Darwin's Islands

Visit the islands of San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, and Isabela while staying on the islands during this 8-day trip in the Galapagos. The excursions on this tour will take you along coastlines and up into the highlands to see the incredible biodiversity on the Galapagos and 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 lodges and 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 including an unforgettable visit to the famous Charles Darwin Research Center.

Day 1


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

Day 2

  • Hotels
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Arrive Galapagos-Explore San Cristobal

In the morning, catch a flight from Quito to San Cristobal Island.  Check into your hotel and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch, visit Cerro Tijeretas and Playa Man.  Cerro Tijeretas gets its name from the Frigate Birds, also called Tijeretas because of the shape of their tails. This landmark is the only place where you have to see two species of these birds nesting in the same colony. 

Enjoy a hike through a dry forest where you can find cacti, acacia trees and lava lizards scattered among beautiful landscapes.  Then, visit a small lagoon that is perfect for snorkeling. 

Afterwards, you may be able to spot sea lions, dolphins and lizards as you relax and snorkel at Playa Man, a beautiful white sand beach.

Return to town for dinner.

Day 3

  • Hotel
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

La Loberia-Santa Cruz

After breakfast, make your way to La Loberia, a beach famous for sea lions and marine iguanas.  Just a 40 minute walk takes you to coral tinted sands, mangroves and playful sea lions.  Keep an eye out for lava lizards, yellow warblers, frigates and more along the way!

Return to town for lunch before taking a boat to Santa Cruz.  Check in to your beautiful lodge and enjoy the rest of the afternoon free to explore Puerto Ayora.

Day 4

  • Hotel
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


After breakfast, depart for a morning of kayaking and snorkeling. Depending on the conditions, you will visit either the Itabaca Canal or Academy Bay. Both areas are excellent for spotting sea lions, sea turtles and countless tropical fish.

After lunch, take a two hour boat transfer to Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island.  Cruise by Isla Tortuga, which is full of frigates, blue-footed boobies and other seabirds.  As you enter the port on Isabela, be greeted by stunning green and turquoise water that is so clear, you can see sea turtles, sea lions, and penguins as though looking through glass. Arrive to the Isabela Lodge where dinner awaits.

Day 5

  • Hotel
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Isabela Highlands

From Puerto Villamil, journey to the Sierra Negra Volcano (approximately 6 miles, round-trip). From here, you can walk to the rim of Sierra Negra, an active volcano that last erupted into a blazing show in October 2005. From this altitude, enjoy a fantastic view of the 4-mile wide caldera, the Perry Isthmus and the other volcanoes including the Chico Volcano with its puffing fumaroles and striking lava formations. Isabela offers an extraordinary environment and exemplifies the dramatic geological events that forged the Galapagos Islands.  Adventurous hikers have the option to continue across the open lava fields to Chico Volcano (1 1/2 miles beyond Sierra Negra Volcano).

Enjoy lunch at a local farm that cares for giant tortoises as part of a special agreement with the National Park.  After lunch you have the chance to visit Concha Perla, a beautiful lagoon-like bay, where you have the opportunity to snorkel with more marine wildlife.  On your way back to town, stop at El Muro de las Lágrimas (Wall of Tears), a great area for birdwatching, and finding iguanas and other lava lizards. El Muro de las Lágrimas is also a historic site for a penal colony established on Isabela.

The rest of your time is free to explore Isabela on your own. Enjoy snorkeling, swimming or relaxing on the beach.

Day 6

  • Hotel
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Tintoreras-Santa Cruz-Charles Darwin Research Station

Begin the day with a panga ride to Las Tintoreras, a resting site for white tip reef sharks that is situated between a small natural lava outcropping and an enormous lava field. Tintoreras is one of nature's wonders, set against a backdrop of emerald green sea, white sand beach, dark green mangroves and the hills of Isabela. On the shores, well above the resting sharks, the rocky sides are lined with marine iguanas. This is one of the few iguana colonies on Isabela that have not been disturbed by introduced species. On the way back to Puerto Villamil, you might have the rare opportunity to see a penguin colony lounging side by side with blue-footed boobies. Once you return to the dock, you can snorkel this warm, shallow bay surrounded by mangroves and search for white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, and penguins.  Late morning, return to the pier to begin a two hour trip to Santa Cruz. 

Return to the Aventura Lodge and have lunch. In the afternoon, visit the renowned Charles Darwin Research Station where you will learn about conservation and management projects in the archipelago. The research station is also home to tortoises from all over the islands.

Day 7

Return Quito

This morning, 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

  • Breakfast

Return Home

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

Tour Cost
Internal Flights (Quito-Galapagos-Quito)
Flight cost is subject to change
Total Cost (USD)


$860 single supplement

Based on Mangrove View rooms at Aventura Lodge


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


  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $40 Meals not Included
  • $55 Airport Departure Tax
  • $110 Park Entrance Fee
    • $100 Galapagos entrance fee, $10 Galapagos Park Tax