Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure

  • 10 Days
  • Avg Group Size: 12
  • Activity Level 3
    • Activity Level 3

      Step It Up

      I love an active vacation. Engaging in a challenging activity with a difficult goal, such as reaching a summit, is exactly what I need to unwind in the evenings.

    Read more about the Active Range

  • Trip Start: Quito
  • Trip End: Quito
Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure

Explore from island to island on our Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure.

Hike, cycle, snorkel and swim in the most incredible locations you can imagine on our 10-day Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure. Forget spending your entire trip on a boat and missing out on the incredible culture and wildlife of the different islands. By joining this land-based tour, you'll cruise between a multitude of stunning islands in our comfortable chartered boat, while staying on dry land each night. Starting with a short flight to San Cristobal Island, highlights of this incredible trip include snorkeling with turtles, rays and tame reef sharks at Kicker Rock, kayaking in the beautifully calm Isabela Bay and hiking up Sierra Negra volcano to witness one of the largest active calderas in the world. You'll get up close to some of the most intriguing and docile wildlife on the planet, with visits to tortoise breeding grounds and iguana colonies and even sharing the beach with curious sea lions. We explore amazing lava tunnels, cycle through local townships and learn the mysterious history of Floreana Island, all onboard our Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure.

Trip Highlights

Sierra Negra volcano


Santa Cruz Island


San Cristobal Island


Kicker Rock Snorkel OR Dive

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Floreana Island Snorkeling

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Lava tunnels

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Floreana Island Pirate caves

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Tortoises and iguanas

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Snorkel "the tunnels" Option

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Download Our Handy Trip Itinerary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip.


Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure ~ Itinerary

Trip Start: Quito Trip End: Quito

Download our Handy Trip itenary

Our Trip Itinerary contains all the exciting details you can expect to do on our trips. Get a clear picture of the adventures on this trip

  • Day 1Arrive in Quito

  • Day 2Fly to the Galapagos, cycle San Cristobal highlands

  • Day 3Snorkel with sea lions, turtles and sharks at Kicker Rock

  • Day 4Snorkel and hike Floreana Island

  • Day 5Journey to Isabela, Kayak Isabela Bay, Walk and Snorkel Tintoreras

  • Day 6Hike Sierra Negra Volcano, Volcan Chico lava fields

  • Day 7Free morning or snorkel Los Tuneles, Wetlands Walk to Breeding Center

  • Day 8Hike Santa Cruz highlands and Tortuga Bay, visit giant tortoises

  • Day 9Visit Los Gemelos, return to Quito

  • Day 10Quito, depart to home

  • Day 1

    Arrive in Quito

    Your trip begins in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. If you’re flying in early today, you’ll have a chance to journey to the city from the airport (or your hotel) to explore the beautiful town squares, quaint cafés and colonial architecture. Quito sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering volcanoes just 22 kilometers (14 miles) from the equator, giving it a mild, spring-like climate year-round. In the evening, you’ll meet your trip leader and the rest of your group back at the joining hotel, for a full briefing and our first dinner together.

    Hotel EB, Quito (Dinner)

  • Day 2

    Fly to the Galapagos, cycle San Cristobal highlands

    This morning we’ll take a short flight to San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos Islands chain and home of the provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. After lunch, we’ll head to the town of La Soledad to bike down through the lush highland cloud forest that blankets the top of the island. With stunning views of the coast, we’ll ride to La Loberia, a beach that is home to a large sea lion colony and nursery. This evening, we’ll dine on local produce and fresh fish.

    Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin or similar, San Cristobal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Biking: 14.5 kilometers (9 miles), 2 hours, flat (vehicle supported)

  • Day 3

    Snorkel with sea lions, turtles and sharks at Kicker Rock

    Today we’ll cruise to Kicker Rock off the coast of San Cristobal, where we’ll don wet suits, snorkels, and masks (and tanks for the divers – diving option extra fees apply) and explore around the remains of an underwater volcano with a rock face rising 150 meters (500 feet) above the surface of the water. Your trip leader will give you a full briefing and then we’ll take to the water to explore the walls of the volcano. There will be chances to see beautiful tropical fish, turtles and sharks as they skirt the edges of Kicker Rock! Afterwards, we’ll visit a picturesque bay to have lunch and a rest before returning to port. Then it’s off to the interpretation center to learn a little about the history and biology of the islands. Later there will be an optional hike to Frigate Hill Lookout to see the acrobatics of the local frigate birds as they dart around the cliff tops stealing the catch from other birds.

    Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin or similar, San Cristobal (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Diving/Snorkeling: Kicker Rock: 1 or 2 snorkels, 1.5 hours total
    Diving/Snorkeling: Kicker Rock: 2 dives, 30 - 45 minutes each
    Notes: Optional Kicker Rock diving experience (additional cost applies): You can opt to swap the snorkel for a dive if you wish. This option must be selected at the time of booking.

  • Day 4

    Snorkel and hike Floreana Island

    After an early breakfast, our boat will take us away from San Cristobal Island towards the magnificent Floreana Island. Floreana is the sixth largest island in the Galapagos chain and one of the least inhabited (by humans at least!). With a population of around 120, this place has a pretty relaxed atmosphere. On the way, we’re often visited by friendly dolphins, so keep an eye out! And later, we’ll hike into the highlands of Floreana, where we’ll learn about the mysterious history of the islands as we visit the pirate caves and the area where the first inhabitants once lived. Then it’s back down to our accommodation in the tiny port of Puerto Velasco Ibarra – a fantastic hideaway lodge with incredible sea views and a great sunset!

    Hotel Wittmer or similar, Floreana Island (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles), 1 - 2 hours, elevation +/- 100 meters (328 feet)
    Cruise: Boat to Floeana Island: 2 - 3 hours
    Diving/Snorkeling: Snorkel Floreana Island: 30 mins

  • Day 5

    Journey to Isabela, Kayak Isabela Bay, Walk and Snorkel Tintoreras

    This morning we’ll head to Isabela Island, the largest of all the islands in the Galapagos archipelago. we’ll start with an early morning kayak in the calm waters of Isabela Bay. Here we’ll have the chance to see some of the Island’s most amazing wildlife up close. Marine iguanas bask in the sun, blue-footed boobies sit in pairs on the rock tops, and Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry out of our way along the water’s edge. In the clear waters below us, rays gracefully swim by and turtles pop up for a breath of air. After lunch, we’ll hop out for a short walk at Tintoreras or Shark Alley, an isolated islet and popular iguana-nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas. Afterward, you can test the waters for a snorkel in a calm inlet that’s home to a variety of colorful fish and green sea turtles who like to rest on the calm, sandy bottom.

    Hotel Albemarle or similar, Isabela Island (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Kayaking: 1 hour
    Cruise: Boat to Isabela Island: 2-3 hours

  • Day 6

    Hike Sierra Negra Volcano, Volcan Chico lava fields

    Our hike today will take us to the summit of Sierra Negra volcano. See the lowland vegetation change before your eyes as we ascend through a lunar-like landscape on our way to the top. It’s a challenging hike to the top of the volcano, and the views across the seven-mile wide crater and surrounding coastline are well worth the climb! This is one of the largest volcanic calderas in the world, and one of the most active. As we hike, we might be lucky enough to see Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and fly-catchers that inhabit this region. We’ll continue to traverse the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico en route for a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching to the north of Isabela. After enjoying a hearty sense of accomplishment, we’ll make our way back to town late afternoon for some free time to curl up with a book or venture down to the water for a relaxing swim before dinner.

    Hotel Albemarle or similar, Isabela Island (Breakfast, Lunch)

    Hiking: 16 kilometers (10 miles), 4 - 6 hours, elevation +/- 130 meters (426 feet)

  • Day 7

    Free morning or snorkel Los Tuneles, Wetlands Walk to Breeding Center

    This is our last day on Isabela Island, and we get to choose how to spend our morning; relax and explore the beach or take the optional snorkel tour to Los Tuneles. After lunch, we’ll take a short walk to a nearby wetland home to pink flamingos and pintail ducks. This mangrove-lined path will lead us to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center where we’ll meet these majestic prehistoric creatures in all stages of development. The center has almost a thousand giant tortoises training for life on their own!

    Hotel Albemarle or similar, Isabela Island (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Notes: Optional: Snorkel "the tunnels" (extra fees apply): If you think sleeping sharks, seahorses, sea turtles, and strange lava tunnel formations sound intriguing then you’re going to need your mask, snorkel, and flippers, because you get all that and more at Los Tuneles. Also called Cabo Rosa, this area is about one hour from town was created when lava flows reached the ocean, forming tunnels, arches, and sheltered bays perfect for snorkeling. We’ll take a boat ride to the tunnels, where you’ll see an intricate network of arches and islets all formed from past lava eruptions. There are a few spots to walk on the rocks, though the main activity is snorkeling to explore the water channels, where you’ll see sleeping reef sharks, hungry sea turtles, colorful starfish, and tiny seahorses! In terms of biodiversity, this is one of the very best spots in the Galapagos Islands. This option must be selected at the time of booking only.

  • Day 8

    Hike Santa Cruz highlands and Tortuga Bay, visit giant tortoises

    We’ll depart Isabela Island early this morning bound for Santa Cruz Island, where we’ll hike into the amazing cloud forest highlands. Once there, we’ll have our only chance to see giant tortoises in their natural environment, along with intriguing birdlife like the vermillion flycatcher, and we’ll take a look inside the lava tunnels scattered throughout the highlands. These tunnels were formed by molten lava flowing beneath the surface, which left behind large tube-like caves, some almost a mile long! This afternoon we’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the breeding programs that are saving vulnerable species of tortoises and land iguanas. Also, there will be a chance to see different types of carapaces that help differentiate the tortoise species.

    Hotel Solymar or similar, Santa Cruz Island (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

    Hiking: 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), 1 - 2 hours, flat
    Cruise: Boat to Santa Cruz Island: 2 hours

  • Day 9

    Visit Los Gemelos, return to Quito

    This morning we’ll visit Los Gemelos on the Island; twin craters that are sinkholes created when the volcanic roof of empty magma chambers collapsed from tectonic shifts and erosion over time. This area has a very different climate from other parts of the island and is surrounded by scalesia (scalesia pedunculata) forests, or “broccoli trees”. It is also the habitat for bromeliads, orchids, mosses, lichens and many birds such as the 8 species of Charles Darwin finches. Afterward, we’ll take a short flight back to Quito on the mainland. This evening, we’ll share our final celebratory dinner together in Ecuador.

    Hotel EB, Quito (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

  • Day 10

    Quito, depart to home

    Today is the last day of your Galapagos trip. We’ll make sure you return home relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food and friendly people you will have met while traveling with us in the Galapagos Islands.

    No Accommodation (Breakfast)

Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure Departure Dates

  • Upcoming
  • 3 months
  • 6 months
  • 1 year
USD $6499/per adult
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  • Our own highly experienced trip leader, with you from start to finish
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  • All accommodations for the duration of your trip
  • All meals except where indicated in the itinerary
  • Unlimited snacks to keep you fueled
  • Flights as outlined in the itinerary
  • All activities outlined in the itinerary
  • All necessary equipment (well-maintained and safe) for activities
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Useful Info

Where does the trip start?

On the first day of the trip we’ll meet you at Hotel EB in Quito at 6pm. You are welcome to book your pre-trip stay at this hotel directly or any other hotel in Quito, though you must make your own way to Hotel EB at the pre-designated time.

Where does the trip end?

Your trip ends after breakfast and we can drop you off at the Quito Airport (UIO) in time for flights departing any time. If you need to book your departing flight for earlier you can fly out from Quito anytime after 8pm the night prior.

What flights would you recommend?

Arrival: We recommend arriving in Quito (UIO) by 12pm.  Many guests like to arrive a day or two early to accommodate potential flight delays and/or explore the city prior to your trip start.

Departure: Flying out on the last day of the trip, you can depart any time.

Tell me about the group leaders?

We work in partnership with a local operator in the Galapagos Islands. Depending on the size of your Active Adventures South America group, the local operator may have other clients joining the group for the island section of your trip.

When you arrive in Quito, our local Quito-based representative will meet you for dinner and a trip briefing, as well as accompany you to the Airport the following morning. Once you arrive in the Galapagos you’ll be accompanied by your experienced Trip leader, who’s there to keep you informed about the Galapagos and make sure that everything runs smoothly; a qualified naturalist guide, who will provide additional local knowledge of the flora and fauna; and your local boat Captain and his crew!

How fit do I need to be for this trip?

As an Activity Level 1-2 trip you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness. While you don’t have to be extremely fit, you should be in the habit of doing regular aerobic exercise. With a little preparation before your trip begins, you’ll enjoy the active and outdoor nature of your trip all the more.

Please head to our Fitness Guide for great tips on how to prepare along with a workout plan!

What park entrance fees are not included in the trip price?

The Ecuadorian government charges every person who enters the Galapagos Islands a US$100 park entrance fee. You’ll be asked to pay this when you arrive to the airport in Galapagos. INGALA, the coordinating body of Galapagos, also charges a US$20 Transit Control Fee, which is paid through the airline as you check in at Quito airport.

What accommodations do we stay at on this trip?

We stay in clean, comfortable and interesting accommodation and, unlike many other operators, we prefer to stay on the mainland rather than on live-aboard boats. This means you can interact more with the local communities and have better opportunities to hike and cycle as well as snorkel and dive. Many of the places we stay are off-the-beaten-track and truly spectacular.
For instance, Isabela Island isn’t known for its glamorous lodgings, but has stunning beaches, an abundance of wildlife, off-the-beaten-track flavour and rustic charm. While we do our best to stay at the hotels we’ve mentioned in the itinerary, some of the locations we stay in have limited accommodation options, so we may need use other equivalent hotels from time to time.

How much luggage can I bring on this trip?

You are allowed one piece of luggage on your trip, plus a daypack. Your main piece of luggage should not exceed 50 pounds (23 kilograms) and can be anything from a duffle bag to a sports bag with wheels or a suitcase. You’ll also want a good quality backpack sized 25-30 liters (2000 cubic inches) to use throughout the days. 

You’ll be given a 70 litres (4,000 cubic inches) duffle bag with sizing’s of around 80 x 30 x 30 centimetres (31 x 12 x 12 inches) on the first night of the trip. This is if you want to pack light for your time on the Galapagos Islands to make the transfers via boat easier. Any excess luggage and gear will then be stored securely for you at your Quito hotel until you return there on the last night of the trip. 

Please note: due to the remote nature of the Galapagos Islands, many products are either unavailable or considerably more expensive than home. If there are some things you simply can’t do without you might like to bring some from home (e.g. high-grade blister products and contact lens solution won’t be available). 

How flexible can this trip be?

Galapagos National Park is a fragile wildlife refuge and as such is sometimes subject to sudden rule changes that minimise potential damage through tourism. We may occasionally need to make itinerary changes in response to this. The Galapagos Islands are in a developing part of the world and we can’t tell you that everything runs like clockwork there. What we can tell you is that we are experienced adventure travel leaders, and our Galapagos operator is a local specialist who knows how to keep things operating as smoothly as possible, even when conditions are challenging! Often, because of changing sea conditions, we may need to make small changes to our itinerary for your safety and comfort. If you bring flexibility, an open mind and a sense of humour, you’ll find your trip is everything that adventure should be.

How do we travel between the Galapagos Islands?

You’ll spend time journeying from island to island on board our boat, a 30 foot twin-decked launch with indoor and outdoor seating. We spend up to a few hours at a time on the boat, broken up by visits to smaller islands on a route chosen to make the most of each day’s ocean and weather conditions.

You’ll be able to enjoy the views and make unscheduled snorkeling stops to make the most of what’s out and about that day.

Tell me about the optional activities on this trip?

While we do lots of snorkeling during this trip, during our day at Kicker Rock you have the choice of the following two options:

Snorkeling the Galapagos
As much snorkeling as you like! You’ll be provided with 3mm short arm and leg wetsuits, mask, snorkel and fins.

Scuba Diving the Galapagos (extra fee applies)
Two dives including full dive briefings, a diver safety boat, 5mm full-length wetsuit, tank, BCD, regs, mask, snorkel and fins. Bring your diver certification card with you in order to dive! Regardless of whether you snorkel or scuba dive, if you have your own mask, snorkel and fins we recommend bringing them with you - we do lots of snorkeling during this trip and it’s always nicer to use your own! We provide 3mm wetsuits with short arms and legs for snorkelers and 5mm wetsuits with long arms and legs for scuba divers. Our wetsuit sizes are small to extra large – you’re welcome to bring your own if you would prefer. 

The surface temperature of the sea ranges from 18- 30ºC (65-85ºF) with February to April being the warmest months, and September to November being the coolest. The average is usually around 20ºC and you’ll be diving to a depth of 20 metres (65 feet) You’ll be provided with a wetsuit appropriate for your chosen activity and the conditions.

Please note that if you are 60 years or over and wish to participate in the Scuba diving option, you will need to provide a medical certificate in advance, and an additional fee will apply for an extra Dive Master to accompany you.

How experienced do I need to be to dive?

We only recommend the diving if you’ve done at least 10-15 dives and are a mid-level to advanced scuba diver. The diving in the Galapagos can be quite challenging, depending on the currents, so it’s only recommended if you’re a confident diver – if in doubt, please chat to us before making your selection.

If you’ve not previously experienced diving in open water, or it’s been two years or more since your last dive, then we highly recommend taking a refresher course prior to arriving too, to be better prepared.

Underwater visibility in the Galapagos is usually very good. You can often see from 15-25 metres (50-80 feet) ahead of you, sometimes up to 30 metres (100 feet) in most of the places. In some areas and in some seasons green waters are present, due to the richness of phytoplankton – this is normal.

You’ll probably dive in the Galápagos in medium to strong currents of between 1-4 knots/1-4 miles/2-6 kilometres per hour. In the Garúa season (from July to December) the Humboldt current coming from the southeast is present. In the warm season (from January to June) the Panamá current from the northeast arrives in the Galápagos.

The wildlife here is in such abundance and variety! Things that you might see where we go are: Tropical fish, Galapagos Shark, Batfish, Hammerhead Shark, Tagle and Goleen Rays, Moray Eels, Green Sea Turtles, Stingrays, Barracuda, Triggerfish, Boxfish, Frogfish and plenty more!

What is not included?

Flights to and from trip start/end points
Pre/Post accommodation
Optional extra activities
Travel insurance
Gratuities for your guides
Rental gear

Is tipping expected in the Galapagos & Ecuador?

Most people do choose to tip their Active Adventures trip leaders/guides and we recommend USD$20 per day, per guest, per trip leader/guide. During your Active Adventures trip, your trip leader/guide will take care of all included restaurants and service tips for you. For other restaurants or services during your time in the Galapagos, 5-10% is a typical gratuity amount.

How do rooming arrangements work?

Trip prices are based on shared arrangements (typically two guests per room), unless otherwise stated. For solo travelers, we’ll pair you with another person of the same gender to share rooms and if there’s no one suitable to share with, there’s no forced single supplement. However, if you specifically request your own rooms, you can opt to pay the single supplement. Solo travelers who book within 90 days of departure, where there are no other solo travelers willing to share, will be required to pay the single supplement. 

For Family Vacation bookings, families consisting of four guests traveling with children aged 17 and under will be automatically assigned one shared room. However, the following alternative rooming allocations are available:

  • Families consisting of four guests with all children aged 13 and above are welcome to opt for additional rooms as per advertised double occupancy adult rates.
  • Families consisting of four guests with at least one child aged 12 and under are automatically assigned a shared room. However, families can opt to pay the adult rates for all guests in their family to have an additional room.
  • The same principles apply for families consisting of more than four guests.

Rooming preferences are subject to availability and must be communicated in writing at time of booking. Automatic assignments as per this policy will be applied in the absence of any specification provided by guests. Any request for additional rooms during trips will be at guests’ own expense and subject to rates made available by the accommodation provider at the time. All minors (guests aged 17 and under) must be accompanied by at least one adult.

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Trip Inquiry

Central & South America

Ultimate Galapagos Islands Adventure

USD $6499/per adult
$500 USD deposit per person required to secure your place on the trip

What To Expect

  • Place your booking
  • Receive your confirmation email & details to set up your Travel Wallet
  • Our dedicated team will keep you up to date all the way to the departure date



June 2024

Friday 21 June 2024
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Friday 5 July 2024
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Friday 12 July 2024
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Friday 2 August 2024
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Friday 16 August 2024
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To Sunday 18 May 2025
Friday 23 May 2025
To Sunday 1 June 2025
Filling Up

Friday 6 June 2025
To Sunday 15 June 2025
Friday 20 June 2025
To Sunday 29 June 2025

Friday 4 July 2025
To Sunday 13 July 2025
Friday 11 July 2025
To Sunday 20 July 2025
Friday 18 July 2025
To Sunday 27 July 2025

Friday 1 August 2025
To Sunday 10 August 2025
Friday 15 August 2025
To Sunday 24 August 2025
Friday 29 August 2025
To Sunday 7 September 2025

Friday 12 September 2025
To Sunday 21 September 2025
Friday 26 September 2025
To Sunday 5 October 2025

Friday 10 October 2025
To Sunday 19 October 2025
Friday 24 October 2025
To Sunday 2 November 2025

Friday 7 November 2025
To Sunday 16 November 2025
Friday 21 November 2025
To Sunday 30 November 2025

Friday 5 December 2025
To Sunday 14 December 2025
Friday 12 December 2025
To Sunday 21 December 2025
Monday 15 December 2025
To Wednesday 24 December 2025
Friday 19 December 2025
To Sunday 28 December 2025