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Discover the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands in this unique tour. Discover the coastlines of several islands from the water with stand up paddle boards, exploring caverns, beaches and mangroves. Snorkel with rays, sea lions, and sea turtles and keep an eye out for penguins, marine iguanas and blue footed boobies! Hike along lava rock trails amongst a variety of bird life, and stand at the edge of the second largest volcano crater in the world. This up-close-and-personal tour of these famous remote islands will give you a greater understanding of the beauty and remote wildness they’re famous for.
Itinerary
Day 1: Arrive Quito

Upon your arrival, a Southern Explorations representative meets you at the airport and transfers you to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional tours to explore the city, including museum visits, and other sites of interests.

 

Day 2: Quito - San Cristobal (SUP Darwin Bay, Interpretation Center)

In the morning, we pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to San Cristobal Island. After arrival, we’ll transfer to the hotel in town followed by early lunch arrangements.  Then we set up our gear and after a safety briefing we hop on our SUPs and paddle along the coast of San Cristobal.  Be on the lookout for pelicans, sea lions, sea turtles and along the rocky coast, you’ll see nesting sites of noddy terns and swallow tail gulls.  We continue along the coast to Darwin Bay, the site where the HMS Beagle landed when Darwin first arrived to the Galapagos.  When we are finished explore this area, a water taxi will transport us back to town.  From there we continue walking to visit the Galapagos Interpretation Center to learn about the unique wildlife, geology, history, and social dynamics of the Galapagos. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner and a beautiful sunset.  (B,L,D)


Day 3: San Cristobal - Northern Coast & Beach Time (SUP & Snorkeling)

After breakfast, meet your guide for a full day out on the water for our SUP exploration along the Northern Coast. We travel a short distance by speedboat to visit Playa Ochoa and then continue to Isla Lobos.  This will be the starting point of today’s SUP adventure as we hop on our boards and begin paddling along the coastal bays, along beaches coves  of Isla Lobos. This is another wonderful day filled with stunning beauty and wildlife like blue footed boobies, giant rays, frigate birds, sea lions, and sea turtles. In the afternoon we continue by boat to visit a world-class snorkeling site, Kicker rock, the final remains of a tuff cone rising almost 500 feet out of the ocean.  Here, we lookout for some imposing but harmless sharks: hammerheads, Galapagos, Silky and Black tip sharks are all possible sightings!  You’ll also see reef fish and nesting birds along the rock.  After another memorable day in the water exploring the seas, we head back to port. Enjoy another dinner on San Cristobal tonight. (B,L,D)


Day 4: Fly San Cristobal to Isabela (SUP Tintoreras & Biking)
After breakfast, we say goodbye to San Cristobal and take a quick, 40-minute flight aboard a small aircraft to Isabela Island. Once we’ve arrived and settled in, we’ll jump into our activity and  SUP along the coastline and around coves, islets and mangroves, home to the endemic Galapagos penguin. We continue padding through small islets known as Las Tintoreras, where we see hundreds of marine iguanas, reef sharks, scenic beaches and lava formations.  We can also try snorkeling around this beautiful place.  After lunch, enjoy an easy bike ride along a number of ecosystems, including white sand beaches, mangrove forests and a lava tube cave. Spot giant tortoises, flamingos and other wildlife and birds on the way. The bike tour ends at Muro de las Lagrimas – Wall of Tears – a wall built by prisoners when the island was a penal colony. The evening is open for wandering along Puerto Villamil’s tranquil sand streets. Once you’re back in town, the rest of the afternoon is free to enjoy the gorgeous white sand beach of Isabela followed by a beautiful sunset. (B,L,D)

Day 5: Isabela (Volcano Hiking)
Today’s adventures takes us inland to another important region of the Galapagos Islands: Volcanic Highlands. After breakfast, head to the highlands for a drive toward Sierra Negra and at 6 miles in diameter, this crater is the second largest active caldera in the world. Continue on foot for a trek through the geologically magical landscape of the island’s highlands. Hike through vibrantly colored mountaintops full of sulfur deposits, fumaroles and lava formations. As you hike the perimeter of the caldera, enjoy panoramic views and be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands, such as the bright red vermillion flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl.  Continue on to traverse the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico en route for a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching north of Isabela.  After the hike, you’ll have time to enjoy your last afternoon on Isabela Island by relaxing on the beautiful white sand beaches. (B,L,D)

Day 6: Isabela - Santa Cruz (SUP Lava Channels & Giant Tortoises)
We travel by speedboat to Santa Cruz Island, keeping an eye out for dolphins along the way. Today we’ll get back to Stand up Paddle boarding to explore the unique landscape nearby Punta Estrada and Divine Bay. As we SUP through towering lava walls, we see rays and white-tipped reef sharks below us in the serene, turquoise water. We can also paddle right up to the fearless blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, herons, sally lightfoot crabs, and marine iguanas perched along the cliffs.  In the afternoon, head up the Santa Cruz highlands to El Chato nature reserve, home of a giant species of Galapagos sea tortoise. Hike amongst these gigantic, gentle giants that can live to 175 years old. You’ll also see pintail ducks, finches, egrets, and the vermillion flycatcher. You’ll explore lava tunnels formed by hot magma. Rumors say that pirates once hid gold stolen from Spanish ships in these caves and channels! If there is enough time we may visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where local scientists rear endemic plants and animals for educational, scientific, and conservation purposes. We’ll learn about the ongoing conservation efforts to protect the future of the Galapagos. (B,L,D)

Day 7: Santa Cruz (SUP Tortuga Bay)
Today, we take a short hike along a paved path through a distinctive dry cacti forest to the stunning, pristine beach of Tortuga Bay. Along the way, you will see many native birds, lizards, and plants. Emerge from the forest onto the spectacular Tortuga Bay, home of one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos. Soft, white, fine sand and pristine turquoise waters welcome us for a perfect and relaxed day.  Once we’ve reached the cove on the far side of Tortuga Bay where our SUPs will be waiting for us, we have the opportunity to paddle around a mangrove ecosystem and lava rock formations to see rays, baby sharks, herons, shorebirds and marine iguanas!  This calm spot also offers the opportunity to relax and enjoy a last memorable day in Santa Cruz. Enjoy a farewell dinner tonight on your last night in the Enchanted Islands (B,L,D)

Day 8: Santa Cruz - Baltra - Quito

After breakfast you are transferred to Baltra Island, where you bid farewell to the Galapagos and board your return flight to Quito. Upon your afternoon arrival back to Quito, you’ll be met and transferred to your hotel. If you wish, you may fly home on a red eye flight tonight. Please check with us to ensure the timing works. (B)



Day 9: Quito - Home
An SE representative picks you up at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for your international flight home, marking the end of SE services. Trip extensions to other regions or extra days can also be arranged. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

The great weather of the Galapagos Islands makes them a fantastic destination for travel year-round. Every month of the year is a good time to enjoy a tour of the region. The Galapagos Islands have a subtropical climate that is almost completely determined by sea currents. Although most believe the Galapagos to be a very hot destination, the cool water currents in the area keep the climate more temperate year-round. The islands’ equatorial location ensures twelve hours of sunlight daily, all year long. The mild variations in weather from month to month result in an overall climate of warm days, cool nights and low humidity. Anytime is a great time to travel to the Galapagos; while visiting one can expect to see plenty of sunshine, blue skies and a possible chance of light rain.

There are two seasons in the Galapagos:

  • The hot or rainy season arrives with the coming of the warm Panama current. The warmest months are December through June with temperatures ranging from 72-90°F (22-32°C), with February and March being the hottest and sunniest. The sea is at its warmest (in the 70°F range) and tends to be calmer during this time. Although the islands receive slightly more rainfall during these months, most of the lower elevations remain quite arid. Expect blue skies and sunshine and with a chance of short afternoon showers.
  • July through November is the dry or garua season, which begins with the arrival of cold ocean currents. One can expect cooler temperatures and a light mist in the morning during these months. The skies are also a bit cloudier and air temperatures a bit cooler, in the range of 60-75°F (15-24°C). The garua is a mist that forms in the highlands, providing moisture and usually tapering off by midday, leaving skies slightly overcast or sunny for the afternoon. The air temperature can be slightly lower, but the Equator is still a warm place to visit. During this time of year a cold ocean current from the south, called the Antarctic Humboldt current, causes the water temperature to drop slightly, ranging from 60°F- 72°F (15-22°C).

Within both seasons, there are other variants, like altitude, that affect the weather.
The lowest point of elevation is sea level and the highest is Wolf Volcano, Isabela Island (5,600ft or 1,710m). There are seven vegetation zones ranging from arid coastal zones to evergreen cloud forests to treeless shrubless pampa zones, all of which are affected by moisture levels, temperature and sunlight. During the garua season, the coast is very dry while the highlands are much wetter. The hot season may or may not have a rainy period which normally lasts four to six weeks, or in the event of El Nino, a longer period. During the hot season, the coastal zones remain arid. Prevailing winds from the southeast keep the southern sides of the major islands much moister then the northern sides, which fall into a rain shadow resulting in the arid zones reaching a much higher elevation. The months of May and December are changeover periods and weather and sea temperatures in these months tend to vary from year to year depending on the change in the water currents. Occasionally, one will feel humidity, predominantly on the south side of major islands. Compared to the humidity levels in the Amazon or the US South, the humidity in the Galapagos is very low and will not disturb activities.

Snorkeling is an activity offered on all Galapagos trips.
Wetsuits, available onboard most cruises and for all land tours, are recommended June through November. Though sea temperatures vary significantly from island to island, generally all travelers will use a wetsuit during this time. Snorkeling in shallow waters offshore or in protective coves tends to be warmer. Waters to the north, near Genovesa are warmed by the Panama Current, whereas snorkeling off the western island of Isabela is always chilly due to the cold Cromwell undercurrent. The Humboldt Current, or the South Equatorial Current, brings cold sub-Antarctic water that flows through the archipelago eight or nine months a year keeping sea temperatures low. One will experience a variance in sea temperatures while snorkeling on any trip during any time of the year. During the hot season, travelers tend to spend more time in the water, especially at midday when the temperatures are the hottest and wildlife is less active. Snorkeling is an optional activity and those who are not interested in snorkeling have other options.

Sea Conditions are a concern of many cruise travelers.
All Galapagos vessels are small; the largest accommodates only 100 passengers. Naturally, some movement will be felt on all vessels regardless of the time of year or the size of the vessel. The seas around the Galapagos are generally shallow and despite being the crossroads of several currents, the waters are not terribly rough. The seas are at their calmest January through April. December, May and June are transitional months during which one will experience relatively calm seas, though it varies year to year depending on the shift in the currents. July through November, one will find choppier seas, with August through October being the roughest. Certain vessels are more stable than others and cabin location can also help avoid seasickness. Most travel is done at night while passengers are sleeping with the only exception being the short midday transit (two hours or less). During the day, vessels dock in calm waters near shore. Passengers spend most of the day on land or snorkeling. These factors lessen the risk of seasickness. We recommend that you bring over-the-counter or prescription motion sickness medication, though many cruisers discover that the seas are much calmer than anticipated. If you are concerned about motion sickness, please contact us for more details on how to select the right vessel for you.
 

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN70-841.0
FEB74-861.0
MAR73-882.0
APR72-861.5
MAY72-820.8
JUN66-780.3
JUL67-760.5
AUG64-750.3
SEP62-750.5
OCT64-770.3
NOV66-780.5
DEC68-800.5

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

QUITO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-664.5
FEB50-665.1
MAR50-666.0
APR51-666.9
MAY51-664.9
JUN49-671.9
JUL49-670.8
AUG49-671.0
SEP49-683.1
OCT49-675.0
NOV49-674.3
DEC50-664.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches
 

Specials >> Galapagos Islands Land Tours

Enjoy these Fall travel promotions in Ecuador and the Galapagos during September, October and the...
Get 50% off all 4 star hotel upgrade rates on your Galapagos land based tours when booking a group...

SUP The Magazine - Galapagos Adventure

Pricing
Starting at
$7,196

$7196    Galapagos SUP Program (4 Travelers)
$6812    Galapagos SUP Program (5 Travelers)
$6114    Galapagos SUP Program (6 Travelers)
$5995    Galapagos SUP Program (7 Travelers)
$5905    Galapagos SUP Program (8 Travelers)

$590      Galapagos SUP Single Supplement (Accommodations) - subject to availability 
Single supplement is the additional cost of a single traveler not sharing a room in double occupancy.



Included in tour cost
  • Paddle Boards
  • 2 nights' accommodations in Quito or Guayaquil
  • All land and sea transportation during the itinerary
  • Local Quito or Guayaquil representative
  • Mountain biking gear
  • Snorkeling gear
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
Excluded from tour cost
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Domestic airfare to and from Galapagos Islands
  • Wetsuit rental, recommended May - November
  • Hiking boots and other necessary sports gear

SUP The Magazine - Galapagos Adventure

Trip Dates
Friday, November 30, 2018 to Saturday, December 8, 2018
Sold Out
Quito
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Isabela Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
San Cristobal Island
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Santa Cruz Island - Puerto Ayora
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

Southern Explorations was outstanding from start to finish. Every facet of their service was friendly, polished and organized. I couldn't help but feel in the months leading up to the trip that it would be very well organized because of the impressive correspondence with Southern Explorations. The operations staff was informative and very helpful. Any questions that I emailed them were answered by the next day. Galapagos is in itself a magical destination, but one of the many things I'm telling everyone back home is how perfectly everything seemed to unfold with our guided tour. Moment by moment our activities, experiences, sights and travel arrangements just seemed to mesh seamlessly.I'm well-travelled, but this is my first time writing a travel review. I understand the benefit of constructive criticism, but I honestly can't think of one thing to complain about. Southern Explorations all the way! - Liam Pigott, Canada (Galapagos Island Land)


We had a wonderful trip. Fabricio really made sure that everything was carried out without a hitch. We greatly appreciate all that he did and shared with us. We have some wonderful memories. Thank you Southern Explorations for making our trip possible. - Cunningham Family, Washington (Galapagos Island Land)


 

Our family had the most wonderful adventure in the Galapagos! The travel reps at Southern Explorations and especially our guide - Felipe - worked hard to make sure that all our needs were met. we were able to sit back and enjoy a most wonderful ride. - Grace Ott (Galapagos Island Land)


We were impressed with the initial specific and prompt information given us. Our whole trip reflected this professional, attentive response. I think we saw the best that the Galapagos has to offer whether it be the geography, the land wildlife or the sea life. Our guide, Alfredo, showed deep knowledge of all these things and helped us appreciate these varied, often strange and mostly beautiful islands. - Carol Saunders, Colorado (Galapagos Island Land)


 

We learned a ton, we had a blast at each stop, we had excellent guides throughout, and every thing felt necessary to us. Felipe kept us going in a fun and interesting way, was always helpful in answering our questions and enthusiastically leading us through our experience - offering tons of information and able assistance throughout. Your staff in Seattle was tremendous, patiently answering all of our questions in a timely and complete fashion. - Jeff Schneider (Galapagos Island Land)


The best guided tour I've ever taken. Our guide was well-educated and delightful. The restaurants served local dishes with fresh ingredients that North Americans could appreciate. We had a great time. - Kris Stred, Washington (Galapagos Island Land)


The guide was great. He was knowledgeable about the natural history and the Darwiniana. (That's what I came for.) He was a great snorkeling guide (that's for and what my wife enjoyed most). He chose restaurants and seafood (our favorite) well. And then set up a basketball game with local friends for our son on the last day. We've done a lot of international travel with my own professional activities.   -Bill Hyde, Colorado (Galapagos Island Land)


I just want to emphasize the fact that Southern Explorations was so organized, so accommodating, that I could not ask for a better experience! We are already thinking about joining SE for Peru, Machu Picchu, and the Amazon.   - Phil Merta (Galapagos Island Land)


The trip to the Galapagos was amazing! It almost seemed like we were getting a private tour of the islands, since we barely ran into any other tour groups. I also liked the fact that we did some activities that not all tourists seem to do, so that we have some very unique experiences. I am also extremely glad that I did some of the trip extensions (Quito city tour and Middle of the World, Cotopaxi, and the Bellavista Cloud Forest) before I went to the Galapagos. It really made me appreciate Ecuador and helped make my trip all the more unforgettable, especially climbing Cotopaxi. Everything ran smoothly and efficiently, and the guides were fonts of knowledge, attentive, and extremely personable. I could not have dreamed of a better vacation! - Marie Gardner, Virginia (Galapagos Island Land & Ecuador)


One of the best, if not the very best, holidays I have ever had. I will definitely choose Southern Explorations for my future trips to South America.   - Yelena Belozyorova, England (Galapagos Island Land)


“I can’t say enough great things about my trip. I have certainly praised Southern Explorations to my friends, family and co-workers. What a wonderful experience. It was fun, exciting, relaxing, and informative and I can’t say that I had any bad experiences. I am ready to go on another trip. If anything it wasn’t long enough. I could stay their forever!!! Marisa was wonderful and did such a great job on the planning and making sure everything was great for our trip before, during and after. - Teresa Leamy, Vermont (Galapagos Island Land)


The Galapagos trip has truly been one of my most favorite trips ever. I absolutely loved the amazing wildlife. Snorkeling with the sea lions and the gigantic sea turtles were the top highlights. The people were so unbelievably kind and friendly to us. I'm a born and raised city girl so I still can't believe I sat on a beach in Isabela and watched the sunset with a beer in my hand while sea lions come and go next to me. I honestly believe that I will go back to the Galapagos in a few years again. This time I'll bring my nephew and I will definitely use Southern Explorations again. Thanks so much for everything. - Leslie Ung, California (Galapagos Island Land)


Thanks for your help in planning and arranging our wonderful experience in The Galapagos Islands. Our family had a great time on the Multi-Sport Adventure and will always treasure our memories of the island experience and our fabulous guide, Andreas. - Ron, Terry, Evan, Jessy and Roxane Dorn (Galapagos Island Land)


I can't imagine trying to arrange all of the transfers and transportation. It's definitely worth going on a pre-arranged trip. I'd have no idea where to begin arranging all of the details. The whole trip flowed quite well.   - Julie Johnson, Florida (Galapagos Island Land)

Galapagos Islands Land Tours - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer land tours that are based from one, two, three, or all four inhabited islands. Some trips include day tours to nearby uninhabited islands, while others explore the inhabited islands in greater depth. The Galapagos is an incredible place, and no matter which islands or visitor sites you end up seeing, you will be impressed by the abundance of wildlife and unique landscapes. Our land tours vary in level of accommodation and level of activity. Contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator for more details on the best trip for you.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! While cruise itineraries are set by the Galapagos National Park, we can add extra days in the Galapagos or extensions in mainland Ecuador. Contact an Adventure Travel Coordinator for recommendations.
Q: When is the best time to go to the Galapagos?
A: With abundant wildlife and pleasant weather year round, there isn’t a bad time to go to the Galapagos. You can find a wider selection of trip options by avoiding the winter holidays, spring break and the summer months when most people are free to travel and plan vacations.
Q: What is the weather like?
A: The Galapagos has a sub-tropical climate with temperatures ranging from the mid 60s to high 80s throughout the year. There are two seasons, which caused by different prevailing ocean currents. The warmer, wetter season runs from December to May, and a cooler, dryer season takes over from June – November. Even in the wet season, rain is generally confined to brief afternoon showers and shouldn’t disrupt your trip. You can find more information about what to expect under the ‘Weather’ tab on each Galapagos trip.
Q: What is a typical day like on a Galapagos land-based tour?
A: This can vary based on what type of land tour you choose. All trips will have full days with guided exploration of the island you are staying on, or a day trip to a nearby island via speedboat. While you will be busy most of the day, you will have some time to relax or enjoy the town on your own. Please contact us for more details about your specific itinerary.
Q: How physically fit do I need to be to enjoy a Galapagos trip?
A: While your days in the islands will be full, our Galapagos trips are not particularly strenuous. As long as you are able to walk a couple of miles at a leisurely pace and comfortably navigate uneven terrain, you will be able to enjoy most of our land tours. Some of our more adventurous multisport tours include activities like biking, kayaking, and longer hikes. Please check the physical ratings on our trip pages or contact your Adventure Travel Coordinator to see if a particular itinerary is a good fit for you. 
Q: How much time do we need to visit the Galapagos?
A: Due to the amount of time it takes to get to the Galapagos, we recommend our travelers plan for at least 5 days in the islands. Our shortest land tour runs for four days, but most of our options are 5 to 8 days. You must arrive in Ecuador at least one day prior to your cruise in order to catch your Galapagos flight.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: The Galapagos Islands are relatively busy year round. As a rule, the further in advance you can plan, the more options you will have. For the best selection, plan at least six to nine months in advance throughout the year, and close to a year ahead of time for anything over the Christmas holiday season or May through July. 
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies. Please note that each cruise has its own cancellation policy in addition to our own. This will be detailed in your itinerary.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: The guides on all of our land tours are experienced, fluent in English and hold a degree in a related field. We tend to use the same guides as they are accustomed to the trips we offer. Please note that many of the best guides in the Galapagos now choose to skip formal certification process that defines the level of each guide because of the high costs and the time it demands. Because of this, the designations of Level I, II, III are no longer an accurate indicator of the quality of your guide.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: Most of our land tours include 3–star accommodations that are basic, but clean and comfortable with en suite bathrooms. We also offer resort-style packages that include five-star accommodations, such as Galapagos Safari Camp, located in the Santa Cruz Highlands. In general, hotel choices in the towns of the Galapagos are limited, but luxury properties are beginning to open to meet growing demand.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: Travelers are responsible for their own international airfare. Internal flights, including Galapagos flights, are quoted separately from our base trip costs. We include your Galapagos airfare in your quote.
Q: How many people are on your tours?
A: Land-based tours typically have a maximum group size of 12 people. There can be up to 16 on boat excursions to other islands. Please note that some group sizes increase to 16 during the holiday season. 
Q: What are the benefits of a land-based itinerary over a cruise?
A: Land-based tours are great for more active travelers who want to stay busy. Some of our land tours include biking and kayaking, as well as longer hikes than those on a cruise. Land tours also give you the opportunity to spend evenings and free time enjoying the island towns.
Q: Can we snorkel, kayak or scuba dive during our trip?
A: Snorkeling will be included almost every day on all Galapagos trips. Kayaking is only permitted in certain areas, as mandated by the Galapagos National Park. Most land tours offer at least one opportunity to kayak during each itinerary. Many land tours also include options to add scuba diving. Be sure to check with your Adventure Travel Coordinator if this is a priority for you. 
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.