Hop around three of the most famous islands in the Galapagos archipelago. You'll transfer from San Cristobal to Isabel, and then to Santa Cruz on this 10-day adventure. On each island, you will spend your days looking for the endemic species that inspired Darwin's Theory of Evolution, like giant Galapagos tortoises and marine iguanas. Besides this, you'll hike volcanoes, snorkel around rock formations, learn about conservation, and visit uninhabited islands.

Highlights

  • See blue-footed boobies, seals, iguanas, and tortoises in their natural habitats
  • Swim next to marine turtles, iguanas, and sharks at Los Tuneles
  • Hike up Sierra Negra to see the world's second-largest volcanic crater
  • Go on an exciting snorkeling trip around Kicker Rock
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Station and learn about conservation in the islands

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in San Cristobal Island San Cristobal Island
Day 2 Tour of San Cristobal Island San Cristobal Island
Day 3 Snorkeling at Kicker Rock San Cristobal Island
Day 4 Flight to Isabela Island Isabela
Day 5 Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano Isabela
Day 6 Excursion to Los Tuneles Isabela
Day 7 Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island Puerto Ayora
Days 8-9 Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 10 Transfer to Airport on Baltra Island  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in 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 accommodation.

Spend the afternoon at leisure in this gorgeous island. You can stroll through town, admiring the sea lions and other wildlife. At sunset, head over to Playa Mann for an incredible spectacle.

Day 2: Tour of San Cristobal Island

Frigate bird nesting
Frigate bird nesting

This morning, you will embark on an exciting tour of the island, beginning a visit to the Interpretation Center with your guide. Here, 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 with a bang 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

Kicker Rock, an excellent snorkeling spot
Kicker Rock, an excellent snorkeling spot

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

After a delicious lunch aboard the boat, head to a beautiful, pristine beach to relax in the sunshine.

In the afternoon, you'll return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and enjoy a free evening.

Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
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Day 4: Flight to Isabela Island

Marine iguana soaking up the sun
Marine iguana soaking up the sun

In the early morning, you will head to the airport to board a short flight to Isabela Island.

Once there, you'll have the rest of the morning and early afternoon to explore at your own pace. We recommend visiting the Flamingo Lagoon or the Giant Tortoise Breeding Station.

In the afternoon, you will visit the tiny island of Tintoreras to do hiking and snorkeling. During the first activity, you'll see Humboldt penguins, marine iguanas, and sea lions resting in the natural channels formed by lava. When you snorkel in the turquoise water, you'll spot different fish, sea turtles, rays, and sharks—you might also get to swim next to the iguanas!

Day 5: Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano

Crater of the Sierra Negra volcano
Crater of the Sierra Negra volcano

The majestic Sierra Negra Volcano will occupy today's agenda.

You'll do a six-hour roundtrip hike to its summit, from where you'll get to see the second-largest volcanic crater in the world. Walk around spectacular lava landscapes, taking in the northern volcanoes in Isabela and Fernandina Islands. During your climb, make sure to be on the lookout for the unique vegetation that inhabits the area.

You'll have some free time after you get back to Isabela Island. If you still have energy, you can head to a beach or snorkel at Concha Perla.

Day 6: Excursion to Los Tuneles

Sea turtle in Los Tuneles
Sea turtle in Los Tuneles

Get ready for more wildlife encounters with a thrilling excursion to Los Tuneles, a perfect snorkeling spot.

A series of lava flows have produced unique geological formations, like arcs and tunnels underneath and above the water, which makes the area a truly excellent place to swim around. In the shallow waters, you can find tropical fish, rays, turtles, sea horses, and white-tipped reef sharks! Keep your eyes open for penguins sitting on the rocks and prepare yourself for the possibility of swimming with majestic sea turtles.

At night, you can rest or explore Isabela Island as you wish.

Day 7: Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island

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 2.5 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 before continuing to Puerto Ayora

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, analysis of the effects of tourism on nature, and other pressing issues. Visit the turtle rearing station to see where animals are raised before being released into the wild. Keep an eye out for land iguanas, who live around the station.   

Days 8-9: Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island

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

Ride a yacht to an uninhabited island around Santa Cruz. 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, offering spectacular scenery and opportunities to see rare wildlife up-close. Santa Fé and South Plazas are home to endemic land iguanas, while Bartolomé is known for its beautiful lava sceneries. On North Seymour, look for frigate birds, land iguanas, and blue-footed boobies.

In the evening, return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy some free time. 

Day 10: 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 stroll through Puerto Ayora one last time.

At the designated time, your driver will transfer you to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross by ferry. For the last part of your trip to the airport, you'll take the public shuttle bus to the terminal. Then, you'll check-in for your flight back to the mainland.

Map

Map of Galapagos Islands Highlights: San Cristobal, Isabela & Santa Cruz - 10 Days
Map of Galapagos Islands Highlights: San Cristobal, Isabela & Santa Cruz - 10 Days