Itinerary #1: Land & Sea of the Galápagos & Guayaquil
This land and sea adventure is a good choice for first-time visitors that want to spend their time experiencing the popular sites of the Galápagos that include snorkeling at Kicker Rock, Tintoreras, and Los Túneles, visiting the giant tortoises at Charles Darwin Station, the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center, and the Santa Cruz highlands; and hiking Sierra Negra volcano. A stay in Guayaquil on arrival also provides a chance to see a mainland Ecuadorian port city.
|Day 1||Arrive in Guayaquil, City Tour||Guayaquil|
|Day 2||Fly to Isla San Cristóbal, Optional Activities||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 3||Isla San Cristóbal Highland Tour||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 4||Snorkel at Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 5||Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Afternoon Boat Tour||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 6||Highland Tour & Charles Darwin Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 7||Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 8||Transfer to Isla Isabela, Wildlife Tour||Isla Isabela|
|Day 9||Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano||Isla Isabela|
|Day 10||Los Túneles Snorkeling Tour||Isla Isabela|
|Day 11||Isabela Wetlands Tour, Transfer to Santa Cruz & Brewery||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 12||Isla Santa Cruz Cycle & Kayak||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 13||Transfer to Isla Baltra, Depart|
Get acquainted with Guayaquil on a tour of the sites, including a climb to the top of Santa Ana Hill for views over the city. Catch a flight to Isla San Cristóbal and start your Galápagos adventure with a hike up Tijeretas Hill, a nesting site for frigatebirds. Learn about the unique flora and fauna on an island tour that includes La Galapaguera, a giant tortoise reserve, and El Junco Lagoon, a volcanic crater lake, then end with a swim at Puerto Chino Beach. Snorkel alongside eagle rays and sharks at Kicker Rock before boarding the ferry to Isla Santa Cruz, where you'll dive right in to snorkel with sea lions at La Lobería.
Meet the tortoises of the Santa Cruz highlands on Day 6, then learn about conservation efforts at the Charles Darwin Station. Visit an uninhabited island and encounter its endemic wildlife before leaving for Isla Isabela, where you'll snorkel Tintoreras, hike the Sierra Negra volcano, and explore Los Túneles with rays, seahorses, and whitetip reef sharks. Hike to Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center, then onto the wetlands, where you can spot flamingoes before sampling craft beer at Santa Cruz Brewery. Bike the Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve and picnic at Garrapatero Beach before departure. Learn more
Itinerary #2: Ecuadorian Amazon to the Galápagos
Spending a little more time on the mainland, this itinerary offers first-time travelers to Ecuador a chance to immerse in the jungle and culture of the Amazon and then hit the highlights of the Galápagos Islands. You'll get to meet members of the Kichwa Añangu community and spot wildlife while hiking in the jungle and cruising on the river. Then, head to the Galápagos to snorkel with sea lions at Isla Lobos, go bird-watching and kayaking at Tortuga Bay, observe the giant tortoises of Isla Santa Cruz, and more.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Fly to Coca, Transfer to Yasuní National Park||Yasuní National Park|
|Day 2||Kichwa Añangu Community Visit & Hike, Rainforest Cooking & Dinner||Yasuní National Park|
|Day 3||Parrot Clay Lick, Community Project & Observation Tower Climb||Yasuní National Park|
|Day 4||Sacred Wayusa Ritual, Fly to Quito||Quito|
|Day 5||Fly to Isla San Cristóbal & the Galapagos||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 6||Snorkel at Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 7||Day Trip to Isla Española||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 8||Day Trip to Isla Lobos||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 9||El Junco Lagoon, Galapaguera Colorado Hill & Puerto Chino Beach||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 10||Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz by Speedboat, Kayak on Tortuga Bay||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 11||Explore an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 12||Visit the Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Research Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 13||Transfer to Isla Baltra, Depart|
Transfer by canoe from Coca to a rainforest lodge in Yasuní National Park. Meet members of the Kichwa Añangu community and take a medicinal plant walk, then go on a wildlife excursion in search of giant otters and monkeys. Help prepare dinner before taking a night hike in the jungle. See tropical birds at the parrot clay licks and spend your final night in Yasuní listening to Kichwa legends on a dinner cruise. Experience a wayusa (herbal infusion) ritual before departing for Quito to catch your flight to the Galápagos. Start on Isla San Cristóbal with sunset drinks and views in Playa Mann.
Spot blue-footed boobies and snorkel with turtles at Kicker Rock on Day 6. Encounter endemic species like the Española lava lizard on Isla Española, then snorkel with sea lions at Isla Lobos. Go bird-watching at El Junco Lagoon and see baby tortoises at the La Galapaguera breeding center. Catch a boat to Isla Santa Cruz, and hike through the cacti forests to Tortuga Bay for some kayaking (keep an eye out for pelicans, finches, and flamingoes). Then day trip to an uninhabited island on Day 11 and spend your final full day with the tortoises of Santa Cruz—in the wild and at the Llerena Breeding Center. Learn more
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Itinerary #3: Ecuadorian Amazon Adventure & Galápagos Cruise
With an extra night in Quito, this adventure has you discovering the Ecuadorian Amazon and cruising the Galápagos Islands on board a catamaran for a week. Traveling by catamaran allows visitors to visit various islands (including some uninhabited by humans), making it a memorable bonding experience for families, friends, and couples. This trip is best for those that are not prone to seasickness and are comfortable on a boat for extended periods.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito||Quito|
|Day 2||Fly to Yasuní National Park, Walk the Matapalo Trail||Yasuní National Park|
|Day 3||Visit an Observation Tower, Explore Rainforest Trails||Yasuní National Park|
|Day 4||Mandi Forest Adventure, Garzacocha Lagoon, Night Walk||Yasuní National Park|
|Day 5||Fly to Quito, Visit Mitad del Mundo||Quito|
|Day 6||Fly to the Galápagos, Transfer to Cruise Ship||Cruise Ship|
|Day 7||Cruise to Punta Moreno & Urbina Bay||Cruise Ship|
|Day 8||Cruise to Punta Espinoza & Vicente Roca||Cruise Ship|
|Day 9||Cruise to Puerto Egas & Rabida Red Beach||Cruise Ship|
|Day 10||Cruise to Black Turtle Cove, Relax at Bachas Beach||Cruise Ship|
|Day 11||Cruise to Isla Genovesa, Darwin Bay Flooded Crater||Cruise Ship|
|Day 12||Cruise to Isla Bartolomé, Explore Sullivan Bay||Cruise Ship|
|Day 13||Giant Tortoises in El Chato Reserve, Disembark Ship & Depart|
Explore Quito with a wander around Old Town and a ride on the TelefériQo cable car. Then it's off to the Amazon, starting with a Matapalo Trail hike and bird-watching at Challuacocha Lake. Watch for tapirs and other wildlife en route to Mandi Cocha Lagoon, then canoe the flooded forest and trek to Garzacocha Lagoon in search of capuchin monkeys and toucans. Fly to Quito and stand on the equator at Mitad del Mundo before continuing to the Galápagos, where you'll board your catamaran for the week. Check out Isla Isabela's lava landscapes at Moreno Point, then see the world's largest land iguanas at Urbina Bay.
Meet the wildlife of Isla Fernandina, including the flightless cormorant, then snorkel among giant mola at Vicente Roca Point. Cruise onward to Puerto Egas on Isla Santiago and observe Galápagos fur seals, then stop by Isla Rábida to see sea lions on the red sand beach. Spot sharks at Black Turtle Cove on Isla Santa Cruz before heading to Bachas Beach for sunbathing and snorkeling. On Day 11, go bird-watching on Isla Genovesa, where you may find red-footed and Nazca boobies and short-eared owls. Finally, visit uninhabited Isla Bartolomé and the otherworldly landscapes of Sullivan Bay before departure. Learn more
Itinerary #4: Ecuador Active Adventure: From Quito to the Galápagos Islands
This active adventure best suits intrepid travelers who enjoy an action-packed trip and want to experience Quito before heading to the Galápagos. You'll hit some of Quito's historic and modern sites, then snorkel, hike, and bike around the islands and have a chance to get your heart pumping with a rappelling and mountain biking excursion at Trillizos Volcano.
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito||Quito|
|Day 2||Quito City Tour & Mitad del Mundo||Quito|
|Day 3||Fly to Isla San Cristóbal, Tijeretas Hill Hike & La Lobería Beach||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 4||Isla Española Hike & Gardner Islet Snorkeling||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 5||Kicker Rock Snorkeling||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 6||Boat to Isla Santa Cruz, Kayaking at Tortuga Bay||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 7||Explore an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 8||Cerro Mesa Reserve Cycling & Garrapatero Beach Kayaking||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 9||Boat to Isla Isabela, Snorkeling at Los Túneles||Isla Isabela|
|Day 10||Sierra Negra Volcanic Crater Hike||Isla Isabela|
|Day 11||Rappel Los Trillizos Cave & Bike to Puerto Villamil||Isla Isabela|
|Day 12||Puerto Villamil Standup Paddleboarding, Boat to Isla Santa Cruz||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 13||Ferry to Isla San Cristóbal & Depart|
Take a walking tour of Quito's historic center with stops that include Independence Square and La Ronda before heading to Isla San Cristóbal. Learn about the islands at the Interpretation Center, then join sea lions and marine iguanas on La Lobería beach. Spot endemic wildlife during a hike on Isla Española followed by a snorkel of Gardner Bay. Take a boat to Kicker Rock, where you'll hike and snorkel before relaxing on a beach. Catch a boat to Isla Santa Cruz and kayak Tortuga Bay, home to flamingoes and sea turtles. Spend a day hiking and snorkeling on an uninhabited island and learn about the endemic flora and fauna.
Return to Santa Cruz for a bike or horseback ride through the Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve on Day 8, keeping a slow pace so you can spot tortoises, then birdwatch while kayaking in the mangroves at Garrapatero Beach. Board a boat to Isla Isabela, where you'll hike Sierra Negra volcano and explore the underwater geological formations of Los Túneles. On Day 11, rappel 493 feet (150 m) into Trillizos Volcano, then set out on a mountain biking excursion with bird-watching stops en route. Paddleboard Villamil Bay, watching for blue-footed boobies, and, finally, search for penguins while snorkeling Concha Perla before departure. Learn more
Itinerary #5: Active Galapágos: Santa Cruz, Isabela & San Cristóbal
Another active itinerary, this one is ideal for those who want to skip a stay in Quito and spend their time entirely in the Galapágos. This itinerary also offers experiences that geology, ecology, and culinary enthusiasts will love, including exploring the caves and lava tunnels of Cuevas del Sucre, bird-watching and coffee tasting at an organic coffee farm, and sampling freshly caught fish on a boat tour of Isla Santa Cruz.
|Day 1||Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz, Cycle & Kayak||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 2||Day Trip to Organic Coffee Farm||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Highland Tour & Charles Darwin Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Discover Isla Pinzón & La Fé||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 5||Transfer to Isla Isabela, Optional Activities||Isla Isabela|
|Day 6||Rappel & Cycle on Isla Isabela||Isla Isabela|
|Day 7||Los Túneles Snorkeling Tour||Isla Isabela|
|Day 8||Isla Isabela Kayak Tour||Isla Isabela|
|Day 9||Transfer to Santa Cruz, Boat Tour & Grottoes||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 10||Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 11||Transfer to Isla San Cristóbal, Optional Activities||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 12||Day Trip to Isla Española & Wildlife Tour||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 13||Isla Lobos Wildlife Encounter, Transfer to Isla Baltra & Depart|
Start with a bike ride at Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve, where you'll see giant tortoises and great views, then head to Garrapatero Beach for a picnic and kayaking. Visit Lava Java organic coffee farm for a tour and tasting—the conservation efforts mean it's also an excellent bird-watching spot. See tortoises in the highlands and at Charles Darwin Station, then take a boat tour that includes snorkeling with penguins at Penguin Bay, sunbathing at Playa La Fé, and a lunch of freshly caught fish. Take a boat to Isla Isabela and bike around, stopping at El Muro de las Lágrimas (Wall of Tears), viewpoints, and a seafood dinner.
Rappel down a steam vent into Trillizos Volcano, then bike to Cuevas del Sucre to explore lava tunnels and caves. Kayak the coast of Isla Isabela on Day 8, keeping an eye out for iguanas and penguins. Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz the next day for a boat tour that includes snorkeling with sea lions at La Lobería, swimming with reef sharks at Shark Channel, snorkeling through the grottoes of Canal del Amor, and swimming at Las Grietas. Head to Isla San Cristóbal and choose your own adventure: take a boat to Punta Pitt for a hike across the volcanic landscape or sunbathe at Playa Carola before saying adios to the Galapágos. Learn more
More Great 13-Day Galápagos Islands Itineraries
Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos Islands? Check out these other 13-day Galápagos Islands itineraries, with outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.