Ecuador: Galapagos Land-Based Discovery (Updated 2018)


Departures: Ecuador

Galápagos Land-based Discovery

Traversing three islands in five days, this tour offers a top Galápagos land-based experience that highlights the best of San Cristóbal, Isabela, and Santa Cruz, each with its own distinct personality and wildlife. Hike through beach and volcano environments, swim and relax on pristine tropical beaches, and snorkel with incredible sea life in turquoise waters. Experience the unique evolutionary paths of endemic species as you move between islands quickly and comfortably.


We believe that to travel responsibly, a portion of our tour cost should benefit the communities we visit. For this trip, we will donate to The Charles Darwin Research Station, whose work is focused on the conservation of the habitat and unique wildlife of the Galápagos Islands.


Inquire for a quote

For more information and to get started, contact us at How to Book.



5 Days, 4 Nights


Day 1


After a morning flight from the mainland to San Cristóbal Island, we continue to our hotel for lunch and a trip overview, followed by a visit to the Galápagos National Park Visitor Center, which focuses on the history of the archipelago’s ecosystems, flora, and fauna.

Afternoon: As we hike over natural lava rock trails of Frigate Hill, our guides tell us about the flora and fauna surrounding us — Galapagos cotton, palo santo, acadia and citi, as well as the blue-footed boobies, frigatebirds, pelicans, herons, gulls, warblers, mockingbirds and finches. Afterwards, stop at beautiful Punta Carola Beach for a swim and snorkel with sea turtles and sea lions. Watch the sunset at the beach, and return to our hotel for a gourmet seafood dinner.


Day 2


Morning: Explore the coves and cliffs of the north coast of San Cristóbal, viewing sea turtles, sea lions, frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies and Nazca boobies. Get up close and personal with sea lions in their favorite playground. Snorkel here to see eagle rays, golden rays, Galapagos sharks, starfish, clams and thousands of tropical fish.

Afternoon: After the sun sets on our day under the waves, we return to our hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening. Take a walk to explore the friendly town, and visit the colony of endemic Galapagos sea lions next door.

marine iguanas

Day 3


Morning: Our journey continues via a short flight to Isabela, largest of the islands, and continually evolving due to the six shield volcanoes that make it one of the more active volcanic areas in the world. Settle into our hotel set between a pristine white-sand beach and wildlife-filled wetland. Set out on a hike through an incredible variety of coastal ecosystems on the way to the Wall of Tears, a towering wall of lava rocks built by former penal colony prisoners. Along the way spot giant tortoises, flamingos, and other wildlife.

Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll explore Tintoreras, a group of small islets filled with hidden coves and isolated beaches. Here we’ll find the Galapagos penguin, as well as reef sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions. Return to our hotel at idyllic Puerto Villamil.

Santa Cruz

Day 4


Morning: An invigorating speedboat ride takes us to Santa Cruz Island as we watch for whales and dolphins. Arrive at the private dock of our waterfront hotel overlooking Academy Bay for check in. Then head to El Chato Tortoise Reserve in the highlands, home to the Galapagos giant tortoise—who can live to be over 175 years old. El Chato is also home to a variety of birdlife including the beautiful vermilion flycatcher.

Afternoon: Our hike continues through lava tunnels created by flowing magma. Legend has it that the buccaneers who frequented the island used these caves to hide Inca gold plundered from Spanish ships. The path goes through a forest of endemic Scalesia trees covered in ferns and epiphytes. Return to our hotel with a beautiful view of the bay.

Galapagos tortoise

Day 5


Morning: Visit the renown Charles Darwin Research Station, where local scientists rear endemic plants and animals for educational, scientific and conservation purposes. We’ll learn about ongoing conservation efforts to protect the future of the Galápagos. Transfer to Baltra Island for our return flight to the mainland.

Machu Picchu

Optional Extensions

Choose to extend your stay and visit the pristine Ecuadorian Amazon, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, and/or other South American destinations. Ask for details.

For pricing and hotel information, contact us at How to Book. The specifics of this itinerary are subject to change based on local conditions at the discretion of Ponte Travels.

• Rates shown are per person, double occupancy. Airfare not included.