- Sail to rugged islands to spot rare species of wildlife
- Kayak through crystal waters and mangroves in Tortuga Bay
- Visit La Galapaguera, a giant tortoise breeding center
- Snorkel with marine creatures in Gardner Islet, Pinzón, and Kicker Rock
- Tour the famous Charles Darwin Research Station
|Day 1||Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz, Explore Galápagos National Park||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 2||Discover Isla Pinzón & La Fé||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 3||Explore an Uninhabited Island||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 4||Free Day on Isla Santa Cruz||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 5||Kayak Tortuga Bay & Tour of Santa Cruz Bay||Isla Santa Cruz|
|Day 6||Transfer to Isla San Cristóbal, Explore||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 7||Snorkeling at Kicker Rock||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 8||Free Day on Isla San Cristóbal||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 9||Wildlife Encounter & Snorkelt Isla Española||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 10||El Junco Lagoon, Tortoise Breeding Center & Puerto Chino Beach||Isla San Cristóbal|
|Day 11||Free Morning on Isla San Cristóbal, Depart|
Day 1: Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz, Explore Galápagos National Park
Welcome to the Galápagos Islands! Meet your guide at Baltra Airport and then register your entry to the national park before taking a bus to the Itabaca Canal docks. Here, you'll board a ferry to Isla Santa Cruz and head to Puerto Ayora, home to the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galápagos National Park.
On the way, you'll stop at a local highland farm, where you'll see dozens of giant tortoises. After lunch, tour the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you'll see scientists working on environmental projects. End the day with a trip to the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, where protected giant Galápagos tortoises breed. The center is the best place on the islands to see and learn about different tortoise species.
Day 2: Discover Isla Pinzón & La Fé
This morning you'll head out for a snorkeling tour of Pinzón, one of the least-visited islands in the Galápagos. Surrounded by deep waters fished by locals, Pinzón is home to various species, including vermilion flycatchers, snakes, and giant tortoises protected by a conservation project. Your first stop of the day is Penguin Bay, where you'll snorkel in the clear waters, which teem with diverse marine life. Spot colorful schools of fish, turtles and rays, reef sharks, and penguins. Since local fishermen run the tour, you'll also get a chance to fish—anything you catch will be served up as fresh sashimi.
After lunch on board, continue to La Fé, a beautiful white-sand beach where you'll have a chance to recline on the soft sands, spot wildlife, and swim. There's one final snorkel site of the day, where you'll likely see sea lions, reef fish, and lush coral gardens. Return to Puerto Ayora in the late afternoon.
Day 3: Explore an Uninhabited Island
Today you'll explore one of the uninhabited islands in the Galápagos archipelago, which comprises 13 large islands and over 40 small islands and islets. Depending on the day, you'll sail out to either Santa Fé, Plaza Sur, Bartolomé, or Seymour Norte. Journey through their wild volcanic landscapes and encounter species found nowhere else.
Look out for marine iguanas on the crescent-shaped Plaza Sur, wander through a vast cacti forest and spot sea lions on Santa Fé, and find lava lizards on Seymour Norte. If you dock on Bartolomé, hike among red craters shadowed by two volcanic cinder cones, spotting Galápagos penguins at Pinnacle Rock. You'll have a chance to rest on the beach and have lunch on the boat, returning to Puerto Ayora at the end of the day.
Day 4: Free Day on Santa Cruz
Enjoy a free day on Isla Santa Cruz, home to a dormant volcano that last erupted over 1.5 million years ago. With no planned activities, relax at your hotel or head out to explore at your own pace. If you're feeling active, hike to Tortuga Bay or stroll down to the peaceful town of Puerto Ayora for a meal or to shop for souvenirs. If you want to get out on the water, rent a kayak to explore secret sandy coves.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Kayak Tortuga Bay & Tour of Santa Cruz Bay
Today's kayaking adventure begins with a hike from Puerto Ayora to Tortuga Bay, loved for its soft coral sand and paradisiacal scenery. As you kayak, admire the coastline from a different perspective, observing colonies of marine birds and mangroves, cacti forests, and fascinating flora. Pelicans and finches are local to the area, and you may spot flamingoes near the salt lagoon. Enjoy some beach time before returning to Puerto Ayora.
In the afternoon, take a boat tour of Santa Cruz Bay. First, stop at the tiny islet of La Lobería, where you can snorkel among sea lions and tropical fish. Afterward, head to Shark Channel, where you may spot harmless whitetip sharks and blue-footed boobies. You'll also pass through the Canal del Amor, where sea turtles and fish thrive. Take a short walk to a marine iguana site, where you'll observe the animals up close.
Day 6: Transfer to Isla San Cristóbal, Explore
Say goodbye to Isla Santa Cruz today and take a speedboat to Isla San Cristóbal. Start by visiting the Interpretation Center, where you'll learn about the fascinating history of the Galápagos Islands. Hear about the challenges facing the volcanic archipelago and how conservationists are trying to protect it. The natural history room has a presentation about the island's origins, while another exhibit details how humans discovered the islands.
Next, see some of the archipelago's iconic wildlife in its natural habitat at Las Tijeretas Hill, named for the tijeretas (frigatebirds) that inhabit and nest in this area. If you visit the island between June and October, you may also see migrating whales traveling across the ocean. Finish the day at La Lobería, a pristine beach home to sea lions.
Day 7: Snorkeling at Kicker Rock
Today you'll head to Kicker Rock, a nearly 500-foot (152 m) pair of volcanic islands connected by an underground channel. During the scenic speedboat ride along the San Cristóbal coast, look out for frigatebirds and two types of boobies.
Get your snorkeling gear on to explore the channel, which is the perfect habitat for Galápagos sharks, large rays, reef fish, sea turtles, and sea lions. Have lunch on the boat and spend a restful beach afternoon at either Puerto Grande, Cerro Brujo, or Manglecito.
Day 8: Free Day on Isla San Cristóbal
Make the most of a free day in Isla San Cristóbal. This easternmost island in the Galápagos comprises four extinct, fused volcanoes. In nearby Naufragio Bay, the English naturalist Charles Darwin landed in 1835 and compiled data that he later incorporated into his groundbreaking "On the Origin of Species" scientific report.
If you want to relax, spend the day on the beach at Playa Carola or Playa Mann. Sunbathe beside friendly sea lions and paddle in the warm ocean. If you're looking for something more active, arrange an excursion to Pitt Point, where you'll take a boat to a remote shore and hike on a trail among thorny shrubs that manage to survive in this barren volcanic landscape. The reward is the magnificent viewpoints overlooking the beach.
Day 9: Wildlife Encounter & Snorkel Isla Española
Rise early for a boat trip to the stunning Isla Española. You'll dock at Punta Suarez, the starting point for a two-hour hike, where you'll spot some of the most iconic wildlife in the Galápagos Islands. Animals include the blue-footed and Nazca boobies, as well as Española iguanas and sea lion pups. If you're lucky, you might see the famous Española albatross, one of the Galápagos' most unique birds.
Head back to the boat and set sail for Gardner Islet, feasting on a picnic lunch on board. Drop anchor and prepare your snorkeling equipment to explore the wildlife-rich waters of Gardner Bay. You'll dive alongside pup sea lions, Galápagos sharks, and colorful fish. Afterward, return to Puerto Baquerizo in the early evening.
Day 10: El Junco Lagoon, Tortoise Breeding Center & Puerto Chino Beach
Head to the highlands this morning, stopping at El Junco Lagoon, a freshwater lake 2,300 feet (700 m) above sea level. It's one of the few permanent freshwater lakes in the Galápagos. Here you can see frigatebirds removing salt from their feathers; you'll also spot white-cheeked pintails and common gallinules flitting among the highland vegetation and endemic tree ferns. Next, visit La Galapaguera, a giant tortoise breeding center that aims to restore populations of this threatened species and release them back into the wild. Learn about and observe these iconic creatures as they wander in a semi-natural habitat.
Continue southeast to Puerto Chino, a remote beach with various winged and flippered inhabitants. The fine white sand offers plenty of space to stretch out, while the calm water is perfect for swimming. There's plenty of wildlife to spot, including finches in the mangroves and sea lions in the surrounding rocks. Return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno afterward for a final evening.
Day 11: Free Morning on Isla San Cristóbal, Depart
Today your Galápagos Islands adventure comes to an end. After breakfast, you'll be transferred to San Cristóbal Airport for your flight to the mainland, where you'll connect to your homebound flight. Safe travels!