Get familiar with the small untamed islands of the Galápagos on this nine-day adventure. Discover environment conservation projects in Isla Santa Cruz and get to know giant tortoises and their habitat. Explore smaller islands like Isla Floreana and Isla Pinzón, where you can swim, snorkel along secluded coves, and lounge with sea lions and marine iguanas. Revel in Isla San Cristóbal's diverse landscapes and stunning marine life. Kayak and swim with penguins, sea lions, and rays off Tintoreras Islet.


  • Explore the Santa Cruz highlands and learn about giant Galápagos tortoises
  • Discover the rich history and untamed wildlife of Isla Floreana 
  • Mingle with sea lions, penguins, and marine iguanas on Isla San Cristóbal
  • Kayak and snorkel contentedly at Tintoreras Islet and Los Túneles

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santa Cruz, Visit Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station Isla Santa Cruz
Day 2 Explore an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 3 Day Trip to Floreana Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 4 Discover Pinzón Island & La Fé Isla Santa Cruz
Day 5 Transfer to San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill Isla San Cristóbal
Day 6 Day Trip to Isla Española Isla San Cristóbal
Day 7 Fly to Isla Isabela, Explore Tintoreras Islet Isla Isabela
Day 8 Excursion to Los Túneles, Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz Isla Santa Cruz
Day 9 Transfer to Isla Baltra, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santa Cruz, Visit Santa Cruz Highlands & Charles Darwin Station

Tourist with a giant Galapagos tortoise
Say hello to the gentle giant Galápagos tortoises

Welcome to the Galápagos Islands! After arriving at the airport in Isla Baltra, a local guide will pick you up. On the way to Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz, you'll stop at a local farm in the highlands, where dozens of giant tortoises exist. Wander around on your own to appreciate these majestic creatures. Then, enjoy lunch before continuing to your hotel. 

In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Witness firsthand the work of international scientists coming to the Galápagos to conduct environmental projects. Head to the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, where giant Galápagos tortoises breed and are cared for. This is the best place on the islands to see different tortoise species and learn about each one.

Day 2: Explore an Uninhabited Island

Isla Bartolomé
Be greeted by blue-footed boobies on your small island adventure today

After breakfast, you'll take a full-day boat tour to an uninhabited isle around Santa Cruz. Depending on the permits granted by the park authorities, you'll travel to either Santa , Plaza Sur, Plaza Norte, Seymour Norte, or Bartolomé. After a boat ride, hike with your guide to see more wildlife and relax on the beach, with a break on deck for lunch. At the end of your tour, return to Puerto Ayora.   

Day 3: Day Trip to Isla Floreana

Floreana Island
See impressive stone sculptures on the mysterious Isla Floreana
Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After breakfast, you'll be picked up at your hotel, joining a small group to visit Isla Floreana, filled with mysteries, romance, and history. Once you arrive, head to Asilo de la Paz, where you'll enter a pirate's cave with a freshwater spring in Floreana's highlands. Later, hear the history of the first families who arrived and settled in the Galápagos. The final visit will be to La Lobería's half-mile (1 km) long path, where you'll observe sea lions and marine iguanas sunbathing. Later relax and enjoy beach time at Playa Negra

Day 4: Discover Isla Pinzón & La Fé

Discover Pinzon Island & La Fé
A school of fish near Isla Pinzón

Today embark on an adventure to Isla Pinzón and La Fé. You'll arrive at Pinzón, the first snorkel stop of the day. Snorkel in Penguin Bay, with clear blue waters rich with marine life. This allows you to observe sea lions, turtles, reef sharks, rays, tropical fish, and penguins. There will also be time to go fishing before continuing another 30-minute boat ride to La Fé, a beautiful white sandy beach. Lunch will be served on board, and during that time, hop off and swim to the shore, relax in the sun, or take in more stunning views of aquatic life while snorkeling.

Day 5: Transfer to Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center &Tijeretas Hill

Welcome to San Cristóbal Island! Visit the Interpretation Center, Tijeretas Hill, or La Lobería
Opuntia cactus field on San Cristóbal 

Meet your guide in the morning for a ride to the dock in Puerto Ayora. From there, take a three-hour speedboat to Isla San Cristóbal. Check in to your hotel and then visit an interpretation center to learn about the island's wildlife and conservation efforts. In a natural history room, see a presentation of the island's origins and human history since Galápagos' discovery. Afterward, hike along Las Tijeretas Hill to see the archipelagos' wildlife in their natural habitat. Named for tijeretas (frigatebirds) that nest in this area, you may also see whales if you visit the island from June to October. 

Day 6: Day Trip to Isla Española

Wildlife Encounter in San Cristobal: Española Island
Albatross on Isla Española

Today's destinations are Isla Española and Gardner Islet to see some of Galápagos' most iconic wildlife, including albatross, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and Española iguanas. After a hotel transfer, take a two-hour boat ride, followed by a two-hour hike, to begin your exploration of the first stop, Isla Española. There will be time to hike on the island and return to the boat to get your snorkeling gear ready for Gardner Bay.

Swim around Gardner Islet with sea lion pups, fish, and marine iguanas. Take a break for lunch on the boat, and then head back to Puerto Baquerizo in the late afternoon.

Day 7: Fly to Isla Isabela, Explore Tintoreras Islet

Flight to Isabela Island
Harmless whitetip reef sharks on patrol

A driver will pick you up at your hotel and escort you to the small airport on Isla San Cristóbal, where you'll take an island hopper plane to Isla Isabela. Enjoy a 45-minute panoramic flight over the archipelago. Upon arrival, another driver will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel in Puerto Villamil. Later visit the Tintoreras Islet, mainly formed by lava rocks, for a short hike and snorkeling. This site is full of rich biodiversity and is home to the whitetip reef sharks, sea lions, turtles, iguanas, and many other species.

This small islet is named after the reef sharks, also known as whitetip sharks, that can be seen swimming along with fish and sea lions in the channels when the tide is low. You'll find marine iguanas nesting, allowing for close encounters, along with Humboldt penguins, blue-footed boobies, and sharks, which rest in the natural channels formed by lava flows. Snorkel in clear turquoise water, and observe sea turtles, starfish, tropical fish, rays, pelicans, and Galápagos penguins. Return to Puerto Villamil and enjoy this laid-back town. End your day with drinks as you watch the sunset.

Day 8: Excursion to Los Túneles, Transfer to Isla Santa Cruz

Sea turtle
Sea turtle in action

Los Túneles' geological formations of rock arches and tunnels below and above the ocean are one of Isla Isabela's unique snorkeling spots. With your gear ready, start in shallow water, where you can encounter various aquatic wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for tropical fish, rays, turtles, seahorses, and starfish. When you emerge above the water, look for penguins or blue-footed boobies waiting to greet you on the rocks. After the excursion, return by boat to Puerto Villamil and grab your bags for a three-hour speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, where you'll stay for the night.

Day 9: Transfer to Isla Baltra, Depart

Bid the Galapagos farewell
Bid the Galápagos farewell

Today you'll bid the Galápagos Islands farewell. If there is enough free time before your transfer to the airport, you could do some last-minute shopping in Puerto Ayora. Pop into Chocolapagos, an artisan chocolate shop that uses 100% Ecuadorian Arriba Cacao. At the Galeria Exotico Ecuador, you can shop for fair trade crafts handmade by local artisans and communities across Ecuador.

When it's time, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the Itabaca Channel, where you'll cross on a ferry. For the last part of your trip to the airport, take the public shuttle bus to the airport terminal to catch your return flight to the mainland and onward connection. Safe travels!

More Great 10-Day Galápagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galápagos Islands? Check out these 10-day Galápagos itineraries, with island-hopping cruises, land-based trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 


Map of Galápagos Small Island Adventures: Isla Santa Cruz, Isla San Cristóbal & Isla Isabela - 9 Days
Map of Galápagos Small Island Adventures: Isla Santa Cruz, Isla San Cristóbal & Isla Isabela - 9 Days