The Galapagos Islands are one of the world's biggest ecological hotspots, with some of the highest percentages of endemic species and dozens of uninhabited islands. You'll spend two weeks exploring the biggest islands to see major landmarks—like the Charles Darwin Research Station and Sierra Negra Volcano—while also spending time on some less-known destinations, experiencing the truly remote nature of the rocky archipelago. 

Highlights

  • Snorkel with playful sea lions
  • Visit an uninhabited island
  • See rare wildlife, like giant tortoises and marine iguanas
  • Sunbathe on white sand beaches
  • Hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival to San Cristobal Island San Cristobal Island
Day 2 Interpretation Center, Frigate Birds, & La Lobería Sea Lions San Cristobal Island
Day 3 Snorkeling at Kicker Rock San Cristobal Island
Day 4 Free Day on San Cristobal San Cristobal Island
Day 5 Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island, Tortoises & Charles Darwin Station Puerto Ayora
Day 6 Day Trip to an Unpopulated Island Puerto Ayora
Day 7 Free Morning & Afternoon Boat Tour Puerto Ayora
Day 8 Another Day, Another Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 9 Speedboat to Isabela Island & Wildlife on Las Tintoreras Islet Isabela
Day 10 Sierra Negra Volcano Isabela
Day 11 Free Day on Isabela Island Isabela
Day 12 Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island & Kayaking Tortuga Bay Puerto Ayora
Day 13 Free Day on Santa Cruz Island Puerto Ayora
Day 14 Transfer to Airport on Baltra Island  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival to San Cristobal Island

San Cristobal Island
San Cristobal Island

Welcome to the beautiful Galapagos Islands! Meet your driver at San Cristobal Airport, then transfer to your hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to check-in. Your afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the scenery.

Stroll through town, admire the sea lions and other wildlife, and enjoy an amazing sunset at Playa Mann.

Day 2: Interpretation Center, Frigate Birds at Tijeretas Hill, & La Lobería Sea Lions

Curious sea lion greeting snorkeller
Curious sea lion greeting snorkeller

Your first adventure with your guide will be to the Interpretation Center, where you can spend several hours browsing displays and reading about the history and future of the Galapagos. 

Afterward, take a short walk to Tijeretas Hill to see nesting frigate birds and enjoy views of the island. Top off the day with a visit to La Lobería, a beach that's home to a raucous colony of sea lions. 

Return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for the night.

Day 3: Snorkeling at Kicker Rock

Excellent snorkeling spot: Kicker Rock
Excellent snorkeling spot: Kicker Rock

Today you'll visit the famous Kicker Rock (also known as Leon Dormido—the sleeping lion), a volcanic formation that protrudes from the ocean waves. Here, you can snorkel with sea lion, colorful fish, rays, and turtles. If you're lucky, you may also see hammerhead sharks. 

Currents at Kicker Rock are strong and usually cold, but the marine wonders are worth it.  After lunch on the boat, head to a beautiful, pristine beach, where you can relax and defrost in the sunshine. In the afternoon, return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Day 4: Free Day on San Cristobal

Lazing in the sunshine
Lazing in the sunshine

Enjoy a free day on San Cristobal Island. Visit Playa Carola or Playa Mann to spend the day by the water and watch the sunset, or go on an excursion to Pitt Point or the Witch's Hill. If you want to relax, your hotel offers plenty of amenities.

Stay overnight in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Day 5: Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island, Highlands Tortoises & Charles Darwin Station

Giant Tortoise in the highlands of Santa Cruz
Giant Tortoise in the highlands of Santa Cruz

Get an early start this morning to take the public speedboat to Santa Cruz Island, roughly 2-2.5 hours away. Meet your guide at the dock, then head to the highlands to see giant tortoises in the wild. Enjoy lunch at a local farm, then continue to Puerto Ayora to check in to your hotel. 

In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Station, where scientists from all over the world meet and work together. Environmental projects include water analysis, protection of endemic wildlife, effects of tourism on nature, and other pressing issues. Visit the turtle rearing station to see where animals are raised before being released into nature. Keep an eye out for land iguanas, who live around the station.   

Stay overnight in Puerto Ayora.

Day 6: Day Trip to an Unpopulated Island

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

Your adventure today includes a yacht tour to an unpopulated island. Depending on the weather, scheduling, and permissions by the National Park, you'll visit one of the following islands: Santa Fé, South Plazas, Bartolomé or North Seymour.

Each island is unique and offers spectacular scenery and an opportunity to see rare wildlife up close. Santa Fé and South Plazas are home to endemic land iguanas; while Bartolomé is known for beautiful lava sceneries. On North Seymour, look for frigate birds, land iguanas, and blue-footed boobies.

Today's adventure is a group tour, with a maximum group size of 20. In the evening, return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy some free time. 

Day 7: Free Morning & Afternoon Boat Tour

Swimming with sea lions
Swimming with sea lions

Your morning today is free. Spend some time on the beach, go for a walk, or enjoy the sounds of nature as you find the perfect spot to sit and read. 

In the afternoon, head onto the water on a tour of the bay. Aboard a small boat, you'll visit the coves and beaches of Santa Cruz Island. Swim with playful sea lion cubs, go snorkeling to see the extraordinary diversity of sea life, or sunbathe on the beach. 

In the late afternoon, return to Puerto Ayora, where you will spend the night.

Day 8: Another Day, Another Uninhabited Island

Frigate bird
Frigate bird

Another day, another boat trip to an uninhabited island—this time, to a different one than before. Today's tour is another group activity, with no more than 20 people joining you on the boat.

Afterward, enjoy your evening in the laid-back town of Puerto Ayora.

Day 9: Speedboat to Isabela Island & Wildlife on Las Tintoreras Islet

Flamingo in the wetlands of Isabela Island
Flamingo in the wetlands of Isabela Island

Start your morning with a public speed boat trip to Isabela Island, a 2-hour trip. After arriving, make your way to the Flamingo Lagoon or the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station to learn about the local wildlife. 

After lunch, join a group tour for a visit to the Tintoreras Islet for a short hike and some snorkeling. See Humboldt penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions and sharks, which rest in the natural channels formed by lava flows.

Afterward, snorkel in the turquoise water and spot different fish, sea turtles, rays, and penguins. The evening is free, with an overnight stay on Isabela Island.

Day 10: Sierra Negra Volcano

Landscape of the Sierra Negra Volcano
The landscape of the Sierra Negra Volcano

Your agenda today includes hiking on the Sierra Negra, an impressive volcano that rises from the rocky island. Walk through the lava fields and enjoy views of the northern volcanoes of Isabela and Fernandina Islands

Explore the second-largest volcanic crater in the world and hike through different vegetation zones. After a full morning, eat a packed picnic lunch while taking in the sights. 

The rest of your day is free. Spend the afternoon on the beautiful beaches of Isabela Island or snorkeling at Concha Perla Beach

Stay the night on Isabela Island.

Day 11: Free Day on Isabela Island

Sunset at beach
Sunset at beach

Spend a free day on Isabela Island. Rent a bike and visit the famous "Wall of Tears", then bike to several viewpoints of the island. 

If you prefer to spend the day on the water, Concha Perla (near Puerto Villamil) offers lots of opportunities for snorkeling, swimming, or sunbathing on the beach. 

For a quiet day of relaxation, stick around the hotel and enjoy the island's tranquility. You'll spend the night in Puerto Villamil. 

Day 12: Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island & Kayaking Tortuga Bay

Pristine beach of Tortuga Bay
Pristine beach of Tortuga Bay

Early this morning, take the speedboat to Santa Cruz Island. Spend the day exploring this area on foot and on water. Start with a 45-minute hike from Puerto Ayora to Tortuga Bay, one of the Galapagos Archipelago's most beautiful beaches. Take a kayak out onto the water to see marine life up close and see the coastline from a different perspective. 

After kayaking, sunbathe on the beach or head back under the waves for some afternoon snorkeling. Stay the night in Puerto Ayora.

Day 13: Free Day on Santa Cruz Island

Sea lions diving
Sea lions diving

With no planned activities today, you're free to enjoy the island's beauty at your own pace. Hike to Tortuga Bay, go for a stroll in the peaceful town of Puerto Ayora, shop for souvenirs, explore hidden coves, or rent a bike to explore the highlands. 

Today is for enjoying the Galapagos Islands, taking lots of photos, and slowing down the pace to truly appreciate island life. 

Day 14: Transfer to Airport on Baltra Island

Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos
Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos

If there is enough free time before your transfer to the airport, do some last-minute souvenir shopping or take a last stroll through Puerto Ayora.

At the designated time, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross on a ferry. For the last part of your trip to the airport, take the public shuttle bus to the terminal, where your trip ends with your return flight to the mainland.

Map

Map of Galapagos Island Hopping: Water, Wildlife, & Wilderness - 14 Days
Map of Galapagos Island Hopping: Water, Wildlife, & Wilderness - 14 Days