from $1674per person
Santa Cruz Island is the base for exploration, including Tortuga Bay, giant tortoise farms, Charles Darwin Research Station, and other islands like Bartholomew, Santa Fe or North Seymour.
For those that prefer to sleep on land, you can now enjoy the Galapagos by overnighting at a comfortable hotel in the centrally located island of Santa Cruz. From here you can easily reach a number of visitor sites that will grant you close encounters of the natural kind: giant Galapagos tortoises in the wild, countless species of birds, marine iguanas, enormous cacti, geological wonders that only occur in the Archipelago, plus to complete the picture, the opportunity to meet the native settlers of this Natural World Heritage Site. Even more cost-effective than on cruise ships, there are even more possibilities of hand-crafting your itinerary to meet your very needs and interests
You will be picked up from your hotel after breakfast; the exact time will be confirmed the night before. We depart to the Itabaca Channel (breakfast served on board). This fantastic day-long tour offers spectacular volcanic landscapes and great snorkeling. The journey aboard our vessel takes almost two hours, while there’s a chance of seeing dolphins and even whales during the crossing. We stop at Daphne Island, a volcanic tuff cone formation, for sea lions and various sea birds that inhabit it. Bartholomew Island itself is famous for its emblematic ‘Pinnacle Rock’ – probably the most photographed volcanic formation in Galapagos. Climb up a long wooden staircase comprising over 360 steps to the viewpoint that offers unobstructed views of nearly all the central islands in the archipelago (optional activity). Then, a short dinghy ride brings us real close to photograph Galapagos Penguins that live along the coastline. Lunch is served with one of the most amazing volcanic backdrops found anywhere in the archipelago. Please bring walking shoes, sun hat, sun block and beachwear.
You will be picked up from your hotel after breakfast; the exact time will be confirmed the night before. We start our journey to the Itabaca Channel (40-minute ride) and board our boat to South Plazas Island (navigation time about 1h40). Formed by uplifted lava-fault blocks, this island is inhabited by land iguanas, Audubon’s shearwaters, red-billed tropicbirds, pelicans, sea lions, swallow-tailed gulls and more, framed by a vegetation of opuntia cacti growing over low patches of sesuvium, a striking red succulent. Towards the far end of the island lives a ‘bachelor colony’ of male sea lions. Lunch is served anchored close to the rocky seashore. After lunch, a short boat ride to Punta Carrion offers easy snorkeling and swimming around a shallow and protected cove. Please bring walking shoes, sun hat, sun block and beachwear.
You will be picked up from your hotel after breakfast; the exact time will be confirmed the night before. We depart to the Itabaca Channel to board our boat and navigate to North Seymour Island. Located just north of Baltra, this island’s submarine lava formation features an array of magnificent frigate birds, nesting blue-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls. We head out by boat to explore this rather flat island, uplifted by a magma build-up underneath. Within its bushes, feast your eyes on one of the largest colonies of magnificent frigate birds, as well as land iguanas. Blue-footed boobies with their unusual courtship dance might be seen, depending on the season of year. We then backtrack to Santa Cruz to anchor in the still waters at Bachas Beach for a leisurely lunch. Next on the agenda are sea turtle nests, shorebirds, diving boobies, plus striking flamingos! Afterwards cool off by trying out your snorkeling skills or just take an easy swim right from the beach. Don’t forget your most comfortable walking shoes, sun hat, sun block and beachwear.
We drive to the pier in Puerto Ayora to board the boat and navigate to Santa Fe Island, which is located south of Santa Cruz. A walk around this dry and rugged island offers the chance of spotting the Santa Fe land iguana that is only found here. Anchored in the crystal-clear waters of this beautiful protected bay, you can snorkel with sea lions or be greeting by them upon landing on the sandy beach. A short circular trail takes you along the cliff edge to spot iguanas, as well as many lava lizards and even the elusive Galapagos hawk. The trail brings you back round onto a second beach that is also inhabited by sea lions and blue-footed boobies sitting on the rocks. Snorkel in the bay and admire the many species of tropical reef fish and occasionally sea turtles and rays. Lunch is served on board whilst anchored in the bay. Please bring walking shoes, sun hat, sun block and beachwear.
*Departures any day with minimum 2 people
DAY 1. Quito or Guayaquil / Santa CruzPlease be at the airport 2 hours before your flight. Upon arrival in Baltra, our naturalist guide takes you to the pier to cross the Itabaca channel to the island of Santa Cruz. After lunch, visit Tortuga Bay (2 km walk each way), renowned for its white sand, crystal waters and waves. During the walk to the beach, we'll cross the tropical dry forest with stunning Giant Cacti, only found on the Galapagos. Darwin's finches will be our companions down to the beach. At Tortuga Bay, there’re many marine birds such as frigates, pelicans and oystercatchers, plus marine iguanas and Sally light-foot crabs. In the smaller beach, Playa Mansa, surrounded by mangroves, you can rent a kayak to explore the area or snorkel with colorful fish and reef sharks. (Lunch)
DAY 2. Day trip to an uninhabited islandFull-day excursion to one of the uninhabited islands of the archipelago, easily accessible from Santa Cruz. The boat ride takes 1 to 2 hours each way, depending on the destination. Lunch is served on board. The boats hold 16 to 20 passengers and have a bathroom, sun deck and a purified water dispenser. Each of the islands has something interesting to offer in terms of wildlife and landscape. Based on availability, you’ll visit one of the following: Santa Fe, South Plazas, North Seymour or Bartholomew. (Breakfast / Lunch)
DAY 3. Highland & Bay TourToday it’s Manzanillo or El Chato farm in the highlands of Santa Cruz for your first glimpse of a Galapagos Giant Tortoise in its natural habitat. These enormous creatures roam freely between the National Park and agricultural areas – an ideal opportunity to view these ancient creatures munching on lush green vegetation or wallowing in the mud of the seasonal pools that draw them from the lowlands during the dry winter season. At certain times in the year, migratory shore birds can also be seen. This guided tour includes a walk through open fields and forest. A basic cafeteria and clean toilets are available at these farms and some offer rubber boots in case of muddy terrain. You’ll also visit one of the lava tunnels found in this area. Before returning to Puerto Ayora, visit The Twins, similar to craters, but formed by a collapse of the earth underneath due to lava flows that passed below it. Also walk through the scalesia forest to encounter Galapagos fly-catchers and other endemic birds. After lunch, enjoy a bay tour at Lobería and Punta Estrada to snorkel with sea lions! Then, continue to Tintoreras Channel, Canal del Amor, Playa de los Alemanes (German Beach), and a short hike to Las Grietas to swim in this crystal-clear natural crevasse. (Breakfast / Lunch)
DAY 4. Day trip to an uninhabited islandFull-day excursion to one of the uninhabited islands of the archipelago, easily accessible from Santa Cruz. The boat ride takes 1 to 2 hours each way, depending on the destination. Lunch is served on board. The boats hold 16 to 20 passengers and have a bathroom, sun deck and a purified water dispenser. Each of the islands has something interesting to offer in terms of wildlife and landscape. Based on availability, you’ll visit one of the following: Santa Fe, South Plazas, North Seymour or Bartholomew. (Breakfast / Lunch)
DAY 5. Baltra / Guayaquil or QuitoAfter an early breakfast, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, to be briefed on the conservation studies and efforts carried out by the park service, such as the giant tortoise breeding program. Also, learn about Lonesome George, the last giant tortoise of its species that died without offspring and now has a special exhibit hall depicting its survival story. Finally, transfer to airport for your return flight to Quito or Guayaquil. (Breakfast)
2019 Rates (per person in USD)
*Children up to 11 years old get 10% discount.
*Inquire about hotel upgrades.
- A 30% deposit is required to confirm the booking.
- Balance payment is due 45 days before departure.
- If cancellation is made 91 days or more before departure, the deposit will be refunded.
- If cancellation is made 90 to 61 days before departure, the deposit will be forfeited.
- If cancellation is made 60 to 45 days before departure, 50% will be charged.
- If cancellation is made less than 45 days before departure, full payment will be charged.
- The tour may be rescheduled to a later date, plus administrative costs.