8 Days Photographing and Exploring the Beauty of The Galápago

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 so well that they offer a unique window into the past, resulting in an ecosystem in which it will be as if you are invisible to the wildlife. You will find yourself in amazing close proximity to the wildlife! Naturalists will explain the animal behaviors while our two photography pros instruct you on the best techniques used for capturing memorable and meaningful imagery. 

We'll have eight days and seven nights aboard our own private and exclusive yacht, the 14-passenger Petrel.  We'll have a naturalist guide with us in addition to our two pro photographers and leaders, David Rosenthal and Lisa LaPointe. We will have access to areas that the big boats can't get to, and most importantly (as long as we follow the rules of the Galápagos National Park), we have the ability to go ashore on our own schedule, so we won't miss the best light and sightings. With photography as our priority, we’ll make sure that mealtimes are scheduled around our shoots, not during. We'll walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin who visited here in the 1830's on the HMS Beagle, and we'll try to channel his experiences as he formulated his theory of natural selection.

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,  tropic birds, 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 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 with you on, as long as they love nature and the outdoors, they'll have a blast!

Everything is all-inclusive so you don't have to worry about anything but taking and making great photographs. With a small group, a brand-new luxury yacht, and two amazing pro photographers leading, this trip is sure to fill up fast, so click the "Sign Me Up!" button and we'll see you in The Galápagos!

Watch the short video below to get some more insight into this workshop, and take a look at all the photos in the gallery at the bottom of this page. 

Location:

Galápagos Islands,
aboard Petrel

Tuition:

From $11,995 based on cabin choice

Dates:

May 13–22, 2020

Fitness Level:

Easy—must be able to walk 2 hours on smooth trails. Also get in/out of zodiacs onto beach, stepping into water.

Availability:

Limited to 14 Guests

The pros were very helpful providing instruction on getting the best shot. The critiques at night were really helpful! Muench Workshops is a bargain, YES. You simply can’t get the quality of instruction and trip elsewhere. We were an intimately sized group, all like minded people, and an itinerary geared to photography - catching the good light in the mornings and evenings, the critiques, the social aspect sharing the day in conversation, etc... What more can you ask for?
— Tony DeJoie, Galápagos '13

Itinerary and General Information

May 13, 2020: Arrive anytime this day in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Take the hotel shuttle or a taxi to our hotel in town. Relax and unwind.

May 14, 2020: Today we will gather for an informal shooting session in the coastal city of Guayaquil, exploring the Malecon (waterfront) and perhaps climbing the 400-plus steps of Cerro Santa Ana to the scenic lighthouse. This evening, we’ll reconvene at our hotel by 6:00 PM and make our way together to our welcome dinner.

May 15, 2020: After breakfast we will head to the airport for our flight to The Galápagos, landing at San Cristobal Island airport. San Cristobal is thought to be the place where Darwin first stepped foot on the islands! After boarding our private yacht and attending a brief orientation, we will visit La Galapaguera, an interpretation center and tortoise breeding facility for the endangered San Cristobal giant tortoise. The trails that wind through the facility allow visitors to see the tortoises in their natural environment. 

May 16, 2020: This morning we’ll visit Gardner Bay, on the southernmost island of Espanola. Gardner Bay has two beautiful white sand beaches separated by a rocky outcrop. While there is no trail here, the beach offers plenty to explore. Sea lions, crabs, a variety of birds, and some interesting vegetation are highlights. In addition, small islets near the beach will provide us a good opportunity for snorkeling. In the afternoon, we’ll make our way to Suarez Point, one of the most outstanding areas for wildlife anywhere in the archipelago, and the only location where we are likely to see the magnificent Waved Albatross.

May 17, 2020: Today will be spent at Floreana Island, with our first stop at Cormorant Point. The green sand of the landing beach is backed by mangroves, and a large salt lagoon. Flamingoes nest here, and we’ll also watch for other wading birds. A trail leads from Cormorant Point to the white “flour” sand beach at Devil’s Crown, an excellent snorkeling site. Many of the plants found at this site are endemic to the island, and the nearshore waters are rich with life. In the afternoon, we’ll visit Post Office Bay, so named because early sailors (on multi-year voyages!) would send and receive letters from a barrel set up on the beach. The tradition continues today as visitors leave addressed postcards in the barrel and sort through left mail to deliver at home. A lagoon at the rear of the beach hosts migrant wading birds, and a trail leads up to a lookout.

May 18, 2020: 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) and interesting plant life abounds.

May 19, 2020: Today brings us Santiago Island, where we’ll make our first landing at Sullivan Bay. A coral beach landing leads you towards a lava field stretching as far as the eye can see. Here we’ll hunt through extensive lava fields for plant life emerged since the most recent volcanic explosion. We may also get a chance to swim or snorkel where the  hardened lava meets the sea. In the afternoon, we’ll have the option to climb up several hundred stairs to an outlook over Pinnacle Rock, the most famous view in the Galapagos. 

May 20, 2020: This morning we’ll make landing on Genovesa Island, at Darwin Bay. Darwin Bay features a white coral sand beach, and a trail that leads from the beach winds through mangroves filled with birds. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls can all be spotted here. Tidal pools at one end of the beach also host sea lions. In the afternoon, we’ll head for El Barranco, or Prince Phillip's Steps. El Barranco’s steep, rocky paths leads up to a high cliff face with a marvelous view. This site is home to Palo Santo vegetation, as well as red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, Galápagos swallows, and Galápagos doves.

May 21, 2020: This morning we’ll land on the black sand beaches of Egas Port. Egas Port was the site of a small salt mining industry in the 1960’s, but today is home to quick-footed Galápagos lava lizards, Galápagos hawks, and a variety of wading birds such as the American oystercatcher. Egas Point is also among the best places in the islands to watch and photograph Galapagos fur seals. After lunch, we’ll visit Espumilla Beach, a popular place to see marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. Snorkeling is recommended here: there is an abundance of marine life including octopi, moray eels, and sharks. We will also stop at Buccaneer Cove, one of the oldest visitor sites in the islands, and home to a variety of wading birds.

May 22, 2020: On this, our last morning, we’ll make an early stop at Santa Cruz Island’s Carrion Point. Belying it’s name, Carrion Point abuts a beautiful lagoon filled with fish, cownose rays, and white tip reef sharks. If time permits, there may be an opportunity to snorkel here; otherwise we’ll explore by Zodiac.  Afterwards, we will leave our yacht and transfer to the Baltra Island 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 23, 2020. We will arrange for a hotel room for you in Guayaquil if you are staying over on this night.


What’s Included

  • Double occupancy accommodation (single available in Guayaquil, just ask)

  • All meals and transportation during the workshop

  • Airfare from Guayaquil-Galápagos-Guayaquil

  • Tips for the Yacht Crew

  • Galápagos National Park Fees and Transit Control Card

  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros

  • Image reviews, post-processing instruction

  • Fun, inspiration, and a great time

Whats Not Included?

International flights to/from Guayaquil, Ecuador. Airport transfers (Hotel shuttle available, and also cabs are inexpensive). Passport and visa fees. Travel Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation Insurance (Required). Trip Cancellation Insurance (Optional). Meals in Guayaquil other than dinner on May 14, 2020. Hotel rooms in Guayaquil before May 13, 2020 or on May 22, 2020. Alcoholic beverages, and any items of a personal nature. Anything not specifically listed as included.

Payment Terms

Your deposit of $4,000 will hold your place in this workshop. Further payment of $4,000 is due by September 1, 2019. The balance will be due not later than February 1, 2020. All payments are non-refundable which is why you should have Trip Cancellation Insurance. All of our other normal Terms and Conditions apply.

Additional Information

If you're looking for a small-group, intensive photographic Galápagos trip aboard an amazing private yacht with the best pros and naturalists in the business, look no further and click the "Sign Me Up!" button now because this workshop always sells out. See you in the Galápagos!