Discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands on this weeklong journey around the archipelago. Instead of getting on a yacht, you'll base yourself on dry land, enjoying various excursions from island towns. Snorkel with sea turtles, hike to see blue-footed boobies in their natural habitat, view giant tortoises up close, island-hop on a speedboat, and relax on pristine beaches. This wide-ranging itinerary offers a great variety of attractions for outdoor enthusiasts.

Highlights

  • Snorkel with fish and rays at the famous Kicker Rock
  • See giant Galapagos Tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island
  • Explore an uninhabited island with endemic species
  • Swim with playful sea lions and relax on pristine beaches

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on San Cristobal Island & Visit the Interpretation Center  San Cristobal Island
Day 2 Snorkel at Kicker Rock San Cristobal Island
Day 3 Ride a Speedboat to Santa Cruz Island Puerto Ayora
Day 4 Explore the Outdoors on an Afternoon Boat Tour Puerto Ayora
Day 5 Day Trip to an Uninhabited Island Puerto Ayora
Day 6 Free Day to Hike and Swim Puerto Ayora
Day 7 Transfer to Airport & Depart   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive on San Cristobal Island & Visit the Interpretation Center 

Curious sea lion greeting snorkeller
A curious sea lion greets a snorkeler

Welcome to the beautiful Galapagos Islands! You will meet your driver at San Cristobal Airport, then transfer to your accommodations in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Next you will embark on an exciting tour of the island, beginning with a visit to the Interpretation Center with your guide. Here, you'll learn about the history of the Galapagos and future planned projects that concern the surrounding collection of islands.

Later, 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 2: Snorkel at Kicker Rock

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

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 back to the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to enjoy a free evening. Have a seafood dinner in a local restaurant, enjoying the views of fishing boats in the harbor.

Day 3: Ride a 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, a journey that takes more than two hours. 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 the port of 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. Make sure to look around for the land iguanas who live around the station.   

Day 4: Explore the Outdoors on an Afternoon Boat Tour

Snorkeling with a sea turtle
Snorkeling with a sea turtle off Santa Cruz Island

Your morning is free to spend as you wish. Relax 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 5: 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 near 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 6: Free Day to Hike and Swim

Sea lions on the shore of Tortuga Bay

Today is yours to spend as you wish. You could explore the island, starting with a 45-minute hike from Puerto Ayora to Tortuga Bay. It's widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Take a kayak out onto the water to see marine life up close and view the coastline from a different perspective. After kayaking, sunbathe on the beach or dive beneath the waves for some afternoon snorkeling. 

Day 7: Transfer to Airport & Depart 

Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos
Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos

Do some last-minute souvenir shopping in Puerto Ayora before transferring to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross by ferry to make the connection to the airport terminal. Check in for your flight back to the mainland. Safe travels!

More Great Galapagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galapagos? Check out these other 7-day Galapagos Islands itineraries, with island-hopping cruises, land-based trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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