Explore the Galapagos Islands on a yacht! This 10-day tour takes you around the archipelago to see Humboldt penguins in their natural habitat, snorkel with sea turtles, explore tidal pools, visit Charles Darwin Station, hike to a volcanic crater, and spot blue-footed boobies in the wild. After spending the first night on dry land, you'll island-hop to various islands, including San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plaza, and North Seymour, stopping at various natural attractions along the way.

Highlights

  • See Humboldt penguins in the wild
  • Discover rare vegetation and wildlife on an uninhabited island
  • Interact with giant Galapagos tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island
  • Snorkel with marine wildlife including rays, sharks, and colorful fish

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive at San Cristobal Island  San Cristobal Island
Day 2 Explore Santa Fe Island & South Plaza Island Cruise Ship
Day 3 Visit Charles Darwin Station & Santa Cruz Island Cruise Ship
Day 4 Hike Sierra Negra Volcano & Wetlands  Cruise Ship
Day 5 Discover Moreno Point & Elizabeth Bay  Cruise Ship
Day 6 Spot Rare Birds at Espinoza Point  Cruise Ship
Day 7 See the Tidal Pools of Puerto Egas  Cruise Ship
Day 8 Boat to North Seymour Island & Baltra  Puerto Ayora
Day 9 Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 10 Depart Islands Quito

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at San Cristobal Island 

Curious sea lion greeting snorkeller
A curious sea lion greets a snorkeler

Welcome to the beautiful Galapagos Islands! After checking in to your hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you will visit the Interpretation Center with your guide and learn everything about the history and future of the Galapagos. Afterward, you will take a short walk to Tijeretas Hill, where frigate birds nest. You'll also enjoy a spectacular view of island scenery from here. You'll have the chance to visit La Lobería, home to a colony of sea lions, before returning to town for the night. 

Day 2: Explore Santa Fe Island & South Plaza Island

Frigate bird
A frigate bird nesting

The cruise begins today. After breakfast, you will ride a dinghy to the idyllic white sand beach of Santa Fe Island, home to plenty of sea lions. The endemic land iguana, exclusive to this island, may also be spotted during your morning walk.

Following lunch and another boat ride, you'll arrive at the channel of South Plaza Island, where turquoise waters contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava of the shoreline. Nearby, scarlet-hued succulents serve as groundcover for a grove of luminescent prickly-pear cacti. Yellow-grey land iguanas sit beneath these, waiting patiently for their prickly pears to drop. Along the coastline, guests will have the chance to spot sea lion colonies as well as frigatebirds and swallow-tailed gulls playing in the currents.

Day 3: Visit Charles Darwin Station & Santa Cruz Island

Giant Tortoise in the highlands of Santa Cruz
A giant tortoise in the highlands of Santa Cruz

The cruise continues to Santa Cruz Island. The town of Puerto Ayora, with a population of about 25,000 people, is the location of the Charles Darwin Research Station and the main headquarters of Galapagos National Park, world-famous for its tortoise breeding programs. After touring the station, journey by bus to the highlands to go for a walk through giant lava tubes. You'll also have the unique opportunity to see giant tortoises in their natural surroundings. 

Day 4: Hike Sierra Negra Volcano & Wetlands 

Crater of Sierra Negra
Crater of Sierra Negra

The majestic Sierra Negra Volcano is a highlight of today's agenda. You'll hike to its summit to see the second-largest volcanic crater in the world. Walk around spectacular lava landscapes, taking in the northern volcanoes in Isabela and Fernandina Islands. During your climb, make sure to be on the lookout for the unique vegetation that inhabits the area.

In the afternoon, you will visit a mangrove area with small lagoons, an ideal environment for a variety of shrimp — a favorite food of the island’s flamingos. Then head to El Muro de las Lagrimas (“The Wall of Tears”). When the Ecuadorian government first took possession of the islands, their main purpose was to harbor Ecuadorian prisoners. Since there wasn’t much for them to do, they were forced to carry rocks to a distant location and build this wall. You'll get back on the boat and relax as the captain navigates to your next destination.

Day 5: Discover Moreno Point & Elizabeth Bay 

Flamingos flying
Flamingos flying over Elizabeth Bay

In the morning, you will visit Moreno Point, located southwest of Elizabeth Bay. Lava from many years ago has left craters in its wake, forming crystal tide pools that are now natural habitats for pink flamingos, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules. If you peer more deeply into the pools, you may see white-tip reef sharks and sea turtles.

In the afternoon, you will go to Elizabeth Bay on the east coast of Isabela Island. The bay contains many islets that can be visited by dinghy. Look for penguins and blue-footed boobies on the rocky islets. With an abundance of marine life and clear water, the area is perfect for snorkeling amid schools of colorful fish, sea lions, and perhaps even sharks.

Day 6: Spot Rare Birds at Espinoza Point 

Marine iguanas sunbathing
Flightless cormorant and blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos

In the morning, your boat will cross the Bolivar Channel that divides Isabela and Fernandina Islands. You will land at Espinoza Point, and after walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, you will reach the island’s highlight, the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galapagos hawk.

The afternoon continues with a visit to Vicente Roca Point. Comprised of two separate coves, this site is a large bay with spectacular sea life. Keep an eye out for seahorses, sea turtles, and the strange yet fascinating Mola mola (or ocean sunfish).

Day 7: See the Tidal Pools of Puerto Egas 

Rabida Island
Cacti on remote Rabida Island

You'll continue on your cruise today, visiting Puerto Egas on the west side of Santiago Island. Stop to see Buccaneer Cove and Sugar Loaf Volcano before arriving at the black beach of Puerto Egas. Pick up the trail here to walk through some tide pools along the coast: you will see marine iguanas, coastal birds like pelicans and oystercatchers, and adorable fur seals. 

Get back on the boat and continue about two hours to Rábida Island. Disembark once more and follow a hiking trail from the beach to a saltwater lagoon and then to a viewpoint where you can take priceless photos of the scenery and the surrounding cliffs.

Day 8: Boat to North Seymour Island & Baltra 

Blue-footed boobies
Blue-footed boobies on North Seymour Island

North Seymour Island is your destination today. You're likely to see Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies, and magnificent frigate birds, all of which are abundant on this island. North Seymour was formed by a series of submarine lava flows containing layers of sediment uplifted by tectonic activity. 

Continue on to Baltra Island, then drive to Puerto Ayora. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the town's shops and restaurants. 

Day 9: Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island

Volcanic rock formations on Bartolomé Island

Today, you'll travel by yacht to an uninhabited island near Santa Cruz. Depending on the weather, scheduling, and permissions granted by the national park, you'll visit one of the following islands: Santa Fé, South Plazas, or Bartolomé

Each island is unique, offering spectacular scenery and opportunities to see rare wildlife. Santa Fé and South Plazas are home to endemic land iguanas, while Bartolomé is known for its beautiful lava flows. In the evening, return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy some free time on the last night of the trip.

Day 10: Depart

Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos
Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos

Do some last-minute souvenir shopping in Puerto Ayora before transferring to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross by ferry to make the connection to the airport terminal. Check-in for your flight back to the mainland. Safe travels!