Get your adrenaline pumping on this 12-day tour of the UNESCO-listed Galápagos Islands. Look out for rare species of birds, reptiles, mammals, and marine creatures as you hike and snorkel your way through the world-famous archipelago. Along the way, you'll kayak among mangroves, go standup paddleboarding, explore pirate caves, and rappel into the depths of the Sierra Negra volcano.


  • Kayak among bird-spotted mangroves in Tortuga Bay
  • Go standup paddleboarding off Puerto Villamil on Isla Isabela
  • Explore Floreana's pirate caves, springs, and black-sand beaches
  • Rappel into the Sierra Negra volcano
  • Snorkel with rays, turtles, and tropical fish

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz & Explore Galápagos National Park Isla Santa Cruz
Day 2 Kayak Tortuga Bay & Tour Santa Cruz Bay Isla Santa Cruz
Day 3 Isla Floreana Full-Day Tour Isla Santa Cruz
Day 4 Speedboat to Isla Isabela & Los Túneles Tour Isla Isabela
Day 5 Rappel in Trillizos & Bike to Puerto Villamil Isla Isabela
Day 6 Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano Isla Isabela
Day 7 Puerto Villamil Standup Paddleboarding Isla Santa Cruz
Day 8 Explore an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 9 Transfer to Isla San Cristóbal, Explore Isla San Cristóbal
Day 10 Wildlife Encounter & Diving at Isla Española Isla San Cristóbal
Day 11 Snorkeling at Kicker Rock Isla San Cristóbal
Day 12 Depart Isla San Cristóbal  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive on Isla Santa Cruz & Explore Galápagos National Park

Meet the famous Galápagos giant tortoises

Welcome to the Galápagos Islands! Touchdown 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, where your guide will take you to Puerto Ayora, home to the Charles Darwin Foundation and Galápagos National Park.

On the way, you'll stop at a highland farm and 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 Galápagos giant tortoises breed. The center is the best place on the islands to see and learn about different tortoise species.

Day 2: Kayak Tortuga Bay & Tour Santa Cruz Bay

Get a different perspective of the coastline in a kayak

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 other 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 3: Isla Floreana Full-Day Tour

Look out for distinctive vegetation on Isla Floreana

Discover Isla Floreana today, named after the first president of Ecuador, who took ownership of the Galápagos Islands. Floreana was also the first island in the archipelago to be inhabited, and today is home to around 200 locals. During the tour, you'll learn about the island's colorful history, which involves tales of wildfires, whalers, and mysterious deaths.

Head to the highlands first, stopping at Asilo de la Paz to visit a pirate's cave and freshwater springs. Hear about the first families that settled in the area and the story of the Baronesa, a woman with two lovers who claimed to be the island's owner. Your next stop is La Lobería, a 3,000-foot-long (900 m) path that you can hike to watch sea lions and marine iguanas. Finish the tour with a trip to peaceful Playa Negra for some beach time.

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

Day 4: Speedboat to Isla Isabela & Los Túneles Tour

See Humboldt penguins in their natural environment

Start the day with a speedboat ride to Isla Isabela, the largest island in the Galápagos archipelago. The seahorse-shaped island is famed for having the world's second-largest active crater: the Sierra Negra volcano. Isabela is also home to everything from flightless cormorants to penguins and iguanas.

Visit Isabela's Los Túneles, a geological wonder of rock arches and tunnels that wind above and below the ocean. These result in one of the island's most unique snorkeling spots. Get your gear ready and dive in to search for reef fish, rays, turtles, seahorses, and even whitetip reef sharks. Relax at your hotel and explore Isla Isabela's local eateries this evening.

Day 5: Rappel in Trillizos & Bike to Puerto Villamil

Try some rappelling at Los Trillizos Cave

Get your blood pumping today on a trip to Los Trillizos Cave, an artery of the Sierra Negra volcano. You'll rappel down into the volcano, descending 493 feet (150 m) through a hole created by spurting lava. As you continue, pass through a cavern decorated with glittering quartz and spot the bones of cows who've stumbled into the volcano shaft.

Take a break for lunch before cycling to the small seaside village of Puerto Villamil. The leisurely downhill route leads through Isabela's spectacular scenery; look out for exotic birds en route. Return to your hotel for a well-earned relaxing evening.

Day 6: Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano

Explore the lava landscape of Sierra Negra volcano

Today, take a hike on the crater of Sierra Negra volcano. It's one of the largest shield volcanoes in the world, with a distinctive low profile and nearly six-mile (10 km) diameter crater. Your six-hour roundtrip hike to the volcanic summit will begin from Puerto Villamil. As you approach the crater, explore its lava landscapes and soak up views of Isabela and Fernandina islands' volcanoes. End your day with a rest on the beach or a snorkeling trip through Concha Perla's mangrove forests.

Day 7: Puerto Villamil Standup Paddleboarding

Paddle your way among mangroves, looking out for wildlife

Enjoy more watery adventures today with a standup paddleboard trip from Puerto Villamil on Isla Isabela. Paddle through lush mangroves and across the tranquil bay, looking out for wildlife along the way. Sightings may include boobies, pelicans, and frigatebirds. Afterward, don your snorkeling gear for a swim in Concha Perla, a sparkling natural pool set among a mangrove forest. Later, take a speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz.

Day 8: Explore an Uninhabited Island

Explore the red craters of Bartolomé 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 and the permits granted by the park authorities, you'll sail out to either Santa Fé, Plaza Sur, Bartolomé, or Seymour Norte. Discover their wild volcanic landscapes and encounter species found nowhere else.

Look out for 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 relax on the beach and have a lunch break on the boat, returning to Puerto Ayora at the end of the day.

Day 9: Transfer to Isla San Cristóbal, Explore

Sunbathe alongside sea lions on Isla San Cristóbal's La Lobería

Say goodbye to 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 exhibition details how humans discovered the islands.

Next, see some of the archipelago's iconic wildlife in its natural habitat at Tijeretas Hill, named for the tijeretas (frigatebirds) that inhabit and nest in this area. If you visit the island between June to 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 10: Wildlife Encounter & Diving in Isla Española

Dive with seals at Gardner Islet

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 glimpse the famous Española albatross, one of the Galápagos' most unique birds.

Head back to the boat and set sail for Gardner Islet, enjoying a picnic lunch on board. Drop anchor and prepare your snorkeling or diving equipment to explore the wildlife-rich waters of Gardner Bay. You'll dive alongside sea lion pups, Galápagos sharks, and colorful fish. Afterward, return to your hotel in the early evening.

Day 11: Snorkeling at Kicker Rock

Take a speedboat to visit 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. Tonight, you'll dine at a popular restaurant by the sea.

Day 12: Depart Isla San Cristóbal

Say goodbye to the Galápagos Islands today as you catch your onward flight

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!

More Great Galápagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos Islands? Check out these other Galápagos itineraries, explore different ways to spend 12 days in the Galápagos, or discover the best time to visit the Galápagos.


Map of Galápagos Islands Adrenaline Tour - 12 Days
Map of Galápagos Islands Adrenaline Tour - 12 Days