Galapagos Island Hopping Santa Cruz & Isabela Tour

From $1894 per person

This Galapagos Island Hopping trip includes visits to Santa Cruz & Isabela Islands. A travel experience filled with adventure & unique wildlife spotting opportunities.

  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Duration: 5 days / 4 nights
  • Highlights: Giant tortoises, Santa Cruz Highlands, Lava Tunnels, Tortuga Bay, Kayaking, Snorkelling, Puerto Villamil Beach, Las Tintoreras, The Tunnels or Volcano Tour. Top wildlife spots: Marine Iguanas, Galapagos Sea Lions, Galapagos Penguins, Blue Footed Boobies, Darwin’s Finches, Frigate Birds, Flamingos.
Blue Footed Booby standing on white rock with an ocean backdrop in Galapagos


Day 1 Arrive Santa Cruz & Highlands Tour (L)

On arrival at the airport in Galapagos you are on Baltra Island. In the airport you will need to pass through migration where you register your entry to the Galapagos and pay the Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee. Adults US$100 per person, and children US$50 per person.

Coming out of the airport your guide will be waiting for you and will take you to the bus for the short journey to the Itabaca Channel. Here we have a 5-minute crossing on the local barge which takes us onto Santa Cruz Island, where we meet our private vehicle.

From here we begin to cross Santa Cruz Island and stop off in the highlands for our first great experience of the day, a visit to see the Galapagos Giant Tortoises in the wild, in their natural habitat.

We can also experience the geological formations of the Galapagos, with a visit to the lava tunnels found in this region, created by volcanic activity. Enjoy the exuberant endemic vegetation found in this humid zone of the highlands.

Lunch included in a local restaurant in the highlands.

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 2 Tortuga Bay & Academy Bay Kayak or Charles Darwin Research Station (B,L)

This morning we have a private tour to Tortuga Bay. The trail to the beach is 2.5km long and takes around 40 minutes walking at a good speed. The trail brings us directly to Playa Brava, a beautifully long beach of over 1km in length with fine, white sands. A perfect spot for surfing, but not safe for swimming.

Tortuga Bay is divided into two beaches, at the end of Playa Brava there is a small peninsula. A trail crosses the peninsula, through a nesting area of marine iguanas, and brings you onto Playa Mansa. A beautiful bay perfect for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking (extra cost applies).

Here you can explore the marine fauna of the mangrove ecosystems. We return to Puerto Ayora in a local speed boat.

Lunch included in a local restaurant

In the afternoon we have the option of choosing a Kayak & Snorkel activity in Academy Bay or a guided visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station. Clients must choose one option.

Kayak in Academy Bay: Our private kayaking activity begins at the Playa de los Alemanes. We kayak along the coast, near mangroves, looking out for sting rays and turtles. We follow a route from this bay to Punta Estrada which takes us into little canals where we can observe sea birds like pelicans, blue footed boobies & lava gulls. We also have the chance to come aground onto a little beach where we can tie up the kayaks and snorkel with colourful fish, stingrays, white tip sharks, sea lions and sea turtles.

Charles Darwin Research Station: This afternoon we visit the Charles Darwin Research Center. We reach the Center after a 15-minute walk. Along the trail there is a Galápagos National Park information booth where we need to register. While walking around the research center we will be able to observe different species of giant tortoises and land iguanas that live on the islands of Santa Cruz, Española, Santiago and Pinzón. The species were brought here to conduct a captive breeding program with the aim of repopulating areas that have been adversely affected in the past.

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 3 Boat to Isabela Island, Conchaperla & Las Tintoreras (B,L)

We will be picked up from the hotel and taken to the main dock. Firstly, we need to pass through the SICGAL inspection booth, where they check to make sure organic substances are not transported between islands.

Once we have passed the inspection, we will board a water taxi which transfers us to the speed boat that takes us to Isabela Island. The boat ride takes approximately 2 hours. On arrival in Puerto Villamil transfer in to your hotel.

Our morning excursion begins with a short journey (by car or bike – you choose) to the local semi-salty lagoon in search of endemic flamingos and birds such as the white-cheeked pintail and the blue-winged teal.

From here we continue on to see the giant tortoises of Isabela Island in the local breeding center, where we learn about their breeding and repopulation program.

Then we have a chance to snorkel in Conchaperla, a natural sea-water lagoon where we may see penguins, colourful fish, sting rays, sea lions, sea turtles and more.

Lunch included in a local restaurant.

In the afternoon a 20-minute boat ride (shared tour) will take you to an islet located in the Bay of Puerto. After disembarking you will be led to a canal of Tintorera sharks, commonly called White-Tip sharks, where you can observe them from a view point located on the trail. It is a low intensity walk on the lava rocks and volcanic sand. After the walk we can undertake aquatic activities such as snorkeling, swimming with penguins, colorful fish, sea lions, and marine iguanas in mostly shallow waters. You can also observe sea birds such as brown pelicans, frigate birds, or blue-footed boobies.

Tintorera sharks: this species of shark in particular can be found sleeping on the seabed during the day. Like all sharks, their feeding activities take place at night.

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 4 The Tunnels Snorkel or the Volcano Hike Tour (today you can choose one option) (B,L)

The Tunnels: This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to the main dock to begin your shared tour. After a 45-minute boat ride you reach the naturally formed lava tunnels created by the eruption of the Cerro Azul Volcano. Firstly, we enjoy a trail walk where we are on the look out for blue-footed boobies, sea lions and the endemic vegetation of this arid zone. After that we get the chance to snorkel around the shallow waters of the tunnels looking for sea horses, penguins, stingrays and white tipped sharks. At the end of the day we take a boat ride around the bay looking for sea turtles and may have the opportunity to snorkel once again. Box lunch included.

Volcano Tour: This morning you will be picked up from your hotel around 7am for your shared tour to the Sierra Negra Volcano. After around 45 minutes driving you will get to a place called “El Cura” from where you will start hiking on the eastern flanks of the caldera of the Sierra Negra Volcano to a place called "Los Jaboncillos". Here we take a break and enjoy a little briefing about the volcano before we start the second part of the hike into Chico Volcano. The Sierra Negra Volcano is considered the most ancient of all of Isabela’s volcanoes. Its caldera is 10 km in diameter and it is the second largest in the world (the largest being Tgorontgoro in Tanzania). The Sierra Negra Volcano rises to an altitude of 1500m. Box lunch included, today’s tour takes around 5 hours. Start 7:00am finish 1:00pm.

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 5 Transfer out (B)

Transfer out to the dock this morning for your return crossing from Isabela to Santa Cruz Island. On arrival on Santa Cruz Island transfer to Baltra airport for your onward flight (NOTE: to be able to undertake the boat trip in one day from Isabela to Santa Cruz then travel onto Baltra airport to catch a flight to the mainland you must be booked on a flight which departs after midday. In the case of any delays in the boat crossing we cannot be held responsible for missed flights.

3 Star: Hotel Fiesta, Santa Cruz Island
3 Star Superior: Hotel Ikala, Santa Cruz Island
4 Star: Angermeyer Waterfront Inn, Santa Cruz Island
3 Star: Hotel Volcano, Isabela Island
3 Star Superior: Casita de la Playa, Isabela Island
4 Star: Hotel Iguana Crossing, Isabela Island


3 Star Prices 2024

2 people
$2353 p/p
3 - 4 people
$2017 p/p
5 - 6 people
$1894 p/p

3 Star Superior Prices 2024

2 people
$2442 p/p
3 - 4 people
$2118 p/p
5 - 6 people
$1991 p/p

4 Star Prices 2024

2 people
$2718 p/p
3 - 4 people
$2382 p/p
5 - 6 people
$2240 p/p

Price includes:
Private airport transfers, top English-speaking guide, private tour to Highlands, Tortuga Bay & Academy Bay Snorkel, boat crossing between Santa Cruz & Isabela Islands, Shared tours to Conchaperla, Tintoreras, Tunnels (or Volcano), Isabela Municipal Boat Tax, accommodation as specified, meals as specified (B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner), snorkel equipment & wetsuit for activities.

Not included:
International flights, Galapagos flights, Transit Control Cards ($20 per person), Galapagos National Park Entry fee (US$100 per person), personal travel insurance, meals not specified, alcoholic and soft drinks, extra activities not specified, tips and personal expenses

Prices are stated in US Dollars.
Prices are valid until 31st December 2024.
This tour begins and ends in Baltra airport, Galapagos.

Day 1: Photographing Giant Tortoises on Santa Cruz Island
Day 1: Giant Tortoise on Santa Cruz Island
Day 2: Walking along the pristine Playa Brava, Tortuga Bay
Day 2: Marine Iguanas basking in the sun, Tortuga Bay
Day 2: Playa Mansa, Tortuga Bay
Day 2: Kayaking in Academy Bay
Day 3: Marine Iguana on Puerto Villamil Beach, Isabela Island
Day 3: Biking to the Flamingo Lake, Isabela
Day 3: Flamingo, Isabela Island
Day 3: Las Tintoreras Hike
Day 3: Blue footed boobies, Las Tintoreras
Day 3: Galapagos Penguins and Blue Footed Boobies, Las Tintoreras
Day 4 Option: Tunnels Snorkel Tour, Isabela
Day 4 Option: Green Turtle, Tunnels Snorkel Tour
Day 4 Option: Sierra Negra Volcano Hike
Day 5: Galapagos sea lion in Puerto Ayora