- Explore Ecuador's colorful capital city on a guided tour
- Hike around the lava landscapes of the Sierra Negra volcano
- Snorkel with reef sharks and rays at the famous Kicker Rock
- Boat to Isla Español, one of the oldest islands in the Galápagos
|Day 1||Arrive in Quito, Explore the City||Quito|
|Day 2||Fly to the Galápagos Islands||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Explore an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Discover Isla Pinzón & La Fé||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 5||Boat to Isla Isabela, Wildlife Tour||Isla Isabela|
|Day 6||Kayak & Bike Around Isla Isabela||Isla Isabela|
|Day 7||Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, Boat to Isla Santa Cruz||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 8||Boat to Isla San Cristóbal, Bird-Watching at Tijeretas Hill||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 9||Snorkel at Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 10||Spot Wildlife on Isla Española||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 11||Fly to Quito & Tour the City||Quito|
|Day 12||Depart Quito|
Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Explore the City
Welcome to Quito! You'll arrive at the airport and then head to your hotel in the city center. Standing at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m), this is the world's second-highest capital, and it welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas between mountain peaks. After taking some time to get settled in, get your bearings and stretch your legs with a walk around the city's UNESCO-listed historic center.Stroll through its narrow streets and visit some of the city's most important churches, such as the Baroque La Compañía de Jesús, with its incredible gold-covered interior, and the neo-Gothic La Basílica del Voto. Take a walk down La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city, then head to Panecillo Hill for incredible panoramic views.
Day 2: Fly to the Galápagos Islands
Head to the airport to catch your flight to the Galápagos Islands! After arriving on Isla Baltra, a local guide will pick you up, and you'll hop over to Isla Santa Cruz, the second-largest and most central island in the archipelago. Your destination is the main town of Puerto Ayora, but en route, you'll stop at a local farm in the highlands where dozens of giant tortoises live. Wander around on your own to appreciate these majestic creatures.
Enjoy lunch before continuing to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Witness firsthand the work of international scientists who come to the Galápagos to carry out environmental projects, then head to the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, dedicated to the protection of giant Galápagos tortoises. This is the best place on the islands to see different tortoise species and learn about each one.
Day 3: Explore an Uninhabited Island
After a very early breakfast, take a day trip to one of the Galápagos' uninhabited islands. Humans have settled in four of the 19 islands here, not counting the islets, and this trip is a rare chance to connect with nature as it once was. Depending on the weather, scheduling, and permissions granted by the national park, you'll visit either Santa Fé, Plaza Sur, Bartolomé, or Seymour Norte. Disembark and follow trails, to discover the island's unique natural wonders.
Santa Fé and Plaza Sur are home to endemic land iguanas, while Bartolomé is known for its lava fields. On Seymour Norte, look for frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies. In the afternoon, you'll explore the surrounding waters by boat. Enjoy a tasty lunch onboard the boat (included) and then peer underwater in snorkeling masks. In the evening, you'll return to Puerto Ayora for some free time.
Day 4: Discover Isla Pinzón & La Fé
After a delicious breakfast, embark on an adventure to Isla Pinzón and La Fé. You will arrive at the first snorkeling stop of the day after disembarking at Penguin Bay. These clear blue waters are home to a variety of marine life, including sea lions, turtles, rays, colorful fish, penguins, and reef sharks. There will be fishing onboard, too, and any fish caught will be served as fresh sashimi.
Another 30-minute ride will bring you to La Fé, a beautiful white-sand beach where you can swim and relax in the sun. Lunch will be served onboard during the journey. La Fé is also a snorkel site where you can see sea lions, turtles, fish, rays, and reef sharks. Your day will finish back in Puerto Ayora.
Day 5: Boat to Isla Isabela, Wildlife Tour
Start your morning by boarding a public speedboat to Isla Isabela, the largest island in the Galápagos. Spend the two-hour trip appreciating the watery scenery that surrounds you. After arriving on the island and getting settled into its small town of Puerto Villamil, head straight to the Flamingo Lagoon or the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station to learn about the island's diverse local wildlife.
After lunch, tour the nearby Tintoreras Islet for a short hike and fantastic snorkeling. Glimpse Humboldt penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, and sharks in the natural channels formed by lava flows. Head back to Isla Isabela for the evening, where you can sit outside with a drink and listen to the nocturnal wildlife wake up as the sun sets.
Day 6: Kayak & Bike Around Isla IsabelaYour guide will pick you up early this morning and take you to the starting point for today's scenic kayaking excursion. Paddle along the coast of Isla Isabela, enjoying the spectacular landscape and keeping your eyes open for marine iguanas, sea lions, and Galápagos penguins. Return to your hotel for lunch and a rest, then head back out in the afternoon on a biking adventure. Cycle along quiet dirt roads to reach the volcanic cave of Cueva de Sucre, then continue to Campo Duro, where you'll be able to spy giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
Day 7: Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, Boat to Isla Santa Cruz
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Leave early from Puerto Villamil to reach the Sierra Negra volcano, located in the south of Isabela. At 3,687 feet (1,124 m), this is one of the largest active shield volcanoes in the world—and today, you'll get to hike it. Upon arrival at the trailhead, you'll embark on a six-hour roundtrip guided hike to the summit. Here, you'll be treated to incredible views of the expansive crater, nearly 6 miles (10 km) in diameter. At this altitude, you'll also be able to see out to volcanic peaks on adjacent Isla Fernandina.
After stopping for a picnic lunch, make your ascent and return to Puerto Villamil, where you'll pack up and catch a boat back to Isla Santa Cruz for the evening.
Day 8: Boat to Isla San Cristóbal, Bird-Watching at Tijeretas Hill
It's time to explore another island today as you catch a speedboat from Santa Cruz to Isla San Cristóbal, the most easterly island in the Galápagos. Formed over two million years ago by the eruption of four ancient volcanoes, it's also home to the oldest human settlement in the archipelago. On arrival, you'll visit the local Interpretation Center with your guide for a fascinating look at the history and future of the Galápagos.
Afterward, take a short walk to Tijeretas Hill, where distinctive red-throated frigatebirds nest, and take in a sweeping view over the island. If you're visiting between June and October, scan the waves for whales, which can sometimes be spotted in these waters.
Day 9: Snorkel at Kicker RockToday's day trip is to Kicker Rock, a 500-foot (152 m) pair of volcanic islands connected by an underground channel. Ride a speedboat along the coast to reach the island, keeping an eye out for frigatebirds and two types of boobies. After walking around on land, put on your snorkeling gear to see what's underwater. Spot tropical fish, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and four kinds of rays are just a few of the marine species frequently found in this prime snorkeling spot. Break for lunch on the boat, then head to a nearby beach for an afternoon of relaxation on the sands.
Day 10: Spot Wildlife on Isla Española
Today's destination is Isla Española, the archipelago's most southerly island and one of its most remote. Its isolated location has led to the evolution of many unique and rare species, and on today's tour, you'll get the chance to see some of these wonders of nature, including the waved albatross, the Española mockingbird, and the Española lava lizard. A two-hour boat ride takes you to the island, where you'll step ashore and set out on a two-hour hike.
Head back to the boat and get your snorkeling gear ready as you cast off for nearby Gardner Bay. This stunning stretch of white sand is the perfect setting for a swim, and you'll share the clear waters with sea lion pups, fish, and marine iguanas. Take a break for lunch on the boat before returning to San Cristóbal for a free afternoon.