What Can I Expect on My Galapagos Islands Vacation?
When you travel the Galapagos Islands, there is so much to do! Our tours are for families, hikers, birders, snorkelers, and divers. We’ll share the best of the Enchanted Islands with you and your family. We offer a number of land-based tour types:
- Darwin’s Footprint: Visit two islands (Santa Cruz and Isabela) and experience the Galapagos by hiking, bird watching, snorkeling, kayaking and more.
- Diving Adventures: We offer a variety of tours for divers – ranging from 3-8 days.
- Mainland Ecuador Adventures: Start or finish your Galapagos vacation with a side-trip on Ecuador’s mainland. You’ll be flying into either Quito or Guayaquil and can add from 2-6 days exploring the cities and areas around Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil, and the Amazon.
- Pre or Post Cruise Package: This 3 day / 2 night program is a great way to explore Santa Cruz before or after your cruise.
Curious about what you might see? Check out our Galapagos Vacation Photo Gallery
Darwin’s Footprint: Galapagos Islands Vacation
On this tour, you’ll visit Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands. Choose from four Footprints tours ranging from 4-8 days:
- Darwin’s Footprint 4 Day Tour: Walk among giant tortoises and explore lava tunnels and Los Gemelos. Hike a volcano, snorkel and hike at the Itabaca Channel.
- Darwin’s Footprint 5 Day Tour: Visit Tintoreras and see marine iguanas and white-tipped reef sharks. You’ll also visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, and do everything from the four day tour.
- Darwin’s Footprint 6 Day Tour: Visit Los Tuneles, a series of lava formations that form arches and tunnels above and below the water. You might see sea turtles, sharks or even seahorses while snorkeling. And do everything from the five day tour.
- Darwin’s Footprint 7 Day Tour: This adventure has been designed to optimize your time by diminishing unnecessary commuting between several islands and investing this time in a deeper and more adventurous exploration of these two islands, which have the very best Galápagos has to offer. Enjoy accessing these wild sites by snorkeling, kayaking, biking and more.
- Darwin’s Footprint 8 Day Tour: With the Darwin’s Footprints (8 days) Adventure you will be able to explore the two top Galapagos volcanic islands: Santa Cruz, and Isabela with their wild scenery. Begin this journey on Santa Cruz Island, where you will be able to observe the symbiosis between lava, endemic plants and animals.
Galapagos Islands Vacation.
Diving Adventures: Galapagos Islands Vacation
Dive the Galapagos on one of our specialized diving tours. Choose from tours ranging from 5-8 days in length.
- Land & Sea 6 Days: Explore Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands while diving up to six dives – and enjoy all the land excursions too! This is one of our most complete packages. Read more…
- Darwin’s Discovery Dive 5 Days: Enjoy the best of Santa Cruz Island with 2 full mornings of diving (2 immersions each) and land based excursions with naturalist guides from Galapagos National Park. Read more…
What Can We Do on Vacation in the Galapagos Islands?
Galapagos wildlife is one of the main reasons that more than 180,000 tourists (2012) visit the Islands every year. Here are some of the ways you can see the best of the Galapagos.
- Hiking: From easy strolls to a more intensive hike up an active volcano, you will see the range of Galapagos plant and animal life. You’ll also get to walk across lava flows and through mature forests.
- Snorkeling: Even first time snorkelers can quickly learn and see some amazing sea life. You’ll travel with experienced guides – who will both point out specific features and keep you comfortable.
- Diving: We have packages for experienced and first time divers. The dive sites around the Islands are teaming with life.
- Animal Encounters: Visit areas that are known for animal life (marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles). These sites are easily accessed and offer some great photo opportunities.
- Breakfast at Aventura Lodge: Guests at the Aventura Lodge are surrounded by Galapagos animals. While enjoying breakfast on the deck, you can expect to see sea lions, marine iguanas, crabs, finches, geckos, and pelicans. You might also see rays, herons, frigate birds and boobies.
Land or Sea-Based Galapagos Vacation?
This is an important question. While visiting the Galapagos, you have two choices: either sleep on a cruise ship or in a resort / hotel. For some travelers, sea based is just what they are looking for. For others, it isn’t quite what they expected.
Land based tours can help you avoid many of the common cruise ship complaints of overcrowding, lack of privacy and constant sea sickness.
Cruise ships offer some challenges to travelers with limited mobility, with children, and those who want to explore the local area in their free time. Land based tours are more environmentally friendly – by not disposing of gray water at sea, by using less fuel (compared to the idling and motoring of cruise ships) and by proper garbage disposal.
Red Mangrove is the only operator in the Galapagos with multiple lodges on multiple islands.
Read more about the differences between sea and land-based Galapagos vacations.
Land Based Diving vs Live Aboard Galapagos Islands Vacation
What about live aboard diving tours? If you are a diver, you might have only considered a live aboard package. While they do have a certain appeal, land based tours offer a number of specific benefits to Galapagos travelers. Read more: 10 reasons to book a land-based dive tour (instead of a live aboard)
Interested to read about all the areas we cover? Check out: Ecuador & Galapagos Islands Tours