If you've ever dreamed of exploring the Galápagos with a healthy dose of outdoor activity, then this is the trip for you. Over the course of 10 days, you'll speedboat between several islands (some inhabited, some not) while taking guided excursions that include hiking to a dormant volcano, biking in a nature reserve, and kayaking in pristine turquoise waters—all the while looking for exotic species that you'll only find on this stunning archipelago off the coast of Ecuador.


  • Kick off the trip on Isla San Cristóbal with a wildlife hike, followed by a swim
  • Take several boat trips that include snorkeling in the clear, warm ocean
  • Get up close to rare species (even by the Galápagos' standards) on Isla Española
  • Enjoy endorphin-inducing excursions in nature, like hiking, cycling, and kayaking 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on Isla San Cristóbal, Visit an Interpretation Center Isla San Cristóbal
Day 2 Snorkeling Day Trip at Kicker Rock Isla San Cristóbal
Day 3 Wildlife Encounter at Isla Española Isla San Cristóbal
Day 4 Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station Isla Santa Cruz
Day 5 Cycling at Cerro Mesa Reserve, Kayaking at Garrapatero Beach Isla Santa Cruz
Day 6 Explore an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 7 Transfer to Isla Isabela, Snorkeling at Los Túneles Isla Isabela
Day 8 Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano Isla Isabela
Day 9 Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Afternoon Boat Tour, Farewell Dinner Isla Santa Cruz
Day 10 Transfer to Isla Baltra & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive on Isla San Cristóbal, Visit an Interpretation Center

Humans and sea lions happily commingle on the shores of Isla San Cristóbal

Welcome to the Galápagos Islands! This volcanic archipelago off the coast of Ecuador offers 19 main islands. Your point of entry for this trip is Isla San Cristóbal, and upon your arrival, you'll need to go through immigration and pay a $100 per person cash fee to the Galápagos National Park. After claiming your bags, your guide will be waiting for you at the airport exit with a sign with your name on it, and you'll be taken to your hotel for your check-in.

In the afternoon, you'll hit the ground running and visit the San Cristóbal Interpretation Center to learn about the island's wildlife and conservation efforts, with various rooms offering different exhibits. From there, you'll take a one-hour hike to Las Tijeretas Hill, named for the tijeretas (frigatebirds) that inhabit and nest in this area. If you visit the island from June to October, you might see whales off the coast. Finish the day at La Lobería, a beach that's home to sea lions and marine iguanas.

Day 2: Snorkeling Day Trip at Kicker Rock

This volcanic rock formation offers pristine conditions for viewing marine life

Normally you'll start the day with breakfast at your hotel, but today is a full-day snorkeling trip, which offers an excellent way to explore the beautiful and vibrant underwater life of the Galápagos Islands. You won't have to prepare anything in advance as this guided tour includes breakfast and lunch, plus all the necessary snorkeling equipment.

Breakfast is served on dry land before you boat out to Kicker Rock, a dramatic volcanic rock formation that provides the perfect habitat for a variety of marine life. Once you arrive, you'll get to snorkel in crystal clear waters and observe sea turtles, sea lions, colorful tropical fish, rays, and other marine life. After a few hours of snorkeling, you and your group will enjoy a delicious lunch before heading back to shore. 

Day 3: Wildlife Encounter at Isla Española

Look for rare birds at Isla Epsañola, like Nazca boobies (and their blue-footed cousins)
Today's destinations are Isla Española and Gardner Bay, where you'll see some of Galápagos' most iconic wildlife, like waved albatrosses, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and a number of iguanas, including Española iguanas, which are sometimes called "Christmas iguanas" for their neon hues. After a hotel transfer, take a two-hour boat ride to Isla Española, followed by a two-hour hike with a naturalist guide who will point out local flora and fauna.
In the early afternoon, return to the boat for your next destination: Gardner Bay. Here you can swim and snorkel with sea lion pups, tropical fish, and marine iguanas, or just relax on the white-sand beach (with sea lions who may say hello, of course). Take a break for lunch on the boat, and then head back to Isla San Cristóbal in the late afternoon.

Day 4: Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station

Spend some time with these majestic creatures in the highlands of Isla Santa Cruz
This morning, catch a speedboat from Isla San Cristóbal to Isla Santa Cruz, with a total travel time of three hours. When you arrive, meet your driver, who will bring you to a farm in the highlands where you'll have the opportunity to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Walk around and photograph these gentle creatures as they perform their daily routine. Then, transfer to your hotel for check-in.

In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Here, scientists from all over the world meet to work together on environmental projects covering subjects like water analysis, animal protection, and the effects of tourism on nature.
Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
You'll then have another chance to spend time with giant tortoises at the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, named after the Galápagos National Park ranger who cared for Lonesome George, the last known Pinta Island tortoise. This is the best place in the Galápagos to view different tortoise species and see how the shapes of their shells have evolved differently to match the terrain and vegetation of their native islands.

Day 5: Cycling at Cerro Mesa Reserve, Kayaking at Garrapatero Beach

Paddle in the calm turquoise sea at Garrapatero Beach

Fill up at breakfast this morning at your hotel, as it's an active day on Isla Santa Cruz that combines hiking, cycling, kayaking, and snorkeling. Start with a guided bike ride and nature hike in the Cerro Mesa Ecological Reserve, where you'll be rewarded with spectacular island views from a lookout point.

In the afternoon, eat a picnic lunch on Garrapatero Beach, a beautiful golden sand beach stretching 1.8 miles (3 km). You'll then jump in a kayak and paddle out in the calm turquoise sea as you look for birds like flamingoes and mallards in the nearby mangroves. You'll also have time to snorkel, swim, and take a beach walk if you so choose. Return to your hotel and enjoy some well-deserved rest before dinner.

Day 6: Explore an Uninhabited Island

Isla Bartolomé is one of the possibilities on today's tour
Today is your chance to visit one of the Galápagos' stunning uninhabited islands, like Santa Fé, Plaza Sur, Bartolomé, and Seymour Norte. Which one you'll visit depends on the permit granted by the Galápagos National Park authorities. Either way, you'll have the chance to explore the archipelago's untouched natural habitats. After a boat ride to arrive, take a hike with your naturalist guide to see the island's wildlife, followed by some time to have lunch and relax on the beach. At the end of your tour, return to your hotel on Isla Santa Cruz.

Day 7: Transfer to Isla Isabela, Snorkeling at Los Túneles

Green sea turtles are common at Los Túneles
This morning, meet your guide for a ride to the dock on Isla Santa Cruz. From there, catch a speedboat to Isla Isabela—a journey of 3.5 hours.

After you check in at your hotel, you'll visit a place called Los Túneles, which is known for its geological formations of rock arches and tunnels both underwater and above land. As such, these are one of Isla Isabela's unique snorkeling spots. With your gear ready, start in shallow water and look out for tropical fish, manta rays, green sea turtles, seahorses, and even whitetip reef sharks. When you emerge above the waves, look for penguins and other rare birds. At night, relax at your hotel and explore Isla Isabela—the largest island in the Galápagos—at your own pace.

Day 8: Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano

Hike along this enormous crater, which is located on the largest island in the Galápagos

It's another active day! This morning, you'll take a full-day guided hike on the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano. This is one of the largest shield volcanoes in the world, with a distinctive low profile and a nearly 6-mile (10 km) diameter crater. During the six-hour roundtrip adventure, you'll make your way to the volcanic summit, approach the crater, explore its lava landscapes, and see views of different islands' volcanoes in the distance. End your hiking adventure with some free time to swim and snorkel at the beach when you return to sea level.

Day 9: Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Afternoon Boat Tour, Farewell Dinner

Snorkel during a boat trip around Isla Santa Cruz on your last afternoon of the trip
This morning, you'll catch a speedboat back to Isla Santa Cruz, where, upon arrival, you'll take a half-day tour on a small boat to visit exotic places along the bay of Santa Cruz.
Your first stop is the small islet called La Lobería, where you can snorkel around sea lions and tropical fish displaying a dazzling show beneath the surface against interesting underwater formations. Afterward, at the Shark Channel, you may spot harmless whitetip reef sharks and blue-footed boobies. You'll then come upon the Canal del Amor, where you may find sea turtles and many tropical fish varieties. From here, take a short walk to see marine iguanas in their natural habitat.

It's the final night of your adventure, and soon it will be time to head back home. Before you begin your journey, partake in a special farewell dinner by the sea, and be sure to take plenty of photos to commemorate your Galápagos adventure. Say goodbye as you relax with good company and one last delicious dinner at this enchanted place.

Day 10: Transfer to Isla Baltra & Depart

See you next time, Galápagos!
The day has come to say goodbye to the Galápagos Islands! If there's enough free time before your transfer to the airport, take a sunrise beach walk and perhaps one last swim in the Pacific Ocean. At the designated time, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Itabaca Channel, where you'll take a ferry to Isla Baltra. From there, take the public shuttle bus to the terminal, where you'll catch a departure flight. Safe travels!

More Great Galápagos Islands Itineraries 

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos? Check out these other Galápagos itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in the Galápagos, or discover the best time to visit the Galápagos.


Map of Active Wildlife Adventure in the Galápagos Islands - 10 Days
Map of Active Wildlife Adventure in the Galápagos Islands - 10 Days