Enjoy the Galápagos by land and sea as you discover its endemic wildlife. Start in Isla San Cristóbal to go bird-watching and snorkel near iconic Kicker Rock. Take a tour of the island by boat to enjoy secluded sandy beaches and observe marine life. Continue to Isla Santa Cruz to mingle with giant tortoises as you learn about their way of life. Witness untamed wildlife when you discover an uninhabited island before enjoying fantastic sunsets over drinks in Puerto Ayora.


  • Go bird-watching at Tijeretas Hill and enjoy the striking panoramas
  • Explore Isla San Cristóbal by boat and snorkel near Kicker Rock
  • Discover Isla Espańola and an uninhabited island to experience untamed nature
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about giant Galápagos tortoises

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill Isla San Cristóbal 
Day 2 Full-Day Guided Tour: Kicker Rock, Cerro Brujo & Punta Pitt Isla San Cristóbal 
Day 3 Day Trip to Isla Española Isla San Cristóbal 
Day 4 Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station Isla Santa Cruz
Day 5 Excursion to an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 6 Visit Tortuga Bay, Transfer to Isla Baltra & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill

Touch down on Isla San Cristóbal, the easternost island of the Galápagos

Welcome to the Galápagos Islands! Upon arrival at the airport in Isla San Cristóbal, a driver will take you to your hotel to get settled in. Then it's time to meet your guide and start learning about the Galápagos and its conservation efforts by visiting the Interpretation Center.

Afterward, spend the afternoon observing some of the archipelagos' wildlife in its natural habitat with a hike along well-marked trails to Las Tijeretas Hill, named for tijeretas, the colorful frigatebirds that inhabit and nest in the area. If you're up for some adventure, join a snorkeling excursion, where you can mingle with sea lions, turtles, and colorful fish, or take a standup paddleboarding tour along the island's coastline.

Day 2: Full-Day Guided Tour: Kicker Rock, Cerro Brujo & Punta Pitt

See Galápagos landmarks like Kicker Rock on today's boat tour

On today's excursion, you'll get the chance to spot frigatebirds, boobies, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, hammerhead sharks, seagulls, and, if you're lucky, orcas. After choosing your wet suit and goggles, you'll meet your guide and board a boat at the pier. Sail to the iconic Kicker Rock, where you can snorkel and enjoy the underwater spectacle. Brace yourself because you may swim with (harmless) sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

Afterward, you'll continue the tour to Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill), where you'll take a break at the beautiful Bahía Sardina Beach. Get ready to reel one in as you head to Punta Pitt to participate in experimental fishing. Finish up the tour with a visit to Rosa Blanca Beach to relax on the white sand, take in the sea views, and bathe in crystal-clear water. Delicious food will be served onboard, and there will be time to go snorkeling before returning to port for the afternoon. 
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Day 3: Day Trip to Isla Española

Sea lions basking on the sands of Gardner Bay on Isla Española
Early in the morning, leave Isla San Cristóbal for the day and take a two-hour boat ride to reach Isla Española. Upon arrival, follow a trail that leads to the island's interior, passing a colony of waved albatrosses. These are the largest birds in the Galápagos and endemic to the islands. Between April and December, you can also spot blue-footed and Nazca boobies. After enjoying lunch aboard the boat, swim and snorkel in a nearby bay with a pristine beach, home to a colony of sea lions. After a day full of adventure and wildlife, return to Isla San Cristóbal.

Day 4: Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station

Giant tortoise in their natural habitat
Enjoy a close-up of these giant tortoises in their natural habitat

Early this morning, it's time to bid Isla San Cristóbal farewell and take a speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two hours. Meet your guide at the dock in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the Galápagos, and your base for the next few days. Once checked in at your hotel, travel with your guide into the highlands of Santa Cruz, where you can observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. You'll also explore lava tunnels and make another stop at the Twin Craters, home to various remarkable bird species. After a healthy meal on a farm in the highlands, your guide will bring you back to Puerto Ayora.

Puerto Ayora is the seat of the Charles Darwin Foundation and its research station, where you can observe giant tortoise and iguana species. Witness the tireless efforts of conservationists and learn about how they are helping to repopulate the island with different tortoise species.

Day 5: Excursion to an Uninhabited Island

Blue-footed boobies
Watch the dance of blue-footed boobies on Seymour Norte

Of the many islands in the Galápagos, only four have permanent settlements. The others are wild, untouched, and prime habitats for their many endemic species, so visits are highly regulated by park authorities and limited to small groups. Santa Fé and Plaza Sur are home to endemic land iguanas, while Bartolomé is known for its beautiful lava flows. On Seymour Norte, distinctive frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies flourish. Each island is unique, offering spectacular scenery and opportunities to see rare wildlife.

Today's adventure takes you on a fantastic day trip to one of these uninhabited islands, traveling by yacht around the archipelago. When you reach the island, you'll drop anchor and follow trails on foot to discover its beauty and wildlife up close. After lunch on board the yacht, you'll have the opportunity to go snorkeling and explore the area further before sailing back to Santa Cruz.

Day 6: Visit Tortuga Bay, Transfer to Isla Baltra & Depart

Spend a final morning walking through a cactus forest to Tortuga Bay

There is still much more to explore on your final day on Santa Cruz. This morning, you'll head to Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Galápagos. It's a 45-minute walk through an opuntia (prickly pear) cactus forest. Sunbathe, swim, or snorkel, and watch for marine iguanas and Darwin's finches. It's also possible to rent a kayak here to explore the shoreline from a different vantage point.

Later in the day, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Itabaca Channel to cross by ferry to the airport on Isla Baltra, where you'll catch a flight to your final destination. Safe travels!

More Great Galápagos Islands Itineraries

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


Map of Best of the Galápagos: Isla San Cristóbal & Isla Santa Cruz - 6 Days
Map of Best of the Galápagos: Isla San Cristóbal & Isla Santa Cruz - 6 Days