- Explore the essentials of Quito by foot and its culinary flavors by bike
- Visit Isla Santa Cruz and meet giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and sea turtles
- Swim and snorkel with playful sea lions and pose with penguins at Los Túneles
- Snorkel through naturally-formed lava tunnels with tropical fish and rays
|Arrive in Quito, Quito City Tour
|Urban Bike Tour, Quito Cooking Class
|Fly to the Galápagos, Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Excursion to an Uninhabited Island
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Guided Hike to Tortuga Bay
|Isla Santa Cruz
|Transfer to Isla Isabela, Snorkel at Los Túneles
|Explore Isla Isabela by Bike, Free Afternoon
|Kayak & Snorkel at Las Tintoreras, Free Afternoon
|Fly to Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill
|Isla San Cristóbal
|Visit Punta Pitt
|Isla San Cristóbal
|Standup Paddleboarding Excursion, Free Afternoon
|Isla San Cristóbal
|Snorkel at La Lobería, Depart Isla San Cristóbal
Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Quito City Tour
Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arrival at Quito's airport, a private driver will greet you and transfer you to your hotel in the city center. Today you'll explore Quito on a private tour and see why its historic center was the first to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Not only does it have geographical beauty, colonial architecture, and distinct culture, but it's also one of the highest cities in the world at 9,350 feet (2,850 m) above sea level.
Day 2: Urban Bike Tour, Quito Cooking Class
See more of Quito on two wheels today with your local guide. Meet in the northern part of the city, where you'll set off on a four-hour bike tour through the neighborhoods of La Floresta, Carolina Park, and Iñaquito. In La Floresta, you'll see urban art flourishing with its street murals, designers, and boutiques. Then, cycle through Carolina Park, spread over 165 acres (66 ha). Finish the tour in Iñaquito and visit the Mercado to sample street food, followed by a look around the green space and murals of Isla Tortuga Park.In the afternoon, learn about and taste Ecuador's traditional cooking with dishes such as locro de papa (potato stew), bolon de verde (plantain dumplings), and encocado de pescado (fish in coconut sauce). Meet a local Quito chef for a trip to a market to buy the ingredients needed for each dish. Discover the recipes and follow the steps to create a memorable meal.
Day 3: Fly to the Galápagos, Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station
In the morning, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport in Quito, where you'll catch your flight to the Galápagos Islands. Upon arrival at the airport on Isla Baltra, your guide will welcome you, and you'll take the public shuttle bus to the Itabaca Channel, where you'll cross by ferry. With your guide, visit the highlands of Isla Santa Cruz, where you can observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat and explore the impressive lava tunnels that dot the area. After lunch, head across the island to the southern coast, where you'll stay in Puerto Ayora for the next few days.
Day 4: Excursion to an Uninhabited Island
Of the many islands in the Galápagos archipelago, only four have permanent settlements. The others are wild and the habitat of many endemic species. Visits to these islands are highly regulated and are limited to small groups. Yet you'll have the opportunity to check out one of these untamed islands when you board a modern yacht for a 2.5-hour ride to one of the following islands: Bartolomé, Seymour Norte, Plazas Sur, or Santa Fé.Every island has a different landscape and unique flora and fauna. For example, on Santa Fé, you'll see the Santa Fé iguana. Whereas colonies of sea lions, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies populate Seymour Norte. On board the yacht, lunch will be served, and later, snorkel at a nearby bay or beach. After an exciting day, you'll return to Puerto Ayora.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Guided Hike to Tortuga Bay
There is still much more to explore on Isla Santa Cruz, so today, you'll head to Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galápagos. It's a pleasant 45-minute walk through a prickly pear (opuntia) cactus forest. Sunbathe, swim, or snorkel, and watch out for marine iguanas and Darwin's finches.The afternoon is yours at leisure. Visit Las Grietas for more snorkeling, do some souvenir shopping, or rent bikes and explore the highlands on your own.
Day 6: Transfer to Isla Isabela, Snorkel at Los Túneles
Meet your guide in the morning for a ride to the dock in Puerto Ayora. From there, catch a two-hour speedboat to Isla Isabela. You'll arrive at Puerto Villamil, your base for three days, and check in at your hotel. Once settled, go to Los Túneles, famous for its unique geological formations, like lava-formed arches below and above water.
Day 7: Explore Isla Isabela by Bike, Free Afternoon
Today, bike along the coastal roads of Isla Isabela, stopping at various viewpoints and beaches, such as Playa del Amor (Love Beach), which is home to a huge population of marine iguanas. Continue pedaling to reach the famous Muro de las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears), a historic landmark on Isla Isabela. Prisoners of the penal colony built this wall on the island, and it is said that hundreds of people lost their lives during its construction, hence the name. Upon returning to Puerto Villamil, make a last stop to explore the diverse environment at Flamingo Lagoon.
The afternoon is free to explore, so take a stroll along the boardwalk through mangroves out to La Concha Perla. Bring snorkeling gear, as this small beach with brilliant turquoise waters is full of marine life. Or, visit the Tortoise Breeding Center. Later, watch the sunset over snacks and drinks at the Iguana Point Bar, with a terrace overlooking the beach.
Day 8: Kayak & Snorkel at Las Tintoreras, Free Afternoon
Another day of adventure awaits as you set off this morning to explore Las Tintoreras Islet by kayak. This area's small volcanic islets are thriving with wildlife. Be on the lookout for penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, and blue-footed boobies. If you're up for it, go snorkeling in the turquoise water, and explore more of the underwater world as you glide alongside colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and penguins.
Day 9: Fly to Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill
A driver will pick you up at your hotel and escort you to the small airport of Isabela, where you'll take an island hopper plane to Isla San Cristóbal. Enjoy this 45-minute panoramic flight over the archipelago. At San Cristóbal Airport, another driver will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel, where you can get settled in before exploring the island.Start by learning more about the islands and their conservation efforts with a visit to the local interpretation center. Then, start to see some of the archipelagos' wildlife in their natural habitats while hiking Las Tijeretas Hill, named for the colorful red-breasted tijeretas (frigatebirds) that inhabit the area. Cool off afterward with some snorkeling, where you're sure to spot more sea lions, sea turtles, and colorful fish.
Day 10: Visit Punta Pitt
Considered one of the most beautiful and impressive sites in the Galápagos, Punta Pitt features one of the favorite nesting sites for seabirds in the Galápagos. Here, you'll be able to see all three species of boobies (blue-footed, red-footed, and Nazca boobies), as well as frigatebirds, who all have their nesting sites in the same area. After some hiking, wildlife observation, and enjoying the view, you'll have the chance to snorkel in the bay to experience the impressive marine life of the area. After returning to your hotel, you'll have the rest of the afternoon free.
Day 11: Standup Paddleboarding Excursion, Free Afternoon
Celebrate the final full day of your vacation with a fun standup paddleboarding tour. Paddle through crystal-clear water to visit some of the island's loveliest beaches, and watch out for the ever-present sea lions, rays, sea turtles, and other marine life that thrives along the coastline of Isla San Cristóbal.
In the afternoon, you'll have free time to savor your last day with some sunbathing, snorkeling, or swimming at one of the many idyllic local beaches. If you want something more active, go surfing or kayaking at Playa Mann, an excellent spot to watch an unforgettable sunset.
Day 12: Snorkel at La Lobería, Depart Isla San Cristóbal
It's your final day in the Galápagos, but the adventure's not quite over yet. Spend this morning snorkeling and swimming next to playful sea lions at La Lobería Beach. Later on, your driver will pick you up from your hotel and transfer you to San Cristóbal Airport, where you'll catch your departing flight. Safe travels!