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. 


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

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival at 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 Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 7 Free Morning & Afternoon Boat Tour Puerto Ayora
Day 8 Day Trip to 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 at San Cristobal Island

San Cristobal Island
San Cristobal Island

Welcome to the beautiful Galapagos Islands! You will meet your driver at San Cristobal Airport, then transfer to your hotel. Spend the afternoon at leisure on this gorgeous island. You can stroll through town, admiring the sea lions and other wildlife. At sunset, head over to Playa Mann for incredible views. Then try some freshly caught seafood at one of the island's family-run restaurants.

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

Curious sea lion greeting snorkeller
A curious sea lion 

This morning, you will embark on an exciting tour of the island, beginning with a visit to the Interpretation Center with your guide, where you will learn about the history of the Galapagos and future planned projects that concern this unique collection of islands.

Afterward, you will take a short walk to Tijeretas Hill, where you'll see frigate birds nesting and get a spectacular panoramic view over the island. Finish the day at La Lobería, a beach that is home to a colony of sea lions. From afar, you can observe these adorable mammals interact with each other and play in the sand.

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, or "the Sleeping Lion"), a volcanic formation that protrudes from the ocean waves. Put on a wetsuit — the water's cold! — to snorkel with sea lions, colorful fish, rays, and turtles. If you're lucky, you may also spot hammerhead sharks. 

After a leisurely lunch, you'll head to one of the area's pristine beaches to relax in the sunshine. Later in the afternoon, you'll head to the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to enjoy a free evening. Have dinner in a local restaurant, enjoying the views of fishing boats in the harbor.

Day 4: Free Day on San Cristobal

Lazing in the sunshine
Lazing in the sunshine

Make the most of a free day on San Cristobal Island. If you want to rest, spend the day on the beach at Playa Carola or Playa Mann. Sunbathe next to friendly sea lions, play in the water, and enjoy island life. If you're looking for something a bit more active, go on an excursion to Pitt Point or Cerro Brujo (Witch Hill), both of which provide access to some of San Cristobal's astonishing natural landscapes.

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. 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.   

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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.

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. 

Day 8: Day Trip to Another Uninhabited Island

Frigate bird
Frigate bird

Another day, another boat trip to an uninhabited island — this time, you'll go to a different one than yesterday. Once again, you'll get incredible opportunities to see endemic wildlife in its natural habitat and protected lands. The boat trip itself is also a joy to do, as you'll enjoy magnificent ocean scenery on the way to and from the island. Afterward, enjoy your evening in laid-back Puerto Ayora, dining al fresco in one of the restaurants in town and doing some souvenir shopping.

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

Sea lion walking on Las Tintoreras
A sea lion on Tintoreras Islet

Start your morning with a public speed boat trip to Isabela Island, a 2-hour trip. Once onshore, 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. Later, 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

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
The 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. Enjoy the beauty of the Galapagos, take lots of photos, and slow down the pace to truly appreciate island life on your last day in the archipelago.

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.

More Great Galapagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galapagos? Check out these other 14-day Galapagos Islands itineraries, with island-hopping cruises, land-based trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

Or, describe your ideal trip and we will connect you with a local specialist to make it happen.


Map of Galapagos Island Hopping: Water, Wildlife, & Wilderness - 14 Days
Map of Galapagos Island Hopping: Water, Wildlife, & Wilderness - 14 Days
Written by Linda Schulz Old, updated Oct 29, 2021