Galapagos

Galapagos Islands Land Tour - 5 DAYS

5 days | 4 nights
Shared tour
From 1559USD per person
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Tour Description

Discover the most enchanting ports of call in Central Galapagos on this 4-day land-based Galapagos Islands hopping tour. For savvy travelers, adventurers on a budget, or those who prefer to spend more time on land, this itinerary presents itself as a unique option to the traditional Galapagos cruise.

Explore a new island each day by yacht, and return to Santa Cruz in the evenings, where you can revel in the comforts of your selected hotel and peruse the local shops and restaurants of sleepy Puerto Ayora.

While Days 1 and 4 of this itinerary are set, the chosen destinations for Days 2 and 3 alternate between Bartolome, Santa Fe, North Seymour, and South Plaza Islands according to availability - all of which reward you with sublime natural scenery and remarkable wildlife encounters.

Your journey begins on Baltra Island, where you will meet and greet your Certified National Park guide and fellow travel mates at Seymour Airport. From there, travel to the Itabaca Channel by bus, then ferry to the northern shores of Santa Cruz, where you will tour the Highlands by hiking to see the Twin Craters and observing giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

Discover the highlights of Bartolome, a tiny 1.2 sq. km island where you will conquer a viewpoint with your guide and contemplate the rough cut features of its landscape of dramatic lava fields and lunar-like craters. From there, sail to Sullivan Bay on the southeastern end of Santiago Island, where you will spend some leisurely time swimming and snorkeling among the tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays.

Perhaps journey to North Seymour, a small and flat 1.9 sq. km island, and learn how a group of 72 undernourished land iguanas colonized the land. Then head either to Mosquera Islet to observe its colonies of playful sea lions, or to the blinding white coral sands of Bachas Beach on the northern shores of Santa Cruz for a leisurely stroll.

Or sail to South Plaza Island for a day, half a pair of the Plaza Islands off the eastern shores of Santa Cruz, where you'll embark on a hike with your guide and observe one of the largest sea lion colonies of the Galapagos archipelago. And from atop the island's dizzying 20-meter tall cliffs, observe nesting seabirds, schools of surgeonfish and waves crashing into the shoreline.

Visit the four million-year-old Santa Fe between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, one of the most ancient islands in the Galapagos archipelago, and set out on a nature walk with your guide to witness Galapagos hawks, fork-tailed gulls and migratory birds. And if conditions permit, experience the shimmering waters of Barrington Bay as you snorkel among rays, tropical fish, and marine tortoises.

On the final day of this island hopping tour, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora, a facility dedicated to marine life conservation and maintaining biodiversity in the region. Observe giant tortoises live in captivity here and recount the formation of the Galapagos archipelago's rugged islands before transferring to Seymour Airport for your onward journey.

Bringing you the most stunning landscapes and exciting attractions of the region in just four days, this Galapagos Islands hopping tour is an affordable way to discover the highlights of Central Galapagos and allows you to experience the best of both sea and land as you travel by yacht during the day and recharge overnight at your chosen hotel on Santa Cruz.

Destinations

Galapagos

Trip at a glance

Visits

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: Highlands, Charles Darwin Research Station

BARTOLOME ISLAND or SANTA FE ISLAND or NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND or SOUTH PLAZA ISLAND

Trip details

Itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: HIGHLANDS, TWIN CRATERS, GIANT TORTOISES

Morning

Arrive at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island this morning and meet and greet your Certified National Park guide and fellow passengers at the arrivals hall. Then, on a shared bus, reach Itabaca Channel where you will take a five minute ferry ride to the northern reaches of Santa Cruz Island. Visit the Highlands where you'll trek with your guide to see the Twin Craters, crossing lava tunnels and visiting a private ranch to observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

Afternoon

Transfer to your hotel.

Free afternoon.

Evening

Overnight at the hotel on Santa Cruz Island. 

MEALS
  • Lunch included

Day 2 ISABELA ISLAND: GIANT TORTOISES BREEDING CENTER, MORENO POINT, POZA DE LOS FLAMINGOS, LAS TINTOREAS ISLETS, SNORKELING

Morning

Set sail to Isabela Island on a two-hour speedboat journey at 630 this morning. At 4,640 sq. km, Isabela is the archipelago's largest island, and almost four times the size of Santa Cruz, encompassing a wealth of biodiversity and natural attractions. Its wetlands are laced with lagoons, swamps, and mangroves, and are recognized for their migrant bird populations, one of which is the emblematic flamingo. Visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Center, where endangered Galapagos Giant Tortoises are cared for and live in captivity. Moreno Point on Isabela's western shores reveal tidal lagoons and extensive lava fields and give visitors the opportunity to observe herons, frigatebirds and green turtles. Its shrub dotted landscape is unique for the candelabra cacti that reach impressive heights of up to seven meters, which towers above surrounding mangrove bushes and saltwater lagoons fringed with seagrass. Your first destination on Isabela Island this morning is Poza de Los Flamingos, where you will marvel at the distinctive color of these migratory birds that change as they transform from chicks to adults.

Afternoon

Visit Las Tintoreras this afternoon, a group of islets just off the shores of Puerto Villamil, named for its population of white-tipped reef sharks that are frequently spotted resting in its surrounding calm and clear waters. After a dry landing, walk along the nature trail with your guide, keeping your eyes peeled for sea lions and marine iguanas that live in this shark channel, continuing along the mangrove-lined shoreline. Then enjoy a zodiac ride to observe Galapagos penguins and blue-footed boobies before taking to the waters for some snorkeling.

Evening

Overnight at the hotel in Isabela Island. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Lunch included

Day 3 CABO ROSA TUNNELS, SNORKELING, RETURN TO SANTA CRUZ

Morning

A popular day trip from Puerto Villamil, the Cabo Rosa Tunnels are widely recognized for its biodiversity and tunnel-like lava formations that have taken shape over hundreds of years. Reach this uninhabited islet this morning on a one-hour boat journey, and engage in some light hiking on lava rock with your guide, observing the endemic vegetation and varieties of birds. A favorite site for snorkelers, dive into the crystal clear waters to observe giant sea turtles, sea horses, and manta rays up close.

Afternoon

In the afternoon we will take the ferry back to Santa Cruz Island and head to your hotel.

Evening

Overnight at the hotel on Santa Cruz Island. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Lunch included

Day 4 BARTOLOME ISLAND, NORTH SEYMOUR ISLAND, SOUTH PLAZAS ISLAND OR SANTA FE ISLAND

Depending on navigation and availability conditions, you will spend the day on one of the four islands below:

Bartolome Island
Depart from your hotel early this morning, and by bus, reach the Itabaca Channel where you will board the yacht and begin your 20-minute journey to the Daphnes, a pair of twin volcanic islands. Bird lovers will swoon at the sight of masked boobies, tropical birds and frigates, before continuing on the yacht for 90 minutes to the tiny 1.2 sq. km island of Bartolome. After a dry landing, climb to the top of a small cone with your guide, gaining 114 meters in altitude, and observe a dramatic landscape of lava fields, volcanic cones, and lunar-like craters. Following your visit, sail to Sullivan Bay, a favorite destination on this island hopping tour because of its unique geological characteristics. Situated on the southeastern end of Santiago Island, you will land on a sparkling white sand beach by wet landing, where you will spend some leisurely time swimming and snorkeling among the tropical fish, sea turtles and rays. Witness Sullivan Bay's contrasting geological features on an easy walk across its wild terrain, and contemplate the relatively young landscape of black lava flow, collapsed craters and volcanic hornitos, feeling the ropy lava beneath your feet as you explore. Return to the Itabaca Channel and transfer to your hotel by bus for your 5 PM arrival.

North Seymour Island
Depart from your hotel early this morning, and by bus, reach the Itabaca Channel where you will board the yacht. A 45-minute journey will transport you to North Seymour, a small and flat 1.9 sq. km island formed by the uplifting of underwater volcanic lava. Following a dry landing on the island's rocky coast, learn about the 72 land iguanas that were introduced to North Seymour in 1932 to colonize the island on a two-hour tour with your guide. Captain Alan Hancock and his crew transported these undernourished iguanas from Baltra Island in the hopes that they will thrive in better conditions on North Seymour. And in 1934 just two years later, the species was identified to have adapted without issues. Walk the arid boulder-strewn landscape, and follow along an easy circular path that takes you past the most extensive colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds in the archipelago. If conditions are optimal, spend some time discovering the area's marine wildlife as you snorkel. Depending on availability, head to Mosquera Islet to observe its large colonies of sea lion sunbathe or splash in the water, or head to the white coral sands of Bachas Beach on the northern shores of Santa Cruz, a beach that earned its name after World War II when the American army abandoned their barges on the beach. If conditions permit, swim or snorkel among the marine wildlife here before reaching your hotel at 4:00 pm.

South Plazas Island
By bus this morning, depart from your hotel to the Itabaca Channel to board your boat and sail 20 minutes to Punta Carrión where you will have to opportunity to witness birds and sea turtles, and snorkel in a small cove. Then, sail for approximately 90 minutes towards South Plaza Island off the eastern shores of Santa Cruz. Despite its small size, South Plaza is recognized for its outstanding collection of wildlife species, and after a dry landing, you'll have the opportunity to embark on a 90-minute walk to witness one of the largest sea lion colonies in the Galapagos, land iguanas and masked boobies, as well as discover the island's rugged landscape. Return to the boat for lunch and reach Puerto Ayora for a 4 PM arrival at your hotel.

Santa Fe Island
From the dock of Puerto Ayora, the yacht will sail 90 minutes to Santa Fe Island - one of the oldest in the Galapagos archipelago at an estimated four million years. With a wet landing on the beach, embark on a 90-minute walking tour with your guide to explore the island's 24 sq. km, keeping your eyes peeled for sightings of Galápagos hawks, fork-tailed gulls and migratory birds. Situated between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, Santa Fe also boasts a diversity of endemic species, like the Santa Fe land iguana, Galapagos Mockingbird, and rice rat. Its landscape is unique for its population of the large prickly pear cactus, Opuntia Echos, which feeds Santa Fe's land iguanas. If conditions permit, enjoy a relaxing swim or snorkel in the shimmering waters of Barrington Bay as hawks fly overhead, keeping your eyes peeled for rays, tropical fish and marine tortoises. Sail back to Santa Cruz for the evening and return to your hotel at 4 pm.

Day 5 DEPARTURE

Morning

After breakfast at your hotel this morning, transfer to Seymour Airport on Baltra Island for your onward journey.

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel

Day 12 FLIGHT TO BALTRA, SANTA CRUZ ISLAND: HIGHLANDS, TWIN CRATERS, GIANT TORTOISES

Morning

Arrive at Seymour Airport on Baltra Island this morning and meet and greet your Certified National Park guide and fellow passengers at the arrivals hall. Then, on a shared bus, reach Itabaca Channel where you will take a five minute ferry ride to the northern reaches of Santa Cruz Island. Visit the Highlands where you'll trek with your guide to see the Twin Craters, crossing lava tunnels and visiting a private ranch to observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat.

Afternoon

Transfer to your hotel.

Free afternoon.

Evening

Overnight at the hotel on Santa Cruz Island. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast at the hotel

Services

What's included

Accommodation

Nights
4 hotel nights

Meals

Bed & Breakfast plan
4 breakfasts + 4 lunches

Transportation

Boat
Shared boat excursions
Bus
Shared transfers from/to hotel/boat

Orientation

Guide
Shared English-speaking naturalist guide

What's not included

  • Entrance Fee to Galapagos National Park (100 USD/Person)
  • TCT Ingala Migration Card (20 USD/Person)
  • Domestic Flights
  • International Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Wetsuit Rental
  • Extra Meals
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Dates and Prices

Arrival date

Important notes

Each guest must strictly follow the Galapagos National Park Rules: 

  • Remain on marked trails at visitor sites and respect signs at all times for the protection of wildlife
  • Maintain a distance of at least six feet (two meters) from wildlife to avoid disturbing them, even if they approach you
  • Never feed wildlife, as this can cause health problems
  • Flash photography is not permitted when taking photos of wildlife
  • Professional photography and videos recorded for commercial purposes must be authorized by the Galapagos National Park Department
  • It is your responsibility not to introduce food, animals, or plants into the Archipelago. Cooperate fully with all environmental inspection and quarantine officials during your visit.
  • Do not take or buy any products or souvenirs made from banned substances, including black coral, shells, lava rock, animal parts, or any native wood or vegetation prior to leaving Galapagos. This is illegal and must be reported
  • Practice “leave-no-trace” principles in order to maintain the beauty of the environment
  • Pack out all trash and dispose of or recycle it in the populated areas or on your tour boat
  • Smoking and/or campfires are strictly prohibited within the Galapagos National Park
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