Discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands and the unique wildlife of this enchanting archipelago by land, sea and air, on a land-based itinerary.
The Galapagos Islands are very much a once-in-a-lifetime destination. These equatorial islands were completely isolated for centuries and are home to huge a number of endemic species, including the giant tortoise, Galapagos penguin and Galapagos sealion. On this land-based tour you will be able to explore the amazing biodiversity of these islands on a number of exciting excursions before returning every night to the comfort of your safari camp or hotel.
Day1: Fly to Quito
Fly from London to Quito, arriving later the same day. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day2: Fly to the Galapagos & transfer to Santa Cruz
In the morning, you transfer back to Quito airport to catch the flight over to the Galapagos Islands. After passing through Galapagos immigration, you head for Santa Cruz for lunch in the highlands and a guided walk through the endemic Scalesia and Guayabillo forests.
For the next two days after an early start, you board a boat that will carry you to one of the uninhabited islands around Santa Cruz. Possible destinations include North Seymour, Bartolomé, Santa Fe and South Plaza. Every island has a unique ecosystem and a guide will explain the evolutionary intricacies once you are ashore. You will also have the opportunity to enjoy a spot of snorkelling in the Galapagos Marine Reserve, which is the second largest marine reserve in the world. Keep an eye out for the Galapagos green turtle and the playful Galapagos sealion before returning to camp.
Day5: Excursion to Santa Cruz’s eastern coast
Following breakfast you drive to the eastern coastline of Santa Cruz, where several endemic plant and bird species can be found. This coastline offers stunning contrasts with mangroves, white sandy beaches and black lava trails all found in this small area, as well as a flamingo lagoon. Other optional activities include kayaking and mountain biking.
Day6: Fly to Isabela & visit the Tintoreras Islets
Today, you have the unique experience of seeing the Galapagos Islands from the air as a light aircraft flies you over to Isabela providing amazing views of this fascinating archipelago. Arrive in time for lunch and then head off to the Tintoreras Islets, where there is a diverse range of wildlife including Galapagos penguins, white tip reef sharks and Galapagos sealions.
Sierra Negra is a large shield volcano situated in the south-east of Isabela and today you have the opportunity to explore this amazing natural feature. Sierra Negra is one of the most scenic volcanoes on the archipelago and a trail around the edge of the caldera provides spectacular views of across Isabela and out to sea.
Day8: Return to Quito
In the morning after a leisurely breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight back to the mainland. On arrival in Quito you will be driven back to your hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Patio Andaluz, 1-night
Day9: Depart Quito
The morning will be free to spend as you wish before being transferred to Quito airport’s international terminal to board your overnight flight back home.
Day10: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 10 daysfrom £5,595 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £4,595 pp
Single supplement: From £540
When to go: Jan-Dec: The Galapagos Islands are an excellent year-round destination
Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station and Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre. The island’s rocky coastline and mangrove-lined inlets are good for marine life. The lush greenery of the highlands offers a welcome contrast, with its huge craters, lava tunnels and giant tortoises roaming freely.
Where: Central Islands
Ideal for viewing: giant tortoise, green turtle, marine iguana, vermilion flycatcher, Galapagos rail
The volcanic slopes of the largest island in the archipelago are home to some 6,000 Galapagos tortoises. On the west coast the cold water currents produces an abundance of marine life and it is possible to snorkel with sealions. An uplifted coral reef provides brackish lagoons which are home to a variety of seabirds.
Where: Western Islands
Ideal for viewing: Galapagos penguin, South American fur seal, white-cheeked pintail, Galapagos hawk, land iguana
Excellent for: Penguin watching
Santiago Island has a narrow, steep-sided point of land, which provides an extraordinarily beautiful landscape with cliffs and rocky pinnacles that create a nesting site for hundreds of marine birds. In the 17th and 18th centuries, pirates used this place to maintain their vessels and replenish their supplies.
Where: Central islands
Ideal for viewing: Galapagos penguin, South American fur seal, Galapagos hawk, lava lizard, American flamingo
Excellent for: Birdwatching
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
Situated in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, this camp allows you to enjoy the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands from the comfort of a luxury tent. Nine en suite safari-style tents are tucked into the hillside below the main lodge overlooking the surrounding forests and the Pacific Ocean.
Perched on the waterfront looking out over the beach of Puerto Villamil on Isabela, the Iguana Crossing is a small boutique hotel with an idyllic location in the Galapagos Islands. It has 14 well appointed rooms, each with a stunning view of either the Pacific Ocean or the Sierra Negra Volcano.