Tour the Galapagos Islands’ wildlife highlights on an active adventure

Amazing wildlife, both on land and underwater, is the drawcard of the remote Galapagos Islands. Tour this otherworldly archipelago by foot and boat on this active adventure. Swim with sea turtles, see giant tortoises up close, watch sea lions lounge around town and discover volcanic environments. This tour has you cruising and exploring by day and relaxing on land by night, not at the mercy of the weather for a good night’s sleep.


Start
Isla San Cristobal, Ecuador
Finish
Isla Baltra, Ecuador
Destination
Ecuador
Style
Original
Theme
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
GGTG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Learn about the unique habits of the marine iguana. This dinosaur-like little creature has an iridescent sheen and is only found on the Galapagos Islands.

  • Snorkel the incredible waters of Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), an eroded volcanic cone where sea turtles, rays and colourful fish make their home.

  • Many come to Isla Santa Cruz just for the giant tortoises. Get up close and personal with these enormous animals as they shuffle along.

  • Watch the aerobatic routines of blue-footed boobies and the death-defying stunts of the frigate birds as they whizz through the air.

  • As it begins and ends in the Galapagos (as opposed to mainland Ecuador) it’s easy to stay on if you fall in love with the archipelago.

Is this trip right for you?

  • The only way to access many islands is by boat. 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-kilometre 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.

  • The sun in the Galapagos Islands is incredibly strong due to its proximity to the equator, so it is hot an easy to burn.

  • Snorkelling excursions are included throughout the itinerary. Confident swimming skills are required to take part in these activities.

  • The Galapagos is a great place to switch off and take a break from your phone, as internet access can be patchy can Wi-Fi is not always be available or reliable.

  • Hot water can be sporadic in some parts of the Galapagos so there may be a few cold showers on the trip.

  • There is an opportunity on the final day to forgo your flight back to Quito to stay on and go scuba diving. We can assist with booking this activity on the final day of the tour, but it will require an extra night on the islands, and you must have a scuba certification. See ‘Important Notes’ on the left for details.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020.
View the 2019 itinerary
Welcome to San Cristobal in the Galapagos Islands! As you start this trip on the Galapagos Islands you have two options for joining the group, as outlined in Special Information below. After joining up with your fellow travellers, head to La Loberia where you'll put on snorkelling gear for the first time and go for a swim among sea lions, perhaps spotting sea turtles too. Return to town for a free evening. Perhaps 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 - USD60
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
As you start this trip on the Galapagos Islands you have two options for joining the group:

SUNDAY DEPARTURES: You can meet the others at San Cristobal Airport at 11.30 am. Your guide will be waiting in the arrival hall with an Intrepid sign for the passengers from Quito.
FRIDAY & WEDNESDAY DEPARTURES: You can meet the others at San Cristobal Airport at 12.30 pm: Your guide will be waiting in the arrival hall with an Intrepid sign for the passengers from Quito.

Alternatively, you can meet them at the hotel (Casa de Nelly) when they arrive approximately 1 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 USD 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.
Today begins with a 45-minute boat ride to Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock). On the way we might be able to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. There is also potential to swim among playful young sea lions. At Leon Dormido you can snorkel and look for sea turtles, manta rays and maybe the odd harmless Galapagos shark. Currents can be quite strong so it's important you are a confident swimmer to participate in this activity. If you have any concerns, please ensure you speak with your leader. Eat lunch on the boat then head to the Interpretation Center. Learn about the history of the 'Enchanted Islands' and the conservation projects which seek to preserve them. Continue to Frigatebird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), which is located two kilometres from the Interpretation Center. It's quite a climb to the top, but well worth the amazing views of the bay. Return to town in the late afternoon or 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
Special Information
If we are unable to visit Leon Dormido, alternative plans will be made to visit Isla Lobos, where sea lions, marine birds and marine iguanas are plentiful.
Take an early morning boat ride towards Isla Floreana, 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 Isla Isabela (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
Please note when you arrive at Isla 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 Arnaldo Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center where you'll observe giant tortoises in all stages of development. The centre has almost a thousand giant tortoises preparing for life on their own. Afterwards, head to a brackish lagoon to observe flamingos. In the afternoon, board a small Zodiac (panga) and cruise to Las Tintoreras (Shark Alley), looking out en roue for blue-footed boobies and the famous Galapagos penguin. On arrival, take a short walk on this isolated islet and popular iguana nesting site. 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. In the 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 5—6 hours. After the hike, make your way back to town 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- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Special Information
Unfortunately, recycling isn't available on Isabela, so please take your plastic rubbish with you.

Please ensure you wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support for the hike today. 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 and 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).
Start the day with a kayak around Isabela before transferring by private speedboat to Isla Santa Cruz. Once you arrive on Santa Cruz head to a restaurant that offers a typical Eduadorian lunch package, simply referred to as ‘Menu’. This usually this consists of a fresh juice, a basic entree (usually a soup) and 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 enjoy 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
In the afternoon visit the highland of Isla Santa Cruz to observe the giant tortoise roaming the wild. Afterwards visit a locally owned sugar cane farm. Here the farmers will show us the ways sugar cane is processed and turned into alcohol. Along the way, keep an eye out for eagle rays, sea turtles and blue-footed boobies. Later, head back to Puerto Ayora.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Santa Cruz Highlands Visit (3 Hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Your Galapagos tour comes to an end after breakfast today.


Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
This trip finishes in Santa Cruz, departure flights should be booked from Baltra airport. To get to Baltra airport you will need to take a taxi to the port and from there it is a USD 1 ferry across the channel and then USD 5 for the bus to the airport.

If you plan on departing from an alternative airport in the Galapagos you will need to make your own way there also, this will involve ferries which your tour leader can advise you on and assist you with. Please ensure you allow enough time for this by speaking with your travel agent. If you wish to take advantage of the included transfer to Baltra airport it will be early this morning as you will be joining the travellers that have booked the longer version of this trip ending in Quito. Their flight usually departs Baltra airport at approximately 10.15 am and you will still need to cover the costs of the ferry and bus.   

Meals

7 breakfasts, 4 lunches

Transport

Boat, Public bus, Speed boat, Private vehicle

Accommodation

Hotel (7 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)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay walk

Dates & availability

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Important notes

STARTING POINTS:
This trip starts in the Galapagos, there are two joining points available:

San Cristobal Airport- 11:30am on day 1
OR
Casa de Nelly (start hotel)- Address: Manuel Agama S/N y Alsacio Northia. San Cristobal Galapagos-Check-in time is usually 12pm (Passengers from Quito and Leader will usually arrive at approximately 12:30)

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: 09940148

DEPARTURE AIRPORT
This trip finishes in Santa Cruz, departure flights should be booked from Baltra airport.

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 2 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.

GALAPAGOS PARK RULES:
Strict rules apply in the Galapagos Islands aimed at protecting and preserving its unique biodiversity. Intrepid strongly agrees and supports these rules which range from times of the day that a destination can be visited to the distance kept between people and wildlife and especially not removing anything from the environment ( shells and corals for example) – all these rules will be explained in more detail by your Leader on the ground. Not adhering to these rules can lead to hefty fines for travellers and can result in Intrepid losing the license to operate in the Galapagos Islands – these rules must be adhered to by all, without exception. Failure to adhere to the rules can result in being removed from the trip without refund.

For more information, please follow this link: http://www.galapagos.org/travel/travel/park-rules/

SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS:
A single supplement is available on this trip.

STARTING IN THE QUITO:
This trip has a longer version 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 hotels hot water services are limited and as such hot water may not always be available and cold showers maybe 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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