Spend a week diving the bucket list-worthy Galapagos islands. Dive with schools of hammerheads, huge pregnant whale sharks, rays, sea lions and a whole heap of endemic species including Galapagos penguins and marine iguanas. Venture on to land to follow in Darwin's footsteps to meet Galapagos tortoises and a variety of bird species native to the islands.
Today it's time to head off on the trip of a lifetime.
Start in style, enjoying some food and refreshments in the lounge (one of the many perks of travelling with Original Diving) before boarding your flight to Ecuador. You will fly to Guayaquil via Amsterdam, arriving in the evening of the same day.
You will spend one night in the coastal city of Guayaquil.
This morning, you will be transferred back to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal in the Galapagos, which will take just under two hours.
Upon arrival into San Cristobal you will be met at the airport by one of the crew (don't forget to get a Galapagos stamp in your passport as a souvenir) and transferred to the boat to begin your adventure.
Once you have settled into your cabin you will meet the crew and be given a safety briefing before enjoying lunch. You will then have a check out dive at Isla Lobos, an uninhabited island named after the playful sea lions (Lobos in Spanish) found around this island (and many of the others in the archipelago).
This morning you will get to explore Bartolome island.
Take a short walk to the top of a hill for incredible panoramas over the island and neighbouring islands. Depending on conditions, you may also have a chance to snorkel with penguins and sea lions around the island too.
Next, the boat will head to Cousin's Rock where you will have two dives on a beautiful wall, which is home to lots of corals, frog fish, seahorses, scorpion fish and octopus. Look out into the blue for schools of barracuda, rays and sharks, including hammerheads.
Enjoy dinner onboard the boat as you sail overnight to the most remote islands of the Galapagos, the famous Wolf and Darwin islands.
Today you can do up to five dives around Wolf Island, including a night dive.
There are several dive sites to choose from, and none will disappoint. Expect to see schooling hammerheads and Galapagos sharks, dolphins, eagle rays, turtles, sea lions, eagle rays and huge schools of pelagic fish including barracuda and tuna. Close to the sea floor you will also find lots of moray eels.
During the night dive look out for red lipped batfish, which are endemic to the Galapagos and 'walk' along the seafloor. If you are visiting between June and November, you are also likely to see whale sharks. Here there are mostly huge pregnant females which are akin to the size of a bus! This is big fish diving at its finest.
Spend the next two days diving around the iconic Darwin Island.
During each dive you can expect to find schooling hammerheads, Galapagos and silky sharks, dolphins, mobula rays and pelagic fish species, including skipjack and yellowfin tuna, big eye jacks and even marlin. Keep your eyes peeled for passing cetaceans, including orcas, which occasionally pass through.
If travelling between June and November you can expect to see huge whale sharks, and travelling between December and May means lots of mantas, including the giant manta species. However, this island isn't just about the big fish - if you look around the sea floor you may see octopus, flounders and a variety of tropical fish species.
On the second day you will have two dives at Darwin followed by one dive at Wolf island before the boat heads back towards the central islands.
Back in the central islands, you will have a dive at Cabo Douglas on the western side of Isabela Island, the only place in the world to see marine iguanas.
Here you can expect to see more penguins, sea lions, seahorses, turtles, red-lipped batfish, hammerheads, horn and white tip sharks. You may also see marine iguanas which are unique to these islands - this is the only place in the world where iguanas swim and forage for their food in the sea.
In the afternoon you will head to Punta Vincente Roca for two dives. The water here is colder than elsewhere in the archipelago so it is quite a unique dive with vertical walls covered in soft corals and sponges. You may also have the chance to see the elusive mola mola (oceanic sunfish) here.
After your diving you may have an opportunity to head out on a panga to see the life above the surface including penguins, cormorants, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, frigates and noddy terns.
Rise and shine for a morning dive at Isla Pinzon.
On the dive expect to see a wealth of marine species, including a variety of shark species, sea lions, manta and eagle rays, moray eels and a range of tropical fish species including yellow tailed surgeonfish, king angelfish, moorish idols, steep pompanos, snappers, grunts, creole fish and barracuda.
After the dive you will visit Santa Cruz island where you will be taken by bus to the highlands to see ancient, humungous Galapagos Tortoises in their natural environment, as well as visiting the largest town in the archipelago, Puerta Ayora. The town is at the centre of the conservation efforts in the archipelago and you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station which conducts scientific research.
The boat will head back to San Cristobal overnight.
Sadly, it's time to leave this extraordinary archipelago and head home. You will be transferred to the airport of San Cristobal to catch your flight back to Guayaquil where you will then board your evening flight back to London via Amsterdam.