7 Days $5000 ex San Cristobal
6 Nights Hotel
By foot, kayak, mountain bike & boat. Inter-island transfers included
The wise, wrinkled faces of a hundred-year-old giant tortoise.
Sea lions, gliding and twirling all about, seemingly playing or toying with you through the warm equatorial waters.
A Blue Footed Booby comically dances from leg to leg and a Frigatebird, with its inflated gular pouch looks like a gum blowing kid.
Nearby, a pair of huge lizards, real beasts of things with skin like a dried coconut husk, yellowed (or was it blue, black, or red… it could be any colour) and bloodied as they wrestle atop jagged rocks.
This is Galapagos, and this could all be well before lunch!
“Six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador lies the Galápagos Archipelago: a world unto itself, forged of lava and isolated for thousands of years.
The islands are known for their famously fearless wildlife and as a source of inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution.”
“The Galapagos Islands are probably the most famous wildlife-watching destination in the world.
And no wonder – it’s almost impossible to exaggerate the sheer spectacle of the place that provided inspiration for Charles Darwin’s ground-breaking theory of natural selection”
Mark Carwardine, Conservationist
Our amazing multi-activity trip will bring you face to face with the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands. Embrace a full week of sea kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, and snorkelling in the incomparable beauty of the Galapagos.
With a focus on the Central and Southern islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela, you will be able to discover these enchanted islands in a way you never thought possible.
The program comes alive as you sea kayak and snorkel in the marine reserve, hike and even mountain bike on the highlands. Diving in the world-class marine reserve is optional but highly recommended.
Highlights for many include, hiking to the Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela; paddling sea-kayaks in crystal clear waters (past penguins or sea lion pups); mountain biking to the top of Santa Cruz in search of giant tortoises; and snorkelling or scuba-diving through huge shoals of tropical fish.
Based in high-quality hotels with daily activities suitable for all levels, this week-long program combines the best of the Galapagos – nature, wildlife, history, and landscapes along with adventure and sports.
Visit areas that other cruise-based groups cannot reach, and in so doing you are able to share experiences with the local people and learn more about the challenges they face living on these islands, all while supporting local people through this sustainable program.
There are also plenty of options for extending your trip in Ecuador afterward, or including this program within a longer South American adventure.
After a long day of fun, we return to our eco-friendly boutique hotel for gourmet meals and refined hospitality.
After a morning flight to San Cristobal Island, we will meet you at the airport and you’ll be given a briefing over lunch at Casa Opuntia Hotel. We will begin our journey at the Interpretation Center to learn about the Galapagos’ unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics before hiking to Tijeretas along lava rock trails.
Along the way, our naturalist guide will explain all about the Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acacia, and cacti you encounter.
You can also spot blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds, and finches amongst the vegetation and sea cliffs.
In addition to unique species, the hike provides marvelous views of the rugged coastline and the tranquil town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
On the way back, we stop for a refreshing snorkel or swim at post-card worthy Carola Beach. Here, you will find sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas.
After a gorgeous sunset (fingers crossed) and dinner, we explore the friendly and laid-back town. We recommend you take a 5-minute walk from the hotel down the boardwalk to view the immense colony of endemic Galapagos sea lions. Overnight at Casa Opuntia Hotel. (L, D)
Our second day begins with a morning of kayaking along the coastal bays and coves of San Cristobal’s north coast, full of blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. We may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock), Punta Pitt or Cerro Brujo. The visited site will be dependent on the conditions on the day and Galapagos National Park regulations.
We’ll put on snorkels and fins to interact with sea lions, as well as marine iguanas and countless reef fish. We’ll swim with spotted eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams, and fish of every shape, size, and color. With luck, we might even see some menacing but harmless hammerhead sharks!
After a full day spent exploring the seas, we head back to Casa Opuntia for a delicious dinner and a well-earned rest. Overnight at Casa Opuntia. (B, L, D).
Eat breakfast, before a short plane ride over to Isabela Island.
This is the largest island in the Galapagos and is still being formed by 6 shield volcanoes. Not surprisingly, Isabela is one of the most volcanically active spots on the planet.
This morning, we embark on the most scenically-varied bike ride in the Galapagos. Along our ride, we will visit El Muro de las Lagrimas (Wall of Tears). When Isabela was used as a penal colony, prisoners constructed a towering wall of lava rocks for no other purpose than to keep them distracted from the madness of isolation.
We’ll continue along white sand beaches, mangroves, brackish lagoons, and a lava tube. The area is filled with giant tortoises and birdlife including flamingos, so keep your eyes peeled.
After lunch, we explore Tintoreras, a set of small islets filled with hidden coves and beaches.
Here, we will find the endemic Galapagos penguin as well as reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions. At the end of the day, retire to the gorgeous Hotel Iguana Crossing. Relax in its infinity pool, hot tub, or neighbouring white sand beach. After a gourmet dinner, feel free to take a stroll down the seemingly endless beach or down the sand streets of this idyllic beach town.
Overnight Hotel Iguana Crossing. (B, L, D)
This morning, we drive up to the highlands, only stopping when the road ends.
Here, we’ll don our daypacks and hike into a world of recent geological history. On the hike up, admire the incredible views of the surrounding volcanoes and sea.
Arrival at the rim of Volcan Sierra Negra, is considered by many, a jaw dropper.
This is the second largest active caldera on the planet. Walk along the rim of this enormous 30 square mile crater, and if feeling energetic, continue your hike into the caldera of Volcan Chico.
Volcan Chico is an otherworldly landscape with endless hues of oranges, reds, blacks, and yellows.
Here, you can explore puffing fumaroles and spectacular lava formations.
Spend your last afternoon in this lazy beach town relaxing on its stunning beaches and soaking up the island-life atmosphere.
Overnight Hotel Iguana Crossing. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we take a speedboat to Santa Cruz Island. Along the way, if lucky, we may see whales and dolphins.
Upon arrival, we head to El Chato in the Santa Cruz highlands to find the giant tortoise in its natural habitat.
It is truly an honor to hike amongst these fascinating giants, who can live to be over 175 years old.
You will also see pintail ducks, finches, frigate birds, egrets, and hopefully the vermillion flycatcher – a red jewel of a bird.
We will then explore some incredible lava tunnels in which pirates frequented and perhaps hid Inca gold.
It’s then on to Los Gemelos, two deep volcanic sinkholes at the top of the island. We will hike through a forest of endemic Scalesia trees, where we will be on the lookout for the short-eared owl. The trees are covered with ferns and epiphytes and exude an almost eerie feel.
In the late afternoon, we retire to the Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. Expect fine pampering at this first-class guesthouse privately nestled on the outskirts of town. The beautiful waterfront property offers magnificent views of the bay, coastline, and town.
Overnight Angermeyer Waterfront Inn. (B, L, D)
This morning, we take to sea kayaks again to explore a different landscape, Punta Estrada and Divine Bay.
We paddle through serene turquoise waters that meander through towering lava channel walls.
In the clear waters below, you should be able to see rays and white-tipped reef sharks.
You can also paddle right up to the fearless blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally light-footed crabs, and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs.
After lunch, we take a 40 minute hike to Tortuga Bay through a unique dry forest.
Throughout the hike, you will find many birds and interesting plants. When you reach the beach, you will hardly believe your eyes, as this is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos.
Take time to relax on its fine sands or in its turquoise waters.
Return to Puerto Ayora to enjoy your last evening on the Galapagos. (B, L, D)
After breakfast, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Here, we learn about the ongoing conservation efforts on these enchanted islands. The Research Station rears endemic Galapagos plants, land iguanas, and giant Galapagos tortoises for educational, scientific, and conservation purposes.
Here, we can compare the diverse evolutionary paths of the various giant tortoise subspecies from different islands.
After our visit, we transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland. (B)
- Hotel accommodation in the premium Opuntia Lodges (double/twin share basis)
- All sea and land transportation during the tour
- All meals as indicated in itinerary (Breakfast – B, Lunch – L and Dinner – D)
- 24-hour telephone assistance
- Bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide
Professional English speaking adventure guide
- Travel Insurance
- International Flights & Domestic Flights to Galapagos
- Entrance fees into the Galapagos National Park ($100USD)
- Galapagos transit card $20USD
- Hotel & restaurant beverages
- All meals not listed as included
NOTE: There is a minimum age of 7 years for this trip
Important Information: The weight restriction per person for the inter-island flight from San Cristobal to Isabela is 12 kgs in one piece of luggage.
Your Guides and Safety
An excellent guide can make the difference between a trip of a lifetime and just an ordinary adventure.
Our multi-lingual professionals come from a range of backgrounds, well versed in the nature that abounds.
They can be as involved with you, or as removed as you’d prefer (we know not everyone wants to be micromanaged).
January to December (all year)
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin, Naturalist
Normally, a traveller might need to cross multiple countries to sight animals on their bucket list.
In the Galapagos, however, the traveller is spoiled for choice, and some of our personal favourites include:
Galápagos Giant Tortoise
The undisputed, most recognisable of Galapagos amazing creatures (in fact Lonesome George, the last known Pinta Island Tortoise was something of a poster boy for wildlife conservation until his tragic passing in 2012).
These gentle giants, can incredibly survive almost a year without food or water, a true marvel of natural evolution, with at least 15 known species or sub-species.
Little birds that pack a lot of spunk!
As the only Penguin that can be found in the Northern Hemisphere, to see these things zip around the bays of Isabela Island is a true delight.
They are endangered, so take care not to disturb their fragile world, but revel in the fact you got to be a part of it.
With a name that’ll make kids and adults alike chuckle (we never said we were mature here), these guys well and truly live up to their name.
That is, they stand out with their distinctive blue feet, and amuse with their antics!
Galápagos Sea Lion
Whether it be swimming about you in the sea, or playing like a puppy on land (seriously, they might not play fetch, but they’ll happily chew on a stick), the Sea Lion seems to pack personality.
We don’t recommend you try and pat them, but the thrills they can provide as an observer are a joy!
Sure they might look prehistoric, they can look fierce and even downright scary.
But the coolest thing (if the range of colours in which they can be found wasn’t enough), is these guys can swim!
Sally Lightfoot Crab
A crab you say? How impressive can they really be?
They might be small in stature, but they are one of the most impressively coloured creatures you will see, and, perched as they often are on atop the dark, volcanic rock, their reddish, orange, yellow and blue hues, really pop!
Green Sea Turtle
Often forgotten, due to the excitement created by their giant Galapagos Tortoise kin, but these guys are very cool!
If you’re prepared to dip your head beneath the waves, you can’t touch them, but you can certainly experience the thrill of swimming up close with these stunning amphibians.
As they majestically glide through the tropical seas, these things simply look immense.
Never a guaranteed sighting, if you catch a glimpse, it’s been a pretty special trip indeed.
From time to time it’s been said that some of the staff here at No Roads HQ are full of air… true, or not, what is impressive is the site of the male Frigatebird with an inflated gular pouch!
Used to attract the females of the species, in this case, I’m pretty sure even Attenborough says that for the ladies, bigger usually does seem to be better!