The Galápagos Islands are a living laboratory of evolution. The hot and frigid currents that meet at the equator have produced an incredibly rich and unique diversity of marine life. There are no predators, so the animals are friendly. It is literally possible to walk right up to blue-footed boobies, lava lizards, penguins, sea lions, and pink flamingos without them scurrying off in fear. On BikeHike's 10-day Galápagos land tour, we travel far from the crowds and cruises and view the islands from a very different perspective. We bob through the ocean surf by sea kayak, paddling alongside giant sea turtles, seals, and bottle-nosed dolphins. Inland we whisk along dirt trails on bikes and our own two feet. We've built in plenty of time for snorkelling in the turquoise waters. For the certified, scuba diving is also available.
|2||Quito - Santa Cruz Island||Kayaking||Hotel||B,L,D|
|3||Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island||Hiking||Hotel||B,L,D|
|4||Isabela Island||Hiking & Snorkelling||Hotel||B,L|
|5||Isabela Island||Hiking & Snorkelling||Hotel||B|
|6||Isabela Island - Santa Cruz||Biking & Coffee Plantation||Hotel||B,L,D|
|7||Bartolome Island||Hiking & Snorkelling||Hotel||B,L,D|
|8||Santa Fe Island||Snorkelling||Hotel||B,L|
|9||Santa Cruz Island - Quito||City Tour||Hotel||B|
Day 1: Arrival Quito
The Galapagos land tour begins with a BikeHike Adventures representative meeting you at the airport and transferring you to a comfortable hotel in downtown Quito. The remainder of the day is free to explore the city and acclimate to this high altitude city, located at 2,800 meters/9,300 feet.
Day 2: Quito - Santa Cruz Island (Kayaking)
In the morning, we'll transfer back to the airport to connect with our flight to the Galapagos Islands, located 625 miles/1,000 km off the coast of mainland Ecuador. After landing on Baltra Island, we'll head by vehicle and ferry to our hotel in the quiet, charming harbour town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. In the afternoon, we'll go kayaking and navigate around Divine Bay and Punta Estrada, paddling through multiple lava channels of calm, turquoise waters. Within the channels, white-tipped sharks and stingrays patrol beneath the waves, while colonies of blue-footed boobies, tropic birds, herons and marine iguanas perch along the jagged cliffs. The evening is free in Puerto Ayora to relax or sample the local nightlife, liveliest on the weekends. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island (Hiking)
After a hearty breakfast in our hotel, we'll shuttle up to the humid tropical parts of the island to visit the giant Galapagos turtles living in the wild here. We’ll also stop to walk through some lava tunnels on the island. After lunch, we’ll take a speedboat (2.5 hour ride) to the town of Puerto Villamil where we’ll visit the turtle breeding centre and walk through a dry forest, lava fields, mangroves and salty lagoons that are a refuge for flamingos, white-cheeked pintails and common stilts. Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago and was formed by six main volcanoes. All of these volcanoes except one remain active, making this island one of the most volcanically active places on earth. Overnight at hotel. (B,L,D)
Day 4: Isabela Island (Hiking & Snorkelling)
We leave from the town for the highlands to hike on Sierra Negra, the oldest volcano on Isabela Island and one of the world's largest active volcanoes. It has a huge 6.5 mile/10 km caldera with great views of Perry Isthmus, Elisabeth Bay and Alcedo Volcano. Common birds on the volcano are the vermillion flycatcher, short-eared owl and the Galapagos Hawk. After lunch we take a boat to the small island of Tintoreras to look for more sea lions and marine iguanas. We end the day snorkelling amongst penguins, sea lions and turtles. Overnight at same hotel in Puerto Villamil. Hiking Distance: 16km/10 miles. (B,L)
Day 5: Isabela Island (Hiking & Snorkelling)
In the morning, we’ll travel by boat to see some lava tunnels in the ocean. We’ll hike over the tunnels and snorkel under them. There is a good chance of spotting rays and turtles in this beautiful site. We’ll then return to town and have the afternoon free. Options include visiting a giant land tortoise breeding centre or going for a bike ride. Overnight at the same hotel. (B)
Day 6: Isabela Island - Santa Cruz Island (Biking & Coffee Plantation)
In the morning, we'll take a speed boat back to the island of Santa Cruz where we'll take a vehicle up to one of the first coffee and cane plantations on Santa Cruz Island. We'll learn about the process of making organic coffee and sugar. After lunch we'll ride our bikes up to the look out point of Cerro Mesa, visit the largest pit crater on the island and then enjoy a great down hill bike ride to the beach of Garrapatero where we can refresh with a dip in the ocean. Overnight in Santa Cruz. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Bartolome Island (Hiking & Snorkelling)
We drive 35 minutes to our boat and then head north for three hours to one of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago, Bartolome. The effort to get there is worth every minute. This beautiful island offers the most well known views of the Galapagos, with its tuff cones, spatter cones, enormous lava flows on Santiago Island, the Pinnacle Rock and two golden sand beaches.. After a hike to the look out point, we'll visit one of the golden sand beaches for some excellent snorkelling under the Pinnacle Rock, admiring the sea life. If we're lucky sea lions will play around us. In the afternoon, we return to Santa Cruz Island. (B,L,D)
Day 8: Santa Fe Island (Snorkelling)
In the morning, we'll transfer by speedboat to Santa Fe Island, renowned for having some of the world’s tallest cactuses. We’ll cruise around the island getting as close to the cliffs as we can to view the sea lions, blue-footed boobies and the swallow tailed gulls. We’ll then snorkel amongst tropical fish, sea lions and marine turtles. We’ll return to town, have lunch, and then we'll hike for 50 minutes through vegetation dominated by the endemic Opuntia cactus to Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Galapagos. Here we'll refresh with a swim and enjoy encounters with marine iguanas, sea turtles, pelicans and blue-footed boobies. Overnight in same hotel in Puerto Ayora. (B,L)
Day 9: Santa Cruz Island - Quito (City Tour)
Today we start with an early breakfast and shuttle to the airport on Baltra Island for our flight back to Quito and the mainland of Ecuador. In the afternoon, we'll tour the old town of Quito, the largest colonial centre of Latin America. After dinner in the old town we can explore the night life of Quito before returning to our hotel. (B)
Day 10: Quito - Departure
You'll be transferred to the international airport for your flight back home. (B)
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), equipment, internal transportation (excluding flights), airport transfers and veteran wilderness guides.
Trip Does Not Include:
Galapagos Park Entrance Fee ($100 US), internal flights (Quito-San Cristobal-Baltra-Quito - cost $670 US), airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not indicated and items of a personal nature.
9 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Hotel: 9 Nights
“I'm afraid of signing up for any other trip, as I’ll likely be disappointed. How do you follow up on perfection?”
~ Eva-Marie Stern - Ontario, Canada
“One word: Jorgen...He would not like to hear me say it, but...that man has a spirit and organizational skills that really made this trip a 'never forgotten and fondly remembered' experience.”
~ Jim Bohman - Colorado, USA
“The guide could not have been better. We have taken many trips with many companies all over the world, but we have never had a guide as good as this trip."
~ Gary Edwards - Massachusetts, USA
“Can't choose what was best. I loved the activities we did - the landscapes and wildlife were incredible, and the other people on the trip were an absolute blast to travel with.”
~ Tim Kelly - British Columbia, Canada
“The entire trip was amazing. The best part was all the wildlife - from the turtles, iguanas, blue footed boobies, penguins, sharks, sea lions and the list goes on! The trip was made all that better by having a fantastic group to travel with!”
~ Lynette Gould - British Columbia, Canada
Click here for more BikeHike Testimonials.
About the Galapagos Islands:
A small archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos is among the world’s most diverse and celebrated eco-systems. Since sprouting from a suboceanic lava vent, the islands have been an evolutionary laboratory teeming with wildlife. The islands’ location at the confluence of five ocean currents has resulted in a curious mix of unbelievably tame animals. Penguins, giant turtles, flightless cormorants, and marine iguanas greet the islands many visitors. Thanks to aggressive conservation policies, the Galapagos Islands are no less enchanting today than they were when Charles Darwin arrived in 1831.