Complete itinerary in the Enchanted Islands
Some important information about Galápagos:
- The hot and rainy season is from January to June;
- The cold and dry season is from July to December and brings cooler water temperatures, so remember to bring your wetsuit;
- The Galápagos archipelago is located on both sides of the equine line, approximately 970 km west of the continental Equator;
- To enter the Galapagos, all travelers must present their passport. It is also necessary to remove the INGALA transit card at Quito or Guayaquil airport before entering the islands;
- Most commercial flights arrive at Baltra Island. Flights take 2 hours from Quito or 1.5 hours from Guayaquil;
- Galápagos is known for its numerous endemic species and the studies of Charles Darwin that led him to establish his theory of evolution;
- This extraordinary natural laboratory has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO;
- This area has special biological characteristics, mainly due to ocean currents from tropical and subtropical regions that converge on the islands, bringing animals from all over the Pacific and part of the Indo-Pacific, creating a rich biodiversity and producing a genetic privacy curtain;
- The Charmed Islands are also the birthplace of the Theory of the Origin of Species Charles Darwin, who visited in 1835. Today, the islands contain one of the most active volcanic groups in the world;
- In Galápagos you can go kayaking, windsurfing, deep and shallow diving and cycling. And all of these exciting activities in a safe environment and unique landscapes;
- The best way to enjoy and discover the Enchanted Islands is on a cruise, so you can travel on each island, and get to know the most remote place. A naturalist guide always travels on the cruise;
DOCUMENTS: for Brazilians to visit Ecuador, a visa is not required. The requirement is that the tourist carry the original identity document or passport with a minimum validity of 6 months (counting the date of return of the trip).
VACCINES: it is mandatory to present the international proof of vaccination against Yellow Fever.
- Santa Cruz Island: named in honor of the Cross of Christ, its English name is from an English ship with the same name. It has an area of 986 km² and a maximum altitude of 864 meters. Santa Cruz is located in the largest human settlement in the archipelago, in the city of Puerto Ayora. Charles Darwin Research Station and the National Park Service headquarters are located on this island. Santa Cruz has lush vegetation and is famous for its lava tunnels. A large population of turtles inhabit this region. It has areas for diving and surfing.
- Isabela Island: named in honor of Queen Isabel I of Castile, who sponsored Colombo’s trip. It is the largest island in the archipelago, with an area of 4,588 km² and occupies 58% of the land area of the islands. The shape of the island is due to the merger of five large volcanoes (Cerro Azul, Serra Negra, Salcedo, Darwin and Lobo) into a single mass. It has a population of approximately 2,200 inhabitants. The highest point is the volcano Lobo reaching 1,707 meters of altitude. On this island you can see penguins, cormorants, marine iguanas, pelicans, seals, sayapas and abundant red crabs at the foot of the six volcano calderas.
- San Cristobal Island: this island is home to frigates, sea lions, turtles, blue-footed pikemen, sea iguanas, dolphins and seagulls. Its vegetation includes Calandrinia galapagosa, Lecocarpus darwinii and trees like pau-santo or Matazarna. In the waters there are sharks, rays and lobsters. Near the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno you can find tourist sites, such as Cerro Tijeretas, a nesting colony for frigates and a statue of Charles Darwin, which mark the original place where they first landed on the Galapagos Islands during the second trip. Lobeira, a seal colony, is located about 10 minutes from the city.
First day – Charles Darwin Center and Tortuga Bay
The first day is usually one of recognition and quieter activities. Our stay on the island of Santa Cruz was no different.
Starting the day early, as the time zone was still causing some confusion in the times (the difference between Brasilia and Galapagos time is 4 hours less for the Ecuadorian archipelago – November 2016 with summer time in Brazil). At 8 am we were already looking for a place to have coffee and thinking about the day’s schedule.
Coffee taken and legs well rested, we head towards Charles Darwin Station, a reference center that has saved the Galapagos tortoises and the land Iguanas from extinction.
The center is home to several species of turtles and iguanas. In addition, it has facilities where visitors can interact with projects and directly with science, through an interactive museum.
We stayed there for about 1 hour and when we felt that we had already seen everything, we left for Santa Cruz.
As our stay was long we had to make the schedule for the days to come. Exactly what we did!
We entered some agencies (we had already entered some the night before, but we still haven’t decided on the best price and tour) and finally we found one with a Portuguese service. We stayed there and liked it.
Not because we were served in Portuguese, but because of Jorge’s warmth and attention!
Agência Land, Sea and Heaven
Celular (WhatsApp – Jorge) + 593 98 423 7053 (service in Portuguese)
Location: next to The Rock bar
We closed the tour the next day is another tour inside Santa Cruz.
After scheduling, we headed towards the most famous and beautiful beach on Isla de Santa Cruz, Tortuga Bay.
This beach is very close to the center and can be accessed on foot, in a walk of about 10 to 15 minutes (from the Port of Santa Cruz to the entrance of the reserve).
How is the location?
It has an access with a guardhouse where all visitors have to register (name, identity, time of entry and after departure). After going through this entrance you “take” a completely paved path (path) that is 2.5 km long and it will take you approximately 40 minutes.
At the end of the path you will find Playa Brava and then Playa Mansa.
Playa Brava is only recommended for surfing and Playa Mansa for all other tourists.
We stayed at Playa Mansa for about 2 to 3 hours.
We went back to the center and it was already lunchtime.
Value for a dish in Galapagos is 10 to 20 dollars, depending on the location.
The closer to the main street of Porto the more expensive.
There are cheaper options on the access roads to the main avenue.
At night look for Calle de Los Kiokos, or better, Rua dos Quiosques , a place with a variety of restaurants, good and cheap.
In this street a lobster for two very well served costs an average of 15 to 20 dollars.
Also look for the happy hour options , as many bars of this type of promotion (2 drinks for 7 dollars or 10 dollars, depending on the location you choose)
After lunch we head to the hotel. We rested a little and more at night we went out again for a piece of pizza, a short walk through the streets of Santa Cruz.
The first day was over.
Second day – Bartolomé Island
Tour day in Galápagos is an intense day and early morning to be able to enjoy all that this archipelago has to offer.
The second day we booked for the trip to Bartolomé Island.
We woke up at 5:30 am, and at 7:00 am we were already inside the minibus towards the departure point of our boat, the same port where everyone takes the ferry to the island of Baltra (airport island). From this place all the bulls from Santa Cruz boats leave.
We crossed the island of Santa Cruz (this route takes about 1 hour) and approximately 8:30 am we were already accommodated inside the boat heading towards Bartolomé.
Tour price per person: 150 dollars (always negotiate the prices!)
The tour consists of:
2 hour trip to the island
Snorkeling from approximately 1h30
Access to Bartolomé Island and walk to the top of the island
Return to the boat
Return to Santa Cruz (2 hours again for the return)
This tour is really a painting! A splendid and magical place.
The high amount paid is super rewarded for the local beauty and the service provided (we use the service of the boat Española I).
After all day enjoying this tour, we return to Santa Cruz along the same route as we did, we return to the hotel (the tour service picks you up and drops you off at the hotel door) and rests for a while.
At night it was time to taste the local lobster!
We went to Rua dos Kioskos and enjoyed a great dinner with a caipirinha!
Lobster with coconut sauce, salad, rice and fried banana.
The second day was over.
Third day – Playa de la Estación
The third day in Galápagos, or rather, on Santa Cruz Island, was rest and beach.
After an intense day of touring to Bartolomé, I decided that the next day I would rest from rocking the boats.
I woke up later and around 10:30 am I had my coffee.
A short walk around the center and around 12 noon I was heading towards Playa de la Estación, a small beach that is inside the Charles Darwin Center.
There you find tranquility and many iguanas swim from one rock to another.
The sand extension is micro and you can stay there either in the area extended in the sun or under trees carefully “placed” in the corner of the beach.
The water is crystal clear and the attractions are iguanas, as I said earlier. They take advantage of the stones for sunbathing and from time to time you see one crossing the sea water to jump from one rock to another.
I stayed there almost alone for a few hours and around 3:30 pm I gathered my things and went back to the hostel.
Bathed and energized, we went out for dinner on Calle de Los Kiokos, a must for travelers who like to eat well and cheaply.
The dish of the night was: shrimp in coconut sauce, rice, salad and fried “banana”.
O dia encerrou-se após o jantar.
Fourth day – Tour Highlands Santa Cruz
We set aside the fourth day in our schedule to visit the land part of the Isla de Santa Cruz.
A tour called the Highlands is what takes you to see some points on the island.
We close with an agency, but it can be easily negotiated with a taxi driver at a more affordable price.
The tour consists of 3 stops: Los Gemelos, El Chato and El Crater Agroecológico.
It lasts about 3 hours and can be programmed with the agency at any time the tourist desires (the other boat tours are fixed hours).
- Los Gemelos: located on the summit of the island of Santa Cruz, these craters are right in the heart of the Scalasia area and are excellent places to observe native fauna and flora.
- El Chato: giant tortoises are the main attractions in El Chato. This location is a combination of private land and the National Park area. You can brothers private ranches and watch giant turtles in a semi-natural ecosystem. Turtles are free and are not restricted in this area, so seeing them is quite natural (at certain times there may be fewer animals available at this site. They migrate up and down the island through the farm area.
- El Crater Agroecológico: a small farm located in a Crater and with a “magical” balance. A simple place without many attractions (I don’t recommend this attraction, as I thought it was a “tourist money hunt”).
After visiting these places we returned to the center of the island where we went to have lunch and spend the rest of the day.
Fifth day – Day Off
This day I took to rest and just enjoy the leisure of the island of Santa Cruz.
Sixth day – Transfer between Santa Cruz and Isabela
The day started early, exactly at 5:30 am, as the boat between Isla de Santa Cruz and Isla de Isabela has only two departure times between 7:30 am and 2:30 pm, and we opted for the first time.
We bought the boat tickets with an “any” agency, since they all sell and the price is the same, 30 dollars per person (one way).
We scheduled the meeting with the agency for 6:45 am and proceeded with our bags to the pier in Puerto Ayora.
We left at 7:30 am sharp on a small boat is very uncomfortable, but it was the only option.
We took 2 hours to the largest island in the Galapagos archipelago. Isabela is one of the least populated and one of the largest in extension.
Tip: get ready and take some medicine for nausea, as this route is not pleasant and it rocks all the time (due to the size of the boat).
We arrived at the main port of Isabela and took a taxi to the hostel we had booked. We left the suitcases and soon left for recognition of the place.
We had an American coffee (eggs, coffee, juice, bread on the plate, butter and jam) and after a short walk we returned to the hotel and “took” a little nap, since the day had started very early.
In the afternoon we went out again and took the opportunity to walk some more.
Then we sat at a bar to watch a bit of te and watch the football games of the day and eat a fish with rice and salad.
We closed the day around 9pm.
Seventh day – Sierra Negra Volcano, Chico Volcano and Concha Perla
The second day in Isabela is our seventh day in the Galápagos (we completed 1 week in the archipelago) and was dedicated to trekking in the crater (crater) of a volcano, the Volcán Sierra Negra.
This volcano is considered the oldest in Isabela and has the second largest crater in the world, second only to a volcano located in Tanzania (this is not active).
If we consider only the volcanoes that are active in the world, Sierra Negra has the largest Crater in the world.
The guided tour leaves the center of the island and takes about 30 minutes on the road, until you reach the entrance to the park.
From the entrance to the park until the last view of the Sierra crater is about 5 km.
The walk is light and a well-signposted trail is practically straight (without many climbs).
After the last point of “rest” and observation of the Sierra crater, we continue on to Vulcán Chico.
This small volcano, as the name implies, is located northwest of the Sierra and has an altitude of approximately 860 meters.
Access to this small volcano is more difficult for those with little mobility (elderly or people not used to trails).
In total we covered 18 km in 5 hours of walking under fog, at the beginning of the trail, and intense sun when we arrived at the Chico Volcano.
Tips: wear comfortable shoes that can be washed easily (the trails are made on soils full of dirt and dust), wear light and darker clothes (shades of brown) so that they can be washed easily, take a cap or hat, take sunscreen , take 2 liters of water, wear a light and waterproof jacket and finally take your desire to walk and experience wonderful views!
We left the center of Isabela at 7 am and returned at 1 pm.
We arrive, we take a nice shower (prepare yourself you will arrive in “state of misery”) and we go out to eat.
After lunch in the main square, we go for a walk to the Porto region (where the boats from other islands leave from) to visit another important place in Isabela: the Concha de Perla.
This is a shallow bay, with calm and transparent waters, which allows you to observe the fascinating local marine fauna. It is possible to swim with sea wolves, turtles, and penguins. This place is ideal for practicing sports such as snorkeling and swimming.
From this point, we went on a beautiful walk along the Isabela waterfront.
We walked through the sands unpretentiously and returned after about 30 minutes.
We ended the day around 8 pm with a snack in the main square.
Eighth day – Las Tintoreras, “Arnaldo Tupiza” Crianza Center and Bike Tour
Following our Galapagos adventure itinerary for the 8th we booked a tour to Las Tintoreras.
A very short distance from Puerto Villamil, the center of Isabela, is the small island Tintoreras, named because of the existence of a “crack” of lava with calm and transparent water, where the white tip fin sharks rest, the so-called ” Dyes “. There you can practice snorkeling, and you can also watch penguins.
The tour consists of: a boat trip and observation of the small island (a very small island), then we disembark on it and travel for about 1 hour where you can see iguanas, sea wolves, birds and the “stars” of the location : white tip finned sharks, and finally snorkeling.
We left Puerto Villamil at 8 am and returned at 11 am.
After knowing this little piece of the island, we went to the “Arnaldo Tupiza” Children’s Center. The tour left us at the central square and on foot we headed towards this turtle conservation and breeding center.
Giant tortoises are an emblem of the Galapagos Islands and Isabela is the only island in the world with 5 different species.
In this place you can learn about the process of growth and reproduction in captivity. This project aims to recover the population of this reptile, threatened with extinction.
To get to this place, you must “get” an access just after the Iguana Crossing Hotel and continue for approximately 1 km.
We returned from the turtle center and headed for our lunch.
After fed and rested it was time for more exercise and adventure!
The idea was to rent a bike and travel along the island to the place known as the Wall of Tears. We did it!
To reach this point, we pass through another point of interest in Isabela: Los Humedales.
The “Humedales” or “The Waterlands” is a complex of paths with the following sites: Cerro Orchilla, El Estero, La Poza Escondida, Poza Redonda, El Túnel del Estero, La Playa del Amor, La Playita, Mirador de Los Tunos y Pozas Verdes.
The main attraction of these places is the variety of flora and fauna that can be observed.
The journey between the “Humedales” until reaching the wall was 5 km.
In total, we traveled approximately 20 km by bike between the center of Isabela to the Muro das Lágrimas (round trip).
After almost 2 hours of intense bike exercise, we return to the agency where we rent and return the bikes.
We went back to the hostel, remade ourselves and went out for our dinner.
We ended the day around 9pm.
Ninth day – Return to Santa Cruz Island, Las Grietas and Laguna de Las Ninfas
The day started early, and to be more precise, it started in the dark at 5 am in Isabela.
Transfers (ferries) between the islands of Santa Cruz and Isabela occur at two times only (Santa Cruz – Isabela at 7:30 am and 2:30 pm / Isabela – Santa Cruz at 6:00 am and 3:00 pm) and for this reason we opted for transport at 6:00 am, due to our check in and check out at the hotels.
We took the iron at 6 am at Isabela’s pier and headed towards the port of Santa Cruz. We arrived in Puerto Ayora at 8 am and soon headed for our hostel, the same as we were before going to Isabela (Hotel España).
Check in done, we left our bags and left for breakfast.
We returned to the hotel, stayed until, more or less, 12h, and after that rest break, we went to the itineraries in Santa Cruz and went to the Las Grietas site.
The water in the middle of the volcanic fault is a mixture of salt water, which comes from high tides, and fresh water from the bases of the islands.
To get to Las Grietas, you need to take a taxi boat to the main port of Puerto Ayora (0.80 cents per person). The boat leaves you at the entrance to the path to this site.
The path takes about 20 minutes and soon you find the geological fault filled with water and tourists bathing.
We took some pictures and returned all the way. We took the taxi boat back and headed for our lunch.
After this short rest and technical stop, we continue to the second point of the day, Laguna de Las Ninfas.
This place is a calm and small mangrove lagoon. Ideal place to observe the local flora and fauna near Puerto Ayora.
To get there, just follow the Santa Cruz center and get informed. The park is less than 15 minutes walking from the main port.
After a lighter program the day ended around 8 pm with a dinner.
Tenth day – Tour to Seymour Norte
As I was unable to do all the boat tours around the islands, due to time and money, since the values are high, I decided on two: for Bartolomé (one of the main ones leaving from Santa Cruz and that we did on the second day of Galápagos) and Seymour Norte (another very well rated and indicated).
And for the tenth day I did!
I left the hotel at 8 am with the guided tour van (on all these tours the boat team picks you up and drops you off at the hotel).
We proceeded to the port where the boats leave and in approximately 45 minutes we were on an island close to Seymour. Stop for a swim. We stayed on this island for 1 hour.
After the dive we head to Seymour, the star of the tour.
A short stop for snorkelers and after a few falls in the water we head to Seymour (land part).
There, the guide takes care of taking us to see the life that exists on this island. We found sea wolves, especially a baby wolf and its mother, many birds and land iguanas.
We spent 1 hour walking around Seymour and admiring the Galapagos life.
We returned to the boat and it was already lunchtime (all of these tours serve lunch, and some even breakfast).
After lunch we return to the port and from there we take the bus to the center of Santa Cruz.
The tour ended at 4pm.
The evening part is dedicated to local happy hours: we drink mojitos and caipirinha!
We closed the day around 9pm.
Eleventh day – Playa de Los Garrapateros
For the fateful day, the LAST, we decided to rest and make a basic beach.
We went to Playa de Los Garrapateros.
I recommend going to this beach!
It is necessary, to get there, to hire the service of a local taxi, whose value is 30 dollars round trip. You hire and coordinate the return time with the driver.
We left Puerto Ayora at 10am, arrived on the beach at 10:20 am and returned at 2:30 pm.
We spent the day on this beach, which at that time is almost private (we were there and very few people) and we took the opportunity to enjoy the blue sea and its local pets (iguanas, birds and pelicans).
In the afternoon we return to the center and have lunch.
In the afternoon we remade ourselves from the beach and in the evening we went to a local bar to enjoy one last local beer and a game of Brazil on Ecuadorian TV.
We closed our tour of the Galapagos Islands on a Tuesday in November.
Values in Galápagos (November 2016):
- Continental coffee (coffee, juice, bread, eggs and fruit salad) – average of 8 dollars;
- 1 day boat tours – average of 150 to 180 dollars (Bartolomé Island, Seymour, etc.) (low season – November / 2016);
- Plate (lunch or dinner) – 10 to 20 dollars (tip: look for Rua dos Quiosques – Calle de Los Kioskos);
- Ferry to Isabela – $ 35 per person;
- Baltra Island Ferry to Santa Cruz Island – 1 dollar per person;
- Bus Porto to Centro Santa Cruz Island (Puerto Ayora) – 2 dollars;
- Puerto Ayora taxi to nearby locations – 1 dollar (taxis are always white Toyota pick ups);
- Highlands Tour (visit to Santa Cruz Island – internal tour to see turtles) – 35 dollars (low season – November / 2016);
- Dives – average of 150 to 200 dollars per person (Gordon Rocks, Seymour, etc.) (low season – November / 2016);
- Experiential Fishing (boat tour to the islands + fishing experience) – average of 100 dollars (Pinzón and Santa Fé) (low season – November / 2016);
- Boat between Santa Cruz and Isabela – 30 dollars per person (60 dollars round trip);
- Boat between the Port of Santa Cruz and the boat that takes you to Isabela – $ 0.50 per person;
- Boat between the boat and the Port of Isabela – $ 1.00 per person;
- Happy hour (drinks) – average of 2 drinks for 9 or 10 dollars (usually caipirinha, mojito, etc.);
- Entrance to El Chato Rancho (giant tortoise viewing site) – $ 3 per person;
- Entrance to El Crater Agroecológico (ecological tour in a “mini farm” located in a Crater where the magic balance is found) – 5 dollars per person (I do not recommend this tour);
- Taxi in Isabela – 1 dollar per person;
- Continental or American coffee in Isabela – average of 6 dollars;
- Isla Isabela entrance fee – 5 dollars per person (foreigners);
- Baggage inspection fee Quito or Guayaquil Airport (mandatory) – $ 20 per person;
- Entrance fee to Galapagos – 50 dollars per person (for South Americans) (for other nationalities – 100 dollars per person);
- Sierra Negra Volcano Tour – $ 35 per person (low season – November / 2016);
- Tour Las Tintoreras – 40 dollars per person (low season – November / 2016);
- Bike rental in Isabela Iceland – $ 3 an hour or $ 15 a day;
- Boat taxi to Las Grietas – 0.80 cents;
- North Seymour Tour – $ 135 (low season – November / 2016);
- Taxi Puerto Ayora – Playa de Los Garrapateros – 30 dollars (round trip).
Important contacts in Galápagos:
- Tour operator in Isabela – Seven Tours
Tel.: 05 3016647 – 0979 598 542
- Diving Agency in Santa Cruz – Scuba Iguana
- Tour operator in Isabela – Bikes rental – PAHOEHOE
Tel.:+593 098 049 1311 (WhatsApp)
+593 099 242 3015 (WhatsApp)
- Contact Barco Española I – Roland
Cel.: +593 93 982 6506
- Tour operator in Isabela – Seven Tours
Also check out our post – 10 things to do on Santa Cruz Island
Confira viagens pelo Brasil e pelo mundo.
Você escolhe o destino e a gente te guia.
Separamos dicas e o passo a passo para você planejar sua próxima viagem. Uma vez que você começar, não vai mais querer parar.
Não deixe de viajar porque está sem tempo de planejar. Nós do Soul Viajero criamos o seu roteiro, e você se preocupa somente em fazer as malas, viajar e relaxar.