Hike around an island populated by blue-footed boobies, then dive beneath the surface of the ocean to swim with sea lions and pufferfish: this week-long itinerary in the Galápagos is filled with wildlife and outdoor activities. You'll explore Isla Santa Cruz and Isla San Cristóbal, as well as a pair of uninhabited islands, enjoying boat tours, a snorkeling excursion, and guided nature hikes along the way.


  • See rare species like blue-footed boobies in the wild 
  • Get up close with the islands' iconic giant tortoises
  • Snorkel with pufferfish and eels in Gardner Islet
  • Take boating day trips to wild and uninhabited islands 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Explore the City Quito
Day 2 Fly to the Galápagos, Tour Charles Darwin Research Station Isla Santa Cruz
Day 3 Explore an Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 4 Discover a Second Uninhabited Island Isla Santa Cruz
Day 5 Boat to Isla San Cristóbal, Hike Las Tijeretas Hill Isla San Cristóbal
Day 6 Encounter Wildlife on Isla Española Isla San Cristóbal
Day 7 Transfer to the Mainland & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Explore the City

Ride high over Quito on the city's aerial tramway

Welcome to Quito! You'll arrive at the airport and then head to your hotel in the city center. After taking some time to get settled in, explore the historic center. This UNESCO World Heritage Site stands at an altitude of 9,350 feet (2,850 m) and welcomes visitors with its picturesque plazas between mountain peaks.

Stroll through its narrow streets and visit some of the city's most important churches, such as the Baroque La Compañía de Jesús, with its incredible gold-covered interior, and the neo-Gothic La Basílica del Voto. Take a walk down La Ronda, one of the oldest streets in the city, then head to Panecillo Hill for incredible panoramic views. For even more spectacular vistas, board the TeleferiQo gondola for a scenic journey over the city.

Day 2: Fly to the Galápagos, Tour Charles Darwin Research Station

Get an introduction to the islands at the Charles Darwin Research Station

Head to the airport this morning to catch your flight to the Galápagos Islands! After arriving at Baltra Airport, a local guide will pick you up and transfer you to neighboring Isla Santa Cruz. On the way to the island's main town of Puerto Ayora, stop off at a local farm in the highlands, where there are dozens of giant tortoises. Wander around on your own to appreciate these majestic creatures.

Enjoy lunch before continuing to the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you can witness firsthand the work of international scientists who come to the Galápagos to carry out environmental projects. Then head to the nearby Fausto Llerena Breeding Center, where giant Galápagos tortoises live. This is the best place on the islands to see different tortoise species and learn about each one.

Day 3: Explore an Uninhabited Island

Isla Bartolomé
Isla Bartolomé, an uninhabited island in the Galápagos

Of the many islands in the Galápagos, only four have permanent settlements. The others are wild and home to many endemic species. Visits to these islands are highly regulated by the park's authorities and are limited to small groups. You'll visit one of these untamed islands today. Aboard a modern yacht, take a 1.5 to 2.5-hour ride to one of the following islands: Bartolomé, Seymour Norte, Plazas Sur, or Santa Fé. The island visited will depend on park permits and the boat's schedule.

Every island has a different landscape and unique flora and fauna. For example, on Santa Fé, you'll likely see the Santa Fé iguana. Meanwhile, colonies of sea lions, frigatebirds, and blue-footed boobies populate Seymour Norte. Lunch will be served on the yacht, and you'll be taken to a snorkeling spot in the afternoon. After an exciting day, you'll return to Puerto Ayora in the early evening.

Day 4: Discover a Second Uninhabited Island

A sleepy sea lion pup on the beaches of Isla Santa Fé
Plan your trip to Galapagos Islands
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Another day, another boat trip to an uninhabited island—this time, you'll go to a different one than yesterday. Once again, you'll get incredible opportunities to see endemic wildlife in its natural habitat and protected lands. The boat trip is also an event in itself, as you'll enjoy magnificent ocean scenery on the way to and from the island. Afterward, enjoy your evening in laid-back Puerto Ayora, dining al fresco in one of the restaurants in town and doing some souvenir shopping.

Day 5: Boat to Isla San Cristóbal, Hike Las Tijeretas Hill

Speedboat to San Cristobal Island - Interpretation Center - Tijeretas Hill
See nesting frigatebirds on Tijeretas Hill

This morning, catch a speedboat from Isla Santa Cruz to Isla San Cristóbal, the easternmost island of the Galápagos. After getting settled in, learn about the islands and local conservation efforts at the Interpretation Center. It's a great place to get oriented before exploring one of the world's top destinations for wildlife viewing and outdoor adventures.

Later in the afternoon, you'll have your first chance to see some of the island's wildlife in its natural habitat while hiking Las Tijeretas Hill, named for the tijeretas (frigatebirds) that inhabit the area. The males, with their bright red features, are exciting to spot. Finish the day on a snorkeling excursion, where you may observe sea lions, sea turtles, and colorful fish. Enjoy a fresh seafood dinner at a local restaurant, then get some rest before tomorrow's outing.

Day 6: Encounter Wildlife on Isla Española

 Spot the rare waved albatross, a species endemic to Isla Española 

Today you'll see some of the Galápagos' most distinctive and remarkable wildlife. Enjoy a two-hour boat ride followed by a two-hour hike around Isla Española, one of the oldest islands in the archipelago. Thanks to volcanic activity and erosion, it's also one of the flattest islands in the Galápagos. This unique landscape is home to albatrosses, blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and Española iguanas, all of which you're likely to spot on the hike.

Get back on the boat and take a break for lunch. Then you'll head to nearby Gardner Islet, characterized by dramatic cliffs and massive boulders. Explore the underwater world during a snorkeling session. Keep your eyes open for garden eels, snake eels, creole fish, blackspot morays, pufferfish, scorpionfish, and red-lipped batfish. Cruise back to Isla Isla San Cristóbal in the late afternoon and have a relaxing evening on the last night of the trip.

Day 7: Transfer to the Mainland & Depart

Say your goodbyes to Isla Isla San Cristóbal before catching a flight back to the mainland
After breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport to catch your flight back to the mainland and your onward connection. Safe travels!

More Great Galápagos Itineraries

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


Map of A Week of Wildlife Encounters & Outdoor Adventures in the Galápagos - 7 Days
Map of A Week of Wildlife Encounters & Outdoor Adventures in the Galápagos - 7 Days