South America

5 of the Best Ecuador & Galapagos Tours

by Paul Joseph  |  Published May 4, 2022

One of the world’s most renowned wildlife destinations, the Galápagos Islands can be experienced on a number of organised tours, ranging from just a few days to a few weeks.

(Photo: Intrepid Travel / Courtesy Bookmundi)

A volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, the terrain of this Ecuadorian province boasts a stunningly diverse assortment of plant and animal species, many of which can be found nowhere else on earth. If you’d like to explore this truly magical corner of the world, there are many companies offering group tours here, some including visits to other nearby places of interest, including on mainland Ecuador. Here are five of the best.

Galapagos Experience Tour (7 days)

Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin on this wildlife-filled experience through nature’s playground. Snorkel with sea lions, get up close to giant tortoises, scale a volcanic crater and discover the incredible evolutionary history of the Galapagos Islands, all under the guidance of an expert naturalist guide. With accommodation on Isla San Cristobal, Isla Santa Cruz and Isla Isabela, this trip is ideal for travellers who would prefer not to tour the islands on a cruise. Included activities are both educational and immersive, while still allowing plenty of free time to relax or get active at your own pace. There’ll also be the chance to tailor your experience with  optional excursions like boat trips and scuba diving. From $1,047 per person.

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Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure Tour (10 days)

(Photo: Active Adventures)

Over 10 days, you’ll discover the vibrant underwater worlds and volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos Islands. Spend your days snorkelling or scuba diving in the Pacific Ocean and hiking stunning coastlines and wildlife-filled highlands. Each night, relax at sea-front accommodations and indulge in fresh, local fare. Starting in Quito, you’ll dive right into the diverse culture of Ecuador as you journey between San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela, and Santa Cruz Islands. Two local guides lead the way as you bike through highland cloud forests, explore the remains of an underwater volcano, kayak calm bays, and learn about the unique flora and fauna found only in the Galapagos. From $5,267 per person.

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Galapagos Multisport with Quito Tour (10 days)

Explore Quito, encounter incredible wildlife, snorkel and swim with sea turtles and manta rays, cycle around Isabela Island, hike the Sierra Negra volcano, and visit the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station – a biological centre for the study and conservation of numerous species of Galapagos flora and fauna – on this 10-day adventure. Go ashore at the lesser-visited island of Isabela and spend your days with playful sea lions, giant manta rays, and the Galápagos giant tortoise. The tour offers a great balance of guided excursions and free time, with optional activities available. All accommodation is on land in comfortable, tourist-class hotels. From $2,408 per person.

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Galapagos Island Hopping Adventure Tour (5 days)

(Photo: Bamba / Courtesy Bookmundi)

Ideal for those with time constraints, or who want a quick taste of the Galapagos as part of a wider trip around the continent, this whistle-stop tour introduced you to as many islands as possible in just 5 days. Starting on Baltra Island, you’ll visit Isla Santa Cruz, San Cristobal Island and Isla Lobos in Ecuador, enjoying all that these magnificent islands have to offer along the way. Among the activities you’ll get to try will be snorkelling among sea lions, rays and turtles, spotting blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, relaxing on beautiful white sandy beaches, and swimming in crystalline turquoise waters. The tour ends on San Cristobal Island. From $1,605 per person.

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Galapagos Islands plus Bike, Kayak, Hike, Snorkel Tour (5 days)

Ideal for those who like to get active on their travels, this 5-day tour incorporates cycling, kayaking, hiking and snorkelling as you explore the majestic beauty of the Galapagos Islands. Starting and ending on Baltra Island, you’ll first head to Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island before taking a public speedboat to Isabela Island for a brief power nap at your hotel. Fully re-energised, you’ll travel to Flamingos Lagoon for a look around. Over the following days, you’ll hike to Sierra Negra Volcano, enjoy a kayak excursion along Puerto Villamil Bay, go wildlife spotting, and more, before your return journey to where it all began. PRICE ON REQUEST

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