Active Adventures |  Tortuga -  Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure

The 'Tortuga' is a fantastic way to discover several of the Galapagos Islands, especially for landlubbers.In a relaxed and active manner, you’ll snorkel, dive, hike and cycle, and cruise between the 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 snorkelling with turtles, rays and tame reef sharks, kayaking in a beautiful calm bay and hiking up an island volcano with 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 inquisitive sea lions. We explore amazing lava tunnels, cycle through local townships and learn the mysterious history of Floreana Island.

  • Highlights

    Cycle on San Cristobal Island

    Explore lava tunnels

    Hike Sierra Negra volcano and Santa Cruz Island

    Kayak Isabela Island

    Meet giant tortoises and iguanas

    Optional Galapagos diving

    Snorkel with reef sharks at Floreana Island

    Swim with turtles and rays at Kicker Rock

    Visit pirate caves on Floreana Island

  • What's Included

    All accommodations
    This is a land-hopping tour so you'll stay in charming hotels on each island.

    All activities
    Most people who visit the Galapagos Islands spend their entire time on or in the water. Not us! Kayaking and snorkelling is of course a big part of it, but in true Active style you'll also hike and bike. Diving is also an option (add US$250).

    All domestic transport
    Airport transfers on the first and last days.
    Domestic flights to and from the Galapagos Islands.
    All boat transport.

    All guiding services
    You'll have an experienced guide with you for the entire duration, as well as local specialist guides for some activities - the perfect mix!

    All meals
    Breakfast, lunch and dinner, except days three and six where you'll be free to eat dinner where you choose.

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  • Itinerary

    DAY 1 - ARRIVE QUITO

    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 22 kilometres (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. Hotel EB, Quito (Dinner)

     

    DAY 2 - FLY TO THE GALAPAGOS, CYCLE SAN CRISTOBAL HIGHLANDS

    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.Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin, San Cristobal (All meals)Biking Distance: 14.5 kilometres (9 miles), 2 hours, flat (vehicle supported)

     

    DAY 3 - SNORKEL WITH SEA LIONS, TURTLES AND SHARKS AT KICKER ROCK

    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 150 metres (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.Casa Blanca or Blue Marlin, San Cristobal (Breakfast, Lunch)Snorkel Isla Lobo & Kicker Rock: 2 snorkels, 30-45 minutes eachORDive Isla Lobos & Kicker Rock: 2 dives, 30-45 minutes each

     

    DAY 4 - SNORKEL AND HIKE FLOREANA ISLAND

    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!Hotel Wittmer, Floreana Island (All meals)Journey to Floreana Island by boat: 2-3 hoursSnorkel Floreana Island: 30 minutesFloreana Island Hiking Distance: 1.8 kilometres (1.1 miles), 1-2 hoursElevation Gain: 100 metres (328 feet)Elevation Loss: 100 metres (328 feet)

     

    DAY 5 - JOURNEY TO ISABELA, KAYAK ISABELA BAY, VISIT GIANT TORTOISE BREEDING CENTRE

    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.Hotel Albemarle, Isabela Island (All meals)Journey to Isabela Island by boat: 2-3 hoursKayaking Time: 1 hour

     

    DAY 6 - HIKE SIERRA NEGRA VOLCANO, VOLCAN CHICO LAVA FIELDS

    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.Hotel Albemarle, Isabela Island (Breakfast, Lunch)Hiking Distance: 16 kilometres (10 miles), 4-6 hoursElevation Gain: 130 metres (426 feet)Elevation Loss: 130 metres (426 feet)

     

    DAY 7 - VISIT & SNORKEL TINTORERAS

    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.Hotel Albemarle, Isabela Island (All meals)Snorkel Tintoreras: 40 minutes

     

    DAY 8 - HIKE SANTA CRUZ HIGHLANDS AND TORTUGA BAY, VISIT GIANT TORTOISES

    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.Palo Santo Galapagos Hotel, Santa Cruz Island (All meals)Journey to Santa Cruz Island by boat: 2 hoursHiking Distance: 2 kilometres (1.2 miles), 1-2 hours, flat

     

    DAY 9 - VISIT LOS GEMELOS, RETURN TO 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.Hotel EB, Quito (All meals)

     

    DAY 10 - QUITO, DEPART FOR HOME

    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.(Breakfast)

 

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