Up Close and Personal in the Galapagos Islands

Group of people on standup paddle boards in the Galapagos Islands

There are two distinct Galapagos Island travel experiences. You can travel by land, island-hopping while staying in small towns and unique lodges. This experience offers a more immersive adventure on each island and maximizes your time. Alternatively, small-ship cruises take you to further corners of the archipelago, but at the expense of time on terra firma. Galapagos cruises remain a perennial favorite, but with the expanding variety of accommodations and restaurants on each inhabited island, our excitement for land-based tours is growing.
While land travel in the Galapagos has evolved to include restaurants with fresh menus and luxury accommodations, the largely shoreless islands, do not offer easy access to watch marine iguanas sway past in the water or rays glide underfoot. 
Southern Explorations’ Galapagos SUP Adventure offers both priceless experiences on the water and organic travel memories made at the easy pace of land travel. The Galapagos Islands are famously transformative and in that spirit, this 9-day activity-packed tour not only offers plenty of opportunities to see sea lions, giant tortoises, and one-of-a-kind birds like the Blue-footed Booby in a different light, it directly benefits the local community and economy.  
For first-time visitors, it can take a minute to get used to the day-to-day presence of the animals that call the islands home. 97% of the Galapagos is a national park and this protected status affords unprecedented proximity to wildlife. Casual bird observers become dedicated bird watchers on their first day on San Cristobal Island after a key visit to the Interpretation Center and a hike up through the lava beds with soaring frigate birds gobbling and drumming overhead.  
The next day, we head to the yellow sand and clear blue waters of the Northern coast for a day of paddleboarding and snorkeling with sea lions, rays, and sea turtles. 
From San Cristobal, we travel to Isabela Island to take our boards to the calm waters of Tintoreras where marine iguanas, sea turtles, and adorable Galapagos penguins weave past us in the water. Youll be able to see a different side of the Galapagos by bicycle as we ride along the coast encountering mangroves, lava tubes, and a flamingo lagoon. The majesty of Isabela reaches up into the highlands where a hike along the Sierra Negra Volcano’s caldera turns into an immersion class on the geologic history of the islands. The views from the edge of the second largest caldera in the world is a classroom not to be forgotten.
From Isabela, we hop to Santa Cruz Island to see the famous lava channels by paddleboard. Its an epic day culminating with a trip to watch giant tortoises lumber by noisily, unperturbed by marveling hikers. 
True to Southern Explorations style, weve connected with local experts to curate a local-led 3-hour food tour that not only connects you to the history and culture of the Galapagos Islands but its future and strength as a nature preserve. 
The next day we spend our last full day together on our paddleboards in Tortuga Bay where even our veteran Galapagos guides – who became island experts back in the day when the accommodations were barebones and each meal started with welp–I-gotta-eat-something,” – still gasp at the sight of the sharp, effortless dive of a blue-footed booby hunting beneath them.
This Galapagos SUP tour is a one-of-a-kind hybrid of land and water experiences that is both active and easygoing. Limited to just 6-people, the tours small size allows for agile hops from island to island and from marvel to marvel. If youve ever wanted to see the Galapagos Islands differently, we definitely recommend booking this amazing adventure with us.

Giant Tortoises on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos