Discover the most enchanting ports of call in Central Galapagos on this 4-day land-based Galapagos Islands hopping tour. For savvy travelers, adventurers on a budget, or those who prefer to spend more time on land, this itinerary presents itself as a unique option to the traditional Galapagos cruise.
Explore a new island each day by yacht, and return to Santa Cruz in the evenings, where you can revel in the comforts of your selected hotel and peruse the local shops and restaurants of sleepy Puerto Ayora.
While Days 1 and 4 of this itinerary are set, the chosen destinations for Days 2 and 3 alternate between Bartolome, Santa Fe, North Seymour, and South Plaza Islands according to availability - all of which reward you with sublime natural scenery and remarkable wildlife encounters.
Your journey begins on Baltra Island, where you will meet and greet your Certified National Park guide and fellow travel mates at Seymour Airport. From there, travel to the Itabaca Channel by bus, then ferry to the northern shores of Santa Cruz, where you will tour the Highlands by hiking to see the Twin Craters and observing giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
Discover the highlights of Bartolome, a tiny 1.2 sq. km island where you will conquer a viewpoint with your guide and contemplate the rough cut features of its landscape of dramatic lava fields and lunar-like craters. From there, sail to Sullivan Bay on the southeastern end of Santiago Island, where you will spend some leisurely time swimming and snorkeling among the tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays.
Perhaps journey to North Seymour, a small and flat 1.9 sq. km island, and learn how a group of 72 undernourished land iguanas colonized the land. Then head either to Mosquera Islet to observe its colonies of playful sea lions, or to the blinding white coral sands of Bachas Beach on the northern shores of Santa Cruz for a leisurely stroll.
Or sail to South Plaza Island for a day, half a pair of the Plaza Islands off the eastern shores of Santa Cruz, where you'll embark on a hike with your guide and observe one of the largest sea lion colonies of the Galapagos archipelago. And from atop the island's dizzying 20-meter tall cliffs, observe nesting seabirds, schools of surgeonfish and waves crashing into the shoreline.
Visit the four million-year-old Santa Fe between Santa Cruz and San Cristobal, one of the most ancient islands in the Galapagos archipelago, and set out on a nature walk with your guide to witness Galapagos hawks, fork-tailed gulls and migratory birds. And if conditions permit, experience the shimmering waters of Barrington Bay as you snorkel among rays, tropical fish, and marine tortoises.
On the final day of this island hopping tour, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora, a facility dedicated to marine life conservation and maintaining biodiversity in the region. Observe giant tortoises live in captivity here and recount the formation of the Galapagos archipelago's rugged islands before transferring to Seymour Airport for your onward journey.
Bringing you the most stunning landscapes and exciting attractions of the region in just four days, this Galapagos Islands hopping tour is an affordable way to discover the highlights of Central Galapagos and allows you to experience the best of both sea and land as you travel by yacht during the day and recharge overnight at your chosen hotel on Santa Cruz.