Tailor-Made

Galapagos Island Hopping Safari

Perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to stay aboard an expedition ship, this adventure takes you to see the very best of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Floreana and Isabela Islands all while staying at combination of rustic and luxury eco lodges.

Duration 11 days
Price From $8,446
When Year Round
Destination Galapagos Islands

Safari Overview

Perfect for travellers who prefer not to stay aboard a boat, this complete land-based itinerary explores all four inhabited Galapagos islands. Watch the courtship dance of the blue-footed booby, swim with playful sea lions and get up close and personal with a giant Galapagos tortoise. Enjoy a combination of land-based and water-based activities including trekking, kayaking, swimming, snorkelling and zodiac cruising in this ultimate land and sea exploration of the Galapagos.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Marvel at the fearless wildlife of the Galapagos.
  • Combine rustic lodges and luxury hotels for the ultimate land-based exploration of the Galapagos.
  • Discover the volcanoes and calderas of Isabela Island.
  • Combine daily cruises and land-based excursions to get best out of the Galapagos.

Put yourself in the right place at the right time for access to the Galapagos’ most quirky inhabitants.

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Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Santa Cruz Island – Floreana Island

Met on arrival at Baltra Airport by an expert local guide you are transported across the Itabaca Channel by public ferry before continuing to Santa Cruz to get your first glimpse of Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat. After a short visit, continue to the town of Puerto Ayora enjoying lunch en route. Next is your 2 hour crossing to Floreana Island, home to the Galapagos’ smallest population of the four inhabited islands. Floreana was once a pirate’s lair and is believed to be the first island to be inhabited. Enjoy some hiking whilst learning about the fascinating history of the island and viewing some incredible wildlife such as giant tortoises, frigatebirds and sea lions. After checking in to the lodge you walk about 30 minutes to La Loberia, where a sea lion colony noisily greets your arrival. To finish the day swim and snorkel in search of sea lions, spectacular rays, sea turtles and lots of tropical fish.

Day 2

Floreana Island

Today you are transported to the highlands of Floreana on an open air bus, a fantastic way to experience this spectacular island. On the way, your naturalist guide searches for resident wildlife. In the highlands you reach Asilo de Paz (Peach Haven) where you begin your hike. Explore pirate caves at this historic site and visit a freshwater spring that provides water to the whole of the island. During the walk you can expect to see giant tortoises on the trail or hiding in the nearby vegetation. Continue to walk through a rural area where the local people grow produce for their own consumption, giving an insight on how the people used to survive in such a remote environment. Closer to the coast, frigatebirds seem to dance as they wash their salty wings in fresh water, and you may be lucky enough to see them puffing up their red chests in an attempt to attract females. Enjoy stunning views of the coastline before a BBQ on the beach. In the afternoon you can enjoy some water activities such as snorkelling, kayaking, or might want to try your hand at stand up paddle boarding.

Day 3

Floreana Island - Isabela Island

Today, you cross over to Isabela Island by speedboat. After briefly settling in to your lodge, you set off on your Isabela Island discovery. Your exploration begins at Las Tintoretas, a group of islands near Puerto Villamil that get their name from the white-tipped ‘Tintoreras’ reef sharks that frequent these calm waters. A great spot for snorkelling and home to some of Galapagos’ most iconic wildlife: rays, turtles, sea lions, Galapagos penguins, pelicans and the star of the show, the blue-footed booby. In the afternoon, you take a short walk from the lodge to the giant tortoise breeding centre. At the centre your guide will explain the breeding process, the conservation work being undertaken and how they are eventually released into the wild. After a busy day, you return to the lodge for a relaxing evening in preparation for your day of hiking tomorrow.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L, D

Day 4

Hiking on Isabela

Isabela is one of the youngest islands in the archipelago and you will learn first-hand of the volcanic and geological processes that came to form the island. Isabela is still active volcanically and you visit the crater of Sierra Negra Volcano before exploring the rim of Volcan Chico. This is an interesting morning walk often accompanied by bit of fog and drizzle which can persist in the shadow of the volcano. The crater itself is the second biggest on the planet, after the Ngorongoro in Tanzania, and provides some exquisite views, although photos often don’t do it justice! A little later whilst walking towards Volcan Chico it feels like you are walking on an entirely different planet. Although it appears harsh and desolate if you look closely there is wildlife to be found. Look out for small lizards scurrying about amongst the rocks. The views here are amazing and stretch as far as Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands. After lunch on site you return to the lodge before enjoying some free time to relax on the beach.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L, D

Day 5

Isabela Island

This morning you leave the sandy beaches of Isabela behind as you paddle to Island Bay. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles, rays, penguins and blue-footed boobies. The sea lions will be hard to miss as they often swim alongside the kayaks. After spending some time with the wildlife in the bay you return to Puerto Villamil. Later this afternoon, take bike ride along the wetlands trail, where marine iguana colonies populate the route. At the end of the trail you arrive to the Wall of Tears built by prisoners of the Second World War when the island was home to a US military base. Your expert guide explains the significance of the wall and gives an insight into the lives of some former inhabitants whilst spending some time with some of the island’s oldest residents: the giant tortoise. There are also stunning views down to the village below. A stop a local swimming hole allows you to cool down before returning to the lodge.

Overnight: Galapagos Safari Camp B, L, D

Day 6

Isabela Island – Santa Cruz Island

This morning you are taken to the airport for your flight to Santa Cruz Island. Met on arrival you are taken to a VIP lounge to change before heading for a spot of kayaking, snorkelling and stand up paddle boarding in the Itabaca Channel. These pristine turquoise waters are home to some of the best marine life in the Galapagos. As you paddle you are likely to see blue-footed boobies, lava herons, great blue herons, brown pelicans, white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, and more. Taking your kayaks to the northern flank of Santa Cruz Island you’ll glide through red mangrove forests, past lava rock cliffs and through crystal clear water. A support boat is always close by to ensure your safety at all times. Enjoy lunch before visiting the stunning Tortuga Beach for a relaxing afternoon.

Overnight: Finch Bay Eco Hotel B, L, D

Day 7

North Seymour Island

This morning you board a boat towards North Seymour Island. The island was formed by a seismic event which lifted it off the ocean floor giving it a low flat profile. Swallow-tailed gulls sit tucked into ledges in the cliff rising above the shoreline. A forest of bare Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing site, waiting in anticipation of rain to bring them into bloom. Wildlife found on the island includes sea lions, land iguanas and blue-footed boobies. Further inland there are colonies of both magnificent and great frigatebirds. You may be lucky enough to see the males inflating their red pouches to attract females. After lunch, head to a beautiful coralline beach called Las Bachas located on the northern shore of Santa Cruz Island. It’s a great place to swim, snorkel or just to savour the delightful white sandy beach. Behind the beach, some brackish lagoons are home to wading birds such as stilts and flamingos.

Overnight: Finch Bay Eco Hotel B, L

Day 8

South Plazas Island

Today your Galapagos journey continues to South Plaza Island. In the morning you can enjoy some time snorkelling in the calm waters of Punta Carrion. White-tipped reef sharks rest peacefully on the sandy bottom and an array of tropical fish create a feast of colours for your eyes. Found a few hundred metres from the coast of Santa Cruz Island, the Plazas Islands (North and South) are two crescent shaped islands formed by an uplift of the sea bed. South Plazas is the only site open to visitors and as you disembark you are welcomed by a colony of sea lions. Further along the shore lies a red carpet of sesuvium succulents and a forest of green prickly-pear cactus. Yellow-gray land iguanas wait patiently for the pears to fall. The trail continues to a southern cliff where you find nesting swallow-tailed gulls and sea birds such as tropic birds and Nazca and blue-footed boobies hover and glide in the winds.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L

Day 9

Santa Cruz Island – San Cristobal Island

This morning you transfer to Baltra for your flight to San Cristobal Island. On arrival you are transferred to your lodge, Golden Bay. After settling in you are picked up for your excursion to Frigatebird Hill. As its name suggests the hill is home a large number of frigatebirds both living and nesting there. The walk takes you along lava rock trails, winding in between endemic plants and birds of the Galapagos before opening up to exquisite views of the coastline. The trail leads you to Darwin Bay, so named as it was where Darwin first stepped foot on these incredible shores. A great spot for snorkelling; curious sea lions inspect your every move and see turtles and marine iguanas swim graciously under the water.

Overnight: Scalesia Lodge B, L

Day 10

San Cristobal Island

Cruise for a couple of hours off the west coast of San Cristobal Island to Kicker Rock. Rising high above the ocean this striking rock formation forms a channel between two islets and it regarded as one of the best snorkelling locations in the Galapagos. Under the waves there is an abundance of marine life including manta rays, tropical fish and the occasional hammerhead shark. If lady luck joins you, then dolphins or whales can also be seen and above the water you can often see sea birds perched on the rocks.

Day 11

San Cristobal Island - Depart

Today you have an early breakfast before a short visit to the Galapagos Interpretation Centre. You will then transfer to the airport for you flight to the mainland in time for your international flight home.

Trip Details

Trip Information

This is a land-based tailor-made safari and can be adapted to suit your travel preferences. Galapagos boat safaris can be added to explore the more remote Galapagos islands.

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safaris is one designed specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you

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