Should you choose a Galapagos land tour or a boat tour (cruise)? I had this same question before I went on my first trip to the Galapagos. Both offer great experiences, but ultimately I decided that a land-based tour would be best for me! Read about my experience and learn why!
Day 1: Mainland Ecuador to Santa Cruz Island | Ceviche for breakfast? I’ll take 3! This morning I had some time to walk around the City Center of Guayaquil (where I chose to overnight before heading on my flight to the Galapagos Islands). When you arrive to the airport there are a few items you will want to remember. Remember that you need to purchase a tourist card at the airport before you depart (located in the main terminal for $20 / person). The local currency in Ecuador is the USD, so if you are traveling from the USA – you will have nothing to worry about!
My flight departed at 11:50, arriving in the Galapagos 2 hours later (at 12:50 with the time change). They served a light lunch on the airplane, which was actually very well done and quite delicious! I arrived into a small, yet beautiful airport and was met by my guide holding an “Acanela” sign right as I excited the baggage claim and arrival hall.
My driver took me on a beautiful drive across the island of Baltra, on a Ferry, and onwards to the Island of Santa Cruz to my boutique hotel (about a 30-45 minute drive). Semilla Verde is a beautiful boutique hotel located on the main island of the Galapagos and it is absolutely stunning! There are giant tortoises walking all around the property, and they are so fun to watch! with all the beautiful flora and fauna around me, I realized very quickly that I was going to have the best week of my life! I am here with a small group of friends (Susan, Chrissy, Katie, and myself) and we are sure ready for an adventure! Read more about Susan & her Daughter's Adventure to the Galapagos.
Day 2: Bartolome Island | Today we woke up to the beautiful sound of chirping birds and enjoyed a delicious breakfast of homemade granola, yogurt, bread & jam, eggs, fruit, and pancakes. We even had time to take a walk through the gardens surrounding the hotel, and spot a few giant tortoises and lizards before heading off for the day (something you can only do on a Galapagos Land Tour)! Shortly after we were picked up by our driver and guide to depart for our day visit to Bartolome Island - one of the most beautiful Islands in the Galapagos.
Our navigation to the island was 2 hours through smooth waters, during which we saw dolphins, manta rays, turtles, and even a whale shark! When we arrived to the island we climbed to the top to get a scenic view of the island before heading out on a snorkeling adventure. We saw a penguin, sea crabs, and a lot of sea lions – all really cool!
Day 3: North Seymour is a beautiful island with lots of beautiful wildlife. After breakfast we were picked up by our driver and guide and taken to our boat for our morning departure to North Seymour. Today’s navigation was less than an hour through calm seas once again (we have had really good weather during our trip).
North Seymour is full of wildlife and we saw blue footed boobies, friggat birds, and lots of land iguanas. Once again we saw sea lions, and they were much closer to us this time! During our afternoon snorkel activity we swam by schools and schools of colorful fish, as well as other marine animals such as octopus, small jellies, and starfish. Another lovely day!
This evening we enjoyed a delicious Dinner at our hotel, swam in the pool, and went tortoise - spotting again (it's so fun)!
Day 4: Santa Cruz | Our beautiful boutique hotel is located on the island of Santa Cruz – one of the most beautiful (and accessible islands) in the Galapagos. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast at the hotel before meeting our guide for a journey through the highlands of the island.
At our boutique hotel we have many giant Tortoises, but today we headed deeper into the highlands to discover even more of them. We visited two large craters, walked through lava tunnels, and saw lots and lots of Tortoises!
In the evening we continued on to the fish market in the town and spent some time visiting the many souvenir shops. We also stopped by Charles Darwin Station to learn about his finches and other studied species.
Day 5: Santa Fe | is the Island known for sea lions, and is one of the best places in the entire Galapagos to swim with the sea lions. The navigation to the island was 2 hours and we had both overland and underwater activities planned for us once we arrived.
The terrain on Santa Fe was very beautiful, and we saw many birds, iguanas, and sea lions. While snorkeling we saw huge schools of colorful fish, as well as a sea turtle!
The Galapagos has 7 large islands and 12 smaller islands, for a total of 19 islands. During our visit we have visited 5 of them (Baltra, Santa cruise, north Seymour, Bartolome, Santa Fe) and it has been an amazing experience.
Day 6: | Baltra to Home Today was the last day in the Galapagos, enjoying a delicious breakfast before packing up our bags and heading home. As always, you are sad when a good trip comes to the end. Our time in the Galapagos has been a beautiful experience, and I already can’t wait to come back again in the near future!