Galapagos Island Hopping


Amazing wildlife, both on land and under the water, is the main drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. On this eight-day trip, you’ll explore this otherworldly archipelago on foot and by boat with an expert naturalist guide to lead the way. Swim with sea turtles, see giant tortoises up close, watch sea lions lounge around town and discover fascinating, varied landscapes. Learn about the conservation efforts on Isla Santa Cruz, take a cooking class to make a famed Ecuadorian soup and enjoy multiple snorkelling opportunities, as well as a full-day hike to the second-largest volcanic crater in the world! This trip will have you cruising and exploring by day and relaxing on land by night, with all the logistics taken care of for you.

8 days, from

$2,362

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: GGTG
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Ecuador
Accommodation: Hotel (7 nights)
Transportation: Boat , Public bus , Speed Boat , Private Vehicle
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Learn about the unique habits of the marine iguana with your expert naturalist guide. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands.

  • Snorkel the incredible waters of Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), an eroded volcanic cone where sea turtles, rays and colourful fish make their home.

  • Many come to Isla Santa Cruz just for the giant tortoises. Get up close and personal with these enormous animals as they shuffle along.

  • Watch the aerobatic routines of blue-footed boobies and the death-defying stunts of the frigate birds as they whizz through the air.

  • As it begins and ends in the Galapagos (as opposed to mainland Ecuador) it’s easy to stay on if you fall in love with the archipelago.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Isla San Cristobal, Galapagos

Welcome to San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands! As you start this trip on the Galapagos Islands you have two options for joining the group, as outlined in Special Information below. After joining up with your fellow travellers and your local naturalist guide, head to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim among sea lions, perhaps spotting sea turtles too. Return to town for a free evening. Perhaps head out with the group and enjoy some of the fresh seafood available.

Day 2: Isla San Cristobal

Today begins with a 45-minute boat ride to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). On the way we might be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. There is also potential to swim among playful young sea lions. At Leon Dormido you can snorkel and look for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark. Currents can be quite strong so it's important you are a confident swimmer to participate in this activity. If you have any concerns, please ensure you speak with your leader. Eat lunch on the boat then head to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve them. Continue to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. Return to town in the late afternoon or early evening.

Day 3: Isla Floreana/ Isla Isabela

Take an early morning boat ride towards Isla Floreana, which should take about 2.5 hours. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife such as dolphins and whales. On arrival to the island, snorkel in the clear blue waters and then break for lunch. Afterwards venture to a black-sand beach which belongs to the Witmers, decedents of some of the first settlers on the Galapagos. The town here, Puerto Velasco Ibarra, has about 150 residents and an intriguing history involving deaths, disappearances and murders. Later in the afternoon, wave goodbye to Floreana and continue to Isla Isabela (approximately 2 hours). From Isabela Port it's a short transfer to the hotel where we will spend the night (approximately 15 minutes).

Day 4: Isla Isabela

Start your second day on Isla Isabela with a short bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to the Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises preparing for life on their own. Afterwards, head to a brackish lagoon to observe flamingos. In the afternoon, board a small Zodiac (panga) and cruise to Las Tintoreras (Shark Alley), where your naturalist guide will help you look out for blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin. On arrival, take a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site. Snorkel in a calm inlet with colourful fish and winding underground lava tubes. This area is frequented by green sea turtles that like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom. In the late afternoon return to town in search of your own sandy resting spot and enjoy your first Isabela sunset, arguably the most beautiful of all the islands.

Day 5: Isla Isabela

Start your last day on Isla Isabela by heading towards the Sierra Negra Volcano (approximately 45 minutes by bus), one of the most active volcanoes in the Galapagos and the second-largest crater in the world. Weather permitting, take a challenging hike of around 17 kilometres up the rocky mountain, which takes 5—6 hours. After the hike, make your way back to town for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.

Day 6: Isla Isabela / Isla Santa Cruz

Start the day with a kayak around Isabela before transferring by private speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz. Once you arrive on Santa Cruz head to a restaurant that offers a typical Eduadorian lunch package, simply referred to as ‘Menu’. This usually this consists of a fresh juice, a basic entree (usually a soup) and a main meal. These lunch deals are very popular throughout Ecuador so it’s a great way to eat like a local. In the afternoon visit a locally owned sugar cane farm. Here the farmers will show us the ways sugar cane is processed and turned into alcohol. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Later, head back to Puerto Ayora.

Day 7: Isla Santa Cruz

In the morning enjoy the Tortuga Bay walk. Visit the highland of Isla Santa Cruz to observe the giant tortoise roaming the wild – your naturalist guide will fill you in on the lives and habits of these fascinating creatures. In the afternoon enjoy free time to further explore the town or go on an optional excursion to the Charles Darwin Research Centre.

Day 8: Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Your Galapagos tour comes to an end after breakfast today.