Explore the Galápagos 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 Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fé, Plaza Sur, and Seymour Norte, stopping at various natural attractions along the way.


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

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on Isla San Cristóbal  Isla San Cristóbal
Day 2 Board Cruise, Explore Isla Santa Fe & Isla Plaza Sur  Cruise Ship
Day 3 Visit Charles Darwin Station & Isla Santa Cruz 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 Isla Seymour Norte & Isla Baltra  Isla Santa Cruz
Day 9 Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 10 Depart the Galápagos   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive on Isla San Cristóbal 

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

Welcome to the beautiful Galápagos Islands! After checking in to your hotel, visit the local Interpretation Center with your guide and learn everything about the history and future of this remarkable archipelago. Afterward, take a short walk to Tijeretas Hill, where distinctive frigatebirds nest. You'll also enjoy a spectacular view of the island's scenery from here. You'll have the chance to visit La Lobería, home to a colony of sea lions, before returning to your hotel for the night. 

Day 2: Board Cruise, Explore Isla Santa Fe & Isla Plaza Sur 

Frigate bird
A frigatebird nesting

Your cruise begins today! After breakfast, ride a dinghy to the idyllic white-sand beach of Isla Santa Fe, 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 Isla Plaza Sur, 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 & Isla Santa Cruz

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

The cruise continues to Isla Santa Cruz. 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 the Galápagos 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
The vast 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 on the islands of Isabela and Fernandina. 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 flamingoes. 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.

Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
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Day 5: Discover Moreno Point & Elizabeth Bay 

Flamingos flying
Flamingoes flying over Elizabeth Bay

In the morning, you'll 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 flamingoes, white-cheeked pintails, and common gallinules. If you peer more deeply into the pools, you may see whitetip reef sharks and sea turtles.

In the afternoon, go to Elizabeth Bay on the east coast of Isla Isabela. 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 Galápagos

In the morning, your boat will cross the Bolivar Channel that divides the islands of Isabela and Fernandina. Land at Espinoza Point, and after walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of sea lions, you'll reach the island's highlight, the flightless cormorant nesting site. This area also provides a great opportunity to see the Galápagos 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 Isla Rábida  

You'll continue on your cruise today, visiting Puerto Egas on the west side of Isla Santiago. Stop to see Buccaneer Cove and the 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'll see marine iguanas, coastal birds like pelicans and oystercatchers, and adorable fur seals. 

Get back on the boat and continue about two hours to Isla Rábida. 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 Isla Seymour Norte & Isla Baltra 

Blue-footed boobies
Blue-footed boobies on Isla Seymour Norte 

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

Continue on to Isla Baltra, then transfer 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, Plaza Sur, or Bartolomé

Each island is unique, offering spectacular scenery and opportunities to see rare wildlife. Santa Fé and Plaza Sur 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 the Galápagos

Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos
Beautiful sunset in the Galápagos

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!

More Great Galápagos Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos? Check out these other Galápagos itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in the Galápagos, or discover the best time to visit the Galápagos.


Map of Cruise the Galápagos Archipelago - 10 Days
Map of Cruise the Galápagos Archipelago - 10 Days
Written by Mathias Onisseit deactivated, updated Apr 25, 2023