Galapagos Wildlife & Photo Safari
At last! A Galapagos Islands adventure without the confines of a ship cabin and rigid excursion schedule. For you the adventure traveler and photographer, we have created a Galapagos Adventure that immerses you in this magical destination, designed with the freedom that allows you to venture off in search of the money shot. Travelers can choose between a 5-day expedition or an 8-day expedition where you’ll go island hopping through the Galapagos with a home base on San Cristobal Island.
You will have an opportunity to visit four different islands in the Galapagos archipelago on this unique wildlife and photo safari. Your safari guide is acclaimed Sports Illustrated photographer, Ron Modra, who will lead you to his favorite spots for photographing the abundant wildlife and local color found at each selected destination. Along the way, Ron is there to offer instruction and advice on creating professional quality images. Each night, Ron is available to help you edit images to the standards of a Sports Illustrated photo editor! Without question, you will go home with memories of a lifetime and compelling images that will forever remind you of this adventure. This is a bucket list expedition great for families, photographers and adventure travelers.
- Escape the confines of a typical cruise through the Galapagos Islands with a land-based expedition led by acclaimed Sports Illustrated photographer Ron Modra.
- Visit four islands including San Cristobal, Espanola, Isla Lobos and Santa Cruz as well as other unforgettable locales such as Kicker Rock and Punta Pitt.
- Snorkel or swim with, sea turtles, sea lions, iguanas, rays, sharks and more.
- Photograph the remarkable bird life including the blue and red-footed boobies, frigatebirds and the magnificent albatross of Espanola Island.
- For the anglers in the group, take on optional add on fishing day(s) for marlin, tuna, or wahoo.
8 – DAY ADVENTURE PACKAGE
|Standard 8 – Adventure Package $3,995 – Double Occupancy|
|Luxury 8 – Adventure Package $ 4,850 – Double Occupancy|
5 – Day Adventure Package
|Standard 5 – Day Adventure Package $2,750 – Double Occupancy|
Fishing Option is an additional $500 / Person based on 4 anglers
Galapagos Expedition pricing is per person based on double occupancy. Fishing charters are based on double occupancy and four anglers per charter.
Deposit is $1,500 per person (non refundable) with the balance due 90 days out from the expedition date.
Follow our Expedition on GHO’s Facebook @GuyHarveyOutpost
Upon arrival to the modern, new San Cristobal airport, Ron Modra, expedition leader, will meet and coordinate your hotel check-in. After check-in, you will take a bus ride to explore the highlands of San Cristobal. You will visit the National Park’s Galapaguera (tortoise breeding center) where park naturalists breed endemic tortoises to release back into the wild at Punta Pitt, helping to expand the San Cristobal tortoise population.
Lunch will be served at one of the islands’ newest and most scenic restaurants, Otoy, set on the grounds of a sprawling organic farm. Here, every imaginable fruit and vegetable is grown, giving true meaning to a “farm to fork” experience. Enjoy dining al-fresco overlooking the farmland and Pacific Ocean beyond. Otoy has a hiking trail that meanders through its farm and bamboo jungle, with its colorful fruits, vegetables and flowers—and many giant tortoises waiting to greet you.
Wildlife: tortoises, blue-footed booby, frigatebird, sea lions
Grab your GoPro or underwater camera, it’s time to explore the underwater world of the Galapagos. Lobos Island (Isla Lobos) is inhabited by a large colony of sea lions who love to welcome—and swim alongside—visitors. On this outing, you’ll walk and snorkel around the island, spotting blue-footed boobies, marine iguanas and frigatebirds, as well as rays and sea turtles on the sea’s sandy bottom. Lunch will be provided on the boat.
Wildlife: Blue-footed boobie, frigatebirds, iguanas, and underwater opportunities with sea lions, sea turtles and more. Snorkeling is available on this excursion.
Other Activities: Snorkeling is included as part of the trip.
(Optional Fishing Day)
In the morning tour the Interpretation Center where you will learn about the Galapagos Island’s amazing ecosystem including why the archipelago has such unique fauna, how the islands were formed, and how people came to live here. After the tour, hike up nearby Frigatebird Hill, with its massive bronze statue of Charles Darwin overlooking his namesake bay. From here you can observe and photograph the frigatebirds from above with the backdrop views of Charles Darwin Bay. In the afternoon, we will tour San Cristobal Harbor aboard the local water taxi where you will be able to photography sea lions and blue footed boobies.
Wildlife: Birdlife and panoramic images of San Cristobal.
Option: This is an optional fishing day. Those interested in a charter can fish the NW Bank or Rosa Blanca for marlin, tuna, wahoo.
santa cruz ISLAND
Journey by ferry boat to Santa Cruz and Reserva el Chato, where the giant Galapagos tortoises roam wild. After a hearty walk through the forest and plenty of up close encounters with these fantastic and docile creatures, head to Galapagos Magic Safari Camp for more tortoise sightings and a one-of-a kind lunch—this place is worth the whole trip—in the upscale D’Cave Galapagos Restaurant built inside a cave.
Before catching the water taxi back to the ferry, explore the harbor front of Puerto Ayora, the island’s main town and largest in the Galapagos.
Wildlife: Tortoises, tortoises, and more tortoises!
Española is on the southernmost and is one of the oldest Islands in the archipelago. Because of its geography, Española has a very dry climate, and despite this, the island is the only known nesting site for the majestic waved Aalbatross (Galapagos albatross) from April to December. From the cliff top of Espanola, at the so-called “Albatross Airport”, the albatross line up single file, march to the edge, spread their wings and take flight. It’s a truly remarkable scene. Blue-footed and Nazca boobies mingle with the albatross, sharing the island with numerous other bird species. You will also find many marine iguanas around Española. Lunch will be provided on the boat.
Wildlife: The only place in Galapagos you will see the albatross. In addition, you will see marine iguanas, masked and blue-footed boobies, and sea lions.
At the northernmost end of San Cristobal, far beyond the end of the island’s limited road system, you will find Punta Pitt, home to all three types of boobies: red, blue, and Nazca. It is also the nesting and breeding grounds of the Galapagos tortoise native to San Cristobal. Only accessible by boat, we’ll journey here riding alongside the shoreline. On arrival, we’ll beach the boat and set off on a hike around Cerro Brujo, the natural Galapaguera. We will provide mask and fins in case you would like to snorkel around nearby Pitt Island, teeming with marine life that in turn draws schools of tuna and wahoo. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on the boat.
Wildlife: Sea lions, red-footed and blue-footed boobies, tortoises, sea lions
Start off early with a magnificent boat ride out to Kicker Rock, a truly spectacular Galapagos landmark consisting of two volcanic rocks towering some 450 feet above the sea. When viewed from the south, the formation looks like a sleeping lion, hence its Spanish name, Leon Dormido. You will have the option to snorkel around Kicker Rock nd through the 19-meter-deep channel that separate the two towers; this is one of the best snorkel sites in the Galapagos. You have a good chance of spotting the native Galapagos Shark, hammerhead sharks, white tip sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles and many species of fish. Snorkel gear will be provided. Lunch will be provided on the boat.
Wildlife: Blue-footed and Nazka boobies as well as sharks, rays, sea turtles and more.
Other Activities: Snorkeling is included. Diving is also available as an add-on, so please contact the travel desk if you are interested in diving Kicker Rock.
Enjoy breakfast, gather the gear and break camp. It’s time to depart the Galapagos and return to either Guayaquil or Quito.
- Daily photography workshops
- Accommodations in Galapagos
- Meals as listed on itinerary
- Transfers in Galapagos
- Activities as listed in itinerary
- Guide Services
- Snorkel and mask on snorkeling excursions
- Guy Harvey Outpost Expedition Shirt
- Galapagos Transfer Card of $20 when leaving either Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos.
- Galapagos National Park entry of $100 per person (cash only and paid at Galapagos Airport)
- Meals not listed on the itinerary
- Add on options including fishing option, scuba diving, and Quito Tour
- Personal Items
About Team Leader – Ron Modra
Ronald C. Modra was a staff and contract photographer at Sports Illustrated for 25 years with 70 magazine covers to his credit and countless images you’d almost certainly recognize, capturing his unique bond with players forged though his love of sports, especially baseball. Several of his photographs appear in Sports Illustrated’s 40 Best of All Time and The Century’s Best Sports Photos. He is also a two-time winner of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Photo of the Year” award, and has authored two books on the game – “Reflections of the Game” and “A Baseball Life”—each showcases his best images from a spectacular career. Of late, from his home in Nashville, Ron has enjoyed shooting album covers for country music artists. As he says, “Singers are all pretty good looking – it’s hard to screw up when your subject is Martina McBride. When it comes to athletes, hey, we’re not miracle workers!” When not behind a camera, Ron is an avid outdoorsmen and angler, often fishing down in the Florida Keys, Bahamas or other tropical fishing hot spots. He leads both the Galapagos and Cuba adventures for Guy Harvey Resorts Outpost Expeditions.
Tips from Ron
If you’re serious about photography, you’re going to agonize about gear for this trip; that’s understandable! I can make it easy. You’ll of course need two cameras (in case of failure).
You will be VERY close to many animals, and then of course there are some you’ll need “reach” for. My recommended kit is as follows:
- High megapixel, fast focusing and responsive DSLR: Full-frame Canon or Nikon recommended – sure, a 1Dx or a D4 is going to help with birds in flight but most subjects in Galapagos (even some birds in flight) are quite cooperative and the superfast frame rate of the 1Dx or D4 isn’t necessary. And yes, you can do just fine with a crop body such as the Canon 7D or Nikon D7100 etc.
- Lenses for your DSLR: Nikon, 80-400 (the new version); Canon, 100-400; For both systems, the 70-200 f/2.8. They are expensive. Or consider the excellent Nikkor 28-300. I also like something in the 24-120mm range.
- If you carry the mirrorless with 24-70 equivalent and the DSLR with 80 or 100 to 400mm equivalent, you’ll never miss a shot.
Keep in mind, the island visits are all supervised by a Naturalist Guide provided by the Parks Department, hence they are sort of “scripted” and you’ll have to be able to keep up with your guide’s pace.
There’s one more important piece of lens kit: for the mirrorless system, bring along a 600mm equivalent. Panasonic makes one (the 100-300) that is 200-600mm equivalent! It’s extremely useful for small lizards, Sally Lightfoot Crabs and also birds. Remember, in the Galapagos, you can’t venture off the park trails so sometimes the extra reach comes in super handy. Some of you are thinking: why not a 200-400mm Nikkor or the new 200-400 Canon? Simply put: they are way too ungainly to handle and use while trekking in the Galapagos. One needs to be light, nimble and quick – and so that’s why I recommend the 70-200 for both Canon and Nikon, and the 80-400 Nikkor and 100-400 Canon. And for far-off wildlife, that 600 reach on the mirrorless system is pretty handy to have!
To be clear: I’m not saying that you can’t use the super long Canon or Nikon Teles – I’m saying that there are really good alternatives and you’ll be happier with something easier to handle.
So there you have it, as far as camera systems. Focals from 24mm to 400mm (even 600) in two bodies. And backup Wondering about other lenses? I did not use a macro lens. A fast prime (like 35mm f/1.4) could come in handy for fun shots but isn’t totally necessary when you can shoot f/2.8 on your mirrorless system or DSLR at ISO 1600 or 3200. Other lens options I would consider, but not say are critical, would be something really, really wide – like a fisheye, or the Canon 16-35, 17-40, or Nikkor 17-35. Or, you can get the equivalent super wide for your mirrorless system.
Final word on bodies and lenses: it is totally fine to bring two Canon or Nikon DSLRs, and do it that way. I mention the mirrorless systems because they are so light and the quality is so good!
First, the obvious: plenty of batteries (at least two for each camera) and chargers; lots of SD/CF cards (I like to travel with enough SD/CF so that I don’t have to format any cards while traveling); laptop with current software; external hard drive to back up your images (or enough disk space on the laptop); Lens cleaning cloths, and a rocket blower.
Next, filters: you’ll need circular polarizers for your main lenses, and contrary to my general beliefs, a UV filter for protection (water, sand and the big bugger is sea mist). ND filters work best if you intend to try for some slow shutter work on the waves.
Finally, tripods are not recommended. If you really want to bring one, make sure it is extremely lightweight. I say omit this from your kit.
What to wear
Do not bring much cotton clothing to the Galapagos. Have quick-dry sport t-shirts and shorts, and maybe one pair of quick-dry longs … you’ll be glad you have them, the panga seats can be damp! Also, you can easily wash these items in your shower and hang them out to dry or utilize the hotel laundry service. Footwear? Recommended: 1 pair of Merrill/Keen water shoes with closed toe area and heel strap and/or light hiking shoes. I wore hiking shoes every day; I like the support. Definitely wear closed-toed shoes when we go tortoise watching in the forest. There are ants! Optional: a pair of Teva or similar sandals. Bring a light rain jacket in case of foul weather.
Don’t forget your bathing suit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a fleece pullover for cool nights. With that, you’re done!
The Daily Routine
Expect a good workout, every day. There’s a good amount of hiking. For the most part, trails on the islands are fairly gentle and most anyone can handle them. Note: if you need more balance or support, pack a light walking stick. There are also many opportunities for snorkeling and sea kayaking – don’t miss out on these!
We always plan some downtime midday, even if it’s just for a relaxing lunch—the meals are fantastic—then it’s off to another island excursion. You’re always free to bail on any scheduled outing, and sometimes that’s the best opportunity to come across that rare candid look into local island life. I’ve captured some of my best Galapagos shots just that way.
At day’s end, we’ll swap stories and share photos. Several times during the week, we’ll workshop photos and I’ll help you with work flow and to develop techniques with a critical eye for award-winning photos. Coffee (grown in the Galapagos highlands) or cold cerveza will make the work even more enjoyable! For night owls, in San Cristobal there’s always a stroll along the malecon – the harbor front – for a late night sea lion serenade and a café to settle into and watch the night slip by.
There are hundreds of circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip, return home early or force you to seek emergency medical treatment while traveling. We at Guy Harvey Outpost always recommend being prepared.
If you are interested in purchasing travel insurance call us at 800-513-5257 and we can help coordinate.
Standard Package Lodging: Galapagos Planet Hotel is centrally located in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. It is a short cab ride from the airport and harbor making it convenient for daily excursions. It is a 31-room boutique hotel with a top floor restaurant that overlooks San Cristobal Harbor with complimentary breakfast daily. Perfect for your daily basecamp to edit photos and relax from those memorable excursion in the Galapagos.
Luxury Package Lodging: Golden Bay Hotel & Spa: Golden Bay is boutique 21-Room waterfront hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. Golden Bay Hotel & Spa designed to offer its guests an unparalleled level of comfort and world-class service in the strikingly beautiful and unique Galapagos Islands. The Hotel fuses its luxury status with the environmental demands of the “Enchanted Archipelago”. The hotel features a pool, restaurant, bar, hot tub and spa.
“I signed up for the Galapagos experience solely excited to get the privilege to hang with some renowed photographers. Trust me I wasn’t let down. These guys are not just superstar Lensmen, they are renowned adventurists. Charles Darwin opened the window to the Galapagos Archipelago and now it’s journeys like this led by a elite Jedi photographer like Ron Modra that bring together the culmination of evolution, preservation and pure wonder to the lens of your camera. Magic!”
“As a grade school student, reading my grandfather’s National Geographic magazines, I dreamed of a life of adventure and travel. Fast forward… and today, I have been blessed with the opportunities of travel and adventure all under the title of ‘photographer.’
When my close friend sent me the text saying simply “Galapagos” … I knew one of the ‘bucket list’ adventures was about to happen.
The Guy Harvey Outpost tour did not disappoint. As a professional photographer, our guide got our small group to some beautifully amazing remote areas that allowed us to photograph the nature and wildlife just as Darwin saw it in the 1830s.
After morning hikes and stunning vistas, afternoons were spent snorkeling the reefs around the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Thousands upon thousands of tropical fish were only outdone by the young sea lion pups who were entertained with visitors in their waters.
Seeing and photographing the Blue-Footed Boobies with their babies on the trails of Punta , Pitt snorkeling with eagle rays at Kicker Rock and of course hiking the islands and seeing the giant tortoise made this adventure spectacular.
My dream of adventure and travel continues, I can check the Galapagos off of my bucket list.
“The Guy Harvey Galapagos photo safari was absolute paradise. Out of everywhere I’ve been, I’ve never seen so much variety of things to shoot & plentiful. Guides were great & excursions were packed with wildlife & gorgeous landscapes. Even downtown San Cristobal was incredible. From sea lions to marine iguanas, every day was an adventure I’ll never forget. You’ll be sorting through your multitude of photos for weeks in awe.”
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