5 Day Galapagos Island Hopping Program

Giant Tortoise ReserveLas GrietasYellow Land IguanaSalt Lake near Las GrietasPort in Puerta Ayora, Santa CruzSnorkeling with Sea LionSanta FeSea IguanasBartolomeFrigate BirdSouth PlazaNazca BoobiesNorth SeymourFish Market in Puerto AyoraPort in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San CristobalKicker RockSea LionIsla LobosSally Lightfood CrabPlaya MannSnorkelingLas TijeretasBlue Footed BoobiesSea LionSea TurtleFur Seals at Playa Punta Carola

Explore the Galapagos with this 5-day program that covers the highlights of the two islands Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. The program includes must do excursions to the most astonishing destinations as well as instructions for self-guided activities during your free time. It’s designed to discover as much incredible Galapagos wildlife – both on land as under water at spectacular snorkeling sites – as possible, without having to worry about your accommodation and finding your way around.

Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrival, Twin Craters, Giant Tortoise Reserve and Charles Darwin Station (L)
Upon arrival at Baltra airport you will be met with our English speaking guide. At the airport you will first take a shuttle transfer to the Itabaca Channel. A short ferry ride will get you to the other side of the channel in a couple of minutes. From here you will be brought in private transportation to Puerto Ayora, the town of Santa Cruz island. On the way you will make a short stop at the Twin Craters, a pair of collapsed craters that were formed when the land sunk down into empty magma chambers from ancient volcanoes. You might also encounter some birdlife here. Afterwards you will visit the El Chato Reserve where you can observe the giant tortoises in the wild that are endemic to the Galapagos. Near the ranch you will also have the opportunity to see a lava tunnel from inside. These tunnels were formed as the outer skin of molten lava solidified while the liquid magma continued flowing during a volcanic eruption many years ago. You will have lunch on the private ranch in the El Chato Reserve, before continuing the drive to the town Puerto Ayora. During a guided visit at the Charles Darwin Research Station you can observe more giant tortoises and a couple of yellow land iguana in captivation. Afterwards you will be brought to your hotel.

Depending the arrival time of your flight, you might have some free time to wander along the boulevard of Puerto Ayora in the late afternoon. If time allows it you can also take a water taxi from the port and visit Las Grietas, a narrow crack between tall lava rock walls where you can take a swim. The path that leads you to up to Las Grietas passes by the small white sand beach Playa de los Alemanes, a salt lake and interesting cacti.

Day 2 – Bartolome, North Seymour, South Plaza or Santa Fe (B,L)
Today you will go on a full day excursion to one of these four special uninhabited islands. Which island you will visit will be communicated with you before departure and depends on availability. Besides a visit on land you will also get the opportunity to go snorkeling during the tour to discover the underwater wildlife of Galapagos. A box lunch will be served on board.

Bartolome
Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock, Bartolome consists of an extinct volcano with a variety of red, orange, black and even green volcanic formations. A trail of stairs leads to the summit of the volcano, boasting one of the best views of the islands. The beach is perfect for snorkeling and possible sightings of the Galapagos penguin.

North Seymour
Galapagos sea lions, blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigatebirds are abundant on North Seymour Island. The island was formed by a series of submarine lava containing layers of sediment that were uplifted by tectonic activity. The island is characterized by its arid vegetation zone. Land and marine iguanes can also be encountered here.

South Plaza
This small island with steep cliffs was formed by rising lava and is now covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies as well as colorful yellow and red land iguanas. The most characteristic plant is Sesuvium. During the rainy season its color is a greenish to yellowish tone and in the dry season (end of June through January) a bright red.

Santa Fe
Santa Fe is home to the small picturesque bay and anchorage on the island’s northeast coast. The bay has two visitor trails, one leading to a scenic viewpoint atop a cliff, and the other spanning from a small beach to a tall prickly pear cactus forest. You might also encounter land iguanas on this island.

Day 3 – Tortuga Bay and speedboat to San Cristobal (B)
This morning you will have time off to spend on your own. We highly recommend a visit to Tortuga Bay. This white-sand beach gets its name from the black sea turtles that lay their eggs here. Marine iguanas, crabs and birds can also be spotted here and it is an excellent site to enjoy a relaxing swim. It takes about an hour to walk from the main port on the boulevard in Puerto Ayora to get to Tortuga Bay.

In the afternoon you will take the speedboat to San Cristobal island, which takes about 2,5 hours. Upon arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, chances are high that you will be welcomed by many sea lions that are resting on a small part of the beach right next to the port. After checking in at your hotel, you’ll have the rest of the evening off.

Day 4 – Kicker Rock or San Cristobal Island Tour (B,L)
Today you can choose between a full day snorkel tour to Kicker Rock or an excursion on the island of San Cristobal itself. You can let us know your preference when booking your trip. A (box) lunch is included during today’s tour.

Kicker Rock
This striking rock formation is located a couple hours off the western shore of San Cristobal. Jutting out of the water, the rocks stand vertically at hundreds of feet above the ocean divided by a small channel. Blue-footed boobies, Nazca boobies and frigate birds often rest here. It’s also the perfect snorkel spot as you could encounter different sharks, tropical fish, turtles, manta rays and sometimes even hammerhead sharks here. After the snorkel activity you will visit one of the nearby beautiful remote beaches before heading back to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

San Cristobal Island Tour
During the visit of the highlands of San Cristobal, your will first stop at the El Junco lagoon, a small lake located in an ancient crater. The lake is frequented by frigate birds that come to bath in the lake to wash the salt of their wings. Other bird species that you can see here are the San Cristobal mockingbird, white-cheeked pintail and Bahamas ducks. At the breeding center La Galapaguera you will encounter more giant tortoises at different stages in life that walk freely around here. During the walk at Puerto Chino beach you can enjoy the vegetation of rare Opuntia cactus trees and possibly Darwin’s fiches, blue footed boobies and pelicans. In town you will pay a visit to the Interpretation Center, where you can learn about the geological and natural history of the Galapagos islands, as well as the efforts to protect its uniqueness. The trip will conclude with a walk from Playa Punta Carola to the lookout point of Tijeretas Hill, that serves as a nesting spot for two species of frigate birds.

Included and excluded
Included:

  • Accommodation in rooms with private bathroom
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (“B”=Breakfast, “L”=Lunch)
  • Shared group excursions as described in the itinerary
  • Bilingual local naturalist guide during excursions
  • Snorkeling equipment during excursions
  • Transfer in on the first day in private transportation with an English speaking representative
  • Transfer out on the last day in private transportation with a Spanish speaking driver
  • Itabaca Channel ferry
  • Transportation by public speedboat between islands
  • Information package with clear instructions for self-guided activities and other helpful tips

Not included:

  • Flight from/to Galapagos (around $500 p.p.)
  • Galapagos National Park entrance fee ($100 p.p.)
  • Migration Control Card ($20 p.p.)
  • Transportation between your hotel and port when travelling between islands (we recommend to take a taxi; some hotels are at walking distance from the port)
  • Water taxis (about $1 p.p.)
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips

Note: We would be happy to help you book the Galapagos flights for you, but it’s also possible to book them yourself. If you book your own flights, make sure to buy a flight on the first day that flies into Baltra Island (GPS) and flies out of San Cristobal Island (SCY). Your arrival flight can arrive any time, but it’s recommended to book a flight that arrives between 9:00 AM and 12:30 PM at Baltra Island to enjoy all the activities on the first day on a nice pace. Your departure flight can leave any time of the day, but it’s recommended to book a flight that leaves a little later in the morning / beginning of the afternoon, to enjoy your last morning on the Galapagos.

What to bring?
For this tour we recommend to bring the following:

  • Passport
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Hat or lightweight scarf
  • Layered clothing
  • Bathing suit and towel
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Motion sickness pills
  • Insect repellent
Price

Prices 2020

Shared excursions with private accommodation

Budget accommodation Standard accommodation
Price per person
(based on 2 passengers)
$954 $1050
Price per person
(based on 1 passenger)
$1085 $1349

Take a look at the photos of our Budget and Standard accommodations.

Optional transfers and assistance between hotel – dock
(on travel days between islands by speedboat)
Price per person
(based on 2 or more passengers)
$33
Price per person
(based on 1 passenger)
$52

We also offer a 6 Day Galapagos Island Hopping Program and a 8 Day Island Hopping Program.

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