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Ecuador Galapagos Islands Private Adventure Tour

Lodge-Based Wildlife Experience on Santa Cruz & Isabela


See another side of the Galápagos on this lodge-based adventure that combines the enchanting islands of Santa Cruz and Isabela. Follow expert naturalist guides to explore hidden spots where cruise passengers don't go, and experience the many landscapes of this nature-lover's paradise. Each day brings a new excursion, including the fumaroles and caldera of Sierra Negra Volcano, snorkeling with Galápagos penguins and marine iguanas, and, of course, spotting the native wildlife for which these islands are known. Your trip begins and ends in historic Quito, the capital of Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Explore further on our range of exciting pre- or post-trip extensions in Ecuador. To learn more about the Galapagos Islands and what you can expect from MT Sobek boats and adventures, check out our Galapagos Islands Visitors Guide.

9 Days

From: $4,495

See another side of the Galápagos on this lodge-based adventure that combines the enchanting islands of Santa Cruz and Isabela. Follow expert naturalist guides to explore hidden spots where cruise passengers don't go, and experience the many landscapes of this nature-lover's paradise. Each day brings a new excursion, including the fumaroles and caldera of Sierra Negra Volcano, snorkeling with Galápagos penguins and marine iguanas, and, of course, spotting the native wildlife for which these islands are known. Your trip begins and ends in historic Quito, the capital of Ecuador and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Explore further on our range of exciting pre- or post-trip extensions in Ecuador. To learn more about the Galapagos Islands and what you can expect from MT Sobek boats and adventures, check out our Galapagos Islands Visitors Guide.

MT Sobek is proud to support the Galapagos Conservancy by making an annual conservation investment to its Santiago Society program. Galapagos Conservancy is dedicated exclusively to the long-term protection of the Galapagos Islands, and collaborates closely with the Charles Darwin Foundation, the Galapagos National Park, and many other institutions that are committed to the conservation of the entire archipelago.

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Kayak and snorkel among sea lions, marine iguanas, and sea turtles in the world's top nature destination

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Hike to the giant caldera of Sierra Negra, one of the world's largest active volcanoes

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Encounter giant tortoises as you follow trails in the company of expert Galápagos naturalist guides

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Highlights


  • Kayak and snorkel among sea lions, marine iguanas, and sea turtles in the world's top nature destination
  • Hike to the giant caldera of Sierra Negra, one of the world's largest active volcanoes
  • Encounter giant tortoises as you follow trails in the company of expert Galápagos naturalist guides

Ecuador Galapagos Islands Private Adventure

Start: Quito, Ecuador  End: Quito, Ecuador

Start/End locations may vary. Do not book flights until your trip details are confirmed.

Itinerary


  • Arrive in Quito

    Day 1

    Welcome to the historic city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. An MT Sobek representative will meet you outside customs at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day is free to unwind, take advantage of the hotel's pool and spa services, or begin your exploration of this dynamic city. Dinner is on your own tonight.

    Accommodation: Swissotel-Quito, Ecuador

    Transportation: 45-minute private vehicle transfer

  • Explore Quito

    Day 2

    After breakfast, enjoy a half-day guided sightseeing tour of colonial Quito, the oldest part of the city. This colorful neighborhood, one of UNESCO's first declared World Heritage Sites, is rich with Spanish colonial architecture, gilded churches, lively restaurants, museums and small shops. Your guide will explain the history and traditions of Quito and offer special insight into everyday life. After lunch in an area restaurant, the rest of the day is free to relax, shop, or explore on your own.

    Accommodation: Swissotel-Quito, Ecuador

    Activity: 2.5-3 hour city walking tour

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Journey to the Galápagos Islands

    Day 3

    After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Quito airport and fly to Baltra Island in the Galápagos. From here, connect with a local flight to Isabela Island, the largest of the islands, and transfer to your beachfront lodge in Puerto Villamil. Take the remainder of the day to swim and snorkel at the beach and explore the village with your guide. Be sure to keep an eye out overhead for blue-footed boobies and along the shoreline for Galápagos sea lions.

    Accommodation: Casa de Marita-Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island

    Activity: Swimming and snorkeling

    Transportation: 2.5-hour flight transfers

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano

    Day 4

    Take an awe-inspiring hike up the Sierra Negra Volcano (4,890'), one of the most active volcanoes in the Galápagos. Hike two hours up a gradual incline to the massive crater's edge, walking among fumaroles and petrified lava formations. Along the way, enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding islands, and watch for endemic Galápagos hawks, martins, and vermilion flycatchers. From there, you can hike back down or extend your hike by continuing along the crater's rim.

    Accommodation: Casa de Marita-Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island

    Activity: 4-7 hours/10 miles hiking with 400' elevation gain and loss

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Explore Isabela Island

    Day 5

    Enjoy a full day exploring the sites of Isabela Island. After breakfast, head to Tintoreras islet, accessible only by small boats. The walk on Tintoreras is easy and a great opportunity to observe marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins, boobies, and herons. After the walk, snorkel among tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks, and, if you're lucky, even Galápagos penguins. After lunch, you can visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center, or simply relax at the hotel and swim from the beach.

    Accommodation: Casa de Marita-Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island

    Activity: 1.5 hours/0.7 miles walking plus snorkeling

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • See the Highlands of Santa Cruz

    Day 6

    Awake early to swim or take a nature walk before your transfer to Puerto Villamil airport for the short flight to Baltra. From Baltra, transfer to Santa Cruz Island, stopping to visit the lush forests to search for Darwin's giant tortoises in their natural environment. Explore a lava tunnel, and enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the highlands. Later, continue the drive to the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement in Galápagos, then check in to your hotel with time to relax or explore town.

    Accommodation: Angermeyer Waterfront Inn-Puerto Ayora

    Transportation: 20-minute flight transfer

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

  • Explore Santa Cruz Island

    Day 7

    Start your day with an easy, 30-minute walk through a dry forest dominated by giant prickly-pear cactus. Arrive at the beautiful, white-sand Tortuga Beach, where you can kayak or swim in the calm waters of the bay. In the afternoon, visit the Charles Darwin Station or one of the nearby beaches. For an additional cost, you can ride horses on a private ranch in the highlands, take a dive trip to a nearby island, or take a boat trip to a nearby island to view wildlife.

    Accommodation: Angermeyer Waterfront Inn-Puerto Ayora

    Activity: Forest walk & optional activities

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

  • Return to Quito

    Day 8

    Transfer to the Baltra airport for your return flight to Quito. An MT Sobek representative will greet you at Quito airport and provide assistance to your nearby hotel. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.

    Accommodation: Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel-Quito

    Transportation: 45-minute private vehicle transfer & 2-hour flight transfer

    Meals: Breakfast

  • Depart Quito

    Day 9

    Use the complimentary airport shuttle to transfer to the airport in time for your outbound flight, or opt to stay on in Quito to join us for one of our extensions in Ecuador or Peru!

    Meals: Breakfast

Why Travel With Us?


  • MT Sobek was one of the first North American companies to bring visitors to the Galápagos Islands, with an inaugural charter for the Sierra Club in 1970.

  • Guests love our Galápagos adventures because we work with our own team of expert naturalist guides - all certified to the highest level.

  • This trip is the perfect alternative to our yacht-based adventures with eight nights at comfortable hotels and inns, hand-picked by our Galápagos specialists.

Dates & Prices


  • Go Private
  • Go Custom
  • Inclusions

Go Private

Go Private


Gather your favorite travel companions to share an MT Sobek adventure on an easy-to-book Private departure.

Call or email us to get the ball rolling.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.


Looking for a private family adventure?


This trip can accommodate guests with a
minimum age of 6.

Private Trip Pricing:


2024 Pricing

9 to 10 guests from $4,495 per person double occupancy

6 to 8 guests from $5,795 per person double occupancy

4 to 5 guests from $5,995 per person double occupancy

3 guests from $6,395 per person double occupancy

2 guests from $7,095 per person double occupancy

2025 Pricing

9 to 12 guests from $4,595 per person double occupancy

4 to 8 guests from $5,995 per person double occupancy

3 guests from $6,595 per person double occupancy

2 guests from $7,495 per person double occupancy

*Seasonal rates may apply.

Additional Costs:


Internal Airfare: $1,150

Transit Control Card: $20

Private pricing excludes potential additional costs such as internal airfare, single supplement, or any park fees that may be required for the trip.

*Private trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Make Your Own Dates in These Months


  • January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Go Custom

Create Your Very Own Adventure


Dreaming of an adventure designed exclusively for you? With insider access and decades of experience, our travel experts create custom tailored adventures that are perfect for families, couples, and large groups. MT Sobek's custom adventures are designed to our exacting standards and led by our award-winning adventure guides.

When to start planning? Earlier is always better when designing a custom trip. More time allows for better availability of preferred accommodations, guides and your desired activities. Ideally, start the conversation with us at least 6 months before you want to travel. If you are looking for a custom trip that departs within three months, chances are greatly diminished in securing requested accommodations and the best guides.

*Custom trips require a 25% non-refundable deposit once an itinerary is agreed upon.

Start Planning

Inclusions

Price Includes


  • Expertise and services of our experienced adventure guides
  • All accommodations as noted in the itinerary
  • All breakfasts, almost all lunches and dinners as noted in the itinerary
  • Snacks and water between meals
  • Additional regional guides and experts on many trips
  • Comprehensive Trip Planner with detailed pre-trip information
  • Private guided tours at historic sites, museums, wineries and other select attractions as noted in the itinerary
  • Special events and other select attractions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants
  • Equipment and experienced guides for activities as described in the itinerary
  • Park and other entry fees (unless otherwise noted)
  • Fares for trains, ferries and other modes of travel as listed in the itinerary
  • Select transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Baggage transfers and porterage

Price Does Not Include


  • Galapagos National Park fee, collected upon arrival (Age 13 and older: $100 current fee, increasing to $200 from Aug 1 2024 / Age 12 and younger: $50 current fee, increasing to $100 from Aug 1 2024)
  • International airfare, airport taxes, and excess baggage fees
  • Wetsuit rentals
  • Alcoholic beverages (with exception of one glass of wine with welcome dinner)
  • Gratuities for MT Sobek guides and guide-drivers
  • Travel Protection Program
  • Personal expenses
  • Galápagos Transit Control Card
  • Internal flights to/from Quito and Galapagos Islands

Contact An Expert


800-974-0300

Need help picking your next adventure? Call us to answer your questions.

Your Guides


The best people to immerse you in a destination are the ones who live there, which is why we feature local Adventure Guides on our trips. Here are a few that you might meet on this adventure.

Luis D.

Luis D.

Luis was born in Seville, Spain, and graduated from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid with a degree in Environmental Biology. He is fluent in Spanish, English, and French and has guided in Galapagos since 1999. In addition to being a professional nature photographer, Luis has a Master's Degree in Geographic Ecology and is active with conservation groups. A born teacher, he enthusiastically shares his knowledge of Galapagos with people of all ages. He lives in Quito with his wife, twin sons, and daughter and is MT Sobek's head naturalist guide. 

Steve D.

Steve D.

Steve's parents, Bud and Doris Divine, sailed down from the United States and arrived in the Galapagos in 1949. They settled on the island of Santa Cruz which had a population of less than 100 people at the time. When he first arrived in the islands, Steve's father worked as mate on a tugboat making supply trips back and forth between Panama and the US Army Air Force Base on Baltra. He started a farm up in the highlands of Santa Cruz and then in the late 1960s began running horseback tours to the Tortoise Reserve, so Steve started working with tourists at the age of 14, leading some of the first trips with tourists up to the tortoise reserve by horse- and mule-back, before there was a road. He took the Naturalist Guides course in 1975, and has been guiding in the islands for over 40 years, leaving just briefly to live in Florida for three years with his family before coming back to the islands. His hobbies and interests are natural history, reading (sci fi and historical novels), chess, guitar, and cycling.

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Welcome to the historic city of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. An MT Sobek representative will meet you outside customs at the airport and escort you to your hotel. After settling in at the hotel, the rest of the day is free to unwind, take advantage of the hotel\'s pool and spa services, or begin your exploration of this dynamic city. Dinner is on your own tonight.

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Take an awe-inspiring hike up the Sierra Negra Volcano (4,890\'), one of the most active volcanoes in the Galápagos. Hike two hours up a gradual incline to the massive crater\'s edge, walking among fumaroles and petrified lava formations. Along the way, enjoy spectacular views of the ocean and surrounding islands, and watch for endemic Galápagos hawks, martins, and vermilion flycatchers. From there, you can hike back down or extend your hike by continuing along the crater\'s rim.

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Use the complimentary airport shuttle to transfer to the airport in time for your outbound flight, or opt to stay on in Quito to join us for one of our extensions in Ecuador or Peru!

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Activity Level


This trip is rated activity level 2. Quito city walk of 2.5-3 hours. Easy island walks of up to 2 hours. Terrain may be rocky and uneven so good balance is necessary. There is one moderate level hike of 10 miles with gradual elevation change of 500' up and down. Option to do a shorter version.
Learn more about activity levels here.

Activity Snapshot

Day 2

2.5-3 hour city walking tour

Day 3

Swimming and snorkeling

Day 4

4-7 hours/10 miles hiking with 400' elevation gain and loss

Day 5

1.5 hours/0.7 miles walking plus snorkeling

Day 7

Forest walk & optional activities

Accommodations


Island inns with beautiful beach and waterfront views. Enjoy your first and last nights at conveniently located hotels in Quito.

Swissotel-Quito, Ecuador
Swissotel-Quito, Ecuador

The upscale Swissôtel offers five-star comfort in Quito's Floresta neighborhood, close to great shopping, interesting museums, and the city's architectural gems. Elegant and comfortable rooms feature city or mountain views, flat-screen TVs with premium channels, complimentary Wi-Fi, and more. There are four restaurants onsite offering a variety of international cuisine. Other perks include a fitness center and an indoor pool.

Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel-Quito
Wyndham Quito Airport Hotel-Quito

The Wyndham Quito Airport is a convenient and comfortable stopover after your journey back from the Galápagos chosen for its location right next to the airport. Both international and Ecuadorian food options are available at the onsite restaurant and for room service. Rooms have large TVs and free WiFi. There is a 24-hour complimentary airport shuttle.

Angermeyer Waterfront Inn-Puerto Ayora
Angermeyer Waterfront Inn-Puerto Ayora

Located on the Punta Estrada waterfront, this quiet inn is built around Gus Angermeyer's legendary cave. Lava rocks and drift wood form some of the construction materials for this uncommon piece of Galápagos history. The inn features comfortable guest rooms with en suite bathrooms, a guest lounge with full bar service, and, of course, excellent views of the bay.

Casa de Marita-Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island
Casa de Marita-Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island

This comfortable beachfront inn on the island of Isabela offers incomparable views and access to one of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the Galápagos Islands. Casa Marita sports the charm and atmosphere of a large country home, with 16 rooms that are individually decorated with fanciful flair. Guests are invited to share the comfortable lounge, library and bar areas.

Weather


Mild climate year-round. December-May has daytime temperatures of 76-86°F and water temps of 70-75°F. June-November has daytime temps 67-77°F and water temps of 65-72°F

 
Jan
Mar
May
Jul
Sep
Nov
Galapagos 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Galapagos
85
70
88
75
78
72
78
68
78
66
84
70
Quito 
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
High
Low
Quito
66
49
66
49
66
49
67
47
68
47
67
48

FAQs


When and where should I arrive?

Arrive in Quito any time on Day 1. An MT Sobek representative will meet you and transfer you to the hotel. Most flights from the US arrive late at night.

When and where should I depart?

You could depart Quito on a late evening flight on Day 8, or any time on Day 9.

Can we book this trip with less than four guests?

Yes! This trip can be booked for a group of one, two or three guests with a small group surcharge. Please give us a call for more details.

When is the best time to go to the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination with amazing wildlife to see every month! The warm/wet season is December-May, and the cool/dry season is June-November. To read more about the weather and seasons in Galapagos, click here: When Is the Best Time to Visit the Galapagos?

What if I get seasick?

This is a land-based Galapagos adventure, with no boats required.

What is the minimum age for this trip?
The minimum age for this private trip is 6 years old.

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Guest Reviews


"MT Sobek is the best. Our trip to the Galapagos ran like clockwork. Excellent guide, hotels and activities. As the trip planner in our household, it was a great experience to rely on the expertise and coordination of MT Sobek for an effortless trip. I would travel with them again without hesitation."

Jennifer T.
MT Sobek Guest, Ecuador Galapagos Islands Private Adventure

"Having visited the places that Darwin visited for his evolution theory makes you appreciate all we have in this world!"

Laura C.
MT Sobek Guest