Map of Galapagos Experience including Ecuador

Explore these islands and see the wildlife in a week

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 an expert naturalist guide. With accommodation on Isla San Cristobal, Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Isabela, this trip is perfect for people who don’t want to tour the islands on a cruise. Included activities are both educational and immersive, while still allowing you plenty of free time to relax or get active at your own pace.


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

Why you'll love this trip

  • Snorkel in Tijeretas and keep an eye out for eagle rays, Galapagos sea turtles, sea lions and plenty of colourful fish.

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

  • Head to the highlands of Isla Santa Cruz to see giant tortoises munching grass, walking slowly and chilling in their natural habitat.

  • You have the option to tailor your experience with unforgettable optional excursions like nature hikes, boat trips and scuba diving.

  • Learn about Galapagos’ natural and exploratory history with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about conservation efforts to preserve their ecosystems.

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip involves day 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 you travel.

  • The trip includes a 17-kilometre hike (approximately 5–6 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommend bringing comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.

  • 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 an Intrepid agent at the time of booking for more information.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
Welcome to the Galapagos! Meet the other travellers in your group at 1pm, at the hotel listed in the ‘Joining point’ section of the Essential Trip Information. Check in to your hotel and then 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 your first snorkel at Tijeretas where you may be joined on your swim by sea turtles, rays, fish and sea lions.
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
If you’d rather Intrepid do all the busywork for you, consider booking the Galapagos Discovery tour (GRRR), which follows the exact same itinerary and includes flights to and from Quito.
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal, with plenty of optional activities on and off the island if you want a little structure. The optional boat ride to Isla Lobos is one of our favourite excursions and gives you the chance to snorkel with varied marine life, spot birdlife on shore and relax near sea lions on the beach.
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 must have a minimum of eight passengers to depart.
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 (1.5 hours) - Dry Landing
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you’ll travel to Isla Isabela 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 – and you have a free day here to explore at your own pace. A worthwhile optional activity today is an excursion to Las Tintoreras, where white-tipped sharks rest during the day and marine iguanas nest.
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
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 for this unique species. Take a bus to the highest part of Isabela 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 5–6 hours, 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 today’s 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. It can also get quite hot and there isn't much shade along the way, so be sure to come prepared with your reusable water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you when you leave.
Return to Isla Santa Cruz in the morning and enjoy breakfast on arrival at the island for some free time this morning. Maybe take part in an optional activity like the excursion to Tortuga Bay – an immaculate natural paradise where you can go kayaking, observe marine iguanas or swim with harmless sharks. After lunch (own expense), jump on a boat to La Loberia where you can swim in the waters that the area’s sea lions call home. Then, it’s off to Punta Estrada to observe birds like blue-footed boobies and pelicans. Finally, visit Playa de Los Dogs to see a large number of iguanas, the only sea-going lizard in the world that lives in these volcanic landscapes.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Cruz Marine Reserves - Half Day Boat Tour
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today your Galapagos adventure comes to an end after breakfast. Bid any travellers continuing on to Quito goodbye. 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 for organising 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 leave the Galapagos Islands today, please note that your closest airport is located on Isla 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 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 – talk to a booking agent to confirm timing.

If you’d rather Intrepid do all the busywork for you, consider booking the Galapagos Discovery tour (GRRR), which follows the exact same itinerary and includes flights to and from Quito.

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 (1.5 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)
  • Santa Cruz Marine Reserves - Half Day Boat Tour

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Galapagos Experience trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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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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