This adventurous 5-day itinerary is a diver's delight! The Galapagos Marine Reserve is teeming with colorful wildlife, and you'll delve right into it during this island-hopping tour focused on underwater adventures. Go diving at various sites around the archipelago, keeping your eyes open for hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, rays, tropical fish, and rare species like the ocean sunfish. Spend your days under the sea and your evenings relaxing and dining out in the town of Puerto Ayora — a great mix of active adventure and downtime.

Highlights

  • Learn about island conservation at the Charles Darwin Center
  • Swim with playful sea lions and giant sea turtles
  • Dive deep into the ocean to see hammerhead sharks and manta rays
  • View the rare ocean sunfish (Mola mola) in its natural habitat

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on Santa Cruz Island & Visit Charles Darwin Station Puerto Ayora
Day 2 Go Diving Near Floreana Island Puerto Ayora
Day 3 See Galapagos Sharks Underwater at Gordon Rocks Puerto Ayora
Day 4 Dive Offshore Two Different Islands Puerto Ayora
Day 5 Transfer to Airport & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive on Santa Cruz Island & Visit Charles Darwin Station

Giant Galapagos Tortoise
A giant Galapagos tortoise

Welcome to the Galapagos Islands! You'll start the adventure on Santa Cruz Island. Enjoy lunch at a local farm in the highlands, followed by the observation of giant turtles in the wild. Then continue to the port in Puerto Ayora to check into your hotel.

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, then return to Puerto Ayora for a relaxing evening. 

Day 2: Go Diving Near Floreana Island

Butterfly fish
A school of butterflyfish in the Galapagos

Today you'll go diving off Floreana Island, the least populated island of the archipelago — at least in terms of people! You'll have three dive sites to choose from: Punta Cormorant, Champion, and Enderby. Each offers something a little different; across all three, an occasional current provides the thrilling opportunity of drift diving.

Look out for the endemic red-lipped batfish and the unique Galapagos Sea Robin, a bottom-dwelling fish. You'll also likely see white tip reef sharks, turtles, baby sea lions, Galapagos sharks, stingrays, eagle rays, marbled rays, barracudas, reef fish, and octopuses around the reef. 

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Day 3: See Galapagos Sharks Underwater at Gordon Rocks

Sea turtle
Coming face to face with a sea turtle while diving in the Galapagos

The diving adventure continues today at Gordon Rocks. Sometimes called "The Washing Machine," it's a popular site where intermediate and advanced divers appreciate the challenging currents and upwellings. These currents bring the plankton to the surface, attracting large pelagic fish from across the sea. This is also one of the best places to spot hammerhead sharks and the weird and wonderful oceanic sunfish (Mola mola). Be on the watch for Galapagos sharks, white tip reef sharks, giant sea turtles, various kinds of rays, reef fish, Galapagos eels, and barracudas. 

Day 4: Dive Offshore Two Different Islands

Swimming sea lions
Swimming sea lions in the Galapagos

Today's agenda takes you to two dive sites. First, you'll visit the Seymour Channel, a popular spot for viewing sharks. You may encounter hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, and reef sharks. Sea lions take advantage of the situation to hunt, and turtles, rays, Galapagos eels, and barracudas also populate the area.

After taking a break for lunch, you'll go diving at Mosquera Islet, which emerges from the sea near Baltra Island. Keep an eye out for hammerhead sharks and garden eels that pop their heads out of the sandy floor and disappear again as you approach. You'll also swim near reef sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, barracudas, various kinds of rays, Galápagos eels, and a colorful variety of reef fish and invertebrates. Head back to Puerto Ayora afterward for one last Ecuadorian-style dinner before the trip comes to a close.

Day 5: Transfer to Airport & Depart

Beautiful sunset in the Galapagos
A beautiful sunset in the Galapagos

Have breakfast and do some last-minute souvenir shopping in Puerto Ayora. Then you will transfer to the Itabaca Channel, which you will cross by ferry, and head to the airport. Safe travels!

More Great Galapagos Islands Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to the Galapagos? Check out these other 5-day Galapagos Islands itineraries, with island-hopping cruises, land-based trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights.