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See Blue-footed Boobies on your trip to the Galapagos

Aventura Lodge

Hotel-Based Tour - Example 8 Day Tour
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Explore Santa Cruz and two neighboring islands while staying at Red Mangrove's Aventura Lodge in the Galapagos. The excursions will take you along the coast and up into the highlands to see the Galapagos' biodiversity and to witness first-hand the wildlife and unique scenery of the "Enchanted Islands." Travelers stay active with hiking and snorkeling excursions, but there is plenty of time to relax at the lodge or on the beach. To learn more about the intriguing natural history of the islands, your park service guide will introduce you to historical sites on the Galapagos as well as an unforgettable visit to the famous Charles Darwin Research Center.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Quito
Day 2 : Fly Galapagos | Explore Santa Cruz Island
Day 3 : Santa Cruz Kayaking and Snorkeling. Charles Darwin Station
Day 4 : Island Navigation
Day 5 : Garrapatero Beach, Santa Cruz Highlands and Puerto Ayora
Day 6 : Island Navigation
Day 7 : Return to Quito
Day 8 : Return Home


  • Explore Los Gemelos, two enormous collapsed lava chambers
  • Kayak through mangroves searching for pelicans & blue footed boobies
  • Snorkel with fish, rays, sea turtles, & Galapagos penguins
  • View giant Galapagos tortoises as they roam, graze, and sleep

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Independent

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

See Blue-footed Boobies on your trip to the Galapagos I guess he wanted to see my camera A family explores the shores of the Galapagos Isabela Lodge My friends Nap time In the Galapagos up close

Day 1 Arrive Quito

Spend your first night in Quito exploring the city on your own.

Day 2 Fly Galapagos | Explore Santa Cruz Island

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning, catch a flight from Quito to the Galapagos. Arrive Baltra Island, meet your guide and transfer to Santa Cruz Island. Check in to your hotel in Puerto Ayora and enjoy lunch on the deck of the hotel overlooking Academy Bay
After lunch, take your first excursion to Los Gemelos (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers nestled in the Highlands of Santa Cruz. This is the perfect introduction to the majestic power of the forces of nature that created the Galapagos Islands. This short, easy hike to each of the twins is swarming with endemic flora and fauna. You’ll see a remnant of a Scalesia Forest, draped in liverwort, lichens and mosses. It’s easy to spot some Darwin finches and if you are lucky maybe even a short eared owl.

After Los Gemelos, a short bus ride will take you to a 600-acre private tortoise reserve. Here the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep. After visiting these amazing creatures in their natural habitat, take a 5-minute ride to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high, this is an incredible opportunity see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, and mineral-colored walls. Return to town for dinner.

Day 3 Santa Cruz Kayaking and Snorkeling. Charles Darwin Station

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Set out for a quick boat ride for about 10 minutes to the German Beach,where will will load into our kayaks and begin to explore the surrounding mangroves - home to pelicans, frigates, and blue footed boobies. We will make our way to Franklin Franklin Bay, where we will stop to observe sea turtles, mantarays, and other marine wildlife. From here, we enter to the fascinating Love Tunnel, two natural cliffs made of volcanic rocks, where we can spot endemic plants and nesting birds. After this great kayaking adventure you will be escorted to Las Grietas - a wonderful place to snorkel and swim in cool and clear waters between two tall cliffs, where the earth has opened like a crack.
After lunch at the lodge, enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs in the world. Founded in 1964 the Charles Darwin Research Station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, with the unique purpose to study, support and instrument the conservation efforts of the islands.

Day 4 Island Navigation

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will head out to Itabaca Channel to catch your boat to one of Santa Cruz's neighboring islands. Depending on the day of the week and local conditions, this may be Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or South Plaza. After a full day of exploration, return to the lodge.

Day 5 Garrapatero Beach, Santa Cruz Highlands and Puerto Ayora

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, you’ll head to Garrapatero Beach. After a 25 minute bus ride, a 15 minute hike along an easy trail will take you to the beach. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for finches – and is a place where you can relax and enjoy your surroundings. This is one of the most peaceful and calm places on the island. The 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand on Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise.
Next, head to the highlands of Santa Cruz for an encounter with a cultural site full of tradition and history. We will begin the journey with a ride through the towns of Santa Rosa and Bella Vista on our way to The Trapiche Sugar Cane Mill & Farm. Upon arrival, we will be greeted by the owner and founder of this farm famous for its coffee and sugar. We will be briefed about the tour by the owner who will speak and guide in Spanish (and will being translated for everyone.) The visit will begin first with a description and demonstration of how the rudimentary sugar mill works and how it is used to extract the sugar cane nectar. Enjoy a sample of coffee beans with cheese and sugar cane honey. Our next stop will be at the sugar cane liquor distillery partially composed of World War II purified cylinders pieces that were left behind years ago in the islands. At the end you will enjoy complimentary shots of this famous sugar cane liquor served with tangerine and oranges as is the tradition of the owner.
After lunch back at the lodge we will take you for a walking tour in the town of Santa Cruz. You will have time to visit handicraft stores and see the sea lions and pelicans attempting to steal fish at the famous fish market. The air is full of excitement as they vie for position in the competitive game of "scraping for scraps".  Also stop at the Laguna de las Ninfas, one of the less-visited sites on Santa Cruz Island. Laguna de las Ninfas (Lagoon of the Nymphs) a beautiful place where you can see an ecosystem of mangroves, shorebirds, and fish. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the center of town.

Day 6 Island Navigation

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will once again head out to Itabaca Channel to catch your boat to one of Santa Cruz's neighboring islands. Depending on the day of the week and local conditions, this may be Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or South Plaza. After a full day of exploration, return to the lodge.

Day 7 Return to Quito

This morning you will return to Baltra and catch your return flight back to the mainland. Tonight, enjoy the sights and sounds of Quito -- toast your travels and the remarkable Galapagos Islands!

Day 8 Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast
Catch your flight home, or with more time, extend your trip to explore the Andean highlands or the Amazon!

Aventura Lodge

Quito - Hotels

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Based on Mangrove View rooms at Aventura Lodge. Shorter itineraries available. Please contact us for alternative options.

Please note: For departures between December 15 - January 5, internal flights must be paid at the time of booking.


  • 7 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 7 Nights Accommodations
    • 7 Nights Hotel
  • 5 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Gear Rental
    • Snorkeling
  • INGALA Transit Control Card


  • Internal Flights
    • $590 Quito-Galapagos-Quito
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $60 Meals not Included
  • $55 Airport Departure Tax
  • $100 Park Entrance Fee
    • $100 Galapagos entrance fee
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Kassandra Miller
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
Justin Chappelle

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