circumstances.


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Travel Images Photography Tours: Guided Landscape, Natural History, Macro and Wildlife Photography Tours
Email  |  Phone: [+1] 208-559-8248 | Postal: Travel Images, P.O. Box 939, Middleton, Idaho 83644-0939