Sharks, giant tortoises, penguins and iguanas. Where? The Galapagos, of course

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on this wildlife-filled adventure through nature’s playground. Snorkel with sea lions, get up close to giant tortoises, scale a volcanic crater and discover the incredible evolutionary history of the Galapagos Islands, all under the guidance of your expert naturalist guide. Cruise between the volcanic islands of San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz and discover how millions of years of isolation has given the islands a unique biodiversity, filled with rare and distinctive species. Come face-to-face with these spectacular creatures as you glide through azure waters with sea turtles, wander alongside giant tortoises in the highlands and make friends with marine iguanas as blue-footed boobies and frigates land on volcanic rocks next to you. Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that puts these distant islands within reach, and provides a reality that far surpasses any nature documentary you’ve ever seen.


Start
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Finish
Isla Santa Cruz, Ecuador
Destination
Ecuador
Style
Basix
Theme
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
GGRX
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 15

Why you'll love this trip

  • The wildlife in the Galapagos is like nowhere else on Earth. Get up close to giant tortoises at San Cristobal’s Interpretation Center, and keep your eyes peeled at every moment for your next unique sighting.

  • Cruise between islands on included speed boat transfers and have the option of tailoring your experience with unforgettable opportunities like nature hikes, boat trips and scuba diving.

  • Scale a volcano on Isla Isabela, challenging yourself to a 17-kilometre hike rewards you with epic views across the island, plus the possibility of sighting the rare, red feathered vermilion flycatcher.

  • Snorkel through underwater worlds bursting with colourful and diverse wildlife, keeping an eye out for eagle rays, Galapagos sea turtles and white-tipped reef sharks in the renowned ‘shark alley’.

  • Learn about Galapagos’ natural and exploratory history with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, understanding also the crucial conservation efforts made by locals to preserve its unrivalled ecosystem.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves a lot of travel by boat between the various islands of the Galapagos. The good news is that seasickness can often be managed with medication and by consulting a health professional before your trip.

  • The Galapagos Islands are a largely untouched natural paradise. In order to experience the splendour of the diverse landscapes and waters, the included activities on this trip often require a moderate level of fitness. This trip includes a 17-kilometre hike (approximately 6-7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes that offer good support and ask that you read the trip notes and itinerary carefully to ensure that you will be able to participate fully.

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

  • Understandably, many of our travellers express interest in scuba diving in the Galapagos. We are now able to assist with booking this activity, though please note that our staff are only able to do this through a provider that meets our internal safety policy. Speak to your booking agent at the time of booking for more information.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Welcome to Isla San Cristobal! Today, you'll be joining with other travellers in your group who will be arriving on an early afternoon flight from Quito. Once together with your group and checked-in to your hotel, kick-start your adventure with an included visit to the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the human and natural history of this island cluster. Afterwards, you’ll have some free time to perhaps take a hike up Frigatebird Hill, or head to Playa Mann for an afternoon spent chilling along the beach. Keep an eye out for sea lions basking in the sun!
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal -Snorkelling in Tijeretas hill
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
You may choose to meet your group leader and fellow travellers either at San Cristobal Airport or your designated hotel on Isla San Cristobal. Please see the ‘Joining Point Instructions’ included in your Essential Trip Information for further details on where and when to meet your group, or speak to your booking agent.
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal. You may also like to take an optional boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos – some of the most recommended activities. You'll be able to observe the famous Galapagos marine life along the way as well as the opportunity to go snorkelling with sea turtles, eagle rays and the harmless Galapagos shark, among myriad others in the varied Galapagos ecosystem.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kicker Rock excursion - USD120
  • Frigate Bird Hill - Free
  • Mann Beach - Free
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
  • Isla Lobos. - USD80
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please note the Isla Lobos optional activity can only be booked if eight or more passengers agree to the excursion.
Early in the morning, take a 2.5-hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz. On arrival, have breakfast and settle into the hotel before a mid-morning visit to 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll travel to Isabela Island where you’ll check-in to the hotel and enjoy breakfast. 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 Las Tintoreras, 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Isla Tintoreras - USD47
  • Isla Isabela - wetsuite rental - USD15
  • Kayak rental - USD50
  • Isla Isabela- Snorkeling in Concha y Perla - Free
  • Isabela Island – Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
  • Tunneles Snorkelling - USD120
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Begin your 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. 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. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the rocky climb.

During the rainy season it can get quite muddy and there is an option to hire gumboots locally, should you wish to do so. It can also get quite hot and there isn't much shade along the way, so be sure to come prepared with a hat, sunscreen and bottled water.

Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isla Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you.
Travel back to Santa Cruz in the morning followed by breakfast. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning, with no activities planned for today, your Galapagos adventure comes to an end. Bid some of your fellow travellers goodbye, who may be continuing on to Quito to finish their trip. You are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policy. If you wish to leave the Galapagos Islands today, you are responsible to organise your own flights, as well as travel arrangements to the airport.
Optional Activities
  • Scuba Diving - Galapagos islands - USD280
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
If you wish to depart the Galapagos Islands today, please note that your closest airport is located on Baltra, to the north of Isla Santa Cruz. The easiest way to get there is to take a taxi to the port (approximately USD 26), followed by a ferry across a small channel (USD 1) and then a bus to the airport (USD 5). If you wish to join your fellow travellers on their included transfer and mid-morning flight (usually at 10 am), you will leave the hotel at 7 am. You will still need to cover the costs of the ferry and bus, as well as book your own flight.

If you plan on departing from an alternative airport in the Galapagos, you will need to make your own way there, which will involve ferries and other modes of transport. Your tour leader can advise you on the best mode of travel and assist you with transport. If you choose this option, please ensure you allow enough time for transfers and delays by speaking with your booking agent.

Meals

6 breakfasts

Transport

Speed boat, Private vehicle, Public bus

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights)

Included activities

  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • Isla San Cristobal -Snorkelling in Tijeretas hill
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

GALAPAGOS PARK, TRANSIT CARD & ISABELA PORT FEES
Before you board your flight to the islands, at either Quito or Guayaquil Airports, you need to purchase your Galapagos Transit Control Card (USD 20) at the Consejo de Gobierno counter in the entrance hall; if you haven’t purchased this card you might be denied boarding. You will need to be at the airport at least two hours prior to the departure time as this can be a lengthy process. You will also need to have cash on hand as credit cards are not accepted.
After you have purchased Transit Control Card you will have to check your luggage at SICGAL counter where they seal your check in bags; then proceed to the check in counter of your respective airline.
The Galapagos park fee (USD 100) and Isabela Port fee (USD 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.

JOINING POINT INSTRUCTIONS
Please see the joining point instructions included in your Essential Trip Information. It's important you let us know no later than 15 days prior to departure where you plan to join this trip

TRIP FINISH POINT
This trip finishes at a centrally-located hotel on Isla Santa Cruz, usually Lobo de Mar Hotel. For those who need to organise departure flight, Baltra Airport is the closest airport.

SCUBA DIVING IN GALAPAGOS:
You also have the option later in this adventure to go scuba diving. To partake in this activity, you will need to already have a scuba diving certification. All dives finish by 12.30 pm and, since you need to wait at least 18 hours between diving and boarding a flight, you will need to stay in Santa Cruz at least one additional day. Where you will dive depends on when your trip ends and how long you can stay in Santa Cruz. See below for diving locations and experience level required:

Mondays: Dive off Floreana. Basic/Intermediate level
Tuesdays: Dive off Santa Fe. Basic/Intermediate level
Wednesdays: Dive off Seymour Canal & Mosquera Sur. Basic/Intermediate level
Thursdays: Dive off Gordon Rocks. Advanced level
Fridays: Dive off Beagle & Daphne. Intermediate level
Saturdays: Dive off Seymour Punta & Mosquera North. Basic/Intermediate level
Sundays: Dive off Gordon Rocks. Advanced level

We can assist you to book extra accommodation and we can make a booking with the diving company for you.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT NOT AVAILABLE
Due to hotel availability, a single supplement is not available on this trip.

STARTING IN QUITO
This trip has a longer version GGRR 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.

HOT WATER FACILITIES
Please note that in the Galapagos, many of the hotel's hot water services are limited and, as such, hot water may not always be available. Cold showers may be the only option.

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.

View Essential Trip Information

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