The Heart of Galapagos

ECU-48 / 13-day trip with Galapagos excursions

The Heart of Galapagos 1

Day 1 Arrival in Quito
Day 2 Quito – City Tour
Day 3 Quito – Galápagos – San Cristóbal
Day 4 San Cristóbal: Tour to El Junco Lagoon and Tortoise reserve “La Galapaguera”
Day 5 San Cristóbal – Sta. Cruz, Pto. Ayora 
Day 6 Santa Cruz – Tour to Bartolomé Island
Day 7 Santa Cruz – Tour to North Seymour Island & Bachas
Day 8 Santa Cruz – Tour to the highlands to spot the giant tortoises
Day 9 Santa Cruz – Isabela. Flamingo Laguna & the Wall of Tears
Day 10 Isabela – Tour to the Sierra Negra volcano 
Day 11 Isabela – Tour to Tintoreras Island
Day 12 Galapagos – Quito
Day 13 Quito – Transfer out

Important: In order to guarantee the day-tour to Bartolome, we may have to change the order of days  6, 7 & 8.

Day 1

Arrival in Quito
Reception at the airport and transfer to hotel.

Day 2

Quito – City Tour
Half-day private city tour in the historical part of Quito, including La Basilica Church, La Compañia Church and El Panecillo Hill. We leave the hotel by bus and will see the transformation from the new part of the city to the absolutely beautiful historical and colonial part of Quito. We get off the bus and will have time to see all the interesting churches, plazas etc. But also simply enjoy the local atmosphere, the many shops and sellers. After these interesting sights, we continue by bus to “El Panecillo”, the hill in the centre of Quito overviewing the city and the historical centre. Also from here, on clear days, we may observe several of the snow-capped volcanoes surrounding Quito.
Night in hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3

Quito – Galápagos – San Cristóbal
In the morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Galapagos. In the afternoon take a self-guided visit “La Lobería”, the sea lion-beach, situated some 10 minutes from the village. Here you can observe the fauna and also go for a swim and practice with your snorkeling gear. Another option is to visit the Interpretation Center in order to learn more about the Galapagos Islands. You can walk to the Interpretation Center from the hotel.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 4

San Cristóbal: Visit to El Junco Lagoon and Tortoise area “La Galapaguera”
Private full day excursion to El Junco, La Galapaguera and the Playa Puerto Chino. El Junco is the highest part of the island. Here it’s possible to go snorkeling in the water-filled crater. Afterwards is a visit to the “Galapaguera”, where you can observe giant tortoises, before ending the trip with a visit to the beach Playa Puerto Chino.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5

San Cristóbal – Santa Cruz, Puerto Ayora
We leave early to Santa Cruz on the fast “lanchas” boats, the ride takes about 2½ hours. Afternoon at free disposal. Optional: visit to the Charles Darwin Center in Puerto Ayora on your own.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 6

Excursion to the Bartolomé Island
Full day excursion to Bartolome Island (uninhabited island).
Early in the morning, transfer to Baltra to start our first navigable tour to Bartolomé. Bartolomé is a small island located next to Santiago Island. One of the Islands´ principal attractions is the “pinnacle rock” In order to see it properly will make a medium level hike for around and hour. In this excursion you will learn from the volcanic landscape of the island and see different species such as: lava lizard or cacti, once we reach the top will have a magnificent view of the Pinnacle rock in contrast with the volcanic landscape blended with the turquoise waters of the surrounding beaches. After the excursion we will proceed to do snorkeling in one of the coral beaches of the areas where if we are lucky we will see: Marine turtles, sea lions, multicolor fish and penguins. Lunch will be on board. In the afternoon  return to Santa Cruz.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7

Santa Cruz – Excursion to North Seymour Island and Bachas
The bus picks up passengers and transports them from Puerto Ayora to Itabaca Channel Boat. The ride to North Seymour starts when all passengers are on board. North Seymour is a small island located north of Baltra (also known as South Seymour, by the location of the airport). The land is quite barren and rocky, and the vegetation consists mostly of cactus, palo santo trees, bat green, muyuyos and portulaca. The island is one of the most beautiful attractions in the Galapagos, and here we can find the most iconic animals of the islands. It is one of the few places where we can enter and visit the colony of frigate birds, nesting in the bushes near the trails. The male frigate birds, in their mating season, inflate their red craw to attract females. Later we find the famous blue-footed boobies, which also nest on the island. They can be seen performing their courtship dance, which is one of the most amazing spectacles of nature. They are seen incubating eggs, feeding their chicks or watching them become strong and able to fly and fish on their own. We can also find land iguanas around the cactus finches, Galapagos doves, lava herons, zayapas and playful sea lion pups on the banks.

We go back on board to go to Bachas Beach, and enjoy lunch on board. Here we will take a short hike that can be done barefoot or in sandals, because this type of sand does not absorb the sun’s heat. The tour is behind the sand dunes, where there is a hyper salininated lagoon where you can see flamingos, lapwings, pintail Galapagos finches and canaries. Flying overhead we can also see blue-footed boobies, pelicans and frigates. We will be able to enjoy snorkeling after a 20 minute walk. Return to the boat to start the journey back to Channel Itabaca (takes about 40 minutes) where the bus will be waiting for passengers to take them to their hotels
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

Santa Cruz – Excursion to the highlands to spot the giant tortoises
Today there is an excursion included to the highlands of Santa Cruz, where we will experience the strange and impressive phenomenon of the “Twins” (Spanish: Gemellos), two very deep depressions in the forested highlands. Later we visit a farm neighboring the national park. The farm “Rancho Primicias” attracts the wild giant tortoises with its green grass, and therefore this site is the best place to spot one of these amazing creatures that have given Galapagos its name. Afternoon at free disposal.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 9

Santa Cruz – Isabela. Flamingo Laguna and the Wall of Tears
After breakfast, we take a boat trip from Puerto Ayora to Puerto Villamil on the Isabela Island. In the afternoon you are free to make a visit on your own to the Lava Tunnel “El Estero”, the historical site of The Wall of Tears, the Flamingo Laguna and in the end to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center “Arnaldo Tipiza-Chamaidan”. From the Breeding Center, we walk back to the town along a very nice path. In the afternoon, you have time to enjoy the small village of Villamil.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10

Isabela – Excursion to the Sierra Negra volcano
Today there is a day excursion to the Sierra Negra volcano. Pick up at the hotel early in the morning and arrive at the foot of the crater. From the entrance, we take a 30 minute walk to the crater, with an amazing view of the 1450 m volcano. It is the second largest crater in the world, with a diameter of 9,6 km. The volcano is active and had a major eruption in 2005, and we can clearly see the remains of the lava rivers from this eruption. Later we visit the Chico volcano, an area not often visited, where we can appreciate clear signs of volcanic activity such as fumaroles and mineral associations.
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

Isabela – Visit to Tintoreras Island
Depending on the time of the year, you will either have the tour to Tintoreas in the morning or in the afternoon. Pick up at the hotel and a short boat trip to “Los Tintoreras”, named after a shark which is abundant around the Galapagos. On this small island we have the chance to spot many marine iguanas and also the Tintoreras sharks in a canal. The snorkeling is excellent around this island, and we reserve plenty of time to enjoy the waters and the wildlife.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 12

Galapagos – Quito
It is time to leave Galapagos and return to Quito. Early departure by boat to Santa Cruz and by bus to the airport in Baltra for our flight back to Quito. We arrive to our hotel in Quito, late afternoon.
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 13

Quito – Transfer out
Transfer to Airport and end of services.
Included meals: Breakfast

Important: In order to guarantee the day-tour to Bartolome, we may have to change the order of days  6, 7 & 8.

ECU-48 – To request prices, please click on the BOOK TRIP bottom on the right sidebar and fill the information.


  • All transfers
  • English Speaking guide during activities/tours
    • Tour Sierra Negra volcano (max 16 pax per guide)
    • Tour to Tintoreras (max 16 pax per guide)
    • All activities/tours in private services except following tours (shared services):
    • Tour to Bartolome island (max 16 pax per guide)
    • Tour to North Seymour Island (max 16 pax per guide)
  • Entrance fees
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Ferries between islands
  • Hotels according to “hotel list” (the availability will be confirmed at the moment of the booking)


  • International & domestic flights
  • Meals not mentioned in the program
  • Tips
  • Personal expenses
  • Entrance fees: Galapagos Park Entrance fee (100 USD), Ingala (20 USD) and Isabela Island Local Taxes  (10 USD)

QUITO: Hostal Fuente de Piedra 1 & 2 or similar

SAN CRISTOBAL: Casa Blanca or similar

SANTA CRUZ: Hotel Mainao or similar

ISABELA: Hotel Casa Marita or similar



Galapagos Islands:

Tags: Nature & Culture, Ecuador, Galapagos Cruises, Cruise