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Darwin’s Footprints (8 Days)

* FROM $3,149

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With the Darwin’s Footprints Adventure you will be able to explore the best of the Enchanted Islands, staying in Santa Cruz and visiting one of the most important islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe, Plazas or Pinzon.  Begin this journey on Santa Cruz Island, where you will  observe the symbiosis between lava, endemic plants and animals.

Continue your adventure with a navigable tour to one of the islands, where you will enjoy of the diverse and rich fauna of endemic and native species.

This tour has been designed to get the most of the Galapagos in a deeper and more adventurous exploration of the Enchanted Islands, which have the very best Galápagos has to offer. Enjoy accessing these wild sites by snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and navigating. 

This tour is similar to Darwin’s Footprints (5 Days).

Darwin’s Footprints Galapagos Tour (8 Days)

Day 1: Travel to Galapagos

Morning: Travel from mainland Ecuador to Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos.

Lunch and Dinner

Don’t forget to have your camera out. You will be in the Galapagos and you can see wildlife at any time. You don’t have to be on an excursion to spot some amazing Galapagos animals.

The adventure starts the moment you arrive at the airport on Baltra Island. Seymour Airport is the first ecological airport in the world.

The terminal was built in 2013 and uses solar panels to protect this fragile ecosystem.


After a very short bus ride, you will head to the Itabaca Channel, a small channel with clear blue waters which divides Baltra Island from Santa Cruz Island. During your five minute crossing, watch the water and you may see some sharks, sea lions and sea turtles.

Canal de Itabaca

Once on Santa Cruz, you’ll travel south across the Island to Aventura Lodge. During the 45 minute drive, you’ll experience a variety of micro climates. Watch the change from desert in the lowlands to tropical forest in the highlands, that represent the agricultural resource of the island.

On the south side of the island, we will pass through Santa Rosa -a very small town – inhabited by the local farmers. As we near the southern coast, the climate becomes drier and hotter until we arrive in Puerto Ayora. This is the main town on the Island and where Red Mangrove is located.


Welcome to the Galapagos! 

Before lunch, you can relax on the deck of the Aventura Lodge and watch the sea lions and marine iguanas.

After lunch, you’ll take your first excursion to Los Gemelos (The Twins), two enormous collapsed lava chambers. This is a wonderful introduction to the majestic power of the forces of nature and the great biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Highlands. On this short, easy hike to each of the twins you’ll see many endemic plants and animals. You’ll see a remnant of a Scalesia Forest, draped in liverwort, lichens and mosses. It’s easy to spot some Darwin finches and perhaps the short eared owls.

After Los Gemelos, a short bus ride will take you to a 600-acre private tortoise reserve. Here the giant Galapagos tortoises freely roam, graze and sleep. Sometimes it’s a bit muddy here, so before setting out, you can put on some rubber field boots (Wellington boots). We have a selection of sizes, including large sizes for men.


Walking among the giant tortoises in the wild may be one of the your most treasured moments.

After visiting these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat, we’ll go to the entrance of a 450-meter (1350 feet) illuminated lava tunnel. With a ceiling nearly 20 feet high, this is an incredible opportunity see lava stalagmites, stalactites, sulfur, and mineral-colored walls. Even the rippled floor was formed by lava.

Day 2: Kayaking & Snorkeling Playa de los Alemanes – Charles Darwin Research Station 

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

AM: If we have a good hide tide, we will begin the adventure from the hotel dock, otherwise from the municipal pier. In a water taxi we will sail for about 10 minutes to the German Beach, then take the kayaks, where we will begin to surround the mangroves home of pelicans, frigates, and blue footed boobies, then reach to Franklin Bay, where we will stop to observe sea turtles, manta-rays, etc.

Alemanes 1

Enter to the fascinating Love Tunnel, two natural cliffs made of volcanic rocks, where we can spot endemic plants and nesting birds.

canal del amor

After this great kayaking adventure you will be escorted to Las Grietas –  a wonderful place to snorkel and swim in cool and clear waters between two tall cliffs, where the earth has opened like a “crack”.


Lunch at Aventura Lodge

Enjoy a guided tour to the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station where you can learn about one of the most successful reptile breeding programs in the world.

Founded in 1964, the Charles Darwin Research Station is supported by over 100 scientists and researchers from around the world, with the unique purpose to study, support and instrument the conservation efforts of the islands.

est. ch darwin

Day 3: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe, Plazas or Pinzon. 

(The island you will visit depends on different factors such as weather, tides and National Park Regulations.)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

You will be picked up at the hotel and taken to the Itabaca Chanel, where you will embark to your destination.

SANTA FE: After breakfast, you will be accompanied to the main pier, from where the boat to Santa Fe leaves.

After a boat ride of about an hour, the island of Santa Fe will be reached, offering an impressive landscape with forests of endemic cactuses, many sea birds as pelicans and gulls as well as colonies of sea lions lying in the white sand or playing around int the crystal turquoise water.

This is also where the first snorkeling activity will take place. The bay with its calm and pristine water, home of tropical fish, manta rays and sea turtles. You will also have the chance to swim with  playful young sea lions.

The boat will move to the second snorkeling spot.

Playa Escondida, will be visited before returning to Santa Cruz.


BARTOLOME with its Pinnacle Rock that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands.

Here you may have the opportunity to see the Galapagos penguin, sea lions, sea turtles, flamingos, Galapagos hawks and migratory birds. You will climb the Pinnacle Rock 114 meter altitude, where you will have the most spectacular views.

And then snorkel in the Golden beach, in front of the Pinnacle Rock. Golden beach has golden sand  with a half moon shape just at the east of Pinnacle Rock.  Snorkeling here is an amazing experience, you will share the water with  schools of tropical fish, and see lots of marine life.


SEYMOUR was formed by uplift of a submarine lava formation, created by seismic activity, rather than being of volcanic origin. This is an extraordinary place for breeding birds, and is home to one of the largest populations of nesting blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds, depending on the time of the year you may be witness of the thrilling mating rituals of these birds, and also observe the mother and child interaction. You will visit a small lagoon to see flamingos. There will be time for snorkeling from the beach.

This tour also stops at Bachas and snorkel in this tepid waters.

This full of life island will give you the chance to see marine iguanas and sea lions in its white and golden sands.


SOUTH PLAZA. This small island is full of fascinating wildlife, along its shore and along its cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls. Its flora offers you views of Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors according to the season.

You will visit one of the largest Sea Lion colonies, with  pups and also harems in the azure waters of the channel.

South Plaza is one of Galapagos’ most impressive visiting sites.



Pinzon is one the best places in Galapagos, to have opportunities to see penguins. During the navigation down to the west coast of Santa Cruz, you may see Manta rays whales al more.  You will pass a nameless Island, which is in the middle of a large tuna run.

You will do an open water snorkel in a protected bay near Pinzon.  We will navigate to  Palmas beach for a Lunch aboard your vessel.   You can do snorkeling one more time, from the beach.

Day 4: Garrapatero Beach and Trapiche Mill

Breakfast, Lunch and Diner

After breakfast, you’ll head to Garrapatero Beach, a 25-minute bus ride to the beach entrance. After a 15-minute hike along an easy trail, you’ll arrive at the beach. This beautiful white sandy beach is known for finches – and is a place where you can relax and enjoy the surroundings.


We will also  take you to the highlands of Santa Cruz for an encounter with a cultural site full of tradition and history.

This is one of the most peaceful and calm places on the island. The 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) of sand on Garrapatero Beach is a tropical paradise. It’s about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) northeast of Puerto Ayora.

We will begin the journey with a ride through the towns of Santa Rosa and Bella Vista on our way to The Trapiche Sugar Cane Mill & Farm. Upon arrival, we will be greeted by the owner and founder of this farm famous for its coffee and sugar. We will be briefed about the tour by the owner who will speak and guide in Spanish (and will being translated for everyone.)

The visit will begin first with a description and demonstration of how the rudimentary sugar mill works and how it is used to extract the sugar cane nectar. Free sample of coffee beans with cheese and sugar cane honey (obtained after processing the nectar at high temperatures.)


Our next stop will be at the sugar cane liquor distillery partially composed of World War II purified cylinders pieces that were left behind years ago in the islands. At the end you will enjoy complimentary shots of this famous sugar cane liquor served with tangerine and oranges as is the tradition of the owner.

Return to the lodge for lunch.

PM After Lunch we will take you for a walking tour in the town of Santa Cruz, you will visit handicraft stores; The fish market that is a place you won’t want to miss, you can see a rascally Sea Lion and a gang of pesky Pelicans.  The air is full of excitement as they vie for position in the competitive game of scraping for scraps.

The Laguna de las Ninfas: One of the less-visited sites on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos is Laguna de las Ninfas (Lagoon of the Nymphs) a beautiful place where you can see an ecosystem of mangroves, shorebirds, and fish. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the center of town.


Day 5: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe, Plazas or Pinzon

(The island you will visit depends on different factors such as weather, tides and National Park Regulations.)

Breakfast, lunch and dinner

You will be picked up at the hotel and taken to the Itabaca Chanel, where you will embark to your destination.

Day 6: Tortuga Bay

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Escorted Tour to Tortuga Bay. Take a walk to Tortuga Bay, through a path that merges with a giant Opuntia and Candelabra cactus forest, home to numerous Darwin finches, mockingbirds, yellow warblers, lava lizards and many more of the Galapagos endemic and native species.

white sand galapagos

As you enter the white sandy beach, you will have a chance to observe different marine species, like sting rays and baby reef sharks in the shallow waters of the mangrove ecosystems. After swimming on the beach, take a very short hike to the marine iguana nesting site. The walk back is through a prickly pear forest carpeted in crimson sesuvium with black lava outcroppings, this area is home to more marine iguana colonies.

entrance tortuga bay

Short boat ride to the Lodge.

Day 7: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe, Plazas or Pinzon. 

(The island you will visit depends on different factors such as weather, tides and National Park Regulations.)



Day 8: Departure to mainland

Enjoy the last Breakfast at Aventura Lodge before go to the Airport.

You will need to leave to the airport three hours before your flight time schedule. Cross the Itabaca Channel and take your flight back to Ecuador Mainland.


Travel to your next travel segment (Cuenca, Quito, Guayaquil or Amazon) or take your return flight home.



  • Included: Accommodations in the Red Mangrove Lodges. All meals, soft drinks during meals. Guided tours as listed, Inter island transportation. All diving and snorkel gear, bilingual Galapagos naturalist guide, 10% Service Charge as per Ecuadorian Law.
  • Not included: Flights to and from Galapagos, entrance fee to Galapagos National Park ($100 USD must be paid in cash in Galapagos airport), Galapagos transit card ($20 USD (must be paid in cash in mainland airport), tips, alcoholic beverages. Transfer in and out.
  • Note: This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, weather conditions, and Galapagos National Park regulations.


  • DAY 1: Walk among giant tortoises at a private reserve and explore amazing lava tunnels and Los Gemelos. Santa Cruz (L.D.)
  • DAY 2:  – Kayaking and snorkeling at Playa de los Alemanes and Visit las Grietas.  Charles Darwin Research Station (B,L,D)
  • DAY 3: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or Plazas (B.L.D)
  • DAY 4: Garrapatero Beach and Trapiche Mill.  Walking Tour  (B.L.D)
  • DAY 5: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or Plazas (B.L.D)
  • DAY 6: Tour to Tortuga Bay (B.L.D)
  • DAY 7: Tour to one of this islands Bartolome, Seymour, Santa Fe or Plazas (B.L.D)
  • DAY 8: Early Deaparture to your flight back to mainland. (B.)

Go to these links to see IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Packing for the Galapagos | About Galapagos

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