Uncover the legendary Galapagos Islands

The mythical status of the Galapagos Islands is richly deserved. Find out why on a wildlife-filled adventure that’s within everyone’s reach. Isolation from the rest of the world for millions of years has given the islands a unique biodiversity and they’re filled with rare and distinctive species. Cruise between the volcanic islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal and get up close to these animals as you wander alongside giant tortoises in the highlands, glide through azure waters with sea turtles and make friends with sea lions as blue-footed boobies and frigates land on volcanic rocks next to you. You’re sure to feel like a professional naturalist on this unforgettable trip to the Galapagos.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Isla San Cristobal, Ecuador
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 15
Carbon offset
882kg pp per trip


  • 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
  • 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
  • Snorkel through underwater worlds replete with colourful wildlife


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 Baltra! Today you'll be joining with other travellers arriving from Quito. You have two options for meeting up the group.

Joining this tour:
As this trip starts in the Galapagos, there are two joining points available.
Baltra Airport at 9:30am on day one: The tour guide will meet you in the arrivals hall with an Intrepid sign.
Hotel Lobo de Mar Hotel- Address: Charles Darwin & 12 de Febrero Santa Cruz Island-Puerto Ayora at 12:45. This hotel is simply a meeting point, from here we will be taking An included transfer to Isabela.
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: 0994014877

Please advise us where you plan to join the group no later than 15 days prior to departure.
It’s imperative that you are not late for these meeting times or you will miss the included transfer. In the case that you do arrive late and miss the transfer, we will assist you with meeting the group, however any additional costs will be payable by you.

If you are making your own way from Baltra Island (airport) to Santa Cruz (Puerto Ayora) please see instructions below-
Walk out of the arrivals hall and look out for the buses leaving Canal.
From here you take the bus to the Canal (Itabaca Channel) the journey is approximately 10 minutes (free).
Once at the Itabaca Channel you have to cross by ferry, again the journey is approximately 10 minutes and about 1 USD per person to the other side (the northern side of the Santa Cruz)
From here you have two options:
Public bus – they only depart when they are full and you might have to wait for a while (3 USD per person) – 50 min ride
Taxi – the cost is approximately 20 USD for the whole taxi and you reach Puerto Ayora within 45 min.

If you wish to book a night or two prior to the tour commencing, we recommend booking the hotel in Santa Cruz. This way you can meet your fellow travellers on day one and take the included transfer to Isabela Island where the first night is spent.

Departure airport:
This trip finishes in San Cristobal, 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.

After meeting up, transfer to Puerto Ayora and take a public speed boat Isabela Island (about-two-and-a-half hours). When you arrive at Isabela Island, you'll need to pay a port fee of USD 5. In the afternoon, go for a orientation walk.
Start the day with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre for a close encounter with these placid giants. Here you can see tortoises in different stages of development as well learn about the preservation program of this unique species.

Next we visit to the Sierra Negra Wetlands where you can observe exotic migratory birds like sandpiper, common stilt, plovers, flamingos and American oystercatcher.
Take a bus to the highest part of Isabela Island where Sierra Negra Volcano is located. Weather permitting, go for a hike up to the crater to enjoy spectacular views and the possibility of sighting the rare vermillion flycatcher. The challenging 17-kilometre hike takes between five and six hours both ways, but at the top you'll be able to enjoy spectacular views. Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the rocky climb.
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 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.
Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. The island is the largest in the Galapagos and one of the most volcanically active places on earth. A worthwhile optional activity today is an excursion to Tintoreras Island, home to the rare Galapagos penguin. The excursion will then take you to "shark alley", where white-tipped sharks rest during the day. This is also a popular nesting site for the endemic marine iguanas.
Early in the morning, take a two-and-a-half hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. Settle into the hotel and the visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The station's visitor centre and museums contain information about the islands and the conservation efforts being made to preserve the unique ecosystem here. It's also a great place to have close encounters with giant tortoises. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the islands to observe these giants roaming in their natural habitat.
This morning you'll have some free time to make the most of your remaining hours on Isla Santa Cruz. Consider taking part in some of the optional activities available, such as an excursion to Tortuga Bay, an immaculate natural paradise where you can go kayaking, observe marine iguanas and birds or swim with harmless sharks in an alcove. You may also like to rent some snorkelling gear while you're here.

Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal by public boat for about two and a half hours. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a orientation walk of the island, where you may spot your first sea lions of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal. Why not do some of the optional activities you couldn't fit in yesterday, such as make an excursion to Mann Beach or Frigatebird Hill? You may also like to take an optional boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos. This is one of your leader's favourite optional activities. You'll be able to observe the famous Galapagos marine life along the way, and have the opportunity to go snorkelling with sea turtles, eagle rays and the harmless Galapagos shark, just to name a few.
On the last day of your adventure, get one last insight into the history of these fascinating islands at the Interpretation Center. Learn about the human and natural history of the Galapagos islands. Afterwards, you'll be transferred to San Cristobal airport, where your trip comes to an end and you're free to make your way onwards.
Please book departure flights for no earlier than 1pm.
View trip notes to read full itinerary


2 breakfasts
Speed boat, Private vehicle, Public bus
Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (4 nights)
Included activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)


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Important notes

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.
Please refer to day one of the itinerary section for important information regarding joining this tour and departure flights.
This trip has a longer version GGRR which includes return flights from Quito.
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


Our Galapagos on a shoestring trips score an average of 4.82 out of 5 based on 49 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos on a shoestring , September 2016

Galapagos on a shoestring , September 2016