White-sand beaches, secluded lagoons, and a spectacular array of wildlife await on this luxurious 10-day adventure in the Galápagos. It begins in Quito with sightseeing in the colonial center. Then fly to Isabela Island, where you’ll stay in high-end lodgings and enjoy daily hikes, cycling, and snorkeling excursions. The journey continues on Santa Cruz Island, where you'll walk with giant tortoises and visit uninhabited islands. Here you can observe rare wildlife and relax on the beach before heading home.


  • Sightsee in the beautiful colonial city of Quito, Ecuador
  • Discover the two largest islands in the Galapagos: Isabela & Santa Cruz
  • See giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Snorkel around rock formations with sea turtles, penguins, and sea lions 
  • Take boat trips to uninhabited islands for hikes and wildlife viewing

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito & Sightsee Quito
Day 2 Take a City Tour of Quito Quito
Day 3 See Giant Tortoises & Relax on the Beach Isla Isabela
Day 4 Explore Las Tintoreras Islet Isla Isabela
Day 5 Snorkel Around Rock Formations at Los Tuneles Isla Isabela
Day 6 Discover the Highlands of Santa Cruz Puerto Ayora
Day 7 Day-trip to an Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 8 View Wildlife on Another Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 9 Tour Divine Bay & Charles Darwin Research Station Puerto Ayora
Day 10 Depart Puerto Ayora  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito & Sightseeing

Basilica of the National Vow, Quito
The Basilica of the National Vow, in Quito

Welcome to Ecuador! Standing at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m), Quito welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas situated between mountain peaks. The city has an abundance of marketplaces, shamanistic healers, and fourth-generation hat makers, as well as a vibrant and sophisticated culinary and nightlife scene. Spend your first day in the country exploring the capital and sampling Ecuadorian cuisine.

Day 2: Take a City Tour of Quito

A sweeping view of Quito
Today you'll explore Quito's historic city center, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Stroll along narrow, cobbled streets and visit some of the city's most important churches, including La Compañía, featuring an interior covered in gold. Explore La Ronda, one of Quito's oldest streets, and enjoy panoramic vistas from Panecillo Hill.
Then, if the weather is favorable, take the TelefériQo cable car up to Pichincha Volcano. Trails here lead through the páramo, or typical Andean vegetation, up to the summit. From there, enjoy panoramic views of the city and the surrounding mountains. Later, ride back down to the city center for dinner and get some rest before tomorrow's journey to the Galapagos Islands.

Day 3: See Giant Tortoises & Relax on the Beach

Giant Tortoise at the Breeding Center
Giant Tortoise at the Breeding Center

This morning you'll leave the mainland and fly to the Galapagos Islands. You'll touch down around noon on Baltra Island, where the main airport is located, then catch a 30-minute flight to Isabela Island. Check in at your lodging and have lunch before doing some sightseeing in the afternoon.

Make your way to the Flamingo Lagoon to learn about local wildlife, then visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station to see a few of the islands' most famous residents. Relax on the white sandy beach of Puerto Villamil before returning to your lodge for dinner.

Day 4: Explore Las Tintoreras Islet

Biking along the coast of Isabela
Biking along the coast of Isabela Island
Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today and tomorrow you'll continue exploring Isabela Island. Go cycling along the coast or kayaking in the calm waters near Puerto Villamil. In the afternoon, you'll visit Las Tintoreras Islet for a short hike. You'll likely see Humboldt penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, and sharks in the natural channels formed by lava flows.

If you're up for it, go snorkeling in the turquoise water and spot colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and penguins. Another option is a hike to the volcanoes of Chico and Sierra Negra or an excursion to Sucre Cave. Relax at your hotel in the evening. 

Day 5: Snorkel Around Rock Formations at Los Tuneles

Swimming with sea turtles
Swimming with sea turtles at Los Tuneles

Go on an outing today to Los Tuneles, a perfect snorkeling spot. A series of lava flows have produced unique geological formations here, including arches and tunnels both above and underneath the water. This makes the area a uniquely interesting place to swim around. In the shallow waters, you can see tropical fish, rays, turtles, seahorses, and white-tipped reef sharks.

Keep your eyes open for penguins sitting on the rocks and be ready for the possibility of swimming alongside majestic sea turtles. Alternatively, head to the beautiful Concha Perla Lagoon. In the evening, return to Puerto Villamil and take it easy.

Day 6: Discover the Highlands of Santa Cruz

Exploring Santa Cruz Island
Continue the adventure on Santa Cruz Island. On a guided hike, you'll see lava tunnels and the "twin craters," home to a great variety of bird species. Enjoy lunch at a local farm in the highlands, then continue to the port in Puerto Ayora to check into your hotel.
Accommodation options for the next few nights include Casa Gangotena, which is housed in a luxurious mansion; Scalesia Lodge, with safari camp-style tents and panoramic forest views; and Finch Bay, a secluded hotel with its own beach and one of the best restaurants on the island.

Day 7: Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island

Marine iguanas sunbathing on the shore
Marine iguanas sunbathing on the shore

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, Bartolomé, or North Seymour.

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 volcanic scenery and lava flows. On North Seymour, look for frigate birds, land iguanas, and blue-footed boobies. In the evening, return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy some free time. 

Day 8: View Wildlife on Another Uninhabited Island

Land iguana
A land iguana soaking up sun
Once again, you'll have incredible opportunities to see endemic wildlife in its natural habitat with a boat trip to another uninhabited island. The ride is an experience unto itself, as you'll see magnificent seascapes along the way. Later, enjoy the evening in laid-back Puerto Ayora, do some souvenir shopping, and perhaps go for a seafood dinner in a family-run restaurant.

Day 9: Tour Divine Bay & Charles Darwin Research Station

Getting up close with a giant Galapagos tortoise
Divine Bay is an oasis of tranquility that's home to a diverse range of species. The bay is naturally protected from the waves, thanks to the presence of volcanic rocks, mangroves, and cliffs. Explore this beautiful place this morning, keeping your eyes open for herons, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, and much more! There will be time to relax on the beach or go snorkeling. 
After lunch, visit Charles Darwin Station, where scientists from all over the world meet and collaborate on environmental projects. These include water analysis, protection of endemic wildlife, measuring the effects of tourism on nature, and other pressing issues. Visit the turtle-rearing station to see where these animals are raised before being released into the wild. Also, be sure to look for the land iguanas who live around the station. Then head back to Puerto Ayora for one last dinner before the trip ends tomorrow. 

Day 10: Depart Puerto Ayora 

Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos
Beautiful sunset in the Galápagos

Enjoy one last breakfast in Puerto Ayora before transferring to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross by ferry to make the connection to the airport in time for your flight back to the mainland. Safe travels!

More Great Galápagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos? Check out these other Galapagos Islands itineraries, with island-hopping cruises, land-based trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.