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Best of Galapagos: Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands

7 Days

This Galapagos Islands adventure takes you through the most amazing spots of the Galapagos. You get to see giant tortoises, snorkel in beautiful waters, hike a big volcano on Isabela Island, and kayak near wildlife. It’s all about getting up close with nature and having fun outdoors. From start to finish, this adventure is packed with unforgettable experiences that show you the best of the Galapagos Islands.

Overview

This Galapagos Islands adventure takes you through the most amazing spots of the Galapagos. You get to see giant tortoises, snorkel in beautiful waters, hike a big volcano on Isabela Island, and kayak near wildlife. It’s all about getting up close with nature and having fun outdoors. From start to finish, this adventure is packed with unforgettable experiences that show you the best of the Galapagos Islands.

Highlights

  • Meeting giant tortoises in Santa Cruz
  • Excursions to uninhabited islands
  • Snorkeling at the breathtaking Los Túneles
  • Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano
  • Biking and wildlife watching on Isabela Island
  • Kayaking and snorkeling at Las Tintoreras

Daily Schedule

  • Day 1: Arrival in Isla Baltra, Transfer Baltra Airport – Puerto Ayora with visit to the highlands of Santa Cruz, Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station.
  • Day 2: Excursion to an uninhabited island.
  • Day 3: Puerto Ayora to Puerto Villamil, Snorkel at Los Túneles.
  • Day 4: Hiking Sierra Negra Volcano.
  • Day 5: Exploring Isabela Island by bike.
  • Day 6: Kayaking & Snorkeling at Las Tintoreras, Transfer to Puerto Ayora.
  • Day 7: Tortuga Bay, Transfer to Isla Baltra Departure.

Itinerary

After you land at Baltra Airport, hop on the shuttle bus to get to the Itabaca Channel, which you'll cross by ferry. Our first adventure is in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. Here, with our guide, you'll meet the giant tortoises wandering around their natural habitat and explore the cool lava tunnels. After enjoying a healthy lunch, we'll head to Puerto Ayora, the charming town on the southern coast.

Exploring the Charles Darwin Research Station:
This place is dedicated to preserving the unique ecosystems of the Galapagos. You'll see giant tortoises and iguanas and learn about the conservation efforts to protect these magnificent creatures.

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, 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.

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

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 white-tipped 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.

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.

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 lbs.

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 a confident swimmer, they can join in with parental supervision.

Public speedboat Puerto Villamil - Puerto Ayora
Take the public speedboat from Isabela Island to Santa Cruz Island today (approx. 2-2.5 hours).

There is still much more to explore on Santa Cruz Island, and today head to Tortuga Bay, said to be one of the most beautiful beaches on Galapagos. It's a 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 rent kayaks.

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!

Cost

Included

  • - Accommodation
  • - Meals mentioned in the program
  • - Private English-speaking guide and transportation on the visit to Santa Cruz highlands and Organic Coffee Farm
  • - Group tours to uninhabited island, Los Tuneles, Bike tour of Isabela and Tintoreras
  • - Public transportation on speedboat between the islands
  • - Spanish-speaking airport transfers

Excluded

  • - Domestic and international flights
  • - Galapagos National Park entrance fee (US$ 100 per person)
  • - Galapagos Migration Card TCT (US$ 20 per person)
  • - Isabela docking fee (US$ 10 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

    From $1890
    / Adult
    • Location Highlights

    Trip Info

    • 7 Days
    • Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora, Isabela Island, Los Túneles, Sierra Negra Volcano, Playa del Amor, Las Tintoreras, Tortuga Bay
    • Starting at $1890

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