8 Days Exploring the Beauty and History of the Galápagos Islands
May 19–28, 2022
Join us on this photographic adventure of a lifetime, to one of the world’s premier wildlife and landscape destinations, The Galápagos Islands! These islands have been preserved well and offer a unique window into our evolutionary past. It is an ecosystem in which the animals are not afraid of humans—you will find yourself able to get closer portraits of extraordinary wildlife than you ever thought possible! Naturalists will explain the animal behaviors while our two photography pros will instruct you on the best techniques for capturing memorable and meaningful imagery.
Our boat can go where the larger ships can’t, and we will set our own schedule. This means we can go ashore based on lighting conditions and wildlife sightings, making sure that mealtimes are scheduled around our shoots, not during! We’ll walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, and we’ll channel his experiences as he formulated his theory of natural selection during his time here in the 1830s.
Just some of the wildlife to be photographed are the blue-footed booby birds, red-footed booby birds, masked booby birds, penguins, land iguanas, marine iguanas, lava lizards, sea lions, red-chested frigate birds, flamingos, finches, tropicbirds, lava gulls, and giant tortoises. If you like snorkeling, then there is even more marine wildlife to photograph, such as sharks, rays, Galápagos penguins, and countless fish. Snorkel gear will always be available on our yacht!
We’ll maximize our shooting time with the best photo ops—getting up early for sweet light and chasing it to sunset. We’ll have the option each night for critiques and instruction from the pros, and interpretive talks by our naturalists. Or, sit back and enjoy a book from the library, watch the dolphins swim, relax in the jacuzzi, or gaze at the equatorial sky from the deck.
Non-photographer spouses, partners, and friends are welcome! This is a perfect workshop to bring them—as long as they love nature and the outdoors, they’ll have a blast!
Everything is all-inclusive, including gratuities, so you only have to worry about making great photographs! With a small group, a brand-new luxury yacht, and two experienced pro photographers leading, this trip is sure to fill up fast. Click the “Sign Me Up!” button and we’ll see you in The Galápagos!
About the wildlife: This workshop offers significant opportunities for photographing wildlife, and while we do our best to maximize our wildlife encounters—based on past experiences, local knowledge, and the current conditions—we need to impress upon you that the wildlife really is wild and that we don’t control it.
About the itinerary: This is the planned itinerary, but be advised that the Galápagos National Park can change this itinerary anytime they wish. It’s unusual for them to make such changes.
May 19, 2022: Arrive anytime this day in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Take the hotel shuttle or a taxi to our hotel in town. Relax and unwind.
May 20, 2022: This morning we’ll have a class on wildlife photography techniques. After, we will have a typical Ecuadoran feast at our favorite restaurant in town. Tonight, you’re on your own to relax.
May 21, 2022: After breakfast we will head to the airport for our flight to The Galápagos, landing at Baltra Island airport. After boarding our private yacht and attending a brief orientation, we will set our sights for Santiago Island, landing at Sullivan Bay. Sullivan Bay is an interesting lava field site, and also offers snorkeling. Sea lions, sally lightfoot crabs, and shorebirds abound.
May 22, 2022: This morning we’ll visit Isabela Island, exploring Vicente Roca Point by zodiac. Here the remnants of an ancient volcano form two separate coves, with an adjacent bay protected from ocean swells and ideal for snorkeling. Seahorses, sea turtles, mantas, the strange yet fascinating Mola mola (ocean sunfish), and even killer whales are known to frequent the bay, and we will also look for rays, puffer fish, sea lions and penguins (yes, penguins!), blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and terns. In the afternoon, we’ll head to Fernandina Island, landing at Espinosa Point. The La Cumbre Volcano dominates the landspace here, with lava fields reaching towards the ocean. Fernandina is home to the endemic flightless cormorant and the Galápagos hawk, as well as hundreds of marine iguanas that gather for warmth on the vast stretches of black lava.
May 23, 2022: This morning, we return to Isabela Island, where we’ll spend the day. First, we’ll visit Tagus Cove, long used as an anchorage for pirates and other early visitors. A different kind of treasure is sought today: we’ll look for penguins, marine iguanas, colorful Sally Lightfoot crabs, and sea lions. In the afternoon, we’ll move to Urbina Bay, located at the base of the Alcedo Volcano on the west coast between Tagus Cove and Elizabeth Bay. This area experienced a major uplift in 1954, causing the land to rise over 16 feet and the coast to expand half a mile out. Urbina Bay is a great place for snorkeling, as turtles, rays, and tropical fish abound. It is also a good place to see both land and marine iguanas ashore, and if we are very lucky, even a tortoise.
May 24, 2022: This morning we’ll enter Elizabeth Bay, a large west-facing bay nestled between two volcanoes. Three small islands in the bay provide an important breeding area for Galapagos penguins, so landing is not allowed, but we’ll explore by zodiac. The shores of the bay are blanketed by mangroves, home to nesting boobies and cormorants, and the shallow waters are home to cownose rays and a variety of fish. In the afternoon we will snorkel and have a short hike at Moreno Point, which is located near Elizabeth Bay on the west coast of Isabela Island. Moreno Point consists of lava surface that has collapsed into itself, yielding brackish ponds filled with flamingoes, ducks, herons and other waders.
May 25, 2022: This morning we’ll be visiting the Charles Darwin Station in the town of Puerto Ayora, on the island of Santa Cruz. The Charles Darwin Research Station is a key player in Galapagos conservation initiatives: conducting scientific studies, removing invasives, and raising endangered species for release. It is the best place in the islands to see the rarer subspecies of tortoise, as many are kept at the station for breeding purposes, and it is a great place to learn about island conservation challenges and solutions. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters, volcanic depressions located opposite one another at the highest part of Santa Cruz. The view is lovely here, and bird life (including finches) abounds.
May 26, 2022: Our morning stop will be a Santa Fe Island, a volcanic uplift that is home to a large sea lion colony and a pair of often-seen endemics: the Santa Fe iguana and Santa Fe rice rat. In the afternoon, we’ll visit South Plaza island, to view one of the largest populations of land iguanas, and densest aggregations of birds, anywhere in the Galapagos. Red-billed tropicbirds, boobies, and frigates soar on ocean updrafts, and swallow-tailed gulls nestle under opuntia cactus.
May 27, 2022: This morning will make a stop at Floreana Bay, where you can leave a postcard for home in a barrel long used for this purpose by pirates and sailors. You are also encouraged to bring home and deliver postcards from others who live near you! In the afternoon, we’ll visit Devil’s Crown, a fantastic snorkeling location, and Cormorant Point. Cormorant Point is known for its wading flamingoes, and a scenic trail leads through saltwater lagoons to a hidden beach.
May 28, 2022: Our last morning landing will be at Cristobal Island, to visit the Interpretive Center there. There you’ll find different exhibits about the natural and geological history of the Galápagos Islands. The Center opened in 1998 to enforce the efforts of wildlife protection and the natural environment. In the afternoon, we’ll disembark Camila and transfer to San Cristobal airport for our flight back to Guayaquil. We should be back in Guayaquil by approximately 2:30 pm. Flights home can be anytime after 5:00 pm, or anytime on May 15, 2020. We will arrange a hotel room for you in Guayaquil if you are staying over on this night.
Easy: You are able to walk two hours on smooth or rough trails and can get in and out of zodiacs onto beach, stepping into water.
Arrive José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE), Guayaquil, Ecuador anytime on May 19, 2022. Flights out can be made after 6:00 PM on May 28, 2022.
What to Bring
Please see our page How To Prepare For Your Workshop. We will send you a detailed information document 90 days before your workshop. This document will include specifics of where and when to meet, gear and clothing recommendations, and more.
- Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $300 supplement. Only for Guayaquil hotel.
- All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
- All permits and park fees
- Internal flights during the workshop
- All transportation during the workshop
- Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
- Naturalist lectures and presentations on board
- English speaking local guide throughout the workshop
- Image reviews and post-processing instruction
- Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros
- Travel to and from Guayaquil, Ecuador.
- Passport and visa fees (if applicable).
- Any meals or accommodations before or after the workshop dates.
- Items of a personal nature.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Medical Evacuation Insurance (required).
- Travel Medical (required).
- Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended).
- Anything else specifically not listed as included.
- Single rooming available for $300 supplement.
- Your non-refundable deposit of $4,495 will hold your space in this workshop.
- Further non-refundable payment of $4,000 is due by October 1, 2021.
- The non-refundable balance is due not later than February 1, 2022.
- In addition to our standard Terms and Conditions, for this workshop all payments are non-refundable, and this is why we recommend comprehensive travel insurance including trip cancelation.
- Need special payment arrangements? No problem, just ask us.
“I just got back from the Galápagos workshop. It exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Lisa was beyond amazing and the instruction and leadership was amazing. But this email is to thank all of you at MW for all the pre-trip help and assistance, and your attention to every little detail. Trip bonus: Lisa made sure I got to see a penguin. Tears of joy!!!!! ”