Tour Galapagos' wildlife highlights on an active adventure from Quito

Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater, is the drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. Tour the Galapagos' outstanding natural beauty and interesting history by foot & boat on this active adventure. Trace Darwin's theory of evolution, spot colourful, bizarre and beautiful creatures and have an experience that is completely out of this world as you discover the incredible Galapagos Islands.

Start
Isla San Cristobal, Ecuador
Finish
Isla Baltra, Ecuador
Countries
Ecuador
Themes
Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Code
GGTG
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
1 191kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Learn about the unique habit of the marine iguana. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands
  • Snorkel the incredible marine life-filled waters of Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido, one of the best snorkelling spots in the Galapagos and an absolute highlight for many travellers
  • Many come to Isla Santa Cruz just for the giant tortoises. Get up close and personal with these enormous animals, as they drag themselves through the sand
  • Kayaking is just one of the exciting activities on offer here. Take a boat out into the Pacific and enjoy the ride
  • Birdwatching in the Galapagos is quite an experience. Watch the aerobatic routines of blue-footed boobies and the death defying stunts of the frigate birds, as they whizz through the air

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to San Cristobal, Galapagos Islands. As you start this trip on the Galapagos Islands and join other travellers arriving from Quito, you have two options for joining the group. You can meet the others at San Cristobal Airport at 11.30 am: The guide will be waiting in the arrivals hall with an Intrepid sign for the arriving passengers from Quito.
Alternatively you can meet them at the hotel (Casa de Nelly) when they arrive at 12.30 pm. Check in time for the hotel is 12 pm. Please advise us where you plan to join this trip no later than 15 days prior to departure.

After joining up with the group, head out together to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve the unique Galapagos wildlife. Next, make our way to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center, southwest of Isla San Cristobal. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. From here you can also see Kicker Rock, an eroded volcanic formation protruding from the sea which has become an emblem of the island.

Soon after, travel to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim with sea lions, and maybe even some sea turtles. Continue back to town. Tonight you may wish to head out with the group and enjoy some of the fresh seafood available.
Your second day at Isla San Cristobal begins with a short boat ride out to Kicker Rock, also known as Leon Dormido (said to look like the sleeping lion that its Spanish name translates to). Two towering volcanic rocks rise 500 feet out of the ocean, and a mild current in the chasm between them attracts hammerhead and harmless Galapagos sharks, as well as manta rays and schools of vividly coloured reef fish. This is seen as one of the best snorkelling spots in the whole Galapagos, and one of the best places on the planet to view marine life. A highlight of many travellers’ visits to the Galapagos, the journey takes approximately 45 minutes and along the way you can seek out famous wildlife like nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. When you arrive at Kicker Rock, strap on a mask and jump into the water, seeing sea lions do graceful cartwheels, reefs sharks drifting along the canyon floor, sea turtles effortlessly propelling themselves through the water and if you're luck hammerhead sharks.
This snorkeling is in open sea, on occasion the currents can be quite strong so it's particularly important you are a confident swimmer for this activity. If you have any concerns, please ensure you speak with your leader.
Included lunch today is a packed box lunch on board the boat! Unfortunately it is against National Park rules to eat on the beach.
We'll return to town in the afternoon where you will have some free time to enjoy your final night in San Cristobal.
Take an early morning boat ride today towards Floreana Island, 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 Isabela Island (approximately 2 hours)
From Isabela Port it's a short transfer to the hotel where we will spend the night (approximately 15 minutes)
Please note when you arrive at Isabela, you'll need to pay a port fee of USD 5.
Start your second day on Isla Isabela with a short bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own. After our visit we take a short bus ride (approximately 15 minutes) to a brackish lagoon where we will be able to observe flamingos.

After an informative visit, board a small pangas for Tintoreras or Shark Alley. On our way we will go along the coast line in the hope to spot blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin who is home on the western part of the arquipelago. On arrival, hop off for a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas. 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.
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 between five and six hours.
Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.
During the rainy season it can get quite muddy. There is an option to hire gumboots locally, should you wish to do so. During the hike it can get quite hot, there isn't much shade along the way so be sure to come prepared with your hat, sunscreen and plenty of water (we recommend 2 litres per person).

After the hike, make your way back to town in the late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner. Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you.
Begin the day with a kayak excursion in a protected bay. While here, search for the protected Galapagos penguin – the only penguin found close the equator. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Next head to Isla Santa Cruz, the tourist capital of Galapagos. Check in to the hotel and then go for a short walking tour of Puerto Ayora to visit the local fishermen's market.
This morning we will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. This is also a great opportunity to learn more about conservation efforts to preserve the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. You can even get close to giant tortoises which are being raised for the repopulation program.
Soon after we'll visit the higher part of the islands to observe the giant tortoise roaming in its natural habitat. In the afternoon, take an optional walk to Tortuga Bay, a gorgeous beach accessible only by foot. Choose to go swimming or perhaps just chill out on the beach. Finally, make your way back to town for one last dinner on these enchanted islands.
Your Galapagos trip comes to an end today.

Departure airport:
This trip finishes in Santa Cruz, departure flights should be booked from this airport. If you plan on departing from an alternative airport in the Galapagos you will need to make your own way there. Please ensure you allow enough time for this by speaking with your travel agent.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport
Boat, Public bus, Speed boat, Private vehicle
Accommodation
Hotel (7 nights)
Included activities
  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Snorkeling at Kicker Rock also known as Leon Dormido (6 Hours)
  • Floreana - Snorkeling (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Isabela Kayak Excursion (1 Hour)
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)

Dates

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Important notes

JOINING THIS TOUR:
As this trip starts in the Galapagos, there are two joining points available.
San Cristobal Airport- 11:30am on day 1
Casa de Nelly (start hotel)- Address: Manuel Agama S/N y Alsacio Northia. San Cristobal Galapagos-Check-in time is usually 12pm (Passengers from Quito and Leader will usually arrive at approximately 12:30)
Please advise no later than 15 days prior to departure, where you plan to join this trip.
Customer services phone number to call while in Galapagos if any issues: 09940148

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA PORT FEES:
A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
When booking, please ensure that your details are correct and they match your passport.
Your passport must match the booking details provided to us; otherwise it could cause issues with your transit card and internal flights resulting in purchasing a new card and flights at your own expense.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS:
A single supplement is available on this trip.

STARTING IN THE QUITO:
This trip has a longer version which includes return flights from Quito.

INTERNET IN THE GALAPAGOS:
Some of the hotels in the Galapagos do have internet connections however it's often very slow and may not always be functional.

DIVING IN THE GALAPAGOS:
We do not offer diving as a part of our Galapagos program and due to Intrepid's internal safety policy our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Galapagos Island Hopping trips score an average of 4.62 out of 5 based on 71 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos Island Hopping , September 2016

Galapagos Island Hopping , September 2016