Latin America Vacations
Ecuador | Galapagos Land Based | Family
Lava bombs and blue-footed boobies; you have to check them out!
6 days / 5 nights
Activity LevelActivity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Volcanic islands animated with quirky flora and fearless wildlife await your curiosity in Darwin’s natural laboratory of the Galapagos Islands, one of the planet’s few World Heritage Marine Reserves. This all-inclusive Ecuador vacation package is sure to delight, surprise and enlighten your senses as you explore these fascinating ecosystems by boat, snorkel and foot. Our expert guides and skilled naturalists can’t wait to introduce you to the sea lions, giant tortoises, marine iguanas and, of course, the blue-footed boobies who call this matchless environment home. On this small group, custom journey, venture from island to island while enjoying the best in regional accommodations and the freshest cuisine as Austin’s signature touch of inspired, thoughtful service invites you to unwind and soak in the enchanting creatures and splendid setting of the Galapagos Islands. Truly an adventure of a lifetime awaits!
The rugged volcanic landscape of the Galapagos Islands offers truly exceptional encounters with wildlife. Venture out each day with a skilled naturalist by boat, foot, or snorkel to witness an astounding variety of exotic creatures. Your guides will share with you the history of the pirates, whalers and early settlers who took refuge on the islands of the Galapagos. With over 560 native species of wildlife, the Galapagos has over 180 endemic species found nowhere else on the planet.
- Visit the islands of San Cristobal and Santa Cruz as well as two remote uninhabited islands chalk full of wildlife
- Discover the differences between the diverse and unique ecosystems on and between the Islands.
- Learn the differences between the land iguana and the marine iguan
- Listen to stories of Charles Darwin and the infamous Darwin finches whose evolutionary discoveries led to many present day scientific theories
- Seek out the incredibly vibrant marine life of the Islands, keeping a watchful eye out for sharks, sea lions, starfish, turtles, and a wide array of colorful fish
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The penguins: You don't need to be wearing a jacket and freezing your nose off to see a penguin in the wild. Over 1500 aptly-named Galapagos Penguins live, swim and waddle around these islands each day!
Swimming lizards: Cross this sight-to-be-seen off the bucket list because the only marine-going lizards in the world, the marine iguanas, are found in the Galapagos.
Natural laboratory: Charles Darwin was 26 when he first saw the Galapagos Islands. His observations about life on the islands eventually led to his famed theory of evolution.
San Cristobal, Ecuador or Baltra, Ecuador SCY or GPS
Quito, Ecuador or Guayaquil, Ecuador UIO or GYE
Arrival / San Cristobal
Upon arrival at San Cristobal Airport from Quito or Guayaquil, you will be met by your local expert guide who will transfer you to your accommodation in time for an energizing lunch, introductions, and a short overview of the trip. Next we stop at the local interpretation center to learn about the unique wildlife, geology and natural history of the Galapagos Our minds fresh with knowledge, we’ll make our way to Frigate Hill where our relaxing walk reveals fauna, wildlife, and scenic views of the beach and sea cliffs below. On the way back stop for a refreshing snorkel at Carola beach and say hello to the sea turtles and sea lions. Return to the hotel for dinner and finish up your first day with a leisurely walk down the boardwalk.
About Golden Bay Hotel & Spa
This 21-room ocean front property offers you unparalleled comfort and service on San Cristobal Island. Although contemporary in concept, its design is harmonious with the environmental demands of the Galapagos. Golden Bay Hotel & Spa is a Premium Class beachside property overlooking the spectacular bay that frames Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Today we take to the water with our snorkels and fins to meet some of San Cristobal’s marine residents. Hug the coastline searching the coves and cliffs for sea turtles, sea lions, blue-footed boobies, spotted eagle rays, starfish, an abundance of tropical fish and more. Depending on park regulations, we may visit Leon Dormido (Kicker Rock)or Punta Pitt. After a full day spent exploring the seas, we head back to our hotel for a delicious gourmet dinner and a laid- back evening overlooking the bay.
A speedboat or internal flight takes us onward to Santa Cruz Island. After checking in, we head to the highlands of El Chato to walk with 100 year old giant tortoises, pintail ducks, Darwin’s finches, frigate birds, egrets, and the vibrant vermillion flycatcher. Next we’ll visit a group of cavernous lava tunnels once frequented by pirates, and was rumored to be the hiding spot for plundered Inca gold. Carry on to Los Gemelos, a pair of massive volcanic sinkholes at the high point of the island. Explore the surrounding forest of Scalesia trees home to the short-eared owl. In the afternoon we’ll stop at the Charles Darwin Research Center where we’ll learn about the ongoing conservation efforts to protect the future of the Galapagos. After a full day, we make our way back to the hotel, where we’ll sit down to a delicious dinner and enjoy secluded views of the bay, coastline, and town.
About Angermeyer Waterfront Inn
The Angermeyer Waterfront Inn, accessible only by water, is a Premium – Class hotel with a private location across the Puerto Ayora bay. Once you arrive in Santa Cruz, our hospitality team will take you by boat to our private pier. The main reception and lounge area is a historical site, the famous Angermeyer Cave, which was hand-built by the early settlers to the Galapagos Islands. The main buildings, uniquely constructed out of lava rock and driftwood from the area, are an authentic mix of natural highlights and modern comforts. The newly renovated rooms were designed with comfort in mind, and several even feature hot tubs. Our signature waterside restaurant overlooks the Galapagos’ busiest bay and remains true to the Santa Cruz vibe.
Plaza Islands / Bartolome Island / North Seymour Island
For the next two days we’ll depart from Santa Cruz to explore two of the nearby small islands: Plazas, Bartolome, or North Seymour. On the Plaza Islands we’ll snorkel and hike the crescent-shaped islands famous for the sea lion population, diverse flora and fauna, land iguanas, red-billed tropicbirds, and prickly pear cacti. Bartolome Island, a volcanic islet just off the east coast of Santiago Island, offers some of the most beautiful lava formations. Here we’ll hike and snorkel with sharks, sea turtles, penguins, and thousands of tropical fish in the turquoise water. On North Seymour Island we’ll observe the incredible birdlife, seeing how the blue-footed boobies hunt, interact, and engage in flamboyant mating rituals. Boats depart to different islands on a weekly schedule, so our destinations will depend on your days of travel. The boat rides should take between one to two hours each way. Each day we’ll enjoy delicious breakfasts and dinners at our hotel and field lunches while exploring.
Plaza Islands / Bartolome Island / North Seymour Island
Continue your exploration of Plazas, Bartolome, or North Seymour islands. You will have explored one of the islands yesterday and the weekly schedule will determine which other island you visit today. Whichever island you get to visit, you’re guaranteed to have great wildlife sightings!
Departure / Guayaquil or Quito
Today it’s time to bid a fond farewell as we transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland. Your guest coordinator will facilitate your airport transfer.
**Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather, ocean and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Neotropic Expeditions.
Arrival & Departure
Please arrive in Quito no later than the evening prior to your trip (we recommend arriving a minimum of two nights to allow for potential flight delays and misconnection). You will fly from Quito or Guayaquil to the Galapagos Islands, arriving between 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to San Cristobal airport, depending on your flight schedule. Upon arrival at San Cristobal airport, you will be greeted and escorted by a Neotropic Expeditions representative. Your trip ends with a drop-off at the Baltra airport, on time for your flight back to the mainland. From Quito or Guayaquil, you can make your post trip connections.
Hiking: 1 to 5 miles per hike, easy to challenging terrain.
Boating: 2 to 3 hours per boating day
Snorkeling: Equipment provided, no experience necessary.
Our guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels.
The rugged volcanic landscape of the Galápagos Islands offers truly exceptional encounters with wildlife. Venture out each day with a skilled naturalist by boat, foot, or snorkel to witness an astounding variety of exotic creatures that have never learned to fear human contact. Your guides will also share with you the history of the pirates, whalers and early settlers who took refuge on the islands of the Galápagos. Discover a land created by volcanic activity where lava fields still dominate the landscape, ash pockets remain untouched, and black sand covers many beaches. Did you know that with over 560 native species, the Galapagos has over 180 endemic species, found nowhere else on the planet? Discover the differences between the diverse and unique ecosystems on and between the Islands. Learn to tell apart the land iguana and the less colorful, but equally impressive marine iguana. Listen to stories of Charles Darwin and the infamous Darwin finches whose evolutionary discoveries led to many present day scientific theories. Seek out the incredibly vibrant marine life of the Islands, keeping a watchful eye out for sharks, sea lions, starfish, turtles, and a wide array of colorful fish. Find out just how blue a blue-footed booby’s feet really are! Come explore the Galapagos Islands with the experts in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Meals are included as indicated in the daily itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
- All meals as listed in detailed daily itinerary & soft drinks during meals.
- Private bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide.
- All snorkeling gear and equipment.
- Transport and guide from Galapagos airport to hotel and vice versa.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt & luggage tags.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
- Entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 International visitors). Must be paid in cash.
- Control Visitor Card ($20 per person). Must be paid in cash.
- Transportation Fee ($5 per person) from Itabaca Channel to Baltra or vice versa. Must be paid in cash.
- Air ticket to/from Galapagos (flight schedules / prices may vary).
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
- Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.