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 Isla Isabela, where you'll stay in high-end lodgings and enjoy daily hikes, cycling, and snorkeling excursions. The journey continues on Isla Santa Cruz, 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 Quito, the beautiful colonial capital of Ecuador
  • Discover the two largest islands in the Galápagos: 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 Fly to Isla Isabela, 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 Túneles Isla Isabela
Day 6 Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Discover the Highlands Isla Santa Cruz 
Day 7 Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz 
Day 8 View Wildlife on Another Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz 
Day 9 Tour Divine Bay & Charles Darwin Research Station Isla Santa Cruz 
Day 10 Depart Isla Santa Cruz  

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, strolling its charming UNESCO-listed historic center, and sampling delicious 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 de Jesus, 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 the slopes of the 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 Galápagos Islands.

Day 3: Fly to Isla Isabela, See Giant Tortoises & Relax on the Beach

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

This morning you'll transfer to the airport to catch your flight to the Galápagos Islands. You'll touch down around noon on Isla Baltra, where the main airport is located, then catch a 30-minute flight to Isla Isabela. Check in at your lodging and have lunch before doing some sightseeing in the afternoon. This is the largest island in the archipelago, with a lush landscape formed over a million years ago by six ancient volcanoes. 

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 Isla Isabela
Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Today and tomorrow you'll continue exploring Isla Isabela. 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 Túneles

Swimming with sea turtles
Swimming with sea turtles at Los Túneles

Go on an outing today to Los Túneles, 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 whitetip 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: Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz, Discover the Highlands

Explore Isla Santa Cruz on a guided hike
Continue the adventure today with a transfer by speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz. On a guided hike, you'll see lava tunnels and Los Gemelos, 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, Plaza Sur, Bartolomé, or Seymour Norte.

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 volcanic scenery and lava flows. On Seymour Norte, look for frigatebirds, 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 Galápagos 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 Isla Santa Cruz

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 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 Galapagos Island Hopping in Style: Santa Cruz & Isabela - 10 Days
Map of Galapagos Island Hopping in Style: Santa Cruz & Isabela - 10 Days