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Best of Galapagos: San Cristobal & Santa Cruz

7 Days

Embark on a captivating 7-day journey across the Galapagos Islands, exploring the rich biodiversity of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. This tour blends wildlife encounters with cultural insights, featuring snorkeling at Kicker Rock, a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, and hikes through unique island landscapes. Enjoy the tranquility of pristine beaches and the thrill of discovering endemic species on uninhabited islands, making this an unforgettable adventure in one of the world’s most extraordinary destinations.

Overview

Embark on a captivating 7-day journey across the Galapagos Islands, exploring the rich biodiversity of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz. This tour blends wildlife encounters with cultural insights, featuring snorkeling at Kicker Rock, a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, and hikes through unique island landscapes. Enjoy the tranquility of pristine beaches and the thrill of discovering endemic species on uninhabited islands, making this an unforgettable adventure in one of the world’s most extraordinary destinations.

Highlights

  • Arrival at San Cristobal, visiting the Interpretation Center and snorkeling at Tijeretas Hill.
  • Snorkeling at the iconic Kicker Rock and relaxing on pristine beaches.
  • Day trip to Española Island, observing endemic wildlife.
  • SUP tour, exploring El Junco Lagoon, and relaxing at Puerto Chino Beach.
  • Exploring the highlands of Santa Cruz and visiting the Charles Darwin Research Station.
  • An excursion to an uninhabited island showcasing unique flora and fauna.

Day 1 Arrival in Isla San Cristóbal, Interpretation Center & Tijeretas Hill
Day 2 Snorkel at Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido)
Day 3 Day-Trip to Española Island
Day 4 SUP Tour, El Junco Lagoon & Puerto Chino Beach
Day 5 Isla San Cristóbal to Puerto Ayora, Highlands of Santa Cruz Island, Bay tour
Day 6 Excursion to an uninhabited island
Day 7 Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station, Transfer to Isla Baltra, Departure

Itinerary

Upon arrival at San Cristobal Airport, your driver will welcome you and escort you to your hotel in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

Learn about the islands and their conservation efforts, by visiting an interpretation center. Then, start to see some of the archipelagos' wildlife in their natural habitats while hiking Las Tijeretas Hill, named for tijeretas (frigatebirds), that inhabit and nest in the area and are known for males with bright red features. Finish the day snorkeling, to see sea lions, sea turtles, and colorful fish.

A 50-minute boat ride will bring you through blue waters to one of the most iconic places on Galápagos: 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 will be served onboard. Afterwards, visit to a pristine beach for time to relax, swim, and snorkel.

In the afternoon, 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.

Early in the morning, depart from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and for an approximately two-hour boat ride to reach Española Island. From there, follow a trail that leads to the island's interior, passing a colony of waved albatross. These are the largest birds on Galapagos and they are endemic to the islands (on Española Island between approximately April and December). You can also spot Blue-footed and Nazca boobies.

After enjoying lunch aboard the boat, swim and snorkel in a nearby bay, with a sandy beach that is home to a colony of sea lions. After a day full of adventure and wildlife, return to San Cristobal Island.

SUP Tour

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!

El Junco Lagoon & Puerto Chino Beach

El Junco lagoon, a crater lake, is the only freshwater lake in the Galapagos islands, and is located on approx. 700 m above sea level. It is a great place to see pintail ducks and frigate birds. The lagoon got its name from the endemic "junco" plant that grows around the shore.

Your next stop 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.

Public speedboat Isla San Cristóbal - Santa Cruz

Take the public speedboat from San Cristobal Island to Santa Cruz Island today (approx. 2-2.5 hours).

Highlands of Santa Cruz Island

Travel with your guide into the Santa Cruz highlands, where you can observe giant tortoises in their natural habitat. You can also explore lava tunnels and make another stop at the "twin craters," which are home to various bird species.
After a healthy meal on a farm in the highlands, your guide will bring you back to Puerto Ayora.

Bay tour

Looking for a laid-back activity? Then this half-day bay tour is for you! You will be taken to a couple of hidden bays and beaches where you can snorkel, sunbath or wander around. The perfect lazy day!

Of the many islands in the Galápagos Archipelago, only four have permanent settlements. The others are wild and the habitat of many endemic species. Visits to these islands are highly regulated by Park Authorities and are limited to small groups.

Today, visit one of these untamed islands. Aboard a modern yacht, and with only 15 more others, 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 will depend 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 and fauna. For example, on Santa Fé island, see the Santa Fé iguana. Whereas colonies of sea lions, frigate birds, and blue-footed boobies populate Seymour Norte. On board the yacht, a warm will be served, and in the afternoon, snorkel at a nearby bay or beach.

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

Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station

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

Transfer from Puerto Ayora to Seymour Airport (GPS)

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

Included

  • - Accommodation
  • - Meals mentioned in the program
  • - Private English-speaking guide and transportation on the visit to Santa Cruz highlands
  • - Group tours to kicker rock, Española Island, Bay tour, uninhabited island
  • - Public transportation on speedboat between the islands
  • - Spanish-speaking airport transfers

Excluded

  • - Domestic and international flights
  • - Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 200 per person)
  • - Galapagos Migration Card TCT (US$ 20 per person)
  • - Travel insurance
  • - Optional excursions
  • - Personal expenses such as tips
  • - Alcoholic drinks
  • - Any other meals, drinks, and/or services not mentioned in the program