Santa Cruz & San Cristobal Galapagos Tour

From $1820 per person

Embark on an unforgettable island hopping journey, visiting the stunning Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands. Encounter thrilling adventures and witness incredible wildlife up close.

  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Duration: 5 days / 4 nights
  • Highlights: Giant tortoises,  Charles Darwin Research Station, Tortuga Bay, Kayaking, Snorkelling, Cerro Tijeretas, La Loberia, Kicker Rock or Lobos Island. Top wildlife spots: Marine Iguanas, Galapagos Sea Lions, Blue Footed Boobies, Darwin’s Finches, Frigate Birds, Pelicans, Lava Gulls.
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 we are on Baltra Island. In the airport we will need to pass through migration where we register our entry to the Galapagos and pay the Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee. Adults US$100 per person, and children US$50 per person (subject to change).

Coming out of the airport our guide will be waiting for us and will take us 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, the Twin Craters. These two impressive craters were formed by collpased magma domes and are now covered in thick forests of the endemic Scalesia trees. Great chance to observe the famous Darwin's finches of Galapagos.

We then continue to visit a local farm where we can encounter wild Galapagos Giant Tortoises in their natural habitat. Learn more about these intriguing and ancient beasts. Here we can also experience another geological formation of the Galapagos, with a visit to the lava tunnels found in this region, created by volcanic activity. Enjoy the exhuberant endemic vegetation found in this humid zone of the highlands. 

Lunch included in a local restaurant in the highlands.

Dinner on own

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 2 Morning visit - Tortuga Bay, Afternoon visit - Academy Bay Kayak or Charles Darwin Research Station (B,L)

This morning we will visit the beautiful Tortuga Bay. The trail to the beach is 2.5 km long and takes around 40 minutes to walk, at a good pace. The trail brings us directly to Playa Brava, a beautifully long beach of over 1 km 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 we can explore the marine fauna of the mangrove ecosystems. We return to Puerto Ayora by 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.

Dinner on own

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 3 Boat to San Cristobal, Tijeretas Tour & La Loberia Tour (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 San Cristobal Island. The boat ride takes approximately 2 hours. On arrival in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno transfer in to your hotel.

This morning we visit Cerro Tijeretas. The paved trail begins at the San Cristobal Interpretation Centre where we can learn more about the conservation of the Galapagos and its unique wildlife. The pathway takes about 30 minutes to bring us to the top of Frigate Bird Hill (Cerro Tijeretas), a beautiful lookout with panoramic views across Shipwreck Bay and out to sea towards Kicker Rock.

This visitor site is home to two species of frigate birds. Walking down to Tijeretas Bay we can snorkel in the calm waters with colourful fish, turtles, sea lions and sharks. On our return to town, we will stop off at Carola Beach to enjoy its large sea lion colony. What to bring: closed-toe shoes, swimwear, sunscreen, hat, rain jacket, insect repellent.

Lunch included in a local restaurant.

This afternoon we visit La Loberia. After a 10-minute car ride and 15-minute walk we reach Loberia Beach. La Loberia is a beautiful crescent shape sandy bay with pristine turquoise waters. The beach is home to a sea-lion colony, ofter filled with mothers and pups. It is a great place to snorkel and swim. Look out for turtles and if you're lucky, marine iguanas swimming and feeding underwater.

Dinner on own

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 4 Shared Boat Tour - Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos (B,L)

Today we have the option of choosing a shared boat tour to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos. Clients must choose one option. 

Shared Boat Tour to Kicker Rock (snorkel & beach): Kicker Rock, as well as being a beautiful rock formation, is one of the best spots to snorkel in the Galapagos. This snorkel site lies off the coast of San Cristobal Island.

On today's shared boat tour we reach Kicker Rock (or Leon Dormido as it is known in Spanish) after travelling by boat from Puerto Baquerizo for around one and a half hours.

We can snorkel along the cliffs of Kicker Rock, which rise vertically from the ocean to over 150m high. The submerged sea walls are covered in colourful marine life and there is a great chance of encountering sea turtles, sharks, rays & tropical fish. The very lucky have even been able to snorkel with hammerhead sharks here. On the rock itself we are looking out for blue footed boobies, masked boobies & frigate birds.

Lunch can be enjoyed on board, then later we visit a nearby pristine, white-sand beach. Depending on the day of the week this beach visit will be to Puerto Grande, Cerro Brujo or Manglecito. Return to port in the afternoon. Shared tour, with maximum 12 people on board.

Shared Boat Tour to Lobos Island (hike, snorkel & beach): We depart Puerto Baquerizo around 08h00 this morning for our shared boat tour to Lobos Island. After around a 30-minute boat ride we arrive at our destination. As its name implies, Lobos Island is home to a large colony of sea lions. It is typical for them to be playing aroung the boat as we disembark.

On Lobos Island we enjoy a hike through a volcanic environment typical of the Galapagos, it can be rocky and unstable underfoot so good shoes are recommended. The hike is just 700m long but takes around 1 hour as we observe the different flora and fauna on display. We are looking out for blue footed boobies who nest on the ground on the island. Their fascinating mating rituals include unique dances & calling behaviour. The great and magnificent Frigate birds also nest on the island in the scrub bushes, watch the males inflate their bright red neck pouches as females fly overhead.

We will then have the opportunity to snorkel with the playful and inquisitive sea lions in the sheltered waters around the rim of the island. These waters offer a beautiful underwater world filled with marine life. As well as the sealions we are on the look-out for marine iguanas feeding, as well as turtles, rays and a host of colourful tropical fish.

Lunch is served on board. Before returning to town, we stop off at a local beach, Playa Ochoa, where we can enjoy more snorkelling or have some relaxing time to reflect on the morning's adventures. We will be back in port early afternoon (around 2-3 pm). Shared tour, with maximum 16 people on board.

Dinner on own

Overnight in a local hotel with breakfast included.

Day 5 Transfer out (B)

This morning we will be picked up for our private transfer to San Cristobal Airport for out return flight to the mainland.

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: Casa Opuntia, San Cristobal Island
3 Star Superior: Galapagos Sunset, San Cristobal Island
4 Star: Golden Bay, San Cristobal Island


3 Star Prices 2024

2 people
$2457 p/p
3 - 4 people
$2033 p/p
5 - 6 people
$1820 p/p

3 Star Superior Prices 2024

2 people
$2627 p/p
3 - 4 people
$2202 p/p
5 - 6 people
$1989 p/p

4 Star Prices 2024

2 people
$3082 p/p
3 - 4 people
$2891 p/p
5 - 6 people
$2585 p/p

Price includes:
Private airport transfers, top English-speaking guide, private tour to Highlands, Tortuga Bay, Academy Bay Snorkel or CDRS (clients choose one), Tijeretas & La Loberia, boat crossing between Santa Cruz & San Cristobal Islands, one shared yacht tour to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos (clients choose one), accommodation as specified, meals as specified (B - Breakfast, L - Lunch, D - Dinner), snorkel equipment.

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 in Baltra airport, Galapagos and ends in San Cristobal 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: Tijeretas Tour, San Cristobal Island
Day 3: La Loberia Tour, San Cristobal Island
Day 4: Kicker Rock
Day 4: Isla Lobos Tour, San Cristobal Island
Frigate Bird - Isla Lobos, San Cristobal Island.