- Explore an uninhabited island highly regulated by Park Authorities
- Hike up Sierra Negra volcano
- Spot marine life while snorkeling at Los Túneles
- Learn how coffee beans are processed at an organic coffee farm
|Arrive in the Galápagos, Visit Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Excursion to an Uninhabited Island
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Kayak at Garrapatero Beach, Visit an Organic Coffee Farm
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Day Trip to Isla Floreana
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Transfer to Puerto Villamil, Snorkel at Los Túneles
|Hike Sierra Negra Volcano
|Explore Isla Isabela by Bike
|Kayak & Snorkel at Las Tintoreras, Transfer to Puerto Ayora
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Visit Tortuga Bay Beach, Depart the Galápagos
Day 1: Arrive in the Galápagos, Visit Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station
Welcome to the Galápagos! After arriving at the airport on Isla Baltra, you'll meet your guide and transfer to the public shuttle bus to the Itabaca Channel, which you'll cross by ferry. The day's first stop will take you and your guide into the highlands of Isla Santa Cruz, where you can observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. You can also explore the impressive lava tunnels that dot the area. After a healthy meal, your driver will take you across the island to the southern coast, where the town of Puerto Ayora is located.Check into your hotel, then head out to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora, where you can observe giant tortoises and iguanas. Witness the tireless efforts of conservationists, and learn about how they are helping to repopulate the island with different tortoise species.
Day 2: Excursion to an Uninhabited Island
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Of the many islands in the Galápagos Archipelago, only four have permanent settlements. The others are wild and are the natural habitat of many endemic species. Visits to these islands are highly regulated by Park Authorities and are limited to small groups. Today, you'll have the chance to visit one of these untamed islands. Aboard a modern yacht with a small group of 15 people, and take a 1.5 to 2.5-hour ride to one of the following islands: Bartolomé, Seymour Norte, Plaza Sur, or Santa Fé. The island you visit will depend on park permits, the boat's schedule, and your preferences.
Every island has a different landscape and unique flora and fauna. For example, on Isla Santa Fé, you'll have the chance to see the Santa Fé iguana while colonies of sea lions, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies populate Seymour Norte. On board the yacht, a warm meal will be served, and in the afternoon, you'll have the chance to snorkel at a nearby bay or beach. After an exciting day, return to Puerto Ayora around 4-5 pm.
Day 3: Kayak at Garrapatero Beach, Visit an Organic Coffee FarmEnjoy some time at the beautiful Garrapatero Beach this morning. Walk along the shore, and explore the shallow waters and coves by kayak. Keep an eye out for sea lions, iguanas, marine birds, and Sally Lightfoot crabs.
Later, visit a coffee farm near Puerto Ayora, where you'll have the chance to sample the island's famed coffee. This is no average plantation: the farm is also part of a social responsibility program, as its activities contribute to the conservation of plants and soil. You'll meet Galápagos growers and learn about the entire process of gathering, drying, and peeling coffee beans, as well as preparing them for sale. You'll also have the opportunity to purchase a bag of coffee.
Day 4: Day Trip to Isla FloreanaTake a boat to Isla Floreana, one of the four inhabited islands of the archipelago. Upon arrival, you'll take a traditional chiva bus (a colorful, rustic bus) to the island's highlands, where you'll see pirate caves and learn about the first settlers of the Galápagos. After lunch, you'll have some time for snorkeling at a nearby beach before returning to Puerto Ayora in the afternoon.
Day 5: Transfer to Puerto Villamil, Snorkel at Los Túneles
Today, take the public speedboat from Isla Santa Cruz to Isla Isabela, a journey of approximately 2-2.5 hours. Settle into your accommodation in Puerto Villamil, then head out to snorkel at Los Túneles.
Los Túneles is famous for its unique geological formations, such as lava-formed arches found below and above the sea. It is an excellent place for swimming and snorkeling, as you can encounter a large variety of wildlife in the shallow waters. Keep your eyes open for seahorses, colorful fish, rays, turtles, and whitetip reef sharks. You might also spot some penguins or blue-footed boobies sitting on the rocks. After the excursion, return by boat to Puerto Villamil.
Day 6: Hike Sierra Negra Volcano
Another adventurous day awaits you! You'll hike the famous Sierra Negra volcano today, the world's second-largest volcanic crater, and walk through a unique geological landscape. The area is lined with lava paths and local plant and animal life.
Watch out for different bird species while hiking to the crater rim. Parts of the caldera provide evidence of its last eruption in 2005. Enjoy the spectacular views on one of the best hikes of the Galápagos before continuing the hike up to Chico volcano, a secondary crater, where you'll enjoy both the views and a boxed lunch. The hike is long in terms of distance (10 mi/16 km), but it's not very difficult. After descending and returning to Puerto Villamil, spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.
Day 7: Explore Isla Isabela by Bike
Spend today biking around one side of Isla Isabela. Along the way, you can stop at various viewpoints and beaches, such as the Playa del Amor (Love Beach), home to a significant population of marine iguanas.
After a while, you'll reach the famous Muro de las Lágrimas (Wall of Tears), a historic landmark. Prisoners of the penal colony built this wall on the island, and it's said that hundreds of people lost their lives during its construction, giving it its name. Upon returning to Puerto Villamil, make one last stop to explore the richly-diverse environments of the Flamingo Lagoon.
Day 8: Kayak & Snorkel at Las Tintoreras, Transfer to Puerto AyoraToday, visit Las Tintoreras Islet by kayak. This small volcanic islet is brimming with wildlife. Watch out for penguins and blue-footed boobies, and explore the underwater world—with its great variety of colorful fish, turtles, and sea lions—while snorkeling. Later, return to your accommodation to pack your things, then take the public speedboat from Isla Isabela back to Santa Cruz.
Day 9: Visit Tortuga Bay Beach, Depart the Galápagos
There's still much more to see on Isla Santa Cruz, and today you'll head to Tortuga Bay Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galápagos. It's a 45-minute walk—approximately 1.5 miles (2.5 km) each way—down a long path leading through a prickly pear (Opuntia) cactus forest. You can sunbathe, swim, or snorkel here and observe marine iguanas and Darwin's finches. If you'd like, you could also rent kayaks.
When the time comes, return to your hotel, pack your things, and prepare for your flight back to mainland Ecuador. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and bring you back to the Itabaca Channel, which you'll cross again by ferry.