The incredibly diverse wildlife of the Galapagos Islands awaits you on this 5-day cruise around the archipelago. You'll visit several islands to hike through frigate bird habitats, spotting blue-footed boobies and herons, then go underwater to snorkel with sea turtles and penguins. Learn about conservation efforts on the islands at the Charles Darwin Center, see flamingoes in the wild at Cormorant Point, and ride a glass-bottomed boat to see colorful marine life beneath the surface of the water.


  • Explore the archipelago on a private boat
  • Hike around a turquoise lagoon, spotting blue-footed boobies and rare birds
  • Go snorkeling with penguins, rays, sea turtles, sharks, and fish

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive on San Cristobal Island & Visit the Interpretation Center  Cruise Ship
Day 2 Birdwatch at Gardner Bay & Suarez Point  Española Island
Day 3 Hike to a Lagoon & Snorkel Near Floreana Island Floreana
Day 4 Visit Charles Darwin Station & Explore Eden Islet Puerto Ayora
Day 5 Boat on the Itabaca Channel & Depart for Airport   

Detailed Itinerary

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

Frigate bird
A vibrantly hued frigate bird

Welcome to the beautiful Galapagos Islands! After checking in to your hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you will first visit the Interpretation Center with your guide and learn everything about the history and future of the Galapagos. Afterward, you will take a short walk to Tijeretas Hill, where frigate birds nest. You'll also enjoy a spectacular view of island scenery from here. You'll have the chance to visit La Lobería, home to a colony of sea lions, before returning to town for an overnight. 

Day 2: Birdwatch at Gardner Bay & Suarez Point 

Gardner Bay on Española Island

Today the postcard-worthy coral beach of Gardner Bay and the nearby Osborn Islet provide a beautiful setting for observing sea lions, mockingbirds, and finches as you take your time to relax, take a dip in the water, or go snorkeling. 

Continue on to Punta Suarez in the afternoon. An exciting walk awaits with the chance to see various sea bird colonies. Galapagos albatross, Nazca boobies, blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls are all present here. You will also get to experience the Galapagos’ famous “blowhole” geological phenomenon. Then get back on the boat for a relaxing evening on the water. 

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Day 3: Hike to a Lagoon & Snorkel Near Floreana Island

A flamingo and his reflection at Cormorant Point

After breakfast, you'll land at Floreana Island. A short walk along the beach leads you to the famous Post Office Barrel. First set up in 1793 by Captain James Colnett, it remains the oldest functioning “post office” in the Pacific. Whalers and fur sealers would leave addressed letters in the barrel to be picked up by homeward bound colleagues. In the spirit of maintaining tradition, visitors today will often take letters and hand-deliver them when they return to their home countries.

Have lunch on the boat, then continue to Cormorant Point. Hike to a large, shallow lagoon often inhabited by pink flamingoes. Continue through a forest to arrive at a powdery white beach, a nesting area of green turtles. Wade out into the water to spot diamond stingrays and white-tipped reef sharks. This coral sand beach marks the end of the trail. You'll have the option to swim or snorkel with sea turtles, reef fish, sea lions, and white-tipped reef sharks. One of the most popular snorkeling sites in the islands, Devil’s Crown, is home to an abundance of fish and marine animals. You might also see some penguins in the area.

Day 4: Visit Charles Darwin Station & Explore Eden Islet

Baby turtle at the Breeding Station
A baby turtle at the breeding station on Santa Cruz Island

Land at Charles Darwin Center this morning, 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. 

After a laid-back lunch aboard the boat, continue to Ballena Bay or Eden Islet for snorkeling, kayaking, or riding in a glass-bottom boat. Expect to see lots of fish species including king angelfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish, damsels, rays, and sharks. You may also find sea lions, marine iguanas, herons, Nazca and blue-footed boobies, and turtles in the nearby mangrove areas. 

Day 5: Boat on the Itabaca Channel & Depart for Airport 

Blue Footed Boobies
Blue-footed boobies in the Galapagos

Have an early breakfast, then go for a quick dinghy ride at the entry of the Itabaca Channel. Crossing a lagoon with turquoise water, you'll have one more chance to observe sharks, blue-footed boobies, and various kinds of fish. Then it's off to the airport to catch your flight home. 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. 


Map of Wildlife of the Galapagos - 5 Days
Map of Wildlife of the Galapagos - 5 Days
Written by Mathias Onisseit deactivated, updated Feb 24, 2022