Island-hopping in the Galapagos Islands gives you more flexibility to choose activities, schedule free time to explore independently, and discover the hidden gems that make the islands an incredible place to visit.
We can create custom programs that offer the best of the land and sea. Keep reading for some of the options for an epic journey and the activities that you can do while in the archipelago.
A Few Ideas about What to Do
Enjoying the Galapagos by island hopping puts many options for active days exploring on the table. Day trips can take you to uninhabited islands, secluded beaches, high vistas of volcanoes, and secluded islets where sea turtles, penguins, sea lions, and rays swim alongside while snorkeling. Here are a few highlights to kick start your list of things to include.
Snorkeling at Los Tuneles, Take a Trip to Las Tintoreras, and Hike Volcan Sierra Negra on Isabela
Los Tuneles is located on the western shore of Isabela, an hour boat ride from Puerto Villamil. It’s a network of lava bridges and sparking clear pools where giant sea turtles, white-tipped reef sharks, and sea lions vie for the attention in the water and blue-footed boobies are at arm’s length on land.
Las Tintoreras is an islet off of the bay of Puerto Villamil and one of the best places in the islands to see Galapagos penguins, colonies of marine iguanas, and white-tipped reef sharks. It’s another hip spot to snorkel, the waters off the shore are teaming with marine life including sharks and sea turtles.
Sierra Negra is a towering, active volcano whose crater is one of the largest in the world. Hiking to the summit takes you from sea level to above the tree line; through the rain forest and volcanic fields to the summit. On a clear day, the island´s other volcanoes and the nearby islands fill the horizon.
Surf, Kayak, and Bike on Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and Isabela Islands
Surfing the waters of Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz and Manglecito Beach on San Cristobal is a fun experience hanging ten alongside sea lions riding the waves. For more advanced surfers, La Carola and Loberia beaches on San Cristobal have more challenging waves.
Kayaking around Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz lets you explore the shoreline away from the areas that you find on land. Paddling around gives you a front row seat to the creatures that call the mangroves home; including turtles, flamingos, and rays.
On San Cristobal, kayaking around Kicker Rock and Isla Lobos lets you explore iconic sites where hammerhead sharks inhabit the deep waters. On Isabela, you can rent kayaks to explore Tangus Cove, only accessible by water and a historic site where pirates once hid out after pillaging Spanish ships.
Exploring by mountain bike gives you the flexibility to stop and explore the highlands and coast of Santa Cruz. The off-road trails of San Cristobal give way to high view points and hidden-in-plain site wildlife. On Isabela, you can bike the coastal trail to the Wall of Tears; going past historic sites and scenic outlooks before ascending to the rock structure built by prisoners sentenced to hard labor.
Day Trips to Uninhabited Islands
Any trip through the Galapagos should include visits to the uninhabited islands that people have explored for centuries. Bartolome Island offers a surreal lava landscape overlooking Pinnacle Rock, where swimming with penguins is a favorite moment of many. Seymour Island is home to colonies of blue-footed boobies and frigates. Santa Fe has one of the largest sea lion colonies in the islands, and birdwatchers have a field day checking endemic sea birds off of their list.
Where to Stay
Hotel Silberstein is a good choice for those who want a comfortable hotel in the center of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz. It is a stone’s throw away from the coast, and close to Tortuga Bay and the Charles Darwin Research Center. Amenities include a pool, and the Aqua Restaurant; serving a medley of seafood and traditional dishes from its talented kitchen. The hotel’s social areas make it a great fit for those who want to meet fellow travellers.
Another hotel for those looking for comfort and a social scene to meet others, Hotel Miconia on San Cristobal Island gives you seaside views, meals at the on-site restaurant. The menu includes ceviche, pasta dishes, sandwiches, seafood, and international meat and chicken plates. Amenities include a pool, gym, and Jacuzzi.
Wittmer Lodge, one of a handful of hotels on Floreana, is an outpost that dates back to the first foreign settlers of the Galapagos. Located on Black Sand beach, the hotel’s minimalist, rustic style lends itself to those who want the luxury of peace and quiet away from the modern world. There is no WiFi and the island still retains its isolation; a great way to experience the Galapagos away from the crowds of Puerto Ayora and the other inhabited islands of the islands.
Wooden House on Isabela Island is a cozy Bed and Breakfast that knows what travellers look for when island hopping. Amenities include the use of bicycles and snorkeling gear, an onsite restaurant that offers an A La Carte menu with seafood dishes and snacks, and private or shared shuttles around Isabela and the islands.
The Galapagos Safari Camp pulls out all the stops for those looking to spurge on an elegant, all-inclusive adventure that includes day tours to uninhabited islands. The camp’s location in the highlands offers privacy, luxury, and a classic safari experience in the archipelago. Tented cabins and gourmet, tapas-inspired, four-course meals make it an adventure unlike others in the islands.
For more information about our tailor-made island hopping tours in the Galapagos, contact a member of our team through this site or by our toll-free number.