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 San Cristobal, Isabela and Santa Cruz 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.


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

Why we love this 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

Is this trip right for you?

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

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

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

  • While you're free to go diving if you so choose, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity. This is part of Intrepid's internal safety policy.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2018 to 31 December 2018. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Welcome to San Cristobal! Today you'll be joining with other travellers arriving from Quito.
This afternoon take an included visit to the Interpretation Centre and learn about the human and natural history of the Galapagos islands.
Afterwards perhaps hike up to Frigatebird Hill or head to Mann beach and chill.

Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
Joining point instructions:

Please see the joining point instructions included in your essential information.
Enjoy a free day on Isla San Cristobal. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kicker Rock excursion - USD120
  • Frigate Bird Hill - Free
  • Mann Beach - Free
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
  • Isla Lobos. - USD70
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Early in the morning, take a two-and-a-half hour public speed boat ride to Isla Santa Cruz.
Once in Santa Cruz have breakfast and Settle into the hotel.
Mid-morning 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit (45 Minute walk, one way) - Free
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel to Isabela Island. 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 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.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
Optional Activities
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
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 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. 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.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel back to Santa Cruz in the morning. We'll enjoy breakfast back in 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.
Accommodation
  • Hostel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Isla Tintoreras - USD47
  • Isla Isabela- Snorkeling in Concha y Perla - Free
  • Isabela Island – Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
  • Kayak rental - USD30
  • Isla Isabela - wetsuite rental - USD15
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning your Galapagos adventure comes to an end. Say goodbye to your fellow travellers who may be continuing on to Quito to finish their trip.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Departing airport:
The closest airport is Baltra. Passengers ending this trip in Quito will be taking their included flight at around 10am. Should you wish to join this transfer to Baltra airport it will be leaving the hotel at approximately 7am. If you be making your own way to the airport later in the day, the easiest way is to take a taxi followed by a ferry which will cost approximately USD26. This can be arranged locally.

Meals

6 breakfasts

Transport

Speed boat, Private Vehicle, Public bus

Accommodation

Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (4 nights)

Included activities

  • Isla San Cristobal - Interpretation Center (45 minutes)
  • 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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There are currently no scheduled departures on our Galapagos on a shoestring trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

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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.
JOINING POINT INSTRUCTIONS
Please see the joining point instructions included in your essential information.
TRIP FINISH POINT
This trip finishes at the Santa Cruz Hotel (for departure flights Baltra airport is the closest airport)
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT NOT AVAILABLE
Due to hotel availability a single supplement is not available on this trip.
STARTING IN THE 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.
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.

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 Galapagos on a shoestring trips score an average of 4.79 out of 5 based on 110 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos on a shoestring, September 2017

Hannah Obrien

Galapagos on a shoestring, September 2017

Jennifer Gurley