Made famous by Charles Darwin and his study of its endemic species, the Galapagos is a nature lover’s paradise. On this land-based trip, we explore the wilds of islands like Baltra, Isabela and San Cristobal as well as the waters where animals like seals, marine iguanas, white-tip and Galapagos reef sharks, manta rays, and turtles thrive. Starting from Quito, where we experience a bit of Ecuadorian culture, we hop a short flight to the Galapagos island of Baltra. Here, we learn about Darwin’s work and meet one of island groups most famous land animals, the giant tortoise. Next, we head out to Isabela island where we snorkel with animals like iguanas and penguins, kayak, and hike to a volcano. On San Cristobal, we learn about the history of the islands and conservation efforts, snorkel with animals like sea lions and turtles, and visit the nesting site of blue-footed boobies.
Day 1: Quito Bienvenidos!
Welcome to Ecuador, one of the most eclectic cities in South America. Upon arrival, take your time to explore and head for a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda — Quito’s oldest street — or check out beyond the city in Otavalo and the Equatorial Monument. You’ll kick off your adventure as you connect with your Local Leader and fellow travelers at a welcome meeting this evening.
Day 2: Quito > Baltra > Puerto Ayora
Today we head to Baltra Island — our first island of the Galapagos! Upon arrival, we will meet our Insider Expert (a licensed Naturalist Guide) who will guide us to the highlands of Santa Cruz. Here, we will visit the Giant Tortoise Reserve to observe these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. We’ll then head to Puerto Ayora — the Galapagos’ most populated town — and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. The evening is yours to explore; you might opt to enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and wander through the local shops. (b)
Day 3: Puerto Ayora > Isabela
Hop aboard a speed boat today as we head to Isabela Island, where we’ll visit Las Tintoreras — a highlight of the Galapagos. You’ll have an opportunity to go snorkeling in this spot teeming with marine iguanas, the rare Galapagos penguin and “Shark Alley” (where whitetipped sharks swim). (b)
Day 4: Isabela
Today begins with a visit to Sierra Negra Volcano — one of the most active volcanos in the Galapagos, and the second largest crater in the world. If you’re up for it, consider hiking up the rocky mountain for spectacular views. This afternoon, you can enjoy your time unscripted to relax or explore the island on your own. (b, boxed lunch)
Day 5: Isabela > Santa Cruz
We return to Santa Cruz by boat this morning where we visit Tortuga Bay, a gorgeous white beach considered to be the most beautiful in the entire archipelago — and a favorite location for sea turtles to lay their eggs. Soak up the rest of the day with some bird watching, kayaking, snorkeling, surfing or just exploring — the choice is yours! (b)
Day 6: Santa Cruz > San Cristobal
Our next visit is to San Cristobal Island, where we’ll visit the Interpretation Center and dive more into the history of the islands and challenges that local conservationists face. Next, we’ll enjoy a leisurely hike to the top of Cerro Tijeretas (Frigate Bird Hill) for amazing views of the bay below. In the afternoon, you can also enjoy snorkeling with sea lions and sea turtles in La Loberia Bay. (b)
Day 7: San Cristobal
After a short boat ride to Kicker Rock and Lobos Island, we’ll have the opportunity to spot nesting frigates and blue-footed boobies. If this sounds like your kind of adventure, choose to enjoy some open sea snorkeling with sea turtles, manta rays and the harmless Galapagos shark. (b, boxed lunch)
Day 8: San Cristobal > Quito
Our last day in the Galapagos will start with a visit to El Junco Lake, an ancient crater formed during the last ice age. Later, we’ll visit La Galapaguera and learn more about the giant tortoise before returning to Quito this afternoon for our final night together. (b)
Day 9: Quito
Our Galapagos adventure ends today after breakfast, with an included group transfer to the airport. (b)
8 nights hotel accommodations
Round trip airport to hotel transfers in Ecuador – transfers provided on a group basis
Meals: 8 breakfasts, 2 lunches
City Host in Quito
Naturalist Insider Expert in Galapagos
Flights to/from Galapagos Islands from Quito
Inclusions as noted in the itinerary •
Transportation, including ferry between islands
Personal expenditures such as passport/visa fees, vaccinations, meals/activities not included in itinerary, beverages, laundry, gratuities, etc
Prices are per person based on double occupancy and subject to change based on availability and currency fluctuation.