The Complete Galapagos Experience – San Cristobal, Santa Cruz & Isabela

The Complete Galapagos Experience -
San Cristobal, Santa Cruz & Isabela


Snorkel at Kicker Rock, one of the most iconic landmarks on Galapagos


Visit one of the smaller, uninhabited islands


Watch out for giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island

Day 1Arrival in Quito, Quito Cooking ClassQuito
Day 2Urban Bike Tour in Quito, Middle of the WorldQuito
Day 3Quito to San Cristóbal Island, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas HillQuito to San Cristóbal Island
Day 4Snorkel at Kicker RockSan Cristóbal Island
Day 5Free Day on San Cristobal IslandSan Cristóbal Island
Day 6SUP Tour, Galapaguera, Coffee Farm & Puerto Chino BeachSan Cristóbal Island
Day 7San Cristóbal Island to Puerto Villamil, Kayaking & Snorkeling at LasSan Cristóbal Island to Puerto
Day 8Hiking Sierra Negra VolcanoPuerto Villamil
Day 9Exploring Isabela Island by bikePuerto Villamil
Day 10Snorkel at Los Túneles, Transfer to Puerto AyoraPuerto Villamil to Puerto Ayora
Day 11Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, Visit to the Charles Darwin ResearchPuerto Ayora
Day 12Excursion to an uninhabited islandPuerto Ayora
Day 13Free Day on Santa Cruz IslandPuerto Ayora
Day 14Tortuga Bay, Transfer to Baltra Island, DeparturePuerto Ayora to Baltra Island

Transfer from Quito Airport to the City

Private transfer · 45 minutes

Welcome to Ecuador! Upon arrival at Quito’s airport, a private driver will meet you for the ride to your hotel in the city center.

Quito Cooking Class

Private group · 2.5 hours

Today is your chance to learn about—and taste—Ecuador’s traditional cooking with dishes such as locro de papa (potato stew), bolon de verde (plantain dumplings), and encocado de pescado (fish in coconut sauce). Meet a local Quito chef for a trip to a market to buy the ingredients needed for each dish. Learn about the recipes and then follow steps to create a meal to share with your group.

Urban Bike Tour in Quito

Small group · 4 hours · Breakfast Included

Today you’ll take a half-day bike tour in Quito! At the appointed time, meet your guide in the northern part of the city where you’ll set off on a four-hour bike tour through the neighborhoods of La Floresta, Carolina Park, and Iñaquito. La Floresta is the place where you can see how urban art in the city is flourishing with its street murals, designers, and boutiques. Then, cycle through Carolina Park, which is spread over 165 acres (66 ha). Finish the tour in Iñaquito and visit the Mercado to sample street food followed by a look around the green space and murals of Isla Tortuga Park.

Middle of the World

Private group · 3 hours

Have you always wanted to stand on both the Northern and the Southern hemispheres at the same time? Today’s your opportunity! You will visit “Mitad del Mundo,” the “Middle of the World.” A French expedition determined the equator line there in 1736. The result: the actual equator is located around 200 m north of that line. As the enormous monument had already been built, it stayed there and still is a funny tourist attraction. Take photos of the monument, visit the various exhibition halls, and have fun jumping from one (fake) hemisphere to the other. The Inti Ñan Museum is an interesting and interactive site where you will participate in funny experiments and learn about ancient Ecuadorian culture. Will you be able to balance an egg on the nail? Try it out!

Depart from Quito to San Cristóbal Island

Private transfer · Breakfast Included

On time for your flight to Galapagos, your driver will pick you up at your hotel in Quito and escort you to Quito Airport. Upon your arrival at San Cristobal Airport, your driver will welcome you and take you to your hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill

Private group · 5 hours · Lunch Included

Today, you will visit the Interpretation Center of the Galápagos National Park to learn about the archipelago from a seasoned Naturalist guide. Later, you will take a short hike through the brush forest that leads us to Frigate Hill (“Cerro Tijeretas” in Spanish), a lovely viewpoint on the island where frigate birds nest. Afterward, if there is still time left, you will have a chance to go snorkeling in search of lazy sea lions, graceful and impressive sea turtles, and colorful fish.

Snorkel at Kicker Rock

Small group · 6 hours · Breakfast, Lunch Included

A 50-minute boat ride will bring you through blue waters to one of the most iconic places of Galápagos: the famous Kicker Rock, also known as “León Dormido” (“sleeping lion”). While snorkeling around this spectacular rock formation, you can encounter sea lions, rays, turtles, and an array of fish. If you are lucky, you might even spot hammerhead sharks! A lunchbox is served onboard. Top off this excursion with a visit to a pristine beach where you have some time to relax, swim, and snorkel.

In the afternoon, you return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where you can enjoy the evening while walking along the promenade or watching the sunset at Playa Mann. 

This activity is recommended for children eight years and up, but if your little one is three years old or older and a confident swimmer, they can join in with parental supervision.

Free Day on San Cristobal Island

Self guided · 8 hours · Breakfast Included

Check out one or two of the beautiful beaches on San Cristobal during your free day on the island for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. If you haven’t been to Tijeretas Hill yet, do the short hike as it is worth seeing the frigate birds nesting on top! Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the Galápagos Islands, visit the Interpretation Center in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Looking for a larger day trip? Do a last-minute excursion by boat to Española Island or to Pitt Point and observe Albatrosses (depending on season), blue-footed boobies, sea lions, and much more.

SUP Tour

Small group · 3 hours · Breakfast Included

The next adventure already awaits you: during a SUP tour (Stand Up Paddling Tour), you will visit awesome beaches with crystal clear water. Watch out for sea lions, rays, sea turtles, and other marine life while paddling along the fascinating coastline of San Cristobal Island. Sunbath and swim, and enjoy the
magic of Galapagos! 

If your child is four years or older, they can join you on the board while you paddle!

Galapaguera, Coffee Farm & Puerto Chino Beach

Private group · 8 hours · Breakfast, Lunch Included

The Galapaguera at Cerro Colorado, a Semi-Natural Giant Tortoise Reserve, is one of the places where you can visit these emblematic species on Galapagos. The goal is to protect these endangered species, so eggs are brought to the hatchery and kept safe until they hatch. Afterwards, the tortoises are raised thereuntil they are considered big enough to survive on their own. Then they are returned to the wild. Walk the trails in the reserve and make sure to have your camera in hand!

Afterwards, continue your journey through the highlands of San Cristobal Island and visit an organic coffee farm. Great coffee is cultivated and produced on Galapagos! Take a short tour and learn about the cultivation, harvest, and roasting of the beans – and of course try a cup of coffee! 

Your last stop for today will be the beautiful Puerto Chino beach, a white sand beach with turquoise waters, located on the south-eastern part of San Cristobal Island. It’s a great place for snorkeling and
surfing, and for observing sea lions and blue-footed boobies

Flight San Cristóbal Island - Puerto Villamil

Flight · 2 hours

You will take the island hopper plane from San Cristobal to Isabela Island today. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and escort you to San Cristobal Airport. Enjoy the panoramic flight over the archipelago (approx. 45 minutes)! At the small airport of Isabela Island, another driver will be waiting for you and accompany you to your hotel in Puerto Villamil.

Note: baggage allowance is approx. 11 kg per person; every additional kg has to be paid directly at San Cristobal Airport (approx. US$ 4 per kg).

Kayaking & Snorkeling at Las Tintoreras

Small group · 3 hours

Today, you will explore Las Tintoreras Islets by kayak. Those small volcanic islets are thriving with wildlife:watch out for penguins and blue-footed boobies, and explore the underwater world with its great variety of colorful fish, turtles, and sea lions while snorkeling. 

This activity is recommended for children 8 years and up, but if your little one is 3 years old or older and aconfident swimmer, they can join in with parental supervision.

Hiking Sierra Negra Volcano

Private group · Breakfast Included

Another adventurous day awaits you! You will hike the famous Sierra Negra Volcano today, the second largest volcano crater on our planet, and walk through a unique geological landscape. The area is dotted with lava paths and local plant and animal life. Watch out for different bird species while hiking to the crater rim. Parts of the caldera provide evidence of its last eruption in 2005.

Enjoy the spectacular views during one of the best hikes of Galapagos, before continuing the hike up to Chico volcano, a secondary crater, where you will enjoy both the views and a box lunch. The hike is long in terms of distance, but not very difficult (16 km / 9,95 mi).

After descending and returning to Puerto Villamil, the rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Exploring Isabela Island by bike

Private group · 3 hours

Today, we will bike along an exclusive road around one side of Isabela Island. Along the way, you can stop at various viewpoints and beaches, such as for example “Playa del amor” (“Love Beach”). Playa del Amor is home to a huge population of marine iguanas.

After a while, we will reach the famous “Muro de las lagrimas” (“Wall of Tears”), a historic landmark on Isabela Island. This wall was built by prisoners of the penal colony on the island, and it is said that hundreds of people lost their life during its constructions – therefore the name.

Upon our return to Puerto Villamil, we will make a last stop and explore the richly diverse environments at the Flamingo Lagoon.

This activity is recommended for kids aged 5 and up who know how to ride a bike and depending on the height of the child. We also have child seats available: a front seat for up to 15 kg/33 lbs and a back seat for up to 32 kg/70 lb

Snorkel at Los Túneles

Small group · 5 hours · Breakfast, Lunch Included

Los Túneles is famous for its unique geological formations, like lava-formed arches below and above water. This area is an excellent place for swimming and snorkeling, as you can encounter a huge variety of wildlife in the shallow waters. Keep your eyes open for seahorses, colorful fish, rays, turtles, and whitetipped reef sharks. You might also spot some penguins or blue-footed boobies sitting on the rocks. After the excursion, you return by boat to Puerto Villamil.

This activity is recommended for children 10 years and up, but if your little one is 7 years old or older and a confident swimmer, they can join in with parental supervision.

Public speedboat Puerto Villamil - Puerto Ayora

Boat · 2.5 hours

Take the public speedboat from Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island today (approx. 2-2,5 hours).

Highlands of Santa Cruz Island

Private group · 3 hours · Breakfast, Lunch Included

The next stop of today will lead us, together with our guide, into the highlands of Santa Cruz, where you can observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. Besides, you can explore the impressive lava tunnels that dot the area. Make another stop at the so-called “twin craters,” home to various bird species.

After enjoying a healthy meal on a farm in the highlands, your guide will bring you back to Puerto Ayora.

Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station

Private group · 1.5 hours

Here in Puerto Ayora is the seat of the Charles Darwin Foundation and its research station, where you can observe many giant tortoises and iguanas species. Witness the tireless efforts of conservationists and learn about how they are helping to repopulate the island with different species of tortoises.

Excursion to an uninhabited island

Private group · 1.5 hours

Of the many islands that compose the Galápagos Archipelago, only 4 have permanent settlements. The rest of the islands are left in their natural condition, the habitat of many endemic species. Visits to these islands are highly regulated by Park Authorities and limited to small group visits.

Today you are going to visit one of these untamed islands. Aboard a modern yacht, and in the company of only 15 more visitors, you will take a 1.5 to 2.5-hour ride to one of the following islands: Bartolomé, Seymour Norte, Plazas Sur, or Santa Fé. The island visited depends on park permits and the boat’s schedule. We will try to consider your preferences when booking the limited spaces.

Every island has a different landscape and unique flora & fauna. For example, on Santa Fé island, you will find the endemic Santa Fé iguana, whereas colonies of sea lions, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies populate Seymour Norte. On board the yacht, a warm meal is served, and in the afternoon, guests usually have the opportunity to snorkel at a nearby bay or beach. Don’t miss out on the fantastic underwater world of the Galápagos! 

After an exciting day, you will return to Puerto Ayora around 4-5 pm.

Free Day on Santa Cruz Island

Self guided · Breakfast Included

Enjoy Santa Cruz Island on your own today! For example, Tortuga Bay (approximately 45 minutes from Puerto Ayora), where you can see marine iguanas and Darwin Finches; head to Las Grietas for some snorkeling or set out for a last-minute day trip to one of the uninhabited islands in the surroundings of Santa Cruz. It’s all about appreciating the uniqueness of Galápagos!

Tortuga Bay

Self guided · 4 hours · Breakfast Included

There is still much more to explore on Santa Cruz Island, so today you can head to Tortuga Bay, said to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Galapagos. It’s a nice 45-minute walk (approx. 1,5 miles / 2,5 km
each way) through an Opuntia cactus forest. Sunbath, swim, or snorkel, and watch out for marine iguanas and Darwin Finches. If you want to, you can even rent kayaks (optional).

Transfer from Puerto Ayora to Baltra Airport (GPS)

Private transfer · 1 hour

On time for your flight back to mainland Ecuador, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and bring you back to the Itabaca Channel which you will again cross by ferry. We hope that you have enjoyed your time on Galapagos!!


Day 1: Quito Cooking Class (private group)

Day 2: Urban Bike Tour in Quito (small group), Middle of the World (private group)

Day 3: Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill (private group)

Day 4: Snorkel at Kicker Rock (small group)

Day 6: SUP Tour (small group), Galapaguera, Coffee Farm & Puerto Chino Beach (private group)

Day 7: Kayaking & Snorkeling at Las Tintoreras (small group)

Day 8: Hiking Sierra Negra Volcano (small group)

Day 9: Exploring Isabela Island by bike (private group)

Day 10: Snorkel at Los Túneles (small group)

Day 11: Highlands of Santa Cruz Island (private group), Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station (private group)

Day 12: Excursion to an uninhabited island (small group)


Day 1: Transfer from Quito Airport to the City

Day 3: Depart from Quito to San Cristóbal Island

Day 7: Flight San Cristóbal Island – Puerto Villamil

Day 10: Public speedboat Puerto Villamil – Puerto Ayora

Day 14: Transfer from Puerto Ayora to Baltra Airport (GPS)


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  • International flights
  • The meals not mentioned in the trip plan
  • Personal expenses
    Travel insurance, and repatriation insurance
  • Optional excursions, activities, and optional tours
  • Reservations marked as “reserved by traveler” are reservations that the traveler is responsible for directly.
  • These items are not reserved or supported by authenticecuador and are included in the trip plan just for completeness