Day 1: San Cristobal Island
Upon arrival to San Cristobal Galapagos Airport you will be picked by a Spanish speaking driver for a short transfer to your hotel. Free time for lunch, and then you will begin with your first visit to El Junco Lake which is a beautiful lake in the highlands with 360 degrees view over the whole island of San Cristobal. A gentle hike around the lake shore takes approx. 30 minutes, where you can see Frigate birds cleaning the salt water from their feathers.
Next stop is the Galapaguera Tortoise breeding center where young tortoises are cared for until they are big enough to be released into the national park. The tour takes about one hour, during which time you will see giant tortoises, and learn about conservation work to protect this fascinating species. There are also baby tortoises in protected pens, where they are kept safe from predators until they reach the age of 7 years.
The trip ends with another highlight, the secluded Puerto Chino beach. On the rocks you can often find Blue Footed Boobies, as well as Sea Lions on the sand, lazing around, cuddled up in pairs. The tranquility on the beach is only broken when the Alpha Male turns up! There is free time to relax at the beach, or go for a swim or snorkel.
The inter-island speedboat is a public service and usually fully booked. It can be a choppy ride and it is highly recommended to take an anti seasickness tablet half an hour before boarding the speedboat. Ask for a life vest, if the crew is not giving these out automatically.
Please note that to get to the speedboat from the shore, it is necessary to catch a water taxi, the taxi driver will charge between $1-$2 pp for a few minutes ride to the speedboat. This fee is not included in our packages because we cannot pre-pay for these services. Upon arrival to your next destination, another water taxi will take you to the shore.
Day 2: San Cristobal Island
Today you´ll go on a fun snorkel trip to the famous Kicker Rock. In the morning we sail to the Kicker Rock for about an hour and a half. The Kicker Rock is an ancient volcanic rock which was shaped by erosion throughout thousands of years. There are two enormous rocks that stick out of the ocean to a height of approximately 148m (486 ft). Between these rocks there is a beautiful channel which is great for snorkeling. On the rocks, you can see blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, and sea Lions. Under water, you can see hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays and schools of tropical fish.
The Kicker Rock tour also includes a visit to one of the secluded white sand beaches north on the island of San Cristobal. One of the following beaches is visited: Manglecito, Puerto Grande, or Cerro Brujo. The choice between these three options depends on the Galapagos National Park authorities. On the beach the guide will take you on a short walk, and if time allows you can go for a swim or do some snorkeling.
Tour duration: 6-7 hours
Bring drinking water and enough sun protection for the day! (hat, sunglasses, long sleeved shirt, sunscreen). You may also want to take an anti-seasickness tablet half an hour before boarding.
Day 3: Puerto Ayora
In the morning, you will take the inter-island speedboat to Santa Cruz. There, your first visit is to 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 4: 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 5: Puerto Villamil
You have the option of taking a morning speedboat (around 7am) or an afternoon speedboat (around 2pm) to Isabela Island. Should you opt for the morning boat, you will have a free day in Isabela where you could snorkel the beautiful Concha de Perla bay, walk over to the Flamingo lagoon or rent bikes to explore the trail over the wetlands to the Wall of Tears. Isabela has also some of the prettiest white sand beaches to enjoy!
If you prefer an afternoon speed boat, you will have a free morning in Santa Cruz where you could visit Tortuga Bay or Las Grietas on your own before your trip to Isabela. A stroll over the boulevard to visit some of the nicest souvenir shops of have a drink in town is also a nice idea!
Activities and Services
Day 6: 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 7: 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.
Day 8: 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.
Activities and Services
Airport drop off (Spanish)