Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Island Hopping Adventure in the Galapagos Islands

Snorkel, swim, hike and bike the famed archipelago on an action-packed adventure immersed in the natural world

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Trip Ref #10115

Adventures / Adventure Tapas

Island Hopping Adventure in the Galapagos Islands

Snorkel, swim, hike and bike the famed archipelago on an action-packed adventure immersed in the natural world

DURATION

9 nights

LOCATION

Galapagos Islands

ANNUAL LEAVE

6 days off work

SEASON

Year round

GROUP SIZE

Up to 14 people

MEETING POINT

Quito Airport, Ecuador

ACCOMMODATION

Guesthouse

DIFFICULTY

Easy

This adventure is perfect for anyone with basic fitness levels and a love for the natural world

Hike to the otherworldly Sierra Negra Volcano, home to one of the largest, and most active, volcanic craters in the world

Snorkel with white-tip reef sharks, manta rays and turtles at Las Tintoreras - an islet named after the sharks that congregate there

Meet Galapagos’ famous residents, including marine iguanas, penguins, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and of course, the giant tortoise

Link this trip up with our Adventure in the Ecuadorian Amazon to create the ultimate back-to-back adventure combo

All our reviews are verified

We only invite travellers to leave a review if they have booked this trip with Much Better Adventures.

Helen, April 2022

Great trip, good group and joy list and some sporting activity, fabulous location and wildlife. Quito was colder than expected and many were affected by altitude. The itinerary also changed - coffee plantation was swapped with beach day with kayaking. No reason given (to me). Snorkelling activity also moved to next day (due to weather) leaving free afternoon. Final day trip to “Tuneles” also appeared to be typo as not logistically possible but would have been for example as additonal activity day before with morning activity swapped to final day (as we had afternoon free). Potentially useful to review whole trip intinerary or more than 1 day at time to enable suggestions like this. Food ok to good. We had limited restaurant selections which were often similar. Option to pick what we want up to budget, then pay the difference? Airport pick up inc but charge for day before had significant mark-up. £50 for 10mins when hour to Quito is £25 for car. Suggest additonal reminder than lunch first full day and penultimate day not inc on itinerary. This additonal cost was not flagged when I asked for advice about how much money to withdraw- the additonal visa costs etc were and clear also from website. Was additional 10dollar transport cost.

Craig, April 2022

Fantastic experience with all the wildlife, not overly challenging so suitable for all fitness and adventure levels.

Included

Internal flights

Return flights from Quito to Baltra in the Galapagos

Guides

Certified, naturalist guides throughout your time in the Galapagos Islands

Accommodation

9 nights in locally owned boutique hotels

Meals

9 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners

Transfers

All transfers including boat transfers between islands

Equipment

All equipment for your biking and snorkelling adventures

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito

Anytime on day 1

Ends

Mariscal Sucre International Airport, Quito

Anytime on day 10

Transfers

Your host will meet you at Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito and transfer you to your hotel a short drive away. On the last day of the trip, your host will return you to the airport in time for your onward flight.

Travel options

There are regular flights to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito from major airports across the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia.

Day 1

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 8

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 9

Guesthouse · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

In Quito, there will be an array of traditional Ecuadorian food to sample, including street snacks as you roam around the old town. Traditional dishes tend to be meat-heavy, however, seafood ceviche is popular and there are plenty of vegetarian options using potato, plantain and local cheeses.

In the Galapagos Islands, expect plenty of seafood options. Your host has a keen eye on visiting the restaurants with the most sustainable approach to sourcing their seafood. Ceviche is perhaps the Galapagos's most famous dish, however, there are often traditional Ecuadorian highland dishes with meat, potatoes and grains, along with coastal ingredients like yucca. A local breakfast in the Galapagos Islands typically involves fried dumplings of green plantains (bolones) and fresh fruit, however, there are American-style breakfasts at the hotel on Santa Cruz Island as well.

Vegans, vegetarians, gluten-free, and any food allergies can be catered for. Please let your host know of your requirements in advance.

What is the accommodation like?

Quito

Before and after your time in the Galapagos you'll stay at the pretty Quinta La Constanza; an independent country house style hotel in Quito, a short drive from the airport. The location is convenient for the short hops to and from the airport, but also has quiet and peaceful surroundings with lovely gardens to relax in during your downtime here.

Santa Cruz Island

During your time on Santa Cruz Island, you'll stay in a lovely boutique hotel called Deja Vu, located in the Eden neighbourhood just outside Puerto Ayora. Deja Vu has cool, comfortable rooms and an outdoor pool to enjoy during any down time after your adventures around the island, and it also includes epic American-style breakfasts to fuel you up each day.

Isabela Island

On Isabela Island, you'll stay at Hotel Cally, a small family-run hotel near the centre of Puerto Villamil, which has the added advantage of being just a few steps from the beach. The hotel is close to several bars and cafes.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

Day 1

Welcome to Ecuador!

After touching down at the airport in Quito your host will meet you and transfer you to your hotel in the Tababela area. The rest of the day you are free to enjoy the gardens at the hotel and shake off any jet lag. There will be a group meet up at 19:00 where you can get to know your guides and fellow adventurers.

Day 2

Explore Quito and visit the equator

Soak up Quito's Old Town with its squares, churches and classic art before grabbing some traditional Andean food for lunch. Head up to the best viewpoint of the city at Panecillo Hill before making your way over to the San Antonio area of Quito. Here you will find La Mitad del Mundo - The Middle of the Earth. This is where Ecuador's namesake, the equator, runs through the country, and you can stand with a foot in each hemisphere.

Day 3

First glimpse of the Galapagos Islands

Hiking

2-3hrs · 5-6km · 900m up · 900m down

In Quito, hop on a plane bound for Baltra Island in the Galapagos - the flight is a spectacular one, crossing the open expanse of the Pacific Ocean for a couple of hours before the first islands come in to view. Touch down on Baltra and take a short ferry ride over to Santa Cruz Island, where you can get stuck straight into some of the island's highlights. Check out Los Gemelos - The Twins - two giant volcanic sinkholes; El Chato Giant Tortoise Reserve, where you can observe these magical creatures in their natural habitat; and the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Day 4

Hike to Tortuga Bay and bike to Garrapatero Beach

Hiking

2hrs · 10km · 60m up · 60m down

Cycling

4hrs · 26km · 425m up · 425m down

Head out to one of the largest white sand beaches in the Galapagos, Tortuga Bay. This beautiful beach is only accessible by an hour-long hike and you may spot lava lizards, native birds and huge marine iguanas. You can grab a quick dip, snorkel, or kayak here, or you can just hang out on the beach and keep the local marine life company. Hike back and head up to the Cerro Mesa Nature Reserve where you can jump on a mountain bike and pedal over to Garrapatero Beach - another amazing beach teeming with wildlife. Have some downtime on the beach, enjoy another swim, and then head back to Puerto Ayora for dinner and drinks.

Day 5

Boat over to Isabela Island

Hiking

1hr · 2km · 180m up · 180m down

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before jumping in the van and climbing into the Santa Cruz Highlands to visit an organic coffee plantation and sup a fresh cup of Joe. Hop on a speed boat to Isabela Island and check into your boutique hotel in the picturesque town of Puerto Villamil. The rest of the afternoon is free to stroll around the town and find a spot to enjoy the sunset at one of the best white sand beaches in the Galapagos.

Day 6

Hike Sierra Negra Volcano

Hiking

6-7hrs · 16km · 400m up · 400m down

Tackle a spectacular hike today at Sierra Negra Volcano. After a couple of hours, you'll reach a spot where you can take in the views from the rim of one of the largest and most active volcanic craters in the world. The hike continues over to Lava Nueva, a neighbouring volcanic landscape. The hike is easy-going as you hike at a gradual pace while soaking up the spectacular surroundings. Back in Puerto Villamil by late afternoon, you can unwind on the beach with another swim in the Pacific.

Day 7

Bike to 'The Wall of Tears' and snorkel at Concha de Perla

Cycling

3hrs · 18km · 130m up · 130m down

Snorkeling

1hr

Swap hiking boots for a mountain bike today for a ride over to Muro de las Lágrimas - The Wall of Tears - an infamous 10-metre high wall of volcanic rock that was formerly part of a penal colony. Since the prison closed down, wildlife has taken over and it now makes a truly unique place to see giant tortoises and flamingos. Continue on two wheels to the Arnaldo Tupiza Breeding Centre where you can say hello to five different species of endemic giant tortoise. In the afternoon you’ll snorkel at Concha de Perla; eyes peeled for reef sharks, marine iguanas, sea lions, turtles and even penguins. Wind down with a traditional Isabela Island restaurant dinner and maybe sample the Galapagan nightlife.

Day 8

Swim with sharks and manta rays

Snorkeling

1hr

Tick off more islands today as you make your way to Islote las Tintoreras, a chain of small islands named after the white-tipped reef sharks who love to hang out here. Enjoy a boat trip around the bay to look for the famous or unique residents, such as Galapagos penguins, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, sea lions, and visit Los Tuneles - a natural tunnel where sharks can often be seen resting. Jump in the water for another snorkelling adventure with the chance to see sea turtles, manta rays, marine iguanas, and of course the famous reef sharks of this part of the Galapagos. Bid farewell to Isabela Island later as you take a speedboat back to Santa Cruz Island for your final evening in the Galapagos.

Day 9

Goodbye Galapagos

Wave goodbye to the islands as you jump on a plane back to Quito. The afternoon and evening are free to explore some more at your own pace or enjoy some well-earned downtime in the hotel gardens. You'll share a final evening together with your group, sharing memories, adventure stories and probably the odd photo of a giant tortoise from your time in the Galapagos.

Day 10

Transfer to Quito Airport for your onward flight

Your adventure comes to an end today as your host takes you back to the airport in Quito in time for your flight home.

15% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 15% discount on us to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Snorkeling equipment (mask, flippers and snorkel)
  • Bike and helmet

What do I need to bring?

Bags

  • Soft overnight duffel bag or rucksack
  • Daypack (20-30 litres)
  • Small drybag

Clothes

  • Light waterproof jacket
  • Fleece jacket or similar
  • Lightweight trousers/shorts/skirts
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear & socks
  • Swimwear x 2
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Hiking boots (worn-in)
  • Sandals

Other

  • Padlock for left luggage
  • Universal travel plug adapter
  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Passports (and visas)
  • Travel Insurance documents
  • Insect repellant (Ideally 0% DEET)
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Reusable water bottle

Double/Twin room

Payable Before Departure

Double/Twin room

Single room

Payable Before Departure

Single room

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room Upgrade

Quito Airport - Accommodation (each way)

Payable Before Departure

Quito Airport - Accommodation (each way)

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 1024kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Yes, while the price of your adventure covers nearly everything you'll need, including various transport permits and island entrance fees, please make sure that you bring $100 USD in cash with you to cover the Galapagos National Park entry fee. This is a $100 USD fee paid by each adult visiting the Galapagos, and this payment goes towards protecting the wider national park and marine reserve. You must pay this fee on arrival at Baltra Airport while presenting your passport for immigration control.

Everybody with basic levels of fitness can enjoy this trip. All you'll need is to be able to handle a few hours of activity every day, mixed between snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and biking. The activities aren't strenuous, the aim on this trip is to breathe in and soak up the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands while immersed in your surroundings.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice, however, we suggest the below as a guideline per person:

Guides:

  • $5 USD per day in the mainland
  • $10 USD per day in the Galapagos Islands

Of course, you are free to tip more or less, and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The tap water in mainland Ecuador and Galapagos is not always friendly on the stomach for those who haven't been in Latin America for a while. There is purified water in each of the hotels which you can use to fill up each morning, so be sure to pack a reusable water bottle or two.

Seasons in the Galapagos are split into the cool and dry season (June to November) and the warm and wet season (December to May). The seas are warmer, calmer and have better visibility in the warm and wet season. Rain showers in the wet season tend to be over quickly, and are often a pleasant break from the heat and sun.

Average temperatures in the warm and wet season from December to May range from a low of 22°C (70°F) to a high of 31°C (84°F).

Average temperatures in the cool and dry season from June to November range from a low of 19°C (68°F) to a high of 27°C (82°F).

The wildlife in the Galapagos can be seen year-round, as many of the big draws are resident to the islands, with few migratory species.

Yes, you are able to leave excess luggage in Quito at the start of the trip, to be collected when you return to Quito after your week in the Galapagos.

We recommend checking out the country specific information here and also talking to a travel nurse.

For current advice about travelling in Ecuador, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ecuador/entry-requirements

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

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