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 tourist boats 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.
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. You can use your hotel room as a dayroom with extended check-out and depart on a late evening flight home, or you can use your room as an overnight room and depart the next day. Lunch and dinner are on your own today.
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.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Easy walks, snorkeling, kayaking, and enjoying the endemic wildlife that made these islands famous.
Island inns with fabulous beach & waterfront views. Enjoy your first nights at the luxurious Swissôtel in Quito and the last night at the convenient Wyndham.
Mild climate year-round. December - May has daytime temperatures of 76-86°F and water temperatures of 70-75°F. June - November has daytime temperatures 67-77°F and water temperatures of 65-72°F
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.
You could depart Quito on a late evening flight on Day 8, or any time the following day. You'll have a room reserved for you on the evening of Day 8.
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.
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?
We offer this trip on a private basis with seasonal departure dates that offer great flexibility (pending availability). Click below to request dates and an MT Sobek Regional Specialist will be in touch to help organize your private adventure.
"We always come home with wonderful memories of the people we meet and things we see. MT Sobek is an outstanding eco-friendly company to work with."
MT Sobek Guest
"Having visited the places that Darwin visited for his evolution theory makes you appreciate all we have in this world!"
MT Sobek Guest