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GAL St Galapagos Land Iguana Shutterstock Michael Sarauer

Galapagos Islands Land-Based Safari

An epic, lodge-based Galapagos wildlife safari staying in some wonderful accommodation. Perfect for anyone who doesn't want to stay aboard an expedition ship. This lodge-based Galapagos itinerary visits the incredible Santa Cruz and Isabela islands and includes boat trips to surrounding islands. This is an incredible way to see the wildlife of the Galapagos for those land-lovers with an aversion to spending too much time on the sea. Swim with playful sea lions; watch the blue footed boobies as they perform in a charming courtship dance; see the emblematic tortoises in their natural habitat and a whole host of other fearless animals.

What to expect?

Arrival in the Galapagos

On arrival to the Galapagos islands, you’ll cross the Itabaca Channel and be met for a 45 minute overland transfer to Puerto Ayora.

Bartolome Island Exploration

Take a trip to Bartolome Island, with its emblematic pinnacle rock, is often frequented by Galapagos penguins, and sea lions interact playfully with passing snorkelers. Nearby Santa Fe Island is home to land and marine iguanas, as well as frigatebirds and sea lion colonies.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island - Cerro Mesa, rises 490m above sea level, offering breathtaking views and lays claim to the largest crater on the island. Here you can find seven subspecies of finch, a host of endemic plants as well as the vermilion flycatcher. Head to Garrapatero Beach, where you are presented with an intriguing contrast between mangroves, black lava rocks, powdery white sand and crystalline blue seas. Flamingos and other birdlife can be found at the nearby lagoon and it is a great place to enjoy optional activities such as kayaking or mountain biking.

Isabela Island Adventure

Isabela Island - You will be transferred to Baltra airport for a short scenic flight aboard a light aircraft, to Puerto Vilamil on Isabela Island. Here you find solitary beaches, lava tunnels as well as natural pools and estuaries where flamingos and other birds reside. Visit the Tortoise Breeding Centre and the ‘Wall of Tears’ constructed by prisoners between 1945 and 1959 when Isabela served as a penal colony. Walk along the rim of the Sierra Negra Volcano, which last erupted in 2005 and is considered the second largest active caldera on the planet and has a diameter of approximately 10 Kilometres. Your hike continues to Volcan Chico, where active sulphur vents can be seen and a dramatic collage of reds, yellows, oranges and blacks colour the rocky volcanic landscape.

Final Day and Return

On your last day, you are escorted by boat back to Puerto Ayora before continuing by land to the island of Baltra in time for your connecting flight to mainland Ecuador.

GAL St Galapagos Bartolome Island Jess Kraft

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Why book this trip?

  • Lodge-based Galapagos safari, ideal for those who don't want to stay on a ship, or who have already explored via cruise.
  • View the famous giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands.
  • Snorkelling in the warm equatorial waters in search of sea turtles and tropical fish.
  • Get up close with the fearless wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.
  • View volcanic formations such as pit craters and lava tunnels, and walk along the rim of the Sierra Negra Volcano.
  • Visit the Tortoise Breeding Centre on Isabela Island where the National Park is breeding tortoise in danger of extinction.
St Galapagos Fernandina Island Blue Footed Boobied Shutterstock Reisegraf Ch

Accommodation Highlights

Scalesia Lodge

Located in the highlands of Isabela Island in the Galapagos, Scalesia Lodge is luxury lodge based on an African safari concept, where guests sleep under canvas allowing them to be fully immersed with the natural world. Nestled within 16 hectares of magnificent Scalesia forest, it offers incredible views of the coast of Isabela Island and out onto the Pacific Ocean.

Finch Bay Eco Hotel

Located on Santa Cruz Island, Finch Bay Eco Hotel is a charming retreat, surrounded by the unique flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands. In a tranquil spot on a quiet beach, it accommodates up to 52 guests and has a completely eco-friendly infrastructure. Named after Darwin Finches, you will often spot friendly pelicans or herons at the pool having a drink and to explore further afield there are two boats to explore the nearby Islands.