Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Uganda Primate Safari – September 2023:
A Journey into the Wild

September 26 to October 6, 2023

Embark on a Journey of Discovery and Conservation

Welcome aboard for this detailed account of our spectacular May and June 2023 Galápagos Islands voyages. Each journey, unique in its encounters and experiences, offered our adventurers unparalleled insights into the rich biodiversity and dynamic ecosystems of this volcanic archipelago. From up close wildlife interactions to dramatic volcanic landscapes, these trips encapsulated the essence of exploration and discovery.

May 6 to 24, 2023 Trip

Day 1 – Arrive in Quito, Ecuador

Our travelers were warmly welcomed upon arrival in Quito by our local representatives. After settling into the hotel, they had the evening to relax and prepare for the adventure that lay ahead.

Day 2 – From the Andes to the Cloud Forest

The day began with a scenic early morning drive to Yanacocha Reserve, known for its rich birdlife. After a wonderful breakfast, the group made their way along the vibrant Old Nono-Mindo Ecoroute. The highlight was witnessing the colorful displays at the Andean cock-of-the-rock lek.

Day 3 – Birdwatching Extravaganza

The morning was dedicated to bird watching around Bellavista, where numerous hummingbirds and other colorful species were observed. After a relaxing lunch the group returned to Quito to prepare for their early flight to the Galapagos.

“Juan led the trip beautifully, providing many activity options for every day. Snorkeling, hiking, Zodiac and ship cruising, and kayaking all offered at the most strategic time of the day.” -Debbie Thompson

Day 4 – Arrival in the Galápagos

Excitement builds as everyone arrives in the Enchanted Islands and settles in on board the Samba. No time is wasted and the group has their first landing on the pristine Mosquera Islet, enjoying their first encounters with sea lions and sally lightfoot crabs on sandy beaches. The day ends as they cruise towards Genovesa Island.

Day 5 to Day 17 – Galápagos Archipelago Exploration

The voyage made landings at various islands including the wildlife-rich shores of Isla Fernandina, the historic sites of Isla Floreana, the picturesque Isla Santiago, and many others. Each location offered unique experiences from snorkeling in biodiverse waters to observing rare bird species during walks onshore or while kayaking along the coastline.

“The snorkeling on this trip blew my mind.” -Steve Thompson

“Encounters with wildlife both on land and in sea, opportunities for fantastic pictures.” -Donna Fernandez

Tour Group© Steve Thompson
Tour Group
© Steve Thompson

Day 18 – Departure from Galápagos

A final exploration of Isla Seymour Norte allowed for unforgettable encounters with nesting birds and frigatebirds displaying their red throat pouches. The afternoon was spent traveling back to Quito.

“We learned so much about the Galapagos – it was like taking a condensed course at a university. Juan knows so much about the wildlife, plants, geology, and ecology of the islands, and explained it all so well.” -Debbie Thompson

Day 19 – Homeward Bound

After a final night in Quito, our guests departed for home, carrying with them memories of a lifetime.

Videos From The Trip

Check out these awesome videos from the trip! If you’re interested in seeing more videos from this particular trip in the Galapagos, check out the playlist specifically dedicated to that trip below!

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Playlist: Galapagos Islands – May 6 to 24, 2023

June 3 to 21, 2023 Trip

Day 1 – Arrival and Welcome in Quito

Similar to the May group, travelers arrived in Quito and were greeted by our team. The evening offered a chance to unwind and anticipate the exciting days ahead.

Day 2 to Day 3 – From Andes to Bird Sanctuaries

The journey starts with a trip from Quito descending into the lush cloud forests. Highlights include the vibrant Yanacocha Reserve and the Old Nono-Mindo Ecoroute, culminating in a visit to the Andean cock-of-the-rock lek, where the colorful mating displays are a sight to behold. The next morning was focused on bird and nature walks around Bellavista lodge before enjoying an Ecuadorian lunch. From there the group returned to Qutio to prepare for their flight to the Islands.

Day 4 – Embarking on the Galápagos Adventure

After early morning travels, the group is happy to touch down in the Galapagos and set sail.

Day 5 – Exploring Isla Genovesa

The first full day in the islands is spent at Isla Genovesa, entering the caldera of Darwin Bay and ascending Prince Philip’s Steps to find thriving colonies of red-footed and Nazca boobies, along with the elusive short-eared owl.

“Our Naturalist, Juan, is what made the trip so good. His knowledge, enthusiasm, and engagement with the environment were outstanding. I can imagine a trip without this knowledge and experience being far less compelling.” -Deanna Marsh

Day 6 – Snorkeling at Isla Marchena

Isla Marchena offers snorkeling in crystal-clear waters among tropical fish, rays, and coral formations—a rare experience in the Galápagos, enhanced by the potential sighting of whales in one of the region’s most cetacean-rich areas.

Dolphins© Chris Desborough
© Chris Desborough

Day 7 & 8 – Isla Isabela’s Riches

The journey continues with stops at Punta Albermarle and Punta Vicente Roca on Isla Isabela, featuring interactions with flightless cormorants and other marine life. A visit to Fernandina showcases vast colonies of marine iguanas and other endemic species in pristine settings.

“This trip was amazing, primarily due to the expertise and tireless efforts of Juan. He was backed up by proficient and professional crew. ” -Franc Gorenc

The Samba © Jonathan Mash
The Samba
© Jonathan Mash
Marine Iguanas© Chris Desborough
Marine Iguanas
© Chris Desborough

Day 9 – Mangrove Cruising at Isla Isabela

Elizabeth Bay’s mangroves offer serene encounters with penguins and playful sea lions, while Punta Moreno provides stark volcanic landscapes with life-sustaining lagoons scattered about.

Day 10 – History and Snorkeling at Isla Floreana

Visitors explore the human history and natural beauty of Floreana, including a visit to the Post Office Bay and snorkeling at Devil’s Crown.

Day 11 – Endemic Wildlife at Isla Santa Cruz

The day begins in Santa Cruz’s highlands, searching for island endemics in the lush Scalesia forest and viewing giant tortoises, followed by a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about conservation efforts.

Day 12 – Birdwatching at Isla Española

A morning at Punta Suárez offers encounters with the famed waved albatross and other seabirds, while the afternoon relaxes at the stunning Gardner Bay, known for its friendly sea lions and snorkeling opportunities.

Day 13 – Geological Wonders of Isla San Cristóbal

Adventures at Punta Pitt and Isla Lobos feature diverse geological formations and vibrant marine life, perfect for hiking and snorkeling.

Day 14 – The Biodiversity of Santa Fé and South Plaza

Visits to Santa Fé and South Plaza highlight the adaptive prowess of island species, from land iguanas to cactus finches, set against a backdrop of dramatic landscapes.

Day 15 – Iconic Scenes at Sombrero Chino and Isla Bartolomé

The surreal landscapes of Sombrero Chino Islet and the iconic Pinnacle Rock at Bartolomé provide unforgettable vistas, concluding with snorkeling among penguins and tropical fish.

Day 16 – Farewell to the Islands

The final days are spent visiting the rich environments of Santiago and Rábida, offering last moments with the archipelago’s varied wildlife and landscapes before the return to Quito.

Day 17 – Last Impressions and Departure

The last morning in the Galapagos was spent at Isla Seymour Norte, engaging with the diverse birdlife and marine iguanas before returning to Quito.

“It was an absolutely fantastic trip and without a doubt one of the best I have ever been on. Juan and the crew were excellent. Juan’s knowledge is incredible, and the four excursions per day were tremendous and also kept off any potential for weight gain even with the masses of excellent food we were continually served lol. I cannot say enough about how fantastic a trip this was.” -Chris Desborough

Day 18 – Return Journey

With spirits high and cameras full, the travelers made their way back home, enriched by the extraordinary natural wonders of the Galápagos.

Looking Ahead: May and June 2025 Galapagos Islands Trips

Feeling inspired to see the Enchanted Isles? Visit our website to learn more about how you can join one of our future voyages and experience the magic of the Galápagos Islands firsthand.

Book your choice of Galapagos trip in 2025!

Whether you’re a photography enthusiast aiming to capture the vibrant wildlife and unique landscapes of the islands, a nature lover intrigued by the diverse ecosystems of the Galápagos, or an adventurer eager to explore one of the most extraordinary biodiversity hotspots on the planet, our Galápagos expedition offers an unmatched experience.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this remarkable adventure. Join us as we voyage to the enchanted Galápagos Islands and experience the wonder of this unrivaled natural paradise together.

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