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Galapagos by Land Reverse

Land-based wildlife journey | View photos »

Snorkel with penguins and turtles, walk along the beach as the sun goes down, or hike to a volcano summit on your guided wildlife journey around the Galapagos Islands, staying on three different islands.

10 day trip described, guide price £4,715pp i Fully customisable to you

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Sample itinerary

Travel to Quito

Fly to Ecuador. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday. On arrival you are collected for the transfer to your first class hotel.

Discover Quito with your private guide

Your guide comes to the hotel this morning to take you on a tour of Ecuador’s capital and its surroundings. Quito is positioned on the flanks of the Pichincha Volcano, and is home to perhaps the best-preserved colonial centre in Latin America (now UNESCO-listed). Explore the historic centre to learn about the city’s colonial past, perhaps dropping into the Government Palace en route.

Fly to the islands and meet the frigate birds of San Cristobal

Fly from the mainland of Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands and transfer to your small hotel overlooking the bay. Meeting your private guide, visit the interpretation centre for an introduction to the islands before walking from a beach up to Cerro Tijeretas, one of a few places where you can see the magnificent and great frigate birds nesting.

Kicker Rock snorkelling and swimming with sea lions

Sail out to Kicker Rock this morning for some of the best snorkelling in the islands. Returning to land, hike to La Loberia, a bay where you can often see sea lions cavorting in the water. This will be your first chance to get in the sea and swim or snorkel with the playful and fearless inhabitants of the islands.

See Galapagos penguins off Isabela Island

This morning you take the short flight from San Cristobal in the east to Isabela Island in the west of the Galapagos. Take a boat across to the small Tintoreras Islands to see a colony of the tiny Galapagos penguin. Not only the smallest of the penguin species but also the only one to live in equatorial waters.

Hike to the world's second largest volcano crater

Meet your guide again this morning to go hiking up Sierra Negra, the largest crater of all Galapagos volcanoes. Up here you should see lots of bird life, including short-eared owls.The scenery is breathtaking as you look north along the line of volcanoes strung along Isabela’s spine and across to Wolf where the recently discovered Pink Iguana live.

Seek sharks & rays in Los Tuneles

This morning sees you snorkelling in the clear shallow waters of Los Tuneles to look for sharks and rays, in one of the best marine life spots off Isabela. If you have the energy this afternoon, cycle over to the Wall of Tears to see the iguanas, or take a kayak out into the bay for a paddle.

Sail to Santa Cruz and meet the giant tortoises

Leave Isabela Island early this morning to travel by speedboat to Santa Cruz Island. Settle into your hotel, set on the waterfront across the bay from the town of Puerto Ayora. Later, hike through cactus forest to a gorgeous beach where you can swim and snorkel.

Hike up Bartolome for panoramic views

Sail out to one of the uninhabited islands today, perhaps Bartolome, where a wooden staircase takes you to the top of the island for what is probably the most famous view in Galapagos. As well as lovely vistas over Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome also offers another wonderful snorkelling site, with penguins and sharks among the typical inhabitants of the waters here.

Head for home

Visit the Charles Darwin Research Centre and meet your last giant tortoises. Transfer to Baltra for your return flight back to mainland Ecuador. Of course, being a tailor made trip, you can decide to extend your stay for few days. There are lots of scuba diving and naturalist day trips you can take to explore some more of the fascinating Galapagos Islands.

Note: This is just an itinerary idea and we'll therefore tailor everything to you.

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Map of the area

"Absolutely amazing"

"Absolutely amazing"

We had an absolutely amazing holiday - it far exceeded our expectations, which were already high. Rachel S

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"Lovely holiday. "

"Lovely holiday. "

Lovely holiday. Bespoke, competent and comprehensive. The holiday was expensive, but its excellence equated to value for money

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"Everything was brilliant"

"Everything was brilliant"

Everything was brilliant thanks. The hotels were lovely and so were all the staff/owners. The lady who runs the one on San Cristobal was very welcoming. All the trips and tour guides were great. They all gave such good information and were very helpful. Heather D

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About this trip


Snorkel with penguins and turtles, walk along the beach as the sun goes down, or hike to a volcano summit on your guided wildlife journey around the Galapagos Islands, staying on three different islands.

How adventurous?

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1 2 3 4 5
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

Though the wildlife is still the main star of this trip, you get to see it using a variety of adventurous modes of transport such as mountain bikes, sea kayaks, and your feet. This is not high adrenaline adventure but it is an active, outdoors alternative to basing yourself on board a boat for a week. Not being as regimented as you would be on board a boat, this trip gives you much greater freedom to stroll and explore at your own pace, even enjoying a swim off the beach as and when you like.

Level of comfort

In terms of physical comfort, land-based exploration also means that you sleep in a proper bed each night, rather than in a (usually fairly small) cabin on a cruise. The hotels we use on this holiday are good 3* standard, nothing terribly fancy but clean and comfortable and very well located. In Quito we use our favourite small hotels, usually 4*, with lots of character.

The Galapagos Islands lie on the equator so temperatures and weather conditions are generally warm and pleasant year round. The water temperature and conditions do vary with colder, choppier waters from June through October giving way to warmer and calmer seas for the rest of the year. Given that you are not sleeping on board a boat, the state of the sea is less critical but you do still cross between some islands by small boat so sea conditions impact those days when you are travelling between islands.

Level of culture

The Galapagos Islands are primarily about the wildlife, though the human history of the islands and the struggles of conservation create a fascinating context for the wildlife. This journey starts in San Cristobal which, while home to the Galapagos' capital, is a very small town with a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Isabela is home to a small population in the rather lovely beachfront village of Puerto Vilamil. It is very easy to stroll and get to know people here, not least because you have a local guide with you during the day on each island you visit. This helps you to get to know the people and places quickly. Santa Cruz is the busiest of the islands you will visit which makes it harder to get under its skin, however, it is also home to the Charles Darwin Centre which is an incredible example of patient long-term conservation of the giant tortoise.


We have a detailed itinerary for this trip, as set out above. If you would like a copy, please get in touch and we can email it over to you.

Ultimately though, this is a tailor made trip so we would love to have time to talk to you in order to send the most appropriate proposal to you. The Galapagos element we discuss with you to select the best accommodation, balance of islands visited and activities etc. The suggested version of this trip has a mixture of private and shared guiding, we can adjust things to have a stronger emphasis on one or the other. In addition, we can add, or reduce, elements to make your perfect holiday. It is not uncommon to add time in the Amazon, for instance or extend your stay in the Galapagos by a couple of nights.

In the form set out above, the holiday price includes private and shared guiding throughout your time in the Galapagos, as well as good quality hotel accommodation, breakfasts & lunches, transport, guided activities, excursions and entrances as set out in the detailed itinerary. Also included are flights within Ecuador, two nights' hotel accommodation in Quito, and a privately guided city tour of Quito. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.

International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Best flight routings are to fly into Quito (airport code: UIO) and out of Guayaquil (airport code: GYE), though it is also possible to fly round-trip into either of these airports.


Departs any day of the year, to suit you.

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Request our 5-part Expert Guide to Ecuador & Galapagos

Enter your email address below and over the next 5 days we will send you our free Expert Guide to Ecuador & Galapagos:

  • Day 1 - Seven wildlife encounters we won't forget
  • Day 2 - Why the Galapagos has to be done right
  • Day 3 - Why you shouldn't overlook the mainland
  • Day 4 - Six lodges and hotels we just didn’t want to leave
  • Day 5 - Answers to some commonly asked questions about Ecuador

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Book Subscribe to The Pothole » ecuador-galapagos-islands-guide-photographing-giant-tortoise Activity in Plaza Grande in the colonial center of Quito Quito's teleferico takes you high up above the city Sunset over Kicker Rock in the Galapagos Islands ecuador-galapagos-fur-seals-floreana-island-c-jascivan-carvalho Penguin on the Mariela Islands off Isabela, Galapagos Walking across the crater of Sierra Negra, Isabela Island Wall of Tears, Isabela Isalnd Snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands View of the pinnacle on Bartolome Galapagos Time to watch, Galapagos