The first luxury island hopping safari in the Galapagos IslandsMetropolitan Touring, the company that pioneered travel to the Galapagos Islands over fifty years ago, has launched the first luxury island hopping safari in the archipelago, which promises to offer more flexibility than a traditional cruise, appeal to those who prefer to rest their heads on dry land, and grant intrepid explorers access to many of the more remote regions of these fabled isles.
Previously considered a shoestring option for backpackers, the new island hopping programme reintroduces the concept as a luxury experience for the first time, whisking a maximum of 15 guests per group between two pioneering hotels by light aircraft, giving a memorable bird’s eye view of the archipelago along the way.
The new tour begins with a flight to Isabela Island, where guests will be treated to little-before-seen aerial views of Isabela’s active volcanos and the archipelago’s scattered isles. Perched up in the remote highlands, accommodation will be at the luxurious Scalesia Lodge, a unique concept of hotel for the Galapagos that comprises 16 luxurious safari-style tents surrounded by magical forest and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Expert guides will lead guests on exciting day trips to many of Isabela’s more remote regions which are inaccessible to cruise passengers, including traversing along the rim of the active Sierra Negra Volcano and exploring the Tintoreras Islets, where white tipped reef sharks bask in shallow water and Galapagos penguins nest in volcanic crevices.
After three nights’ intrepid exploration on Isabela Island, another spectacular flight takes guests to Santa Cruz where they check in at the island’s only beach front property, the Finch Bay Eco Hotel for four nights. Crowned the Galapagos’ leading eco hotel thanks to its pioneering approach to sustainability, the Finch Bay has recently emerged from a dramatic revamp by renowned Ecuadorian interior designer, Julio Vinueza, and now boasts a sleek new look that reflects its aquatic surroundings. A seafront pool overlooking a beach that is home to nesting iguanas and a fabulous restaurant which boasts a menu designed by Cordon Bleu trained chef, Byron Rivera, make it the perfect place for some down time, whilst the buzz of Puerto Ayora town is just a short water taxi hop across the bay. Accompanied by Metropolitan-certified guides, guests will set out on the hotel’s Sea Lion yacht to marvel at vast flocks of frigate birds and throngs of scaled iguanas found on the neighbouring isles, kayak through the mangroves of Divine Bay spotting foraging herons and walk with the Galapagos’ most famous inhabitants in Santa Cruz’s highlands, the monolithic tortoises.
Having been at the forefront of Galapagos travel for the past fifty years, Metropolitan Touring has recently enlisted the help of leading scholars and naturalist guides to create a new tool for planning a Galapagos adventure called GALAPAGOS BIG15. This handy tool outlines which of the archipelago’s 15 most unique and fascinating species can be spotted on each island and the new Island-2-Island programme incorporates 12/15 – which is equal to or exceeds the wildlife spotted on most cruises.