Best of Puerto Ayora

Top itineraries and travel advice in and around Puerto Ayora
Often the main point of arrival to the Galapagos, Puerto Ayora on the Isla Santa Cruz is the largest town in the archipelago while still being a relaxing place to unwind before or after a boat tour. Strolling along the waterfront, you'll spot sea lions basking on boats, lounging along the shore, and hanging out at the open-air fish market in hopes of getting lucky. Puerto Ayora has excellent lodging options, good seafood restaurants, and some appealing attractions just outside of town.

A morning or afternoon bay tour provides a good introduction to the Galapagos, as you'll visit some of the pretty shorelines of Santa Cruz and have the opportunity to see playful sea lions while snorkeling. Heading farther out, you can take a day trip to an uninhabited island, spotting wildlife while visiting Santa Fé, South Plazas, Bartolomé, or North Seymour. You can see the archipelago's famed giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station and look for marine iguanas and unique bird species along the pretty beach of Tortuga Bay.
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Sea Lions Playing Under the Waves
Map of Best of Ecuador: Quito & the Galapagos Islands - 7 Days
Best of Ecuador: Quito & the Galapagos Islands - 7 Days

This whirlwind trip takes you to many of Ecuador's top highlights in a single week. Stroll the colonial streets of Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and stand on the equator at Mitad del Mundo. Then it's off to the Galapagos Islands for four days of hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, wildlife viewing, and relaxing on the beach. From snow-capped peaks to deep waters filled with sea turtles and penguins, this diverse itinerary has something for everyone.

Sea lions in the Galapagos
Cruise the Galapagos Islands - 7 Days

On this weeklong cruise around the Galapagos Islands, you'll travel around the archipelago on a yacht, stopping at various islands for activities led by a naturalist guide. Kayak through pristine waters, snorkel with penguins and sea lions, hike to see blue-footed boobies in the wild, and get up close with giant tortoises.

Diving in the Galapagos
Underwater Adventure in the Galapagos - 5 Days

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.

A blue-footed booby in the Galapagos
Galapagos Islands & Machu Picchu Adventure - 10 Days

Combine two of South America's most iconic destinations into a single trip on this 10-day tour of the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu. You'll start in Ecuador, spending several days island-hopping, snorkeling, hiking, and wildlife viewing in the Galapagos. Then you'll cross the border to Peru, spending a night in Lima, another in Cusco, and finally taking the scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. A visit to the famed "lost city of the Incas" is the perfect way to end this diverse adventure.

Marine iguanas in Tortuga Bay
Galapagos Islands Adventure: San Cristobal Island & Puerto Ayora - 7 Days

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.

A giant Galapagos tortoise
Island-Hopping in the Galapagos: Puerto Ayora & Isabela - 7 Days

During this Galapagos Islands adventure, you will explore the famous archipelago, swim with playful sea lions, and see giant tortoises up close. The itinerary is land-based, meaning you'll sleep on the islands instead of on a yacht. But you'll still spend plenty of time on the water as you navigate to various islands by speedboat, enjoying hiking, snorkeling, and guided wildlife viewing walks along the journey.

Nazca boobies in the Galapagos
Cruise the Galapagos Archipelago - 10 Days

Explore the Galapagos Islands on a yacht! This 10-day tour takes you around the archipelago to see Humboldt penguins in their natural habitat, snorkel with sea turtles, explore tidal pools, visit Charles Darwin Station, hike to a volcanic crater, and spot blue-footed boobies in the wild. After spending the first night on dry land, you'll island-hop to various islands, including San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, South Plaza, and North Seymour, stopping at various natural attractions along the way.

Blue Footed Boobie
Galapagos Island Hopping - 6 Days

Discover spectacular scenery and diverse ecosystems on this whirlwind 6-day tour of the Galapagos Islands. Focusing on three of the archipelago's inhabited islands, you'll hop between them by boat while spotting rare and remarkable wildlife up close. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, meet giant tortoises in the Santa Cruz highlands, hike the Sierra Negra Volcano, and swim in turquoise waters at Tortuga Bay Beach.

Swim with sea turtles in the Galapagos
First Class Galapagos Island Hopping - 6 Days

Explore three magical Galapagos Islands via private yacht on this 6-day tour of the archipelago's standout sights. Start on Santa Cruz, where you'll come face-to-face with giant tortoises in the lush highlands, soak up the sun on the sands of Tortuga Bay Beach, and discover a world of natural history and conservation at the Charles Darwin Research Station. After a day spent hiking the grasslands and caves of Floreana, head to Isabela to snorkel the turquoise waters of Tintoreras alongside penguins, sea lions, and sea turtles.

Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos
Galapagos Island Hopping in Style: Santa Cruz & Isabela - 10 Days

White-sand beaches, secluded lagoons, and a spectacular array of wildlife await on this luxurious 10-day adventure in the Galápagos. It begins in Quito with sightseeing in the colonial center. Then fly to Isabela Island, where you’ll stay in high-end lodgings and enjoy daily hikes, cycling, and snorkeling excursions. The journey continues on Santa Cruz Island, where you'll walk with giant tortoises and visit uninhabited islands. Here you can observe rare wildlife and relax on the beach before heading home.

Blue-footed boobies
Map of Galápagos Island Hopping: San Cristobal & Santa Cruz - 5 Days
Galápagos Island Hopping: San Cristobal & Santa Cruz - 5 Days

If you're short on time but don't want to cut back on experiences, this 5-day island hopping trip to the Galápagos is for you. Fly out of Quito, heading for San Cristobal—home of the famous sea lion colony and Kicker Rock. Then, take a speedboat to Santa Cruz, where you'll see giant tortoises and visit an uninhabited island. 

Iguana sunning itself in the Galápagos
Galapagos Highlights: Santa Cruz Island - 5 Days

Travelers wanting to keep their costs low will enjoy this short but active five-day tour. Staying on Santa Cruz Island, you'll take tours to some of the highlights, such as the unmissable Charles Darwin Research Station, and a boat tour where you can snorkel with sea turtles if you wish. There's also plenty of downtime scheduled, so choose your own activities that suit your interests: chill out on a beach, visit enormous Galapagos tortoises, and more.

Green Sea Turtle
Map of Galapagos Island Hopping: Water, Wildlife, & Wilderness - 14 Days
Galapagos Island Hopping: Water, Wildlife, & Wilderness - 14 Days

The Galapagos Islands are one of the world's biggest ecological hotspots, with some of the highest percentages of endemic species and dozens of uninhabited islands. You'll spend two weeks exploring the biggest islands to see major landmarks—like the Charles Darwin Research Station and Sierra Negra Volcano—while also spending time on some less-known destinations, experiencing the truly remote nature of the rocky archipelago. 

View of Puerto Ayora.
Map of Galapagos Islands Land-Based Adventure Tour: 6 Days
Galapagos Islands Land-Based Adventure Tour: 6 Days

Land-based tours are a more economical and comfortable alternative to cruising the Galapagos. This 6-day itinerary takes in the highlights of the three main inhabited islands — from watching giant tortoises to hiking around an active volcanic crater and snorkeling with penguins and sharks.

A blue-footed boobie in the Galapagos
Map of Highlights of the Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal Island, Isabela, & Santa Cruz - 10 Days
Highlights of the Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal Island, Isabela, & Santa Cruz - 10 Days

Visit three of the most famous islands in the Galapagos archipelago — San Cristobal, Isabela, and Santa Cruz — on this 10-day adventure. You'll hike volcanoes, snorkel around rock formations, and explore each island in-depth, keeping your eyes open for giant Galapagos tortoises and marine iguanas. The itinerary involves travel by plane and speedboat, making it possible for travelers to see far-flung areas of the famous archipelago.

Sea lions on Santiago Island
Map of Highlights of the Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal Island, Isabela, & Puerto Ayora - 14 Days
Highlights of the Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal Island, Isabela, & Puerto Ayora - 14 Days

Spend two magical weeks island-hopping around the Galapagos on this highlights tour of the archipelago. Start at San Cristobal Island, where you'll observe sea lions, go snorkeling, and hike to see rare birds in their natural habitats. Then you'll head to Isabela Island to swim next to iguanas and sea turtles, hike a volcano, and relax on the beach. The trip ends on Santa Cruz Island, where you'll get up close with giant tortoise residents and learn about conservation efforts in the region.

Sea lion walking on Las Tintoreras, Galapagos
Map of Wildlife of the Galapagos - 5 Days
Wildlife of the Galapagos - 5 Days

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.

The famed Kicker Rock
Galapagos Nature Cruise - 5 Days

Get off the beaten path on this 5-day cruise around the Galapagos archipelago. This short but fascinating journey offers world-class wildlife viewing at lesser-known points of interest throughout the islands. You'll sail from one rocky beach to another, disembarking for short guided hikes to see blue-footed boobies, cormorants, penguins, and flamingoes in their natural habitats. In the evenings, relax on the boat with a cold drink as the sun goes down.

Baby Tortoise in the Galapagos
Map of Explore Ecuador: Quito & Galapagos Islands Cruise - 10 Days
Explore Ecuador: Quito & Galapagos Islands Cruise - 10 Days

Spend time in Ecuador's capital city and explore the biodiverse Galapagos Islands from the comfort of a cruise ship on this 10-day itinerary. After touring colonial churches and hiking in Cotopaxi National Park, catch a flight across the water to Santa Cruz Island, your launching point for the cruise. You'll wake up at a new island every day, maximizing your opportunities for sightseeing and exploring.