Family, South Plaza Island, Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands by Land



9 Days

Prices Start from

$7,121pp (ex. flights)

This island-hopping, land-based adventure through the Galapagos Islands is ideally suited to wandering wildlife-lovers that prefer to keep their feet on solid ground staying at a selection of unique island properties with irresistible features.

While sailing is the most traditional way to experience the islands, a land based holiday can be equally rewarding. Travel between three uniquely enchanting islands and sleep in hand-picked properties, venturing out to explore their exotic flora and fauna during land and sea excursions while also having the opportunity to integrate with the local Galapagueños.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Snorkelling with sea lions 1

Under the Sea

Come face to face with fearless marine creatures while swimming, snorkelling or diving.

Montemar, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands 2

Sleep on Dry Land

Journey around the islands during the day, returning to the comfort of a hotel each night.

Isabela Island, Galapagos Islands 3

Island Hopping

Visit Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz to experience the archipelago’s variety.

Galapagos giant tortoise and woman tourist on Santa Cruz Island in Galapagos Islands. 4

Wildlife Hikes

Explore on foot or by bike, taking care to bypass slow-moving tortoises and marine iguanas.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1


  • Day 2

    Quito - Santa Cruz Island

  • Day 3

    Santa Cruz Island - Floreana Island - Santa Cruz Island

  • Days 4

    Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island

  • Day 5-7

    Isabela Island

  • Day 8

    Isabela Island - Santa Cruz Island

  • Day 9

    Santa Cruz Island - Guayaquil

Day 1


Arrive into Quito, named as the first World Cultural Heritage Site in the world by UNESCO in 1978. Transfer to your hotel.

Day 2

Quito - Santa Cruz Island

Fly to Santa Cruz Island and begin exploring on foot or by bike, taking care to bypass slow-moving tortoises and marine iguanas.

Day 3

Santa Cruz Island - Floreana Island - Santa Cruz Island

Take a day cruise to Floreana Island. One of four inhabited islands in the Galapagos, it has a small population of about 100 permanent residents. Come face to face with fearless marine creatures while swimming, snorkelling or diving.

Days 4

Santa Cruz Island - Isabela Island

Fly to Isabela Island by light aircraft. On arrival check into your hotel.

Day 5-7

Isabela Island

The largest island in the Galapagos, Isabella was formed by the merging of six volcanoes. Journey around the islands during the day. Hike the Sierra Negra volcanic crater and snorkel with penguins, manta rays and sea lions.

Day 8

Isabela Island - Santa Cruz Island

Return to Santa Cruz Island by light aircraft.

Day 9

Santa Cruz Island - Guayaquil

Fly from Santa Cruz Island to Guayaquil for onward travel.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Photographing Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands
Photographing Sea Lions, Galapagos Islands

Why Stay on Land?

Those who would prefer not to travel around the archipelago on a live-on boat can still experience all that the islands have to offer, but at a more leisurely pace that boasts additional flexibility and the comforts of a hotel (some with a pool and spa). Travelling between three uniquely bio-diverse islands that teem with wildlife, land-based Galapagos-goers can gain a more authentic insight into local life while still being able to venture out on daily excursions.

Pikaia Lodge, Santa Cruz Island
Pikaia Lodge, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Habitat, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Habitat, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Islands
Suites (ocean view), Finch Bay Hotel, Santa Cruz Island, GPS
Finch Bay Hotel, Galapagos Islands
Finch Bay Hotel, Galapagos Islands
Finch Bay Hotel, Galapagos Islands

Where to Stay?

From sustainable yoga retreats and private oceanfront villas to highland forest tents and minimalist eco hotels, we have hand-picked a selection of unique properties that offer everything from private yachts and guided daily excursions to bamboo yoga studios and coffee plantations. Knowing where to stay can be difficult, especially as many properties are remotely located, so whether a solo traveller, honeymooners or family adventurers, we can apply our years of experience travelling around the islands to suggest the best option for you. At the bottom of this page are a selection of our favourite properties.

Blue footed booby at Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Blue footed booby, Galapagos Islands

Travelling between Islands

Move between the once pirate-infested Floreana Island, the large and volcanic Isabela Island and the research-hub Santa Cruz Island, discovering salt-water lagoon flamingos, nutrient-rich marine feeding grounds and remarkable lava tunnels. Between speed boat transfers and snorkel equipment, open-air buses and guided excursions, organising land-based journeys around the archipelago can be complicated, but using our years of experience travelling around the islands and staying at the properties, we can tailor your trip to you and take care of all the little niggling details.

Snorkelling with Penguin, Galapagos Islands
Snorkelling with Penguin, Galapagos Islands

Snorkelling & Shark Alley

Venture out on a day trip to snorkel in deep blue waters where silhouetted sharks can appear in the distance and elusive sun fish may even make an appearance. In shallower turquoise waters with white sandy floors that are teeming with marine life, perhaps free dive to marvel at the starfish or dart out of the way of a fever of golden rays. Explore Los Tuneles under water lava tunnels, inhabited by rays and seahorses, and paddle in Shark Alley.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Giant Tortoise, Galapagos Islands

Trails & Lava Tunnels

Trek to Los Gemelos craters, bypass highland Galapagos tortoises, explore pirate caves and bike the Wetlands Trail past colonies of iguanas to the historic Wall of Tears that once housed prisoners of World War II. At the Puerto Ayora Fish Market, watch as patient dog-like sea lions wait for scraps of seafood, and visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the important work being carried out. In enviably small groups, or even privately, tour the islands in the company of expert naturalist guides and marvel at their biodiversity. On Santa Cruz Island, take a trip to the highlands to see enormous pit craters, walk (and crawl) through epic lava tunnels, and walk amongst 1.5-metre-long giant tortoises that roam freely through lush grasslands.

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

Montemar is a beacon of sustainability amongst the Galapagos lodges. As well as managing to meet 99% of its energy demands through renewable sources, it has established an innovative rainwater collection system that allows it to operate without using water from any other sources.

Staying in a land-based property in the Galapagos has a far greater benefit to the local population. As well as providing jobs, lodges such as Pikaia support local communities by paying teachers and funding building repairs. In addition to this, Piakaia also invites local students for science presentations, helping to ensure that future generations understand the immense ecological importance of this tiny archipelago.

All our holidays to the Galapagos include a donation to the Galapagos Conservation Trust. This well-respected NGO works with both government and charitable partners to support research programmes, fund conservation initiatives and deliver community outreach. All of this is with the goal of ensuring the long-term survival of the Galapagos ecosystem.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Montemar £££££

  • Galapagos Islands

Consisting of just three superbly constructed eco villas that are the first of their kind in the Galapagos, Montemar is the sustainable passion project of two native Galapaguenos and environmentalists. Composed of natural local materials like bamboo, cedar and lava rocks, the villas blend seamlessly with the surrounding 43 acres of land, through which Galapagos tortoises and wild horses roam freely. The property has its own outdoor bamboo yoga and meditation studio, and the three villas range in size and are each uniquely decorated.

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Finch Bay Hotel £££££

  • Galapagos Islands
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Named after the Darwin finches that frequent the surrounding area, Finch Bay Hotel is nestled across from Puerto Ayora in a quiet oceanfront location on Santa Cruz Island. The property features 27 rooms and suites, an outdoor pool and a restaurant that serves locally-inspired cuisine. The property is flexible in that it offers stays on only a bed and breakfast basis right through to a complete full-board package with daily guided land and sea excursions.

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Pikaia Lodge £££££

  • Galapagos Islands

A unique concept in the Galapagos, Pikaia Lodge is a contemporary property that carefully balances adventurous land-based activities with ocean-bound excursions. Guests are welcomed on board the lodge’s spacious and luxurious yacht and allocated a private cabin, but are able to return at night to the comforts of Pikaia Lodge to sleep on steady ground. Providing an ideal base from which to explore a wide selection of islands, the lodge operates similarly to boat-based programmes by providing planned, fully-guided excursions that include sea kayaking, snorkelling and walking.

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Scalesia Lodge £££££

  • Galapagos Islands
  • Tented Camps

Set in the centre of an enchanting highland forest on Isabela Island, Scalesia Lodge is a new concept in Galapagos lodging that offers attentive service within a panoramic and isolated setting. Offering 16 modern and minimalistic safari-style tents with full bathrooms, wooden private decks and panoramic forest views, as well as a social area with huge wraparound terraces and a restaurant, the lodge is set within 40 private acres and boasts views to the coast and across the Pacific Ocean.

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Galapagos Habitat £££££

  • Galapagos Islands

Situated in a grove of wild red mangrove and perched on the edge of the sea, Galapagos Habitat is peacefully removed from the hustle and bustle of the town of Puerto Ayora whilst being just a stone’s throw from the Charles Darwin Research Station. Featuring 17 stylish rooms and suites with views to the ocean or mangroves, each furnished to a high standard in a minimalist style, Galapagos Habitat offers a beachside restaurant that serves a fusion of Japanese and Ecuadorian specialities, a waterfront jacuzzi and complimentary use of kayaks. Wilderness excursions and day tours to the nearby islands also operate daily from Galapagos Habitat.

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Galapagos Safari Camp £££££

  • Galapagos Islands

An eco-luxury tented camp in the wild highlands of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos Safari Camp is set on a ridge that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and National Park. Its breath-taking infinity pool doubles as an extraordinary spot to take a refreshing dip while overlooking some of the property’s 135-acres of untouched private land. The panoramic camp offers nine luxurious and spacious safari-style tents and a three-bedroom family suite, all elegantly furnished and each with a private hot-shower bathroom. The tents are constructed on raised wooden platform and feature decks that are overhung by a canopy of endemic trees.

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From $7,121 Per person

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