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Join this yoga retreat to explore all four of the inhabited islands of the Galapagos visiting parts of the islands often overlooked by tourists. This adventure retreat promises to be the adventure yoga vacation of a lifetime! During the expedition you will practice Ashtanga yoga with Krista, enjoy Ecuadorian cuisine, meet the local people, learn about the rich history and culture, hike up an active volcano, and enjoy many other adventurous activities!
During this retreat, you will be provided standard accommodations with private bathroom in comfortable Hotels at the four locations mentioned on the itinerary.
During this 10-day yoga retreat, you will explore to all four of the inhabited islands of the Galapagos. During the expedition you will practice Ashtanga yoga with Krista, enjoy daily delicious local meals, meet the wonderful people, hike up an active volcano, which is one of the biggest calderas in the world, and visit pirate caves on Floreana Island.
You will also go kayaking at Isabela Island; snorkel with sea turtles, marine iguanas, playful sea lions, and other amazing underwater life! You will fly, drive, trip on a bus, bike, swim, walk, and you better believe everyday will start with a yoga practice. You will enjoy Krista’s healing touch and patient mentoring in Mysore style Ashtanga yoga classes before the activities begin on every day.
This method of teaching is appropriate for both new students and experienced practitioners. Ashtanga yoga, done daily, will increase flexibility, strength, endurance, and physical and mental balance; it will cleanse the internal systems of the body and provides a healthy source of focus and dedication. During this retreat, you will practice in the traditional Ashtanga Mysore method; the most effective and enjoyable way to learn Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga.
This unique system is suitable for beginners as well as longtime practitioners because every student is taught individually. In other words, each you will be given a one-on-one lesson in a group setting in order that you can progress through the Ashtanga yoga series at your own pace and according to your individual needs.
You can arrive in Quito, Ecuador any time and check into your hotel. This evening you will be met by a representative for a briefing about your upcoming yoga tour experience and an opportunity to get know your new travel partners before your first dinner together. If you arrive early, you can use your free time to get acquainted with one of the highest capitals in the world sitting at just over 9,000 feet above sea level.
If you’re in a cultural mood, you may head to the old town to stroll through the magnificent cathedrals and take in the colonial architecture of this UNESCO world heritage site. El “Panecillo” or “The Little Bread Loaf”, is located on a high hill in the old town and is a major Quito attraction boasting a panoramic view of the city.
Museums are scattered throughout the new and old town as well as local artisan markets that are great for picking up souvenirs. The new town is teeming with cafes and restaurants and is a vibrant mix of locals, expats, and fellow travelers.
This morning you will take a short flight to the one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos archipelago, San Cristobal. You will land in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a coastal town and the administrative capital of the islands. After sampling some of the local cuisine you will head up into the highlands for a scenic downhill bike ride. Starting at a panoramic viewpoint called “La Soledad”, you will bike through the tiny town of El Progreso and five different vegetation zones until you reach a beach called La Loberia.
There, you will be able to watch sea lions sun bathing, playing, and vying for your attention. If you can’t wait to get in the water, this will be your first opportunity. Just before sunset, you will bike back to town and get ready for your first yoga practice in the enchanted islands. You will finish off the day with a welcome dinner at a small local restaurant followed by a yoga practice at sunset.
On this day, you will be taken to the water to get a glimpse of the underwater world of Galapagos. First, you will cruise along the coast in your boat identifying shore birds like the Great Frigate and famous Blue-Footed Booby. Then, you will find a calm spot near the coast to get your fins wet in search of damselfish, puffer fish, and, hopefully curious sea lion pups.
From there, you will continue to Kicker Rock or “Leon Dormido”, as it’s known by the locals to explore the final remains of a tuff cone rising over 143 meters out of the ocean. If Kicker Rock were a building, it would have almost 50 floors. Along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation, you will be on the hunt for sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, chocolate chip starfish, and with any luck, a Galapagos shark or two. Don’t worry; they won’t be as interested in you as you are in them.
There are many beautiful beaches along the coastline of San Cristobal that are accessible only by boat. After your snorkel activities are done, you will head to one of these sandy beaches for some fun and exploration. After lunch on board, feel free to spend your time swimming in the turquoise water or snapping photos of birds, crabs, and other creatures you may find on the beach.
You will head back to town during late afternoon to visit the Interpretation center. You will learn about the history and mystery of the archipelago from its discovery and what makes it so special to Charles Darwin’s visit and the present-day efforts to protect this amazing world heritage site.
To culminate the educational afternoon, you will go for a short hike to Tijeretas, pick a spot at nearby Playa Mann (Mann Beach) with the playful sea lions, or grab a front row seat at Casa Blanca to toast in the sunset. Dinner is on your own on this night, but you will be suggested many offers. Occasionally, the option to dive will be available. You may inquire in advance to Krista about diving.
After breakfast, you will depart by boat for the least inhabited of the main islands, Floreana. In route, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, whales, and the waved albatross. You will have a pre-lunch snorkel before going ashore to a black sand beach at the home of the Wittmer’s, one of the islands first settlers. With a population of less than 150 people, Puerto Velasco Ibarra is a sleepy little town but not without its secrecies.
You can read up on how life came to be on Floreana and how some lives mysteriously ended. After lunch, take a siesta while listening to the waves or walk along the coast in search of sunbathing iguanas. This afternoon, you will bus up to the highlands of Floreana to visit the pirate and whaler caves from long ago.
You will return to town and to a beachside accommodation in time to enjoy the day’s last light before heading to the Baronesa for dinner. Because of the small nature of the hotel and lack of availability, sometimes will not be possible to stay and you must continue on to Isabela.
This morning, you will embark to Isabela, the largest island in the archipelago. Once you arrive in Puerto Vilamil, you will take a short walk to a nearby wetland that is home to pink flamingos and pintail ducks. After lunch, you will continue with a leisurely walk through a coastal lagoon. This mangrove-lined path will lead you to Isabela’s giant tortoise breeding center where you will see giant tortoises in all stages of development.
The center has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own. An optional activity will be to rent a bike in town to step back in time and visit the “Wall of Tears”, built by convicts and still standing over 50 years later, this landmark is a remnant of Isabela’s penal colony past.
If you don’t feel like heading to the “Wall of Tears” on this day, you can enjoy the beautiful white sand beach or relax in town. You will also have free time on day seven to possibly visit the “Wall of Tears”. For the evening, you will head into the highlands for a special dinner.
Lace up your hiking boots; you will head up to a volcano. Sierra Negra volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos; its last eruption was in October 2005. As you hike to the perimeter of the caldera, you will be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands like the bright red Vermillion Flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Once you reach the rim, you will met with a nine-kilometer view that stretches across one of the most active calderas in the world.
You will continue on to traverse the vast lava fields of Volcano Chico on route for a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching to the north of Isabela. After enjoying a hearty sense of accomplishment, you will make your way back to town during the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.
After breakfast you will gear up to explore a protected bay and search for the Galapagos penguin; the only penguin found north of the Equator. You will hop out for a short walk at Tintoreras or Shark Alley, an isolated islet and popular iguana-nesting site that is home to hundreds of marine iguanas.
After a snorkel in search of sleeping sea turtles, you will head back to town. The afternoon will be yours to explore, sit with the birds and iguanas, head toward your favorite beach bar, or visit the “Wall of Tears” if you did not visited it on day five.
You will wave goodbye to Isabela this morning as you depart for Santa Cruz Island. After checking in, you will hop on a bus bound for the highlands to explore an underground lava tunnel and visit a ranch. For the first time, you will be able to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat cooling off in a watering hole or munching away. On the way back to town, you will have the opportunity to stop at a local distributor for a bag of fresh ground Galapagos coffee, the only product exported from the islands.
After lunch, you will visit the Charles Darwin research station. You will learn about the station’s successes in repopulating the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise.
From the collection of the eggs to the age of release, you will observe how the giant tortoises are raised and readied for life on their own. This afternoon you will take a short walk that will end in white sand and luscious waves. Tortuga bay is a gorgeous beach, accessible only by foot and laden with choices. Do you want to swim, sunbath, bodysurf, or do all three? After the fun in the sun, you will make your way back to town for a farewell dinner.
This day will be the last day in the Galapagos. You will get up early for a final hike or savor your last moments on the island for souvenir shopping. You will fly back to Quito during the early afternoon and be transferred to the hotel. This night will be the farewell dinner and your chance to say goodbye to your new friends.
This day will be the last day of the tour and you will be taken to the airport if you have a flight out before noon or you may also arrange a day tour in and around Quito for some additional exploring.
Krista Shirley is a level two authorized Ashtanga yoga teacher and the founder of The Yoga Shala in Winter Park, Florida. Krista teaches traditional Ashtanga yoga classes in the Mysore method from Monday to Thursday mornings at 06:30 and counted led Ashtanga primary series on Friday mornings at 06:15 followed by guided meditation at 08:00. She also leads asana, meditation, and self-help workshops and retreats at The Yoga Shala and around the globe.
This retreat will be held at four different islands in Galapagos, Ecuador; San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela, and Santa Cruz.
During this retreat, you will be served three daily locally sourced meals except on two evening when meals will be on your own.
Please book your flight to arrive at Aeropuerto Internacional Mariscal Sucre (UIO). Airport transportation is available on request for an additional cost.