Tailor-Made Holiday

Land based Galapagos Islands

Explore the Galapagos Islands with expert guides staying in hotels

10 days

from £4,790pp (excluding flights)

If you want to explore the Galapagos Islands and see a variety of diverse landscapes and wildlife, but the thought of staying on board a boat brings you out in cold sweats, then this might be the answer.

  • Be based on three different inhabited islands in the Galapagos, giving time to explore & integrate with the local people and wildlife
  • Snorkelling opportunities exisit, look for Galapagos penguins, sea lions and turtles 
  • Go walking in the highlands of Santa Cruz looking for the giant tortoises
  • Trek up the side of the Sierra Negra Volcano to see views of the huge caldera

Quito

Begin the journey on mainland Ecuador in the capital Quito, a beautiful colonial city on the slopes of an active volcano.  Wander around the cobbled streets and ornate churches or head out of town into the surrounding countryside to stay in a stunning hacienda.

Floreana Island

Fly offshore to the Galapagos Islands and start exploring these fascinating islands. Floreana Island, the smallest and quietest of the inhabited islands, has a strong community feel. Whilst on the island look out for the frigate birds with their bright red chest as well as some of Darwin's finches. When you take to the water here, don’t be surprised if the sea lions jump in too.

Isabela Island

Isabela Island is not only the largest but also the most volcanically active in the area. Despite its size it only has a small human population, but what it lacks in people it makes up for in wildlife. You can find all the famous wildlife here, marine iguanas, sea lions, manta rays, sharks, boobies, flamingos, penguins and the giant tortoises that give the islands their name.

Santa Cruz Island

Finish on the liveliest of islands, Santa Cruz, home to the Charles Darwin Research Centre. You can explore the highlands in search of the giant tortoise, on foot or mountain bike, and when you want to take to the water, kayak in search of another shelled reptile - the sea turtle.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Price Excluding Flights £Flight cost from 
£ 4790 £ 950
  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • Full board meals in the Galapagos Islands
  • Accommodation in Quito on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Galapagos National Park fees
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE COST SHOWN INCLUDES INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK, BASED ON AN APPROXIMATE AIR FARE. PLEASE ASK YOUR TRAVEL EXPERT FOR AN ACCURATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT QUOTE. INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS DEPARTING FROM THE UK ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Madrid

Fly Madrid to Quito


With Pichincha Volcano one side, Machangara Gorge on the other and the equator passing directly through, few can rival Quito's setting. Few also can match the splendour of its old town, with its colonial churches, mansions and plazas.

Quito was named as the first World Cultural Heritage Site in the world by UNESCO in 1978. This historical city sits at 2,850 metres and has the largest and best preserved historic centre and colonial quarters in Latin America.


You will be staying at La Casona de la Ronda, Bed & Breakfast

Day 2

Day at leisure in Quito
Wander the cobbled streets of this historic city, visiting Independence Square and its ornate churches. Visit the artisan markets, and spend time in some fascinating museums that include Casa del Alabado, the Guayasamin Museum, and the Intinan Museum. Catch the cable car up Pichincha Volcano at 4,100-metres for stunning views of Quito and the surrounding area, and travel further afield to see the equatorial monument and visit the vibrant market town of Otavalo. Visit the cloud forest and see a myriad of different flora and fauna, have lunch in a traditional hacienda, or journey through the Avenue of the Volcanoes.


You will be staying at La Casona de la Ronda, Bed & Breakfast

Day 3

Fly Quito to Baltra


Arrive Galapagos Islands, speed boat to Floreana Island
Transfer to Santa Cruz Island with a visit to the Los Gemelos craters and a look at the highland Galapagos tortoises. Continue to the town of Puerto Ayora where a private speed boat will be waiting for the two hour ride to the island of Floreana.

This afternoon take a short walk towards La Loberia (a sea lion breeding ground) for snorkeling and swimming. Sea turtles, sea lions, spectacular rays and lots of fish can be found in this bay.

Floreana is one of the oldest and southern most islands in the Galapagos archipelago. Unlike the younger western islands, Floreana's volcano has been long extinct and is in the advanced stages of erosion. Floreana, is one of four inhabited islands in the Galapagos with a small population of about 100 permanent residents.

On the north coat of Floreana is Post Office Bay, a place where you can follow the tradition of pirates and whalers of the past. A barrel is there to leave mail, and every ship that passes by looks through the mail to see if they are heading to where the mail is addressed. Also on the north coast is Cormorant Point with two contrasting beaches, a green sand beach and flamingo lagoon and the white sand beach where Green Sea Turtles nest and rays glide through the shallow waters.


You will be staying at Lava Lodge, Full board

Day 4

Exploring Floreana Highlands
This morning explore the Floreana highlands by open-air bus (chiva). On arrival at Asilo de la Paz (Peace Haven) take a walk, this is an historic site, explore pirate caves, and visit the freshwater spring that provides water for the entire Island. Along the way, expect to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the vegetation or even on the trail. Continue by Chiva towards Las Palmas, where the Island's first permanent inhabitant, the eccentric Dr Ritter, lived and is buried. On the way see views of the Floreana shoreline, and on arrival sit down to a special BBQ.

In the afternoon, back at the lodge, there is the option for more marine exploration, snorkeling, kayaking and stand up paddling.


You will be staying at Lava Lodge, Full board

Day 5

Boat transfer to Isabela Island and Tinteros excursion
Take an early morning speed boat to Isabela Island.

Begin exploring Isabela Island with a tour of the Tintoreras, a group of small islands that are named after the white tipped 'Tintoreras' reef sharks that swim in these calm waters. A Galapagos in miniature on the Tintoreras, with almost all of the archipelago's iconic wildlife: white tipped sharks, sea lions, turtles, rays, penguins, pelicans and blue footed boobies can be found here. Snorkel in the bay - and don't be surprised if some of the penguins or sea lions jump in to play alongside you in the water.

In the afternoon walk to the giant tortoise-breeding centre looking out for pink flamingos feeding on the way.

The largest island in the Galapagos, Isabella was formed by the merging of six volcanoes. Young, as far as islands go, Isabela is around a million years old and has several active volcanoes due to its close proximity to the hot spot which created this archipelago, the highest being Wolf Volcano reaching 1,707 metres.

White sandy beaches can be found in the south around Puerto Villamil and make for a great land based Galapagos holiday option. From here you can easily explore ‘Tintoreras’ (White-Tip reef shark alley!), Los Tuneles (under water lava tunnels) where rays, turtles and seahorse can be spotted and hike to Sierra Negra, one of the world's largest caldera.


You will be staying at Casa Marita, Full board

Day 6

Visit Sierra Negra Volcano
Volcanic eruptions created all the islands in the Galapagos, today see this geological process first-hand on Isabela Island, one of the youngest and most volcanically-active islands of the archipelago.

Take the whole day to explore the Isabela highlands, start by hiking up to the crater of the Sierra Negra volcano, the second largest in the world. The crater is so large, and the views so expansive, that photos don't do it justice.

Later head towards Volcan Chico, while the landscape appears desolate, a closer look reveals small lizards, scurrying about amongst the rocks.

On a clear day there are views over the central and northern parts of Isabela Island, in the distance see Fernandina, Pinzon and Santa Cruz Islands.


You will be staying at Casa Marita, Full board

Day 7

Wall of Tears and Kayaking
This morning paddle to Island Bay, en route look for turtles, rays, penguins and blue-footed boobies; sea lions may paddle along too.

In the afternoon, bike the Wetlands Trail where marine iguana colonies and a number of different types of mangroves trees can be found. At the end of the trail is the Wall of Tears, built in the late 1940's by Second World War prisoners held at the US base on the islands.

At the end of the day there is time to swim or snorkel, or just sit on the beach and relax.


You will be staying at Casa Marita, Full board

Day 8

Boat transfer to Santa Cruz Island and Highlands Visit
Travel by speedboat in the morning to Santa Cruz Island. On arrival drive up into the highlands then switch to mountain bikes for a long downhill glide on freshly paved roads to Garrapatero Beach. On the ride, pass small farms and views of the ocean and the distant islands.

On the remote beach at Garrapatero, paddle the bay in sit-on sea kayaks looking for sharks, rays, turtles, and sea birds.

After lunch stay in Puerto Ayora and shop for souvenirs, or take a walk to Tortuga Bay - one of the largest sandy beaches in the Galapagos.

Santa Cruz is the second largest island in the Galapagos with the majority of the population living mainly in Puerto Ayora. This lively town has a selection of hotels, restaurants, gift shops and is home to the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Aside from humans, the island is home to giant tortoise, sea lions, flamingos, marine iguana, lava heron, boobies and land iguanas. By heading up to the highlands which is surrounded by Scalesia trees, cacti and ferns you will have the opportunity to see the giant tortoise thriving in this lush green scenery. Further north, towards Las Bachas you will find white sandy beaches and if you take a closer look, you’ll see marine iguana and turtle trails on the beach. You may also see the iconic blue footed boobies that tend to stand on the rock edge keeping a look out. Travelling west you will come to Cerro Dragon - one of the only spots in the Galapagos where you will be able to see land iguanas.


You will be staying at Angermeyer Waterfront Inn, Full board

Day 9

Charles Darwin Research Centre and Return to Mainland Ecuador
Early morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Centre, and then transfer to Baltra for a flight back to mainland Ecuador.

Please note all itineraries are flexible due to National Park restrictions.

Fly Baltra to Guayaquil

Fly Guayaquil to Madrid overnight

Day 10

Fly Madrid to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Casa Marita

Casa Marita

Casa Marita is a friendly hotel with a homely feel, located directly on the beach in Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island....

View Accommodation

La Casona de la Ronda

La Casona de la Ronda

Situated on one of Quito's most traditional streets, La Casona de la Ronda Hotel has been wonderfully restored maintained its original colour, stone walls and keeping the traditional character of the mansion alive....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of Galapagos Islands

James Armitage, Travel Expert

"The help and great knowledge James offered really made the holiday special"

"James listened and managed our expectations and therefore made sure we were prepared for all eventualities when going on our holiday to Brazil"

"James was brilliant and all the advice was spot on."

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John Faithfull, Travel Expert

"Personalised service. Seemed to really want to get it right for us. Very impressed when I first called and John spent 40 minutes finding out what we wanted to do and tailoring it for us."

"The expertise that John has really gave us faith in where we were going, the regions, the hotels, the trips. John knew about it all, he described them in detail, and when we asked for different regions he was straight in there with suggestions and ideas. The way the whole trip was planned and presented to us, never any pressure to book or any problem to change plans /ideas."

"John Faithful was wonderfully helpful and conscientious in arranging the itinerary and was always ready to suggest alternatives or rearrange matters without any hesitation; this and his detailed knowledge gave one great confidence."

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Paul Bird, Travel Expert

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Roxy Dukes, Travel Expert

"Roxy filled us with enthusiasm and came up with some great ideas for a trip. We liked the idea of a slightly 'off the beaten track experience' and some private bespoke activities and that's exactly what we've had. Thank you!"

"Roxy created a wonderfully interesting route which was the basis for a super trip. She also chose lovely places for us to stay and interesting activities for us to participate in, introducing us to the idea of private guided experiences which we thoroughly enjoyed."

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For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

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