Latin America Vacations
Ecuador | Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure | Tortuga
Explore from island to island on our 'Tortuga' Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure tour.
10 days / 9 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Hike, cycle, snorkel, and swim in the most incredible locations you can imagine on our 10-day ‘Tortuga’ Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure tour.
Forget spending your entire trip on a boat and missing out on the incredible culture and wildlife of the different islands. By joining this land-based tour, you’ll cruise between a multitude of stunning islands in our comfortable dive boat, the ‘Pacific’, while staying on dry land each night. Starting with a short flight to San Cristobal Island, highlights of this incredible trip include snorkeling with turtles, rays, and tame reef sharks at Kicker Rock, kayaking in the beautifully calm Isabela Bay and hiking up Sierra Negra volcano to witness one of the largest active calderas in the world.
You’ll get up close to some of the most intriguing and docile wildlife on the planet, with visits to tortoise breeding grounds and iguana colonies and even sharing the beach with curious sea lions. We explore amazing lava tunnels, cycle through local townships and learn the mysterious history of Floreana Island, all onboard our ‘Tortuga’ Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure tour.
- Explore the beautiful town squares, quaint cafés, and colonial architecture in Quito which sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering volcanoes just 14 miles from the equator
- Snorkel around the remains of an underwater volcano that has a rock face rising 500 feet above the water’s surface
- Learn about the marine iguanas basking in the sun, blue-footed boobies sitting in pairs on the rock tops, and Sally Lightfoot crabs scurrying out of your way along the water’s edge
- Hike into the highlands of Floreana, where we’ll learn about the mysterious pirate caves and the area where the first inhabitants once lived
- Summit the Sierra Negra volcano, the largest volcanic calderas in the world, after navigating lunar-like landscapes
- Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and discover how researchers are preserving vulnerable species of tortoises and land iguanas
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
Get the chance to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat as your ascend into amazing cloud forest highlands on foot
Choose to snorkel amongst Los Tuneles, an intricate network of arches and inlets all formed from past lava eruptions
Visit Los Gemelos, twin craters, and explore the unique climate surrounded by scalesia forests or "broccoli trees"
Quito, Ecuador UIO
Quito, Ecuador UIO
Your trip begins in Ecuador’s capital city, Quito. If you’re flying in early today, you’ll have a chance to journey to the city from the airport (or your hotel) to explore the beautiful town squares, quaint cafés and colonial architecture. Quito sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by towering volcanoes just 14 miles from the equator, giving it a mild, spring-like climate year round. In the evening, you’ll meet your trip leader and the rest of your group back at the joining hotel, for a full briefing and our first dinner together.
About Hotel EB
A stunningly modern accommodation, this hotel offers all the contemporary amenities and more for visitors. An outdoor swimming pool provides a place for true relaxation and enjoyment of the sunshine. Indoors, you’ll find stylishly decorated rooms stocked with luxury linens, adjustable comfort sleep system beds, flat screen TVs and wifi.
San Cristobal Island
This morning we’ll take a short flight to San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos Islands chain and home of the provincial capital, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. After lunch, we’ll head to the town of La Soledad to bike down through the lush highland cloud forest that blankets the top of the island. With stunning views of the coast, we’ll ride to La Loberia, a beach that is home to a large sea lion colony and nursery. This evening, we’ll dine on local produce and fresh fish.
About Casa Blanca
Family-owned and operated, Casa Blanca is an artist’s paradise with its colorful Mission Revival-style architecture and uniquely themed rooms. Every room is decorated and named, not numbered, to offer a personal touch for each visitor’s stay. TV, wifi, and air conditioning is provided at this accommodation.
About Blue Marlin
The Blue Marlin Hotel offers spacious, colorful rooms with private entryways to a community outdoor patio for sunbathing and access to the pool. This accommodation is located in the heart of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the capital of the Galapagos, not far from the shoreline.
Today we’ll cruise to Kicker Rock off the coast of San Cristobal, where we’ll don wet suits, snorkels and masks (and tanks for the divers – diving option add US$250) and explore around the remains of an underwater volcano with a rock face rising 500 feet above the surface of the water.
Your trip leader will give you a full briefing and then we’ll take to the water to explore the walls of the volcano. There will be chances to see beautiful tropical fish, turtles and sharks as they skirt the edges of Kicker Rock! Afterwards we’ll visit a picturesque bay to have lunch and a rest before returning to port. Then it’s off to the interpretation centre to learn a little about the history and biology of the islands. Later there will be an optional hike to Frigate Hill Lookout to see the acrobatics of the local frigate birds as they dart around the cliff tops stealing the catch from other birds.
After an early breakfast, our boat will take us away from San Cristobal Island towards the magnificent Floreana Island. Floreana is the sixth largest island in the Galapagos chain and one of the least inhabited (by humans at least!). With a population of around 120, this place has a pretty relaxed atmosphere. On the way, we’re often visited by friendly dolphins, so keep an eye out! And later, we’ll hike into the highlands of Floreana, where we’ll learn about the mysterious history of the islands as we visit the pirate caves and the area where the first inhabitants once lived. Then it’s back down to our accommodation in the tiny port of Puerto Velasco Ibarra – a fantastic hideaway lodge with incredible sea views and a great sunset!
About Hotel Wittmer
The Hotel Wittmer has spacious and comfortable rooms with a sea view, equipped for relaxation and feeling at home. Each of the rooms are equipped with private bathrooms and hot water. Large windows provide excellent lighting and a beautiful ocean view. Wittmer Hotel is located in Beach Black, Floreana Island. It was founded by Margret Wittmer, who was one of the authors of the book “Floreana”. Distinguished for its warm hospitality, facilities and unique service.
This morning we’ll head to Isabela Island, the largest of all the islands in the Galapagos archipelago. we’ll start with an early morning kayak in the calm waters of Isabela Bay. Here we’ll have the chance to see some of the Island’s most amazing wildlife up close. Marine iguanas bask in the sun, blue-footed boobies sit in pairs on the rock tops, and Sally Lightfoot crabs scurry out of our way along the water’s edge. In the clear waters below us, rays gracefully swim by and turtles pop up for a breath of air. Later, we’ll head to a Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre where we can meet these majestic prehistoric creatures.
About Hotel Albermarle
Relax in pristine peace at this accommodation, where white sandy beaches lie just outside your window. This hotel was voted as one of the top 25 hotels in Ecuador in 2018 by TripAdvisor and provides a fresh water swimming pool, wifi, air conditioning, sun terraces for lounging, and high-ceiling rooms with stylish beachy auras.
Sierra Negra Volcano
Our hike today will take us to the summit of Sierra Negra volcano. See the lowland vegetation change before your eyes as we ascend through a lunar-like landscape on our way to the top. It’s a challenging hike to the top of the volcano, and the views across the seven mile wide crater and surrounding coastline are well worth the climb! This is one of the largest volcanic calderas in the world, and one of the most active. As we hike, we might be lucky enough to see Galapagos hawks, short-eared owls, finches and fly-catchers that inhabit this region.
Optional: Snorkel “the tunnels” (add US$150)
An alternative option today is to get back in the water, to snorkel one of the gems of the Galapagos archipelago; Los Tuneles. We’ll take a boat ride to the tunnels, where you’ll see an intricate network of arches and islets all formed from past lava eruptions. There are a few spots to walk on the rocks, though the main activity is snorkelling to explore the water channels, where you’ll see sleeping reef sharks, hungry sea turtles, colourful starfish and tiny seahorses! In terms of biodiversity, this is one of the very best spots in the Galapagos Islands.
When we get back from hiking or snorkelling, you’ll be able to check out a local restaurant on your own for dinner.
Today we’ll head out on small local boats to check out the crystal-clear waters of the Tintoreras rock outcrop. Keep an eye out for rays, marine iguanas, reef sharks, herons and the Galapagos penguin – the only penguins found close to the equator. Later, we’ll don our snorkels and masks again to explore the clear waters of this great snorkelling area. This calm and shallow body of water is home to sea turtles, and a multitude of colourful fish species. You’ll have this afternoon to find a hammock on the beach and relax, or explore on your own.
Santa Cruz Island / Tortuga Bay
We’ll depart Isabela Island early this morning bound for Santa Cruz Island, where we’ll hike into the amazing cloud forest highlands. Once there, we’ll have our only chance to see giant tortoises in their natural environment, along with intriguing birdlife like the vermillion flycatcher, and we’ll take a look inside the lava tunnels scattered throughout the highlands. These tunnels were formed by molten lava flowing beneath the surface, which left behind large tube-like caves, some almost a mile long! This afternoon we’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn about the breeding programs that are saving vulnerable species of tortoises and land iguanas. Also there will be a chance to see different types of carapace that help differentiate the tortoise species.
About Palo Santo Galapagos Hotel
Enjoy contemporary relaxation in style at this multi-level hotel that offers private pool-side windows and balconies. Rooms are complete with modern, comfortable amenities. Find rejuvenation at this fully-serviced hotel.
Los Gemelos / Quito
This morning we’ll visit Los Gemelos on the Island; twin craters that are sink holes created when the volcanic roof of empty magma chambers collapsed from tectonic shifts and erosion over time. This area has a very different climate from other parts of the island and is surrounded by scalesia (scalesia pedunculata) forests, or “broccoli trees”. It is also the habitat for bromeliads, orchids, mosses, lichens and many birds such as the 8 species of Charles Darwin finches. Afterwards, we’ll take a short flight back to Quito on the mainland. This evening, we’ll share our final celebratory dinner together in Ecuador.
Today is the last day of your ‘Tortuga’ trip. We’ll make sure you return home relaxed and refreshed from all the great activities, fine food and friendly people you will have met while travelling with us in the Galapagos Islands. See the itinerary for the ‘Tapir & Tortuga’ trip if you want to take a few more days to see more of mainland Ecuador as well.
|Start Date||End Date||Status|
|August 20, 2021||August 29, 2021||Almost Full|
|October 1, 2021||October 10, 2021||Filling Up|
|October 15, 2021||October 24, 2021||Almost Full|
|October 29, 2021||November 7, 2021||Filling Up|
|November 12, 2021||November 21, 2021||Almost Full|
|November 26, 2021||December 5, 2021||Almost Full|
|December 10, 2021||December 19, 2021||Almost Full|
|December 17, 2021||December 26, 2021||Open|
|December 20, 2021||December 29, 2021||Open|
|December 24, 2021||January 2, 2021||Open|
**High Season Rates Apply to the 12/17/2021, 12/20/2021, and 12/24/2021 departures.
Arrival & Departure
If you arrive on the first day of the trip, you’ll be free to check into your hotel near the airport and then explore Quito. You’ll meet your trip leader and the rest of your group in the lobby of the Hotel EB at 6.30pm.
You’ll wake up in Quito on the last day of your trip, so you can book a flight home departing any time that day – we’ll be happy to drop you off at the airport any time. If you need to book your departing flight for earlier you can fly out from Quito anytime after 7pm on Saturday evening. If you want to arrive prior to your trip starting, or leave later, we’re happy to help out with extra hotel accommodation bookings too.
Biking Distance: 14.5 kilometres (9 miles), 2 hours, flat (vehicle supported)
Snorkel Isla Lobo & Kicker Rock: 2 snorkels, 30-45 minutes each
Dive Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock: 2 dives, 30-45 minutes each
Journey to Floreana Island by boat: 2-3 hours
Snorkel Floreana Island: 30 minutes
Floreana Island Hiking Distance: 1.8 kilometres (1.1 miles), 1-2 hours
Elevation Gain: 100 metres (328 feet)
Elevation Loss: 100 metres (328 feet)
Journey to Isabela Island by boat: 2-3 hours
Kayaking Time: 1 hour
Hiking Distance: 16 kilometres (10 miles), 4-6 hours
Elevation Gain: 130 metres (426 feet)
Elevation Loss: 130 metres (426 feet)
Snorkel Tintoreras: 40 minutes
Journey to Santa Cruz Island by boat: 2 hours
Hiking Distance: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), 1-2 hours, flat
The rugged volcanic landscape of the Galápagos Islands offers truly exceptional encounters with wildlife. Venture out each day with a skilled naturalist by boat, foot, or snorkel to witness an astounding variety of exotic creatures that have never learned to fear human contact. Your guides will also share with you the history of the pirates, whalers and early settlers who took refuge on the islands of the Galápagos. Discover a land created by volcanic activity where lava fields still dominate the landscape, ash pockets remain untouched, and black sand covers many beaches. Did you know that with over 560 native species, the Galapagos has over 180 endemic species, found nowhere else on the planet? Discover the differences between the diverse and unique ecosystems on and between the Islands. Learn to tell apart the land iguana and the less colorful, but equally impressive marine iguana. Listen to stories of Charles Darwin and the infamous Darwin finches whose evolutionary discoveries led to many present-day scientific theories. Seek out the incredibly vibrant marine life of the Islands, keeping a watchful eye out for sharks, sea lions, starfish, turtles, and a wide array of colorful fish. Find out just how blue a blue-footed booby’s feet really are! Come explore the Galapagos Islands with the experts in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments, and receptions – except two dinners on your own – are included as indicated by the itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
• All guiding services. We have an experienced trip leader with every trip and also have a specialist guide on many of the activities to provide extra local knowledge.
• Comfortable accommodation for the entire trip. We can also organize pre- and post-trip accommodation for you if you let us know.
• All meals, as indicated.
• All drinking water and puritabs where drinking water isn’t readily available. (Alcohol and other drinks are not included)
• All activities as described in the itinerary – such as hiking, snorkeling, canoeing, sea kayaking, biking and jungle boat tours – and you’re welcome to sit out or do your own thing from time to time.
• Tips for local specialist guides
• Transport including buses, boats, trains and domestic flights as indicated.
• Active and Austin Adventures guide gratuities.
• Optional activities as noted.
• A couple meals as listed in itinerary.
• Alcoholic beverages.
• Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
• Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
• All types of personal insurance.
• Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
South America Expert
Kristie is from the Hawkes Bay, a beautiful spot on the East Coast of the North Island well known for the sunny weather, great beaches and world-class wines – Her three favorite things! She’s spent the last 8 years living abroad in Melbourne, the Whitsundays, and most recently Edinburgh while working in the Travel industry. She’s now back in New Zealand after extensive travel throughout Europe, the US and Asia and is a Travel Specialist here at Austin Adventures. When she isn’t planning your trips she is planning her own, ticking off her own travel wish list as often as possible!