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The beautiful colorful shores of the Galapagos.

Hiking Galapagos

Hotel-Based Tour - Example 9 Day Tour
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Hike through the archipelago's remarkably surreal landscape on this unique land-based Galapagos adventure. The Hiking Galapagos tour is perfect for the traveler that prefers his or her tours active, while also allowing for plenty of flexibility and time to explore the various sites. The tour begins in San Cristobal, exploring Frigate Hill, Isla Lobos and Leon Dormido, where the waters teem with fascinating marine life -- rays, sea turtles, and yikes! Is that a shark? Travels continue onto Santa Cruz with a hike through El Chato Tortoise Reserve -- here's where we're likely to spot the Galapagos's gentle giants. Finish your Galapagos tour discovering the beauty of Isabela Island. We'll hike to the rim of the Sierra Negra volcano and admire the stunning views. This tour offers the best that Galapagos travel has to offer: scintillating waters, world-renowned snorkeling and, best of all, wildlife that is truly wild! And all while you're working those legs...
Hiking in the fog up to Sierra NegraTake a swim with sea turtles on your Galapagos adventure.Enjoy a invigorating hike through the unique Galapagos landscape.Exploring the GalapagosA family explores the shores of the GalapagosDay Hike during a Galapagos cruiseThe beautiful colorful shores of the Galapagos.
  • Hike Cerro de Las Tijeretas, where Darwin first landed in the Galapagos
  • Trek to El junco Lagoon, a fresh water lake in a collapsed caldera
  • Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station & learn about conservation
  • Explore Tortuga Bay and enjoy the enchanting wildlife
Places Visited
Trip Type:
  • Adventure Life Exclusive
Activity Level: Moderate

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Quito

Overnight in Quito.

Day 2: Fly Galapagos - Hike El Junco

After transferring from the airport to your hotel, hike to El Junco Lagoon, a freshwater lake located in a collapsed caldera at 2,300 feet (700 meters) of altitude on the San Cristobal Island highlands. The lake and its surroundings comprise a beautiful Miconia forest landscape, where you can find frigate birds washing off salt from their wings, Darwin´s finches, and mocking birds. Continue on to La Galapaguera in Cerro Colorado, a new facility operated by the National Park to breed and protect the subspecies of giant turtles endemic to San Cristobal (Geochelone chathamensis).

Day 3: Snorkel at Leon Dormido | Hike Tijeretas

The day begins with a visit to Leon Dormido, the jagged remains of an old tuff cone and home to thousands of sea birds. Enjoy excellent snorkelling; there is a good chance of seeing Galápagos sharks, eagle and golden rays, as well as dozens of species of tropical fish, clams, starfish, and marine invertebrates. If you are lucky, you may spot hammerhead and white-tipped sharks as well. From here, return to port and continue on a short hike up to Cerro de Las Tijeretas. Along the walk, your guide will explain to you about the native and endemic vegetation as well as the birds and lizards you are bound to see. Tijeretas offers stunning views of both the land and the sea, and it is the point where Darwin first landed to the Galapagos. This cove offers some of the islands best snorkeling, as you will be surrounded by fish of every color, as well as sea lions and the occasional sea turtle. This is also a good spot to view sea cucumbers, sea anemones, sea urchins and other marine invertebrates.

Day 4: Explore Isabela

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After breakfast, take a small, plane from San Cristobal to Isabela Island. Isabela is the largest island in the archipelago, formed by 5 shield volcanoes: Alcedo, Cerro Azul, Darwin, Sierra Negra, and Wolf. Four of these volcanoes remain active, making this island one of the most volcanically active places on Earth. After the check in, you cross the wetlands and reach beautiful sandy beaches, pink lagoons and amazing photography until your reach El Estero.
In the afternoon, take a walk through mangrove trails, passing manzanillo´s trees and other native plants. Your ride continues around the salty lakes that are home to the beautiful giant pink flamingos. We arrive to the Arnaldo Tupiza Giant Tortoises Breeding Center and learn about how the Galapagos Park has invested years of research and dedicated patience to the recovery of these giant creatures, promoting their slow population growth, finally return to our hotel for a delicious dinner. Overnight in Puerto Villamil.

Day 5: Sierra Negra Hike

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Begin your day with a 6-mile hike to the very rim of the Sierra Negra volcano. The view from this 6x5 mile-wide caldera is sensational. During your hike you have a good chance of seeing Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and flycatchers. Hike along a magnificent path through the cloud forest where you can see on one side the farms and crops and on the other the protected area of the Galapagos National Park. After spending your day in this volcanic terrain, return to town to spend our last afternoon on Isabela and relaxing on the beach.

Tonight well spend your last evening in this quiet port town before saying farewell to the Enchanted Islands in the morning.

Day 6: Santa Cruz Cloudforest Hike

After a satisfying breakfast, go to Santa Cruz Island. Along the way, we keep a lookout for whales and dolphins. Hike into the amazing Santa Cruz cloudforest. Reaching Cerro Crocker, the highest summit on the island, we'll search the area for unique vegetation like the vermilion flycatcher. There's also an excellent chance that we'll encounter more Galapagos tortoises.

Day 7: El Chato Tortoise Reserve and Tortuga Bay

Drive to the highlands and hike through El Chato Tortoise Reserve. Along with the gentle giants you're likely to also come across pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigate birds. Continue your exploration of the islands as we venture into lava caves and unique volcanic tunnel formations. 

Stop for lunch before taking an easy hike to the white sandy beaches of Tortuga Bay. This serene area is named for the sea turtles that frequent the beach to lay their eggs. Spend a relaxing afternoon enjoying the enchanting wildlife. Don't forget your binoculars there is plenty of pelicans, finches, doves, and marine iguanas to view.

Overnight Santa Cruz.

Day 8: Charles Darwin | Return Quito

This morning visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about conservation and management projects in the archipelago. Take a transfer to Baltra to catch your return flight back to the mainland.

Day 9: Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast


Quito - Hotels

Puerto Ayora - Hotels

San Cristobal - Hotels

Puerto Villamil - Hotels

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Please note: For departures between December 15 - January 5, internal flights must be paid at the time of booking.
  • 8 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 2 Dinners
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Professional, bilingual guide service as listed
  • Excursions and activities as listed
  • Gear Rental: Snorkeling Gear
  • INGALA Transit Control Card
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Galapagos Park Entrance Fee: $100 per adult, $50 per child under 12
  • Internal Flights: Mainland Ecuador - Galapagos - Mainland Ecuador: $475-675


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney
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