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 and 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
Quito, Ecuador
Finish
Quito, Ecuador
Destination
Ecuador
Style
Original
Theme
Active Adventures, Walking & Trekking, Wildlife
Code
GGTF
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Get acquainted with the beautiful churches and graceful boulevards of Quito, Ecuador's capital

  • 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

  • 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.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of travel by speed boat between the various Galapagos Islands, the rides can be quite bumpy at times. The good news is that seasickness can often be managed with medication. Consult a health professional before your trip.

  • Wildlife is a big focus on this trip, with activities like bird watching and swimming.

  • This trip includes a 17 km hike (approximately 6-7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.

  • The sun in the Galapagos islands is incredibly strong due to its close proximity to the equator, ensure you are well prepared with suncreen, sun hat, sunglasses and a rash guard if desired.

  • This trip does include snorkeling on multiple days throughout the itinerary. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in this tour.

  • This trip visits Quito which is 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2019 to 31 December 2019. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018

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 inform the hotel reception. 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.

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 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.

Notes: Due to the high altitude of many of places we visit, the air is thinner and some people can suffer altitude sickness, regardless of age, gender or fitness. Please see the 'Is This Trip Right For You?' and 'Health' sections in the trip notes for more information.

Optional Activities in Quito:

Urban Adventures: If you are interested in any of the Urban Adventures listed you will need to contact your booking agent or Urban Adventures directly. Urban Adventures information for Quito can be found here: https://www.urbanadventures.com/search?q=quito


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.

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)
Optional Activities
  • Quilotoa - Quilotoa Lagoon (Full day) - USD100
  • Quito - Papallacta Hot Springs (Full day) - USD70
  • Cotopaxi - National Park Hiking Tour - USD95
  • Urban Adventures: Quito Market Discovery - USD98
  • Urban Adventures: Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - USD104
  • Urban Adventures: Condors and Culture in Otavalo - USD756
  • Urban Adventures: Quito Legends and Culture Tour - USD79
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
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.
SUNDAY DEPARTURES: 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.
FRIDAY DEPARTURES: You can meet the others at San Cristobal Airport at 12.30pm: 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 approximately one hour after the airport meeting time. Check in time for the hotel is 12 pm. If you're making your own way to the hotel, we recommend taking a short cab ride which will cost approximately US$2. 
Please advise us where you plan to join this trip no later than 15 days prior to departure. If you are going to be late for either of these meeting times, please contact the local emergency number located in the 'Essential Trip Information'
After joining up with the group, 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
Optional Activities
  • Wetsuit (shortsleeve) hire for 5 days - USD40
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today begins with a short boat ride to Leon Dormido (approx 45 mins) or Isla Lobos, observing along the way the abundant marine life that Galapagos is renowned for. On the way we might be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies and/or might swim/snorkel with playful young sea lions. Here we can snorkel keeping an eye out below for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark, to name a few. 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.
Later head we will head 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. We'll return to town in the late afternoon/early evening.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • San Cristobal - Excursion to Leon Dormido or Lobos Islands
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
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)
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Floreana - Snorkeling
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Isabela Port Fee: Please note when you arrive at Isabela, you'll need to pay a port fee of USD 10
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.

In the afternoon 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.

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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela -Tintoreras or Shark Alley (2.5 Hours)
  • Isla Isabela - Flamingo lagoon visit (30 Minutes)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Sierra Negra Hike: Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support. During the rainy season it can get quite muddy. There's 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).
Today you will start the day with a kayak around Isabela before transferring by private speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz.

Once you arrive on Santa Cruz you will head to a restaurant that offers a typical Eduadorian lunch package, simply referred to as ‘Menu’. Usually this consists of a fresh juice, basic entrée (usually a soup) as well as 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 have free time to further explore the town or go on an optional excursion to the Charles Darwin Research Centre.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kayaking - Isla Isabela
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning we will hike the Highlands approximately 3.5kms to Tortuga Bay beach. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Later head back to Puerto Ayora.

Tonight, enjoy an included group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit (45 Minute walk, one way) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
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.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
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).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 1 dinner

Transport

Plane, Speed Boat, Private Vehicle, Taxi, Public bus

Accommodation

Hotel ( 9 nights)

Included activities

  • Isla San Cristobal- Snorkeling in La Loberia (1.5 Hours)
  • San Cristobal - Excursion to Leon Dormido or Lobos Islands
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal - Cerro Tijeretas View Point (1 Hour)
  • Floreana - Snorkeling
  • 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)
  • Kayaking - Isla Isabela
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)

Dates & availability

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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$10) 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.

PASSPORT DETAILS REQUIRED
Full passport details are required at the time of booking in order to purchase Entrance fees to certain sites. Additionally on certain trips it's needed to book bus, train or flight tickets. Delays to provide this information may result in booking fees or changes to your itinerary.

HOT WATER FACILITIES:
Please note that in the Galapagos many of the hotels hot water services are limited and as such hot water may not always be available and cold showers maybe the only option.

IMPORTANT NOTE:
This trip has changed names and will be called "Best of Galapagos" from 2019.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Best of Galapagos trips score an average of 4.79 out of 5 based on 297 reviews in the last year.

Active Galapagos, October 2018

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Active Galapagos, October 2018

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