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 and bike 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
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Countries
Ecuador
Themes
Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Code
GGTF
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
0kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Get acquainted with the beautiful churches and graceful boulevards of Quito, Ecuador's capital
  • 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
  • The Galapagos Islands played a profound role in forming Charles Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection. Explore the islands on this in-depth adventure, coming face-to-face with some of the most extraordinary wildlife on earth
  • Get your blood pumping as you scale a volcano on Isabela Island, and kayak in beautiful Isabela Bay
  • Get up close and personal with giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. These nearly extinct creatures are one of the greatest drawcards to the Galapagos
  • This is a land based Galapagos trip, we use locally owned hotels on the islands. On this trip you will have more opportunities to interact with the locals as opposed to staying on a boat.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Quito, Ecuador. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 2 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please contact our 24 hour emergency number which is located on these trip notes.
We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
At the meeting you will be offered a duffle bag to use for the duration of your time in the Galapagos, please see the packing section in the trip notes for more information.

Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America, sitting at an altitude of 2,850 metres with a view of Volcan Pichincha on the horizon. On day 1 there is a city tour (done by foot and using public transport) to show the beautiful Colonial style buildings and help you explore the nooks and crannies of cosy Old Town. We’ll be back in Quito at the end of the trip, giving you a chance to further experience the city in your free time.

Notes:
This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

Optional Activities in Quito:
Quito is an incredible city with loads to see and do. This trip doesn’t include much time in Quito, so a few extra days to explore it is recommended. Great activities are available through our local office – just email quitodaytours@peakdmc.com before departing or, once you’re in Quito, give our office a call +593 9 94014877 and they will happily assist you.
Urban Adventures: If you are interested in any of the Urban Adventures listed you will need to contact Urban Adventures directly. Contact information for Quito can be found here: http://www.urbanadventures.com/contact-us

City Tour & The Equator Line, an in-depth half-day city tour, including a trip to the equator line to see how it feels to be in the middle of the world, literally. If you’re short on time You can choose to do just the city tour or Equator line (we’ve listed separate prices below)

Otavalo Market, a full day tour of the biggest Indian market in South America in the northern town of Otavalo, full of local handicrafts to take home for your friends, and the Cotacachi leather market.

Cotopaxi Volcano, for something more active, head out to the 5,897 metre high Cotopaxi Volcano – drop by the National Park museum, then hike for around 2 hours and visit the picturesque Limpiopungo Lagoon.

Quilotoa Lagoon, if you’re into lagoons, maybe take a full day trip to the stunning Quilotoa Lagoon. Early in the morning, drive 3 hours south through the local communities and Andes views of the Avenue of Volcanoes. Then hike (2 hours return) to the beautiful Quilotoa volcano crater lagoon, before returning to Quito. Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.

Cloud Forest, maybe get in touch with the region’s incredible nature with a shared services trip to the Cloud Forest – take a guided hike through a reserve on the edge of the Choco Bio-region, one of the most bio-diverse places in the world, and get acquainted with the exuberant vegetation, bird life, and the fascinating adaptations to life in this special environment.

Papallacta-Something more chill is a full day at the Papallacta Hot Springs – take a scenic drive, reaching heights of 4,150 metres, and then relax in springs with views to the towering Antisana Volcano.

Please note, the prices listed below include entrance fees, however these are paid separately by you during the tour. Some tours require a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
(Please note prices listed are subject to change)
Transfer to Quito airport (approximately 1 hour) for our flight to San Cristobal Island, Galapagos (approx 3.5 hrs). Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am depending on flight schedule time.
The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card. This card has a cost of US$20 and it must be purchased by every person travelling to the Galapagos Islands. You will need to purchase this card upon arrival to the domestic airport on day 2, prior to checking in to your Galapagos flight.
Our flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers (approx 3.5 hours total). Upon arrival we will need to go through immigration and pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 in cash (small bills please).

Please note that this trip is a combination trip, therefore there may be some passengers joing the trip in the Galapagos.

We transfer from the airport to the hotel (approximately 15 minutes)
Upon arrival we will have some time to settle in to your room before having lunch. Soon after we 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.
Shortly after we'll head to a beach close by where we'll enjoy a box lunch.
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 prepated with your hat and sunscreen etc.

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.
We say goodbye to the Galapagos today and take a flight back to Quito (Please note the flight will make a stop in Guayaquil)
You'll arrive back to Quito later afternoon. Perhaps head out for a final group dinner.
This morning your adventure comes to an end in Quito. As there are no activities planned for the final day, you can depart the accommodation at any time. Because there is little time spent in Quito on this trip, we recommend staying a few extra days to see more of Ecuador. If you choose to stay on, we’d be happy to assist you with booking accommodation.
Ecuador has some of the most beautiful churches in the Americas, including the lavish La Compania de Jesus, which is decorated with seven tonnes of gold. Not far from the capital, there are volcanoes, hot springs and Incan ruins to explore. Consider doing one of our one-day sightseeing tours of Quito, which can include the Old Town, markets and the city's culinary delights (see urbanadventures.com).
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport
Boat, Bus, Private vehicle, Speed boat
Accommodation
Hotel (9 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)
  • Snorkeling in Floreana (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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For information about altitude sickness click here


Important notes

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.

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 Active Galapagos trips score an average of 4.81 out of 5 based on 155 reviews in the last year.

Active Galapagos , May 2016

Active Galapagos , May 2016

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