Discover spectacular scenery and diverse ecosystems on this whirlwind 6-day tour of the Galapagos Islands. Focusing on three of the archipelago's inhabited islands, you'll hop between them by boat while spotting rare and remarkable wildlife up close. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, meet giant tortoises in the Santa Cruz highlands, hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, and swim in turquoise waters at Tortuga Bay Beach.

Highlights

  • Tour the famed Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Explore the caves of Asilo de la Paz
  • Hike Isabela Island's Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Visit with giant tortoises in the Santa Cruz highlands
  • Enjoy the pristine beaches of Tortuga Bay

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santa Cruz: Highlands Puerto Ayora
Day 2  Charles Darwin Research Station - Floreana: Playa Lobos Floreana Island
Day 3 Floreana to Isabela Isla Isabela
Day 4 Isabela: Sierra Negra Volcano - Santa Cruz Puerto Ayora
Day 5 Santa Cruz: Tortuga Bay Beach & Las Grietas Puerto Ayora
Day 6 Depart the Galapagos  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santa Cruz: Highlands

Giant Tortoise
See giant Galapagos tortoises in the wild

Welcome to the Galapagos Islands! Upon arrival at Baltra Island airport, your guide will be waiting to welcome you and help arrange your transfer from the airport to Puerto Ayora—the largest town in the Galapagos Archipelago and your base for the night. On the way, you'll cross the beautiful Itabaca Channel to reach the island of Santa Cruz, where private transportation will take you on a journey to the highlands where you can observe giant Galapagos tortoises in the wild. After lunch, continue to Puerto Ayora to check in to your hotel and spend the evening at your leisure.

Day 2: Charles Darwin Research Station - Floreana: Playa Lobos

Spot sea lions basking at Playa Lobos

After breakfast, a short walk takes you to the Fausto Llerena Interpretation Center where you can learn about the Galapagos National Park´s work and observe tortoises of different species and sizes. Continue to the Charles Darwin Station, where scientists from all over the world work together to protect the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos. Environmental projects include water analysis, protection of endemic wildlife, effects of tourism on nature, and other pressing issues. Visit the turtle rearing station to see where animals are raised before being released into nature, and keep an eye out for land iguanas, who live around the station. After enjoying this scenic walk, head back to town in time for a relaxing lunch.

Early in the afternoon, head to the pier to board a speed boat which will take you on a scenic journey to Puerto Velasco Ibarra, a small town located on the legendary Floreana Island. During the 2.5-hour trip, you'll have many chances to see dolphins, marine turtles, and remarkable birdlife. Home to just 120 inhabitants, Floreana is the most pristine and untouched of the archipelago's inhabited islands. Upon arrival, you'll be welcomed into a local home for the night, where you can get settled in before taking a stroll to nearby Playa Lobos, a beautiful spot that's home to sea lion colonies, blue-footed boobies, and marine iguanas. Return to your lodging in time to enjoy a group dinner and a good night's rest.

Day 3: Floreana to Isabela

Flamingoes at Los Humedales

Today starts bright and early with breakfast in a local small restaurant and then with a Chiva (local bus) transport to the highlands of Floreana Island. Here you'll walk to the place known as Asilo de La Paz (Peace Asylum), the historic home of the German Whitmer family who settled the area in 1932. Explore their hillside cave homes and the area's lush surroundings, keeping an eye out for Galapagos tortoises roaming freely among the trees.

Transport back to town for an early lunch before hopping aboard the speed boat which takes you to Isabela Island—the largest in the archipelago. After arriving in Puerto Villamil, you'll be transported to your hotel, where you can check-in and relax after your journey by sea. Explore your new surroundings with a walk to Los Humedales (the Wetlands), a stunning area characterized by sandy beaches, rocky shores, and mangroves. During the stroll along the main trail, you can see all four species of mangroves found in the Galapagos, and observe bright pink flamingos and migratory birds including whimbrels, short-billed dowitchers, Wilson’s phalaropes, common terns, blue-winged teals, osprey, black-bellied and semipalmated plovers, and greater and lesser yellowlegs. Continuing along the path, you'll arrive at the Tortoise Breeding Center, home to tortoises of all sizes and subspecies. After experiencing this intimate look at the flora and fauna of Isabela island, you'll be whisked back to your hotel in time for dinner.

Day 4: Isabela: Sierra Negra Volcano - Santa Cruz

Sea Lion
Breathtaking views across the Sierra Negra

Your agenda today includes hiking on the Sierra Negra, an impressive volcano that rises from the rocky island. Explore the lava fields and different vegetation zones while enjoying dramatic views of the northern volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina Islands.  

Transport back to town in time for lunch, before bidding Isabela Island farewell and boarding a speed boat back to Santa Cruz Island and Puerto Ayora for the evening. Keep an eye out for dolphins en route—they love to swim happily next to boats in the area.

Day 5: Santa Cruz: Tortuga Bay Beach & Las Grietas

Tortuga Bay Beach
Pristine sand and sea at Tortuga Bay Beach

Today is devoted to sun, sand, and swimming, starting with a morning hike to the heavenly Tortuga Bay Beach. Famed for its soft coral sand and spectacular scenery, this stretch of coast is considered one of the archipelago's most picturesque spots. The first part of the beach has strong waves so is not recommended for swimming, but continue walking west to reach a tranquil bay of calm, welcoming water. Here you can observe colonies of marine iguanas and marine birds, as well as mangroves, cacti forests, and fascinating coastal flora.

Return to town in time for a leisurely lunch, then set out again in the afternoon for a memorable walking tour to Las Grietas. A gentle trail takes you to this scenic point of a huge lava crevasse, which is in fact a long narrow cool-water swimming hole among a jumble of small cliffs and tumbled boulders. In the evening, enjoy a farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 6: Depart the Galapagos

Return to Baltra Island to catch your flight home

This morning you'll bid the Galapagos Islands farewell, transferring to the airport of Baltra Island. A bus ride takes you back to the Itabaca Channel, where you'll cross via local ferry and continue to the airport. On the way, you can stop by the dramatic natural formations of Crater los Gemelos for one final photo-op before catching your flight home.