Day 1: Puerto Ayora
Welcome to the island of Santa Cruz! Your flight arrives around noon and our guide will be waiting for you at the arrival area and carry a sign with your names on it for you to recognize. A short bus ride takes you first to the Itabaca Channel where you will catch the ferry to cross over to the other side from where your trip starts.
The first visit is at the Highlands of Santa Cruz – this is the best place to see the Giant Tortoise up close in the wild. They roam the lush highlands searching for food or cooling off in the muddy pools. You will wander the trails while your guide will explain some interesting facts about these gentle giants. There is also a lava tunnel that you can explore.
After this activity, you will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where you will receive more background information from your guide about the islands, with a focus on Darwin´s theories as well as the breeding work on various tortoise populations. In the late afternoon you will also have plenty of free time for souvenir shopping at the excellent boutiques in Puerto Ayora town, and enjoy superb dining.
Day 2: Puerto Ayora
Today you have the opportunity to discover one of the uninhabited islands on a boat excursion. The tour includes a guided hike on the island and some time for snorkeling, with lunch on board. The exact destination depends upon daily availability, but will be one of the following options:
Bartolome: the site of the iconic Galapagos landscape of Pinnacle Rock, where you can take your perfect photo. You do have to climb 364 steps to get here, but the reward is immense. Along the way you can see lava fumaroles, and enjoy the incredible lunar style landscape. With a bit of luck, you may also see the world´s only tropical penguin here! After the land visit, you´ll have time to explore the amazing underwater wildlife while snorkeling.
North Seymour: One of the best islands for Galapagos birdlife, where you can see Frigate Birds, swallow tailed gulls and the famous Blue Footed Boobies who nest here. With red colored soil and red carpet vine growing on the island the scenery is exotic. Another interesting species found on North Seymour is the Land Iguana, a unique species from the ones seen on other islands.
South Plazas: This small but scenic island has a fantastic concentration of wildlife, from Sea Lions to Land Iguana´s and many bird species, including Frigate Birds, Lava Gulls and Red-Billed Tropicbirds. The dramatic cliffs, blue seas and spectacular natural red-carpet of algae make the scenery of this island particularly pretty.
Santa Fe: A very diverse island with a beautiful white sand beach where Sea Lions bask in the sun. The island is covered with huge cactus trees, food for the Land Iguana population that is endemic to this Santa Fe. The walk up is quite rocky buy you´ll be rewarded with stunning views at the top. Santa Fe is also considered one of the best snorkeling sites in Galapagos where sharks are often seen!
Day 3: Puerto Villamil
Early this morining you will have a quick breakfast and head to the dock at Puerto Ayora, from here you will take a speed boat for a 2-hour trip to Puerto Villamil, and you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. A little later your guide will walk you up the beach, and to the Isabela tortoise breeding center, where you get to see these various sub-species of giant tortoises up close, from tiny babies to fully grown adults, and can learn about the breeding program and incubation process. If you still have energy, you can continue the walk to a lagoon where you have the chance to see Galapagos Flamingos (endemic subspecies) and other wading birds. (Private Tour)
An afternoon or morning inter-island speedboat will take you to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island.
Your guide will meet you at the hotel for a walk up to the Tortoise Breeding Center. The walk takes you through the wetlands and mangrove forest where you can spot sea birds and flamingos. At the breeding center, you get to see these various sub-species of giant tortoises up close, from tiny babies to fully grown adults. Your guide will explain about the breeding program and incubation process. Afterwards you continue for a walk up to the Flamingo Lagoon, where you can see this beautiful pink bird as well as other wading birds.
Please note that the speedboat is a public service which is usually full, and is a bumpy ride for approx. 2 ½ hours each way. If you would prefer more comfortable transport then let us know and we can change you to an small plane flight between Islands instead. B ear in mind that the luggage limit is just 12kg per person.
Day 4: Puerto Villamil
Today you can choose between a snorkel trip to Tuneles & Cabo Rosa or a hiking trip to Sierra Negra & Volcan Chico.
A boat ride of about an hour and a half takes you to Tuneles; this is a fascinating landscape of huge collapsed ava tunnels. You begin on land where blue footed boobies often nest. Afterwards you will enjoy superb snorkeling at Cabo Rosa - this is one of the very best snorkel sites in Galapagos! White tipped reef sharks, green marine turtles, sting rays, sea lions, eagle rays and even sea horses are regularly seen here!
An incredible hiking trip that is all about landscapes and volcanoes! A guided 4 to 5 hours return trek takes you up to the summit of the active Sierra Negra volcano for wonderful views into one of the largest craters in the world. Descending further you can visit Volcan Chico, to witness the incredible landscape of smouldering cones and craters formed by various past eruptions; it literally feels like you're walking on the moon!
Day 5: Puerto Villamil
Las Tintoreras is a delightful place reached by zodiac. "Tintoreras”, is the Spanish name for White Tipped Reef Shark. Here you will walk through a jagged ¨AA¨ lava field, passing abundant colonies of marine iguana´s, to see a small canal full of resting white tipped reef sharks. The black, treacherous lava field, the emerald, green sea, the forest green mangrove and the cloud-capped volcanoes of Isla Isabela is the sort of afternoon backdrop you will not soon forget. You can snorkel the warm, shallow bay surrounded by mangrove, for an opportunity to see white tipped reef sharks, sea lions, penguins and more.
Activities and Services
English Speaking Guide
Yacht transport (shared)
Day 6: End of Itinerary
Today will be an early wake up to catch the inter-island speedboat to Puerto Ayora, where you will have an immediate transfer to Baltra Airport to reach the airport in time for your flight back to the mainland.