COVID-19 CORONAVIRUS AND WORKSHOP TRAVEL

8 Days Exploring the Beauty and History of the Galápagos Islands

April 30 – May 8, 2023

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 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!

Your Pros

Additional Pro TBD
Additional Pro TBD
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Location

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

money
Tuition

Based on cabin choice

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Dates

April 30 – May 8, 2023

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Fitness Level

Easy

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Availability

Open for Registration
Limited to 14 Guests

Itinerary

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.

April 30, 2023: Arrive anytime this day in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Take the hotel shuttle or a taxi to our hotel in town. Relax and unwind. We’ll have a welcome dinner at our favorite restaurant this evening.

May 1, 2023: After breakfast we will head to the airport for our flight to the Galápagos. Our first stop is San Cristobal Island, where we will transfer to our boat and visit the “David Rodriguez” Breeding Center. In the Breeding Center, you will be able to admire the hatchling turtles from their birth until the are 120 days old when the grown turtles are taken to their natural habitat.

Highlights: Giant tortoises in captivity, snorkeling with sea lions, land and sea birds, blue-footed boobies, and hatchling turtles.

May 2, 2023: This morning we will visit North Seymour Island, formed by a series of submarine lava containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone. Highlights: Land & marine iguanas, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, sea lions; snorkeling: rays, reef shark, fish, garden eels.

In the afternoon, we will head to Black Turtle Cove, situated in the northern part of Santa Cruz. The shallow cove is a safe haven for young marine life. Black-tip and white-tip reef sharks, baby hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, and a variety of rays are often spotted here.

May 3, 2023: In the morning we visit Bartholomew Island, home of the famous Pinnacle Rock. Bartholomew consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling. Highlights: Penguins, pioneer plants, lava cactus, reef sharks, rays, and great colorful fish.

In the afternoon, we visit Egas Port, also known as James Bay. Egas Port is home to the curious Galapagos hawks and quick-footed Galapagos lava lizards. The trail leads to a coastline with gorgeous tide pools and grottos full of fauna. Here the Galapagos fur sea lions bathe in the sun. This is also a great snorkeling site.

May 4, 2023: In the morning, we visit Tagus Cove, located across from Fernandina Island near the Bolivar Channel dividing the two islands. This spot has been frequented by ships since the 1800s using the area as an anchorage site. Trails winding by Lake Darwin up to a ridge display wonderful views. Punta Tortuga, just north of Tagus Cove, is another lovely beach surrounded by mangroves. Highlights: Penguins, flightless cormorants, Darwin Volcano & Lake Darwin.

In the afternoon, we visit Urbina Bay, located at the base of 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. The coast expanded half a mile out leaving marine life stranded on the new shore. This area is also a great place for snorkeling. Highlights: Land iguanas (the biggest in the Galapagos), hawks, coral reef, giant tortoises; snorkeling: turtles, rays, tropical fish

May 5, 2023: In the morning, we visit Espinoza Point on Fernandina Island. No foreign species have ever invaded Fernandina Island, and therefore it is one of the world’s most pristine island ecosystems. The volcano “La Cumbre” dominates the landscape with lava fields reaching the ocean. The island’s highlight features the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.

In the afternoon, we visit Vicente Roca Point. Located on the northwestern coast of Isabela Island and comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola mola (sunfish) may be spotted here. This bay is great for diving and snorkeling. Highlights: Penguins, blue-footed boobies, terns, Nazca boobies, sea lions; snorkeling: sea turtles, rays and puffer fish.

May 6, 2023: In the morning, we visit Buccaneer Cove on Santiago Island, once a refuge for British buccaneers. These pirates would anchor in the protected bay to make repairs and stock up on tortoise meat among other things. The steep cliffs, where hundreds of seabirds perch in front of the dark red sand beach, are a magnificent site.

We’ll also visit Espumilla Beach, a popular place for marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs attract the hunting herons performing the dance of predator and prey. With an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eels, and sharks, snorkeling is highly recommended.

In the afternoon, we visit Sullivan Bay where a coral beach landing leads you towards a lava field as far as the eye can see. Hunt and peck over the two distinguished types of lava, pahoehoe and ‘a’a, for signs of plant life that have managed to emerge over the past 100 years since the most recent volcanic explosion. A truly amazing volcanic experience…up close and personal!

May 7, 2023: In the morning, we visit Bachas Beach, located on the north shore of Santa Cruz. One of the few remnants of the U.S. World War II presence in the Galapagos, a floating pier, can be seen here. You may see flamingos, Sally Lightfoot crabs, hermit crabs, black necked stilts, and whimbrels. Sea turtles also nest off the beach.

In the afternoon, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Subspecies of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans stretching out their heads for a photo opportunity. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

May 8, 2023: In the morning, we visit Kicker Rock. This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Although there are no landing areas, circumnavigation and dinghy rides allow visitors to spot a variety of marine life. Highlights: Sharks, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays, hammerhead sharks, spectacular rock formations; sea birds: blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies & frigatebirds.

In the afternoon, we’ll disembark our ship 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 13, 2023. We will arrange a hotel room for you in Guayaquil if you are staying over on this night.

Grand Majestic Yacht
Grand Majestic Yacht

Aboard the Grand Majestic

The best way to see the Galápagos Islands is on board a luxury yacht, and we are proud to be sailing on the Grand Majestic. This elegantly sporty yacht is the fastest in the islands, offering high-quality service and luxurious social areas.

On the Grand Majestic, we emphasize the remarkable natural history of the Galápagos Islands, and our English-speaking onboard naturalist and guides are incredibly knowledgeable about biology and ecology.

Designed for comfort and stability, she is outfitted with spacious cabins, a comfortable lounge and dining room with bar, plus a Jacuzzi and al fresco dining area on the sundeck. All cabins have comfortable beds, air-conditioning, private bathrooms with hot water, and plenty of space for your gear. The crew members are attentive to your needs at all times. Meals on board will be amazing, fresh, and plentiful. Local fare, expertly prepared. Of course, any dietary requirements can be accommodated, just let us know!

Lower Deck
Lower Deck
Sun Deck
Sun Deck
Main Deck
Main Deck
Dining
Dining
Lounge
Lounge
Al fresco dining
Al fresco dining
Jacuzzi
Jacuzzi
Deluxe Cabin
Deluxe Cabin
Deluxe Cabin
Deluxe Cabin
Deluxe Cabin Bath
Deluxe Cabin Bath
Deluxe Suite
Deluxe Suite
Deluxe Suite Bath
Deluxe Suite Bath
Gallery

Fitness

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.

Flights

Arrive José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport (GYE), Guayaquil, Ecuador anytime on April 29, 2023. Flights out can be made after 5:00 PM on May 8, 2023.

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.

What’s Included

  • Double occupancy lodging. Single available for $300 supplement. (Hotel only.)
  • All meals, soft drinks, and snacks during the workshop
  • All permits and park fees
  • All transportation during the workshop
  • Tips for crew, drivers, and local guides
  • Meals and lodging onboard the ship
  • Waterproof boots for shore excursions
  • Many hours of basic and advanced Lightroom instruction
  • Multiple image reviews and post-processing sessions
  • Naturalist lectures and presentations on board
  • English speaking local guide throughout the workshop
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from 2 pros
  • Image reviews and post-processing instruction
  • Adventure, fun, inspiration, and a great time!

Not Included

  • Travel to and from Guayaquil, Ecuador.
  • While not expected, we do reserve the right to add a surcharge for possible fuel cost increases. This can happen even right up until the time of the expedition, but we try to get as much notice as possible.
  • 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. (Hotel only.)

Payment Terms

  • Your non-refundable deposit will hold your space in this workshop.
  • Further non-refundable payment is due by October 1, 2022.
  • The non-refundable balance is due not later than January 1, 2023.
  • The payment amounts are determined by your cabin choice.
  • 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.
Cabin ChoiceTuitionDepositFurther PaymentBalance Payment
Deluxe Cabin per person$12,995$4,995$4,000$4,000
Deluxe Suite per person (SOLD OUT)$13,995$4,995$5,000$4,000

Testimonials

“All the "above and beyond" effort Muench Workshops puts into making sure every detail is covered and everyone feels special, as well as putting us right in the middle of the action, makes every adventure worth every penny :). ”

— Chellie Hyre, Svalbard '16

“What can I say here. The Galápagos was simply an amazing place to visit and photograph! We would love to go again. ”

— Tony DeJoie, Galapagos '13

“This was a unique workshop. A once in a lifetime opportunity. This is why I sign up for Muench workshops ”

— Warren Capps, Galápagos '22