with Melissa Spamer
April 22-29, 2023
If nature, science, or wildlife inspires you, there is no better place to be than the unparalleled Galapagos Islands. This 7 night, 8 day trip-of-a-lifetime includes naturalist-guided trips to the Charles Darwin station, Bartolome Island, and North Seymour Island. With a small, private group, enjoy kayaking on Tortuga Bay, snorkeling, swimming, a tour of the highlands (pit craters, lava tunnels, and a cloud forest), yoga classes, nature-inspired accommodations on Santa Cruz Island, and most meals. The star of this retreat is the rich biodiversity of the protected native wildlife, many of whom are unafraid of humans. Swim with sea lions and sharks, spot Galapagos penguins and flamingos, and watch the dance of marine iguanas and blue footed boobies on volcanic rocks. This truly unique UNESCO World Heritage Site offers the perfect melding of yoga and an unblemished example of a wild and natural world.
Seasoned yoga teacher, Melissa Spamer will be your guide on this week offering daily yoga classes and insight – the land itself will offer the inspiration!
A little more about the Galapagos Islands:
Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called “a living museum and showcase of evolution.” Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galapagos are a melting pot of marine species. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise, and the many types of finch that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835. The Galapagos Islands are home to some of the highest levels of endemism (species found nowhere else on earth) than anywhere on the planet. About 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants you will see are endemic. More than 20% of the marine species in Galapagos are found nowhere else on earth. Favorites include the giant Galapagos tortoise, marine iguana, flightless cormorant, and the Galapagos penguin—the only penguin species to be found in the Northern Hemisphere. To learn more about the islands, history, species, and conservation, visit The Galapagos Conservancy (www.galapagos.org).
More about our Itinerary:
Our trip will begin as we’ll meet in Baltra the the morning of Saturday, April 22. Some will arrive via Guayguil, Ecuador, some via Quito, Ecuador. Some may need an overnight in one of these cities to hop the smaller plane to Baltra the morning of the 22nd, and some may choose to spend an extra night or two in charming town of Quito. From Baltra, we will be transferred to our home away from home–Semilla Verde. You can review the excellent Trip Advisor Reviews of this property HERE.
Set in the highlands just 15 minutes from town, we’ll sleep like babies listening to the birds in the morning and watching the giant tortoises that roam the property. Semilla Verde is private, quiet, and fully equipped with a beautiful yoga room and terraces with views to the coast. Each morning, we’ll enjoy breakfast together and then begin our daily explorations!
Some places we’ll visit:
A day trip to Bartolome Island, the crown jewel of Galapagos. Some features include Pinnacle Rock, crescent beaches, Galapagos penguins, white tipped reef sharks, sea turtles, guided snorkeling, and hiking. Lunch is served on board our tour boat, and we’ll return to Semilla Verde for evening yoga and dinner.
A day trip to North Seymour Island, where we might see great frigate birds, blue-footed boobies, land iguanas, sea lions during our guided snorkeling and naturalist-guided hiking excursions.
An excursion to Tortuga Bay where we can kayak, snorkel, and hang out with the marine iguanas.
The Charles Darwin Station Lunch in Puerto Ayora where we have the option to shop for souvenirs, and have drink in the red mangrove patio with the iguanas and sea lions.
A Santa Cruz highland tour where we can explore the lava tunnels, a cloud forest, and Los Gamelos (two giant craters that were formed when the magma chamber underground emptied and the land caved in).
A morning at Garrapatero Beach for snorkelling, swimming, exploring, beach yoga, and relaxing.
A visit to the South Plazas Islands, home to one of the largest sea lion colonies in Galapagos as well as red-billed tropical birds, swallow-tailed gulls, and more endemic wildlife.
Travel, Additional Information, and FAQ’s
Your final destination airport on the Galapagos Islands is Baltra (GPS). All flights stop on mainland Ecuador before arriving on the islands. This necessary stop will include an additional baggage screening with SICGAL (which will cost $10 US in cash) to ensure that any food or animals that may be of danger to the Galapagos ecosystem stay well away from the islands. After the screening, your bags will be zip-tied locked and you will be allowed to check in for your final flight to Galapagos.
Depending on your origination location, you may be required (due to airline routing/timing) to stay a night in either Guayaquil (GYE) or Quito (UIO). If you have extra time we recommend an extended stop in Quito to stroll around and explore this colonial South American gem. If your time is limited, you are better off flying into Guayaquil just for the evening. Guayaquil is closer to the islands but does not have the easy charm of Quito.
If you arrive into Guayaquil late we recommend the Holiday Inn or Mariott at the Guayaquil airport. It is only a few minutes travel from your terminal. There are only a few flights from Quito and Guayaquil to the islands per day. LAN and Tame will get you where you need to go and any of their flight times to the islands are open and OK to book. These flights can be booked on most travel booking sites.
Please CLICK HERE for a document with travel booking advice.
All yogis will be met at the Baltra airport and escorted to a short boat taxi ride across the channel to Santa Cruz Island and a private taxi ride from the desert to the highlands where you will soon be nestled in your home for the week.
The Ins and Outs:
Ecuador and the islands may seem worlds away, and will absolutely feel like that when you arrive, but there are a few ease-of-travel things that we want you to know. Ecuador and the islands use the US dollar, so for many of us, no money-changing is necessary. There are ATMs in the airports in Ecuador and Puerto Ayora on the islands, but we do recommend that you bring about $300 in cash.
There is a fee required to enter the Galapagos National Park. Once you disembark at Baltra you will go through a combination passport control/park fee collection point. You must pay the fee, which is $100 US on you in cash when you arrive on the islands. There is no visa needed for US citizens to visit Ecudaor. You simply need to ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months from your date of arrival. Citizens of all other countries should check with their consulates as to their visa requirements, if any.
A few packing suggestions:
- Light rain jacket
- Lightweight layers for sun protection
- long sleeves and a jacket for cooler nights
- Yoga clothes (and more yoga clothes)
- Sturdy walking shoes
- Travel binoculars
- Small backpack for day trips
- Water bottle
- Bathing suit and rash guard for warmth and sun protection
- Light wetsuit for snorkeling trips (if you run cold and want one one)
- Snorkeling gear (gear is provided by the boat so this is only if you don’t want to use shared equipment)
- Did we mention sunscreen?
Melissa Spamer, M.A., LPCC, ERYT 500, LMT, C. Ay.
Melissa has been exploring the world of healing arts for nearly thirty years. She has been facilitating classes, retreats, groups and seeing private clients since 1997. Melissa is an ERYT 500, Licensed Bodyworker, Ayurvedic Practitioner and holds a Master’s degree in counseling psychology as well as a graduate certificate in holistic healthcare. She has accumulated thousands of hours in Yoga, Body & Energy work, Ayurveda and Psychotherapy training from around the world.
Melissa completed her first certification to teach Yoga in 1997 with the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, and has been consistently teaching Yoga for twenty five years. She has gone on to complete more than six 200-500 hour teacher trainings. Her primary influences are from twenty years of in depth study with elder teachers Angela Farmer, Victor Van Kooten and the late Rama Jyoti Vernon. She has completed additional trainings with the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram, TriYoga, and Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow method, among many more. She incorporates knowledge of alignment, therapeutics, somatics, and functional movement to serve each student’s needs safely and individually. Her own practice is continually evolving, always becoming more alive in spirit and form which lays the foundation for her teaching. As her own teacher, Angela Farmer, has said, “Melissa is a true teacher. She allows her practice to be a tool for personal evolution and that brings a deep understanding and creativity to her teaching enabling students to have the confidence to make their own inner journey through Yoga.” [read more about Melissa]
There are 14-15 spaces available in double occupancy rooms. We can offer one room as single occupancy. We will be staying at Semilla Verde. Click here to see the excellent Trip Advisor reviews of this property.
TOP FLOOR PREMIUM ROOMS:
Sky View Room – RESERVED
Ocean View Room – RESERVED
Double Occupancy: $4195 per person
MAIN LEVEL ROOMS:
Forrest View Room – RESERVED
Sunrise Room – RESERVED
Sunset Room –RESERVED
Tortoise Pond (upstairs) –RESERVED
Double Occupancy: $3995 per person
GROUND LEVEL ROOMS:
Tortoise Pond (downstairs) – RESERVED
Plantation View –RESERVED
Garden View – RESERVED
Double Occupancy: $3895 per person
Single Occupancy Room: $4895
- Accommodation on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos
- Yoga most days (at teacher’s discretion on cruising adventure days)
- Three meals a day
- Naturalist-accompanied visit to the Charles Darwin Station
- Naturalist-accompanied day trips to Bartolomé, South Plazas, and North Seymour Islands
- Snorkeling and swimming on all day excursions
- Two dinners in Puerto Ayora
- Naturalist accompanied highland tour (pit craters, lava tunnels, and cloud forest, and wild tortoises)
- Sunrise yoga/meditation on the beach followed by a beach breakfast
- Kayaking on Tortuga Bay, with 12 acres of private walking paths to explore
- Evening fire pit and unlimited southern hemisphere star gazing
- Transfers to and from the airport (on arrival and departure days only)
What’s Not Included:
- Flights to Baltra, Ecuador (GPS)
- $10 US SICGAL inspection and migration card
- $100 US Galapagos National Park entrance fee (cash only)
- Alcohol or items of a personal nature / souvenirs
- Gratuities (at your discretion)
- Travel Insurance (recommended)
Refunds and Cancellations: Refund less deposit ($695) before December 1, 2022. No refunds after December 1, 2022. In case of cancellation, you may transfer your deposit or your reservation to another person as long as you notify One Yoga Global 21+ days in advance. Due to arrangements made with our vacation hosts, there can be no exceptions to this policy. Participants will be required to sign the application and liability waiver to participate on this trip.
If you place a deposit, the balance due will be set to charge in equal installments starting the month after deposit through Feb, 2023, unless other arrangements are made.
We HIGHLY recommend that you consider purchasing Travel Insurance. Travel insurance companies like Trawick and Travel Guard offer policies that insure your investment in case you need to cancel (including “cancel for any reason” coverages), coverages for expenses incurred due to to weather & travel delays, personal property loss and emergency travel medical. Please review policies carefully to choose the coverage you need.
We recommend that you consider purchasing trip insurance to protect your investment. Trawick International and Travel Guard are two providers that we recommend. Please review policies carefully to ensure they provide the coverage you need.