Land based, island hopping trips

Land-based Galapagos Islands tours are a popular option for those wanting to immerse themselves in the unique environment and wildlife of the archipelago. 

They offer the flexibility to explore the islands at your own pace, allowing for more time to discover the natural beauty and fascinating wildlife up close.

Choosing a Galapagos Island Tour in 3 Steps

Then, find prices and availability for your desired dates or contact us to find quotes for you. 

1. How Active? 

One of the benefits of Galapagos island hopping tours is they give you the flexibility to be as active as you want. Choose from a mixed itinerary full of different adventure sports, a specialized itinerary like bike-riding or a more relaxed itinerary that allows you to spend more time getting up close to the many unique animals that live here. 

Popular Land-Based Tour Activities 

Here is a sampling of the various adventure-based activities available if you choose a land-based tour. 


Snorkeling offers a remarkable opportunity to explore the marine wonders of this unique region. 

From sea turtles, hammerhead sharks to sea lions, prepare to be mesmerized by the underwater world of diverse marine life. 


From easy coastal routes that traverse pristine beaches to challenging volcanic trails, there's something for everyone. 

Most tour operators provide the necessary equipment, including bikes and safety gear, making it accessible for all enthusiasts.

SUP (Paddle Boarding)

From the white sands of Tortuga Bay to the natural beauty of Isabela Island, paddle boarding is a great way to see the islands and get some exercise at the same time. 

Observe marine life up close such as sea lions, marine iguanas and even sharks.  Just be sure to maintain a respectful distance and follow local guidelines to ensure the well-being of the wildlife.


Traverse the volcanic landscapes and be awestruck by the geological wonders. Explore hidden lagoons, stunning lava tunnels, and breathtaking viewpoints - each step brings with it something new and exciting.

Marvel at the diverse formations and dramatic vistas, capturing unforgettable memories and photos with every step.


Surfing is available all-year round in the Galapagos Islands thanks to favorable swells from the north and south. 

San Cristobal offers a variety of breaks suitable for intermediate and advanced surfers. Isabela Island is more suited towards beginners. Santa Cruz beaches tend to be more for intermediate and advanced surfers. 

Wildlife Spotting

Encounter the remarkable inhabitants in their natural habitats. Observe endemic species like giant tortoises and learn about their intriguing life cycles. Marvel at unique and rare species like Galapagos sea lions that have adapted to the unique oceanic conditions.

Capture these unforgettable moments through your lens for the perfect balance of education and adventure.

Scuba Diving

There are numerous dive sites accessible as day-trips from the main islands, including Kicker Rock. 

Due to the convergence of major currents, such as the Humboldt current, the waters are rich in nutrients. This creates the perfect conditions for a diverse array of species to thrive, including hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, manta rays, and countless species of colorful fish.


From sea turtles and sea lions to colorful tropical fish and even penguins, kayakers have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a variety of fascinating underwater creatures.

Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island, and San Cristobal Island are some of the popular locations where kayaking tours are offered.
Want personalized info? Our experts would love to help you. 

2. Choose Itinerary

Choosing the perfect Galapagos Islands itinerary is a personalized experience, tailored to suit your preferences and time constraints. From shorter tours exploring one or two islands to longer excursions that cover the main highlights, there's something for everyone.

We've included 3 example itineries below. 

6 Day


10 Day


10 Day


Day 6 
Visit to Interpretation Center and Tijeretas
Fly to Quito
Day 1 
Arrive Santa Cruz
Visit Tortuga Bay
Explore Puerto Ayora
Day 2
Charles Darwin Research Station (Optional)
Visit Tortoises in the Highlands
Public Boat to Isabela
Day 3
Hike Sierra Negra Volcano
Bay Kayak
Day 4
Tintoreras Hike and Snorkel
Fly to San Cristobal
Bike from Highlands to La Loberia
Day 5
Snorkel at Kicker Rock
Optional SUP

Day 1: Arrive on Santa Cruz and meet your guide. After a unique journey to the island's main town, you'll check in. Enjoy a leisurely walk to the renowned Tortuga Bay, a stunning South American beach accessible by foot, ideal for swimming and wildlife spotting. In the evening, your guide will lead you to the lively Calle de los Kioskos for authentic open-air dining in this bustling Galapagos hub.

Day 2: Visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station and exploration of Puerto Ayora town or a fish market visit. In the morning, head to a private giant tortoise reserve in the highlands, followed by a boat ride to Isabela Island. Stroll through Puerto Villamil for a beautiful sunset. If you're interested in surfing at Tortuga Bay, inform your guide.

Day 3: Morning hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the Galapagos' most active. Enjoy panoramic views from the rim and spot unique bird species. After returning to town, savor lunch and prepare for an afternoon kayaking adventure in Puerto Villamil's sheltered bay. Encounter penguins, sea turtles, sea lions, and various birds. Conclude the day with a sunset dip before having an independent dinner in town, with your guide's restaurant recommendations.

Day 4: Morning lava field walk at Tintoreras, where penguins and nesting marine iguanas may be spotted. This area is also a resting place for sleeping sharks. In the afternoon, you'll take a flight to San Cristobal, the oldest Galapagos island, and have lunch upon arrival. Then, embark on a scenic downhill biking adventure to La Loberia, a sea lion hangout, and enjoy watching and snorkeling with these playful creatures. Your guide will recommend dining spots on your way back to town.

Day 5: Cruise along the coast, spotting fascinating shore birds and enjoying an introductory snorkel to discover damselfish, puffer fish, and playful sea lion pups. Then, you'll head to the remarkable Kicker Rock, where you'll search for sea turtles, eagle rays, starfish, and possibly Galapagos Sharks. After a visit to a beautiful, boat-accessible beach and lunch on board, you'll return to town in the afternoon. There's time for town exploration or an optional stand-up paddleboarding session. In the evening, savor a farewell dinner as it's your last on the islands. Diving is also available upon inquiry.

Day 6: On the final day, choose your morning activity, whether it's shopping for souvenirs, a last beach swim, or visiting the Interpretation Center to learn about the islands' history and conservation. Those interested can take a short hike to Tijeretas for panoramic views. In the afternoon, you'll fly back to the mainland, and if you're extending your stay in Ecuador, consider booking another excursion. Safe travels!

Day 4
Visit Floreana Island
Visit Highlands
Day 10
Final Day
Depart For Home Or Arrange A Day Tour Of The City
Day 1 
Arrive in Quito,
Welcome Briefing and Dinner
Day 2
Fly to San Cristobal
Downhill Bike Ride
Visit La Loberia
Day 9
Free time in Morning
Depart for Quito
Farewell Dinner
Day 8
Boat to Santa Cruz
Visit Tortoises in the Highlands
Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station
Optional visit to Tortuga Bay
Day 7
Free Morning / Optional Snorkel Trip to Los Tuneles 
Visit Giant Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 6
Hike Sierra Negra Volcano
Visit Volcan Chico Lava Fields
Day 5
Boat to Isabela
Kayak in Bay
Walk and Snorkel Tintoreras
Day 3
Snorkel at Kicker Rock
Visit Interpretation Center

Day 1: Arrive in Quito and check in at your hotel. Later, join a welcome briefing and dinner with your fellow travelers. If you arrive early, explore Quito's attractions, like the Pichincha Volcano, Old Town, and El Panecillo for scenic views. Quito boasts museums, artisan markets, and a vibrant New Town with cafes and restaurants. Keep your valuables secure, and we can assist with pre-tour activities and extra accommodations if needed.

Day 2: Fly to San Cristobal, one of the oldest Galapagos islands, and land in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. After sampling local cuisine, embark on a scenic downhill bike ride from La Soledad to La Loberia beach, where sea lions sunbathe and play. Enjoy a swim in the sea and return to town for a welcome dinner of fresh fish and island cuisine at a local restaurant.

Day 3: Dive into Galapagos' underwater world. Boat cruise to spot shore birds, snorkel for damselfish, puffer fish, and playful sea lion pups. Explore Kicker Rock for sea turtles, eagle rays, and starfish. After lunch, return to town, visit Interpretation Center, and hike to Tijeretas for a panoramic view. Enjoy your evening at Mann Beach or Casa Blanca for a sunset. Dinner is on your own with plenty of suggestions. Diving is an option; inquire in advance.

Day 4: Sail to Floreana, one of the least inhabited islands. Enjoy a pre-lunch snorkel and visit the black sand beach, learning about the island's early settlers. In the afternoon, explore the Pirate and Whaler Caves in the highlands. Return to your beachside accommodation to savor dinner and admire Floreana's impressive night sky, perfect for stargazing

Day 5: Conclude your Floreana visit with a coastal walk. Then, sail to Isabela, the largest island. In Puerto Villamil, enjoy lunch and a kayak adventure in the sheltered bay, with possible sightings of Galapagos penguins, sea turtles, rays, and birds. In the afternoon, explore Las Tintoreras with a lava field walk and snorkeling, encountering marine iguanas, brightly colored adults, and maybe sleeping sharks. Snorkeling lets you see sea cucumbers and Galapagos penguins up close.

Day 6: Get ready for a volcano hike to Sierra Negra, one of the most active in the Galapagos. As you hike to the caldera's edge, spot unique highland bird species and enjoy a wide-caldera view. Traverse the lava fields of Volcan Chico, reaching a lookout with Isabela views. Afterward, return to town with free time for reading or a swim before dinner.

Day 7: Enjoy a free morning or opt for an optional ($) Snorkel Tour to Los Tuneles, renowned for its captivating underwater world with sleeping sharks, sea horses, sea turtles, and unique lava tunnels. After lunch, visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center to see tortoises in different stages of development. A mangrove-lined boardwalk path leads back to town, where you may spot various birds, including flamingos. Gather for a well-deserved feast as it's your last night in Isabela.

Day 8: Leave Isabela behind and sail to Santa Cruz. In the highlands, encounter free-roaming giant tortoises and explore lava tunnels. After lunch, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about their conservation efforts. Spend the afternoon as you wish, either exploring Puerto Ayora or opting for an optional visit to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful beach for various activities. Conclude the day with a farewell dinner in the Enchanted Islands.

Day 9:  Enjoy some free time in the morning before your flight back to the mainland from Baltra airport, which involves a cross-island taxi ride on Santa Cruz, followed by a ferry and a bus ride. If time allows, make a pit stop for fresh ground Galapagos Coffee and a visit to the unique Los Gemelos craters in the highlands. Afterward, fly back to Quito for your final dinner.

Day 10: It's your final day, and we'll ensure you reach the airport if you have a flight before noon. Alternatively, you can arrange a day tour in and around Quito for some additional exploration. Check out our post-trip suggestions for more ideas on how to make the most of your time. Safe travels!

Day 5
Boat to Floreana and Snorkel
Bike to Highlands
Visit Giant Tortoises and Pirate Caves
Day 10
Final Day
Depart For Home Or Arrange A Day Tour Of The City
Day 1 
Arrive in Quito,
Welcome Briefing and Dinner
Day 2
Fly to San Cristobal
Bike to La Loberia
Visit Interpretation Center
Day 9
Charles Darwin Research Station
Last Minute Shopping
Fly to Quito
Day 8
Morning walk
Boat to Santa Cruz
Highlands Bike Tour to Lava Tunnel
Day 3
Bike to Puerto Chino
Visit a Coffee Farm
El Junco
Day 7
Sierra Negra Volcano Hike
Downhill Biking from Highlands
Day 6
Boat to Isabela
Bike to Wall of Tears
Visit Tortoise Breeding Center
Day 4
Snorkel at Kicker Rock
Free time to explore San Cristobal

Day 1: Arrive in Quito, Ecuador, check into your hotel, and join an evening briefing to meet fellow travelers before the first dinner. Explore Quito, one of the world's highest capitals, with options like a day trip to Pichincha or cycling down Cotopaxi volcano. Immerse yourself in UNESCO World Heritage Site Old Town, featuring cathedrals and colonial architecture. El Panecillo offers a panoramic view. Museums, markets, cafes, and restaurants fill both New and Old Towns, accessible by trolley or taxi. We can assist with pre-tour activities and extended stays.

Day 2: Fly to San Cristobal, one of the oldest Galapagos islands, landing in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. After sampling local cuisine, embark on a bike ride to La Loberia beach to witness curious sea lions. Capture their moments of sunbathing and swimming. Explore the town on a bike circuit, concluding at the Interpretation Center to learn about the archipelago's history. As the sun sets, bike back to town for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Biking details:
15km, easy, mostly level ground. 

Day 3: Embark on today's cycling challenge, navigating San Cristobal Island's diverse terrain to reach the captivating Puerto Chino beach. Potentially explore a coffee farm, emphasizing the Galapagos' significant coffee export. Ascend to 600m at El Junco, the sole freshwater lake in the Galapagos, then continue to Puerto Chino. Enjoy a picnic lunch amid the scenic surroundings and a break at Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado, observing giant tortoises and endemic plants. Unwind on the beach or swim before a relaxing truck ride back to town, with the option to cycle back at your own pace. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Biking details:
25-40km, moderate-difficult, some uphill portions, easier return to town. 

Day 4: Experience the underwater wonders today, taking a break from biking. Cruise along the coastline towards Frigatebird Hill, spotting sea birds like the Great Frigate and Blue-Footed Booby. Anchor in calm waters to snorkel with rays, damselfish, puffer fish, and sea lion pups. Continue to Kicker Rock, a volcanic tuff cone rising 143m from the ocean, in search of sea turtles, eagle rays, starfish, and possibly Galapagos Sharks. Enjoy a boxed lunch at Puerto Grande, where you can swim or relax on the beach. Return to town in the late afternoon, with a free evening for dinner. Diving may be available; inquire in advance. Breakfast and lunch are provided.

Day 5: Embark on a boat trip to Floreana Island after breakfast, with the opportunity to spot dolphins, whales, or waved albatross. Snorkel off Floreana's coast, exploring marine life. Discover Puerto Velasco Ibarra and relax on the black sand beach before a bike ride to the highlands. Ascend gradually to around 400m, passing farms and shrub lands. Visit the Pirate Caves and a Giant Tortoise site, then bike back to town for sunset. Enjoy a relaxed dinner at the Baronesa. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Biking details:
16km, moderate-difficult, some uphill portions. 

Day 6: Morning speedboat ride to Isabela, the largest Galapagos island. Begin cycling in Puerto Villamil, heading to the historical Wall of Tears on a flat, sandy road with scenic coastal views. Visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, home to nearly 1000 tortoises in various stages of development. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Biking details:
14km, easy-moderate, mainly flat with some sandy portions. 

Day 7: Gear up for an exciting day at Sierra Negra Volcano, the world's second-largest volcanic caldera. A van transports you and your bikes to the volcano, last erupting in 2005. Hike to the immense crater, spotting highland birds, and enjoy a downhill bike journey through the cool, misty highlands. Potential stops for lunch at a remote spot. The afternoon is yours to explore town, mangrove wetlands, wildlife, or relax at a beach bar. Breakfast and lunch provided.

Biking details: 20-30km, easy-moderate, mostly downhill with some rough road patches. 

Day 8: Opt for an optional morning walk around Concha de Perla to spot marine iguanas. Then, set off to Santa Cruz Island by boat. After lunch, enjoy a leisurely-paced bike tour through the Highlands, exploring a giant lava tunnel and off-the-beaten-path spots. Possibility of encountering wild tortoises. Free time before dinner for souvenir shopping or exploring Puerto Ayora. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided.

Biking details: 25km, easy-moderate, mostly downhill with some rough road patches. 

Day 9: Depending on flight times, enjoy a final hike or visit the Charles Darwin Research Station, home to Giant Tortoise Species and Galapagos Land Iguanas, including the late Lonesome George. Fly back to Quito early afternoon, with an optional farewell dinner to say goodbye to new friends. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.

Day 10: Today is the tour's last day. We'll arrange timely airport transfers for morning flights or a day tour in and around Quito for additional exploration. Check our post-trip suggestions for ideas. Breakfast is provided.

Need help? We're here to help you decide. 

3. Budget & Quality

The next step is to consider your budget and the quality of the experience you desire. 

Land-based tours cater to a range of budgets, from budget-friendly options to more luxurious experiences.

In terms of quality, it is crucial to find a tour operator that can maintain high standards. This can be challenging in the Galapagos, as the remote location and strict regulations make it difficult for many operators to consistently provide quality service to their guests.

At first glance, cheap tours might seem appealing, but it's crucial to understand the trade-offs involved.  The saying, "You get what you pay for" is certainly worth keeping in mind. 

Here, we'll help you explore the various budget options available and why Galapagos Pronto only works with quality providers.

Trustworthy Guides

Make or Break Your Experience
Cheap tours might have you feeling like you're fending for yourself. They often lack a dedicated guide accompanying you throughout the entire journey, especially during inter-island transitions.

In contrast, our tours exclusively feature tried-and-trusted guides who are experts in Galapagos' natural history and culture.

Having a knowledgeable guide by your side can transform your journey, providing insights and stories that make your adventure truly enriching.

Variety of Island Exploration

How Many Islands Do You Want to See?
Low-budget tours tend to restrict your exploration to just one or two islands. 

While this might seem cost-effective, it can significantly limit the diversity of experiences you can enjoy. 

Visiting multiple islands, each with their unique ecosystems, wildlife and landscapes is our general recommendation to get a truly comprehensive and unforgettable experience. 

Quality Equipment

Makes a Huge Difference
The use of low-quality equipment is another concern with budget or cheap tours. 

Subpar snorkels, bikes, or other gear may not be up to the task. We believe that the equipment you use has a substantial impact on  your overall enjoyment.  

Our commitment to quality extends to the equipment we provide, ensuring you have the best tools for exploring safely and comfortably.


Budget, Tourist or Superior
Accommodations play a vital role in your overall comfort and experience. 

We believe in providing diverse and authentic stays that align with the unique charm of each destination.

While cheap tours may offer budget lodging, it may not align with your overall expectations (no sea views, poor internet etc). Our tours provide a range of accommodation options with quality providers.

Choosing the Right Tour for You

We believe it's essential to consider the balance between budget and quality. 

A more expensive tour can be an investment in an extraordinary and memorable adventure. Our tours are designed to provide an unparalleled experience, offering the perfect blend of quality, comfort, and authenticity.

When it comes to your Galapagos adventure, investing in quality can make all the difference. We invite you to embark on a journey that guarantees an exceptional experience while exploring one of the most remarkable places on Earth.
Ready to book? Our Adventure Specialists are here to help

Packing Tips: Ready, Set, Explore!

Lightweight Clothing

Lightweight Clothing Icon
Pack lightweight, breathable clothing suitable for warm and humid conditions. Long sleeves and pants can provide protection against the sun and insects during excursions.

Sturdy Footwear

Boots Icon
Bring comfortable, closed-toe shoes suitable for both walking on uneven terrain and protecting your feet during water activities. A pair of sandals for the beach is also recommended.


Swimwear Icon
Enjoy fantastic snorkeling & swimming opportunities. Don't forget to pack your swimwear for refreshing dips in the turquoise waters.

Waterproof Gear & Dry Bag

Consider bringing a waterproof bag or pouch to keep your belongings dry during wet landings and water activities.

Hat and Sunglasses

Hat Icon
Shield yourself from the equatorial sun with a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses. These items are essential for outdoor excursions.

Sunscreen and Insect Repellent

Sunscreen Icon
Use high SPF sunscreen to protect your skin from the strong sun. Additionally, bring insect repellent for added comfort during island visits.


Daypack Icon
A small daypack is handy for carrying essentials during daily excursions, such as a water bottle, sunscreen, and your camera.

Binoculars and Camera

Camera Icon
Galapagos is a paradise for bird and animal watchers. Pack binoculars to enhance your wildlife viewing experience, and don't forget your camera to capture the unique moments.

Travel Adapters and Chargers

Ensure you have the right power adapters and chargers for your electronic devices to keep them powered throughout your journey.

Personal Essentials

Pack personal items such as prescription medications, toiletries, and any necessary medical supplies. There are pharmacies, but range can be limited.

Eco-Friendly Choices

Galapagos is a pristine environment, and your eco-friendly choices matter. Bring a reusable water bottle and consider eco-friendly toiletries to minimize your impact.


Bring enough cash, as there is limited availability of ATMs on the islands. Even if you find one, the daily limit may not be sufficient, and fees can add up.
Need help? We're here to help you decide. 


Galapagos Islands Tours Frequently Asked Questions

Don't see your question here? Feel free to contact our experts and they'll be more than happy to help you. 

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

You're able to experience incredible wildlife encounters and natural beauty year-round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. From December to May, the islands experience warmer temperatures and calmer seas, making it the perfect time for snorkeling and diving. This period also coincides with the breeding season for several marine species, such as sea lions and sea turtles. 
From June to November, the islands experience cooler temperatures and nutrient-rich waters, attracting a higher concentration of marine life. This is the ideal time to spot migratory species like whales and dolphins. Ultimately, any time is a great time to visit, as its unique ecosystem promises remarkable experiences throughout the year.

Is WiFi available?

Wifi (via Starlink) is available at many accommodation options. These speeds are huge improvements over the previous satellite options and makes working remotely possible. But, cell phone service remains very spotty with some reception possible in the main towns only. 

Should I expect motion sickness?

Motion sickness can be a concern for some travelers due to the open sea, especially during inter-island transfers. The waters in the Galapagos are generally calmer from June to November, which may be a better time for those concerned about seasickness.

How long is a typical island hopping tour?

The duration can vary depending on your preferences and available time. Most tours range from 4 to 14 days, with 8 to 10 days being the most common. This allows ample time to explore multiple islands, indulge in various activities, and fully immerse yourself. 

Are these tours suitable for families?

Absolutely! Galapagos Islands tours offer a fantastic opportunity for families to bond, learn, and appreciate the wonders of nature together. There are family-friendly tours available that cater to the needs and interests of different age groups. Kids and adults alike will be mesmerized by the fearless wildlife, pristine beaches, and thrilling adventures that await.

How far in advance should I book?

It's advisable to book well in advance, preferably six months to a year ahead of your planned travel dates. The Galapagos National Park limits the number of visitors and vessels allowed, making availability limited. Booking early ensures you secure your preferred cruise and accommodations.

However, if you're the spontaneous type, then you may be able to get a great deal by booking last minute. Contact us for these last minute deals as they often go unpublished. 

How much to tip?

Whilst many guests do tip tour guides, don't feel pressured into providing more than you feel is appropriate for the service provided.  As a starting point, we suggest $10-$15 per person per day for guides. You may also want to combine tips with other guests too. 

Do I need a visa to visit?

No, visitors to the Galapagos Islands do not require a separate visa. However, it's important to note that a Galapagos Transit Control Card (TCT) is necessary. This card is typically arranged by tour operators or cruise companies and allows you to enter the protected areas of the islands.
You need to ensure you meet the general entry requirements for Ecuador. Citizens of most countries do NOT require a visa to enter Ecuador and will be granted a 90 day tourist stamp upon arrival at either Quito or Guayaquil airports. 

How can I minimize my environmental impact?

As a responsible traveler, you can minimize your environmental impact by following a few simple principles. Use a reusable water bottle to minimize plastic waste, avoid touching or disturbing wildlife, adhere to designated trails, and follow the guidelines set forth by the Galapagos National Park. Remember, leaving only footprints and taking only memories is the best approach.

How much do island tours cost?

Costs vary based on several factors, including the duration of the tour, the type of accommodations, the activities included, and the level of service provided. Budget-friendly options may start around $1,500 to $2,000 per person for a shorter tour, while more luxurious, extended tours can range from $5,000 to $10,000 or more.

It's essential to consider what is included in the tour package - such as guided excursions, accommodation quality, meals, and transportation - when comparing prices. Keep in mind that investing in a higher quality tour often ensures a more enriching and comfortable experience.

For specific pricing details and to find a tour that fits your budget and preferences, we recommend contacting our team for the latest tour packages and offerings.

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