- Spend your first afternoon hanging out with giant tortoises at a breeding center
- Bike around Isla Santa Cruz at your own pace—and stop at an organic coffee farm
- Take guided snorkeling trips at two places, including a volcanic rock formation
- Enjoy some relaxed beach time where you can meet sea lions and marine iguanas
|Day 1||Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz, Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 2||Morning Kayak Adventure, Afternoon Boat Tour||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Explore Isla Santa Cruz by Bike||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Speedboat to Isla San Cristóbal, Free Time||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 5||Snorkel Day Trip at Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 6||Free Time, Depart Isla San Cristóbal|
Day 1: Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz, Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
Welcome to the Galápagos! This volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Ecuador, has 19 islands. Your adventure begins at the ecological airport on Isla Baltra. Here, you'll register your entry to the Galápagos National Park and will grab a bus called Lobitos from the airport to the docks of the Itabaca Canal. This is where you'll catch a small ferry to Isla Santa Cruz. Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in Puerto Ayora.
In the afternoon, your guide will take you to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you can witness firsthand the work of international scientists who come to the Galápagos to carry out environmental projects. You'll also head to the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, where giant Galápagos tortoises breed and are cared for. This is the best place on the archipelago to see different tortoise species, and you can wander around on your own to appreciate these majestic creatures.
Day 2: Morning Kayak Adventure, Afternoon Boat Tour
Today's adventure kicks off with a 45-minute island hike from Puerto Ayora to the heavenly Tortuga Bay, famed for its soft coral sand and spectacular scenery. Here you'll take a kayak out onto the turquoise water to see marine life and admire the coastline from a different perspective. Along the way, look for colonies of marine iguanas and exotic birds, as well as mangroves, cacti forests, and fascinating flora. Pelicans and finches are local to the area, and near the salt lagoon that backs onto the mangroves, you even may spot flamingoes. After kayaking, sunbathe on the beach before returning to Puerto Ayora.
In the afternoon, take a tour on a small boat to visit places along the bay of Santa Cruz. First, stop at the small islet of La Lobería, where you can snorkel around sea lions and tropical fish. Afterward, head to the Shark Channel, where you may spot harmless whitetip sharks and blue-footed boobies. Here, you'll also come upon the Canal del Amor, where you may find sea turtles and many tropical fish varieties. A 10-minute walk will give you the chance to see more marine iguanas in their natural habitat, and you'll have many opportunities to take pictures!
Day 3: Explore Isla Santa Cruz by Bike
Today you're free to enjoy the island's beauty at your own pace by bike. You'll have a bike reserved and waiting for you at your hotel so that you can set straight off on a two-wheel adventure. Santa Cruz is a dormant volcano that last erupted over 1.5 million years ago. Evidence of this explosive past remains, with black and rusty colored volcanic rocks across the island, as well as lava tunnels that you can cycle to and explore.
In the same area as the tunnels, pay a visit to an organic coffee farm called Lava Java, where you can enjoy refreshments with a view of the Pacific Ocean. Then turn west toward the secluded El Garrapatero Beach or continue into the highlands. Back in Puerto Ayora, pedal to the Fishing Pier, where sea lions watch the fishermen reel in their catches. Whatever route you choose, there's very light traffic across Isla Santa Cruz, so you'll often have the roads to yourself. Once you're done, leave the bike at your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day as you wish.
Day 4: Speedboat to Isla San Cristóbal, Free Time
It's time to hop to another island in the Galápagos! After breakfast at your hotel, you'll catch a speedboat from Isla Santa Cruz to Isla San Cristóbal—a journey of about 2.5 hours. This is the easternmost island in the archipelago and is where the English naturalist Charles Darwin first came ashore in 1835.
After checking in at your hotel, you'll have the rest of the day to explore at your own pace. Perhaps take a stroll along the town's main waterfront area at Wreck Bay. It was here where Charles Darwin first landed in the Galápagos and compiled data that he later incorporated into his scientific work, titled "On the Origin of Species." For relaxation, spend time accompanied by sea lions as you swim and sunbathe on the beaches at Playa Carola or Playa Mann. For something more active, take a boat to Punta Pitt and hike along the rugged volcanic landscapes.
Day 5: Snorkel Day Trip at Kicker Rock
Get ready to hit the water! Today is a memorable day trip to snorkel around Kicker Rock—an excellent way to explore the beautiful and vibrant underwater life of the Galápagos Islands. The guided tour includes breakfast and lunch, as well as all the necessary snorkeling equipment.
You'll start your day with breakfast on shore before heading out to Kicker Rock, a dramatic volcanic rock formation that provides the perfect habitat for a variety of marine life. Once you arrive, your guide will help you 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 6: Free Time, Depart Isla San Cristóbal
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.