Tour: 10-Day Galapagos SUP Tour
Nestled high in the Andes, Quito will take your breath away, both literally and figuratively! This is a great city to spend time exploring. If you’re in a cultural mood, head to the Old Town to stroll through the magnificent cathedrals and take in the colonial architecture of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. El Panecillo or 'the Little Bread Loaf,' is located high atop a hill in the Old Town and is a major Quito attraction boasting a panoramic view of the city. Museums are scattered throughout the New and Old Town as well as local artisan markets that are great for picking up souvenirs. The New Town is teeming with cafes and restaurants and is a vibrant mix of locals, expats, and fellow travelers.
If you’re interested in seeing more of Ecuador, then a day tour to places like Otavalo Market, Mindo or Papallacta Hot Springs are all possible! This small country is easy to get around, just tell us what you want to do and we’ll suggest some ideas for your pre-Galapagos travels!
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included.
From Quito, the Galapagos Islands are still more than 800 miles / 1400km away. The flight there makes a quick stop in Guayaquil. Landing in the Galapagos, chances are the first wildlife you’ll spot may be some iguanas on Baltra Island, where the airport is.
It is a bus / ferry / van or taxi combo of vehicles to get you to Puerto Ayora, the biggest town in the Galapagos Islands. Crossing over Santa Cruz Island you’ll get an idea of the diverse landscapes these remote islands have to offer. Get settled into your hotel and head out for lunch in the Galapagos!
This afternoon you will enjoy your first SUP adventure. Beginners or novices can expect some tips from your Guide on how to get the most out of your SUP experience. If anyone prefers to explore by kayak instead of SUP, let us know ahead of time and we’ll have everything ready for you.
Devine Bay is a protected, sheltered area that is perfect for our first stand-up paddleboard adventure. Once everyone has the hang of their SUP, we’ll explore the cove. You can expect to spot a range of unique wildlife here, such as marine iguanas, booby birds, sally lightfoot crabs, lava herons or other birds.
Not far away, down a short trail is a place called Las Grietas. Perhaps the best swimming hole in the Galapagos Islands, you’ll often find that it’s locals-only here, or only a few other tourists. Some clambering over lava rocks may be required to get to the crystal clear waters, but it is well worth it.
After your first day of paddle boarding (or kayaking) and swimming, head back into town to clean up and enjoy some Galapagos nightlife after dinner!
Breakfast and Lunch Included.
Get the day started right, with a bit of a workout as you visit a traditional sugar cane press. At El Trapiche you’ll learn how sugar cane is extracted, and even how it is distilled. For the adults, perhaps a little sip of Galapagos moonshine to get your day started!
When it comes to the wildlife of the Galapagos, the slow-moving giants of the highlands are what most people want to see. Giant Tortoises roam free in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island, you’ll have an opportunity to walk amongst these giants and maybe take a selfie or two. The lush cloud forest type landscape of the highlands is a big contrast to what you experience down in Puerto Ayora. While in the highlands you can keep your eyes open looking for some other special species such as the Galapagos Mockingbird or perhaps a Galapagos Hawk, one of few predators on the islands.
For your afternoon adventure, Tortuga Bay is home to one of the largest and most famous Galapagos beaches. It is also home to some big marine iguanas! If lucky, you may even spot some baby sharks wading in the shallow waters too. A perfect place to SUP!
Tortuga Bay is actually split into two sides. One is a wide-open beach exposed to the surf and swell of the ocean. Beautiful, but things can be a little rough at times. Walking down to the end of the beach, around some mangroves, you come to a secluded and sheltered bay with smooth waters ideal for exploring by SUP or kayak. As many bird species, and small rays and sharks, like to hang out around mangrove areas, you never know what you’ll spot on each SUP outing in the Galapagos.
This evening you’re free to make your own dinner plans. Perhaps a freshly caught meal at the lively fish market, or a quiet dinner at one of the finer restaurants in the Galapagos. Your choice!
Brreakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included.
A morning boat ride to Isabela Island will take us 2-3 hours. Along the way, it is possible to spot whales or dolphins out at sea. Fingers crossed that we get lucky! Isabela Island is the largest island in the archipelago, and often becomes the favorite for many travelers due to its smaller town and laidback lifestyle.
Once we arrive in Puerto Villamil, we’ll get to our hotels and then take a short journey to a nearby wetland that is home to pink flamingos and pintail ducks close to Isabela’s Giant Tortoise Breeding Center. At the breeding center we’ll see giant tortoises in all stages of development. From tiny babies that are just hatched, to full grown adults who are helping to re-populate some endangered and threatened species, the center has almost a thousand giant tortoises getting prepared for release into the wild!
One of the most intriguing animals of the Galapagos Islands is the Galapagos Penguin – the only penguin found north of the Equator. Our afternoon adventure will take us out to Tintoreras, also called Shark Alley, which is an isolated islet and popular iguana-nesting site that’s home to hundreds of marine iguanas, including some potentially very colorful ones. Your guide will be sure to tell you what makes them appear in different colors.
Tintoreras also happens to be a fantastic snorkel destination. The calm bay near the trailhead always surprises us with great sea life, ranging from tropical fish and sea urchins, to close encounters with sea turtles, sea lions, star fish, rays, penguins, or even octopus! If you have a waterproof camera, you’re going to want it this afternoon!
Breakfast and Lunch Included.
On this Galapagos SUP tour, you’re in or on the water a lot, so today we’ll take a water break and head into the highlands for the best hike in the Galapagos - we’re heading up a volcano!
Sierra Negra Volcano is one of the most active volcanoes in Galapagos; its last eruption was in October 2005. As we hike to the perimeter of the caldera, we’ll be on the lookout for bird species found only in the highlands like the bright red Vermillion Flycatcher and the elusive short-eared owl. Depending on the time of year, from the starting point up to the caldera rim it can often be wet, misty and muddy. By the time we reach the rim, we’ll be met with a nine-kilometer view that stretches across one of the most active calderas in the world. We’ll continue on through some vegetation before a drastic landscape change occurs approaching the vast lava fields of Volcan Chico. From here you get a lookout that boasts breathtaking views reaching to the north of Isabela. Take a break and soak up the scenery before starting the journey back. Expect a late afternoon return to town, which will be enough time to clean up and venture down to the water for an optional sunset SUP or swim.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included.
The ride out to Los Tuneles is quite an adventure, requiring some good navigating around potentially choppy waters before getting into an isolated area that serves up one of the snorkelling gems of the Galapagos archipelago.
Entering Los Tuneles is only possible at certain tides, so today’s schedule of activities will be dependent on Mother Nature. Once you reach Los Tuneles you’ll see an intricate network of arches, islets and tunnels, all formed from past lava eruptions.
Our main activity here is exploring the water channels created by this fascinating landscape. Everything from sleeping reef sharks to hungry sea turtles, colorful starfish and even tiny seahorses are found here! In terms of biodiversity, this is one of the very best spots to snorkel in the Galapagos.
After checking the currents and water conditions, your guide will decide on the best place for a SUP adventure today. Our goal today is to try some SUP surfing! The massive beach right in town in Puerto Villamil can offer up some perfect conditions is the seas are right. If you’ve never tried SUP surfing ,well it is a bit like real surfing, but you’re on a more stable board, and you still use your paddle to help steer and control your ride! It can take some getting used to, but it is SUPer fun.
When you’ve had enough time in the water, we’ll head back into town to dry off. You’ll have some free time to relax with a book, or grab a cold drink. If you want to explore more, then a snorkel trip at Concha de Perla or a bike ride to the Wall of Tears are both great options.
Optional Activity: Wall of Tears
Rent a bike in town then step back in time to visit the Wall of Tears. Built by convicts and still standing over 50 years later, this landmark is a remnant of Isabela’s penal colony past.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Included.
Does it get any better than a morning SUP and snorkel in the Galapagos? We don’t think so, especially on beautiful Isabela Island.
We’ll say farewell to Isabela this morning after hanging out with some sea lions that may be curious about joining us on our stand up paddleboards. We’ll also have to wave goodbye to the Galapagos Penguins and other wildlife that likes to hang out in Isabela Bay. But where one adventure ends, another begins, and we’re off to San Cristobal for some more snorkeling, and a bike ride!
The flight to San Cristobal only takes 20-30 minutes, and the airport on San Cristobal Island is only a 5 minute drive from town – super convenient! We’ll have some lunch and get settled in to our hotels before choosing a bike for our downhill ride. The highlights of the bike adventure today are visiting La Soledad and El Progresso, while biking down past some farms where locals grow fruits such as oranges, bananas and avocados.
We’ll bike our way out to La Loberia on the edge of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. This is a great place to snorkel with sea lions, which are found in great abundance around the beaches on San Cristobal Island. After a fairly action-packed day, we’ll slow things down as the sun begins to set and then head out for a nice, relaxing local meal in town.
Breakfast and Lunch Included.
There are numerous beaches right in town on San Cristobal, and we’ll launch our SUPs from the port then head out towards Ochoa Beach. The waters are perfectly clear right here in town, so tropical fish, sea lions, golden rays, sea turtles and other marine life may be spotted as we paddle our way along the coast.
Today is a true water today, as after our paddle board adventure, we’re going to head down the coast a bit further, before heading over to Kicker Rock. Along the coast we’ll have very good opportunities to get close to Frigate birds and the funny looking Blue-footed booby birds.
Also called Leon Dormido, Kicker Rock is known for snorkelling with big marine life. Reef sharks and hammerhead sharks are frequently seen here, while it is not uncommon to see dozens of sea turtles or big pods of spotted eagle rays swimming in the water here. If Kicker Rock were a building, it would have almost 50 floors high! Along the edge and through a channel of this drastic compact ash formation, we’ll be on the hunt for all sorts of sea creatures. If we do spot any sharks, don’t worry – they’re friendly just like all the other wildlife here!
You’ll have the evening free to wander around town and make your own dinner plans. You’ll also want to plan out your activities for the flex day tomorrow, as you’ll need to make any bookings ahead of time if you plan to do a day tour.
DIVING: Occasionally, the option to dive is available. Please inquire in advance.
Breakfast and Dinner Included.
Today is a “choose your own adventure” type of day in the Galapagos.
You can choose to be as active as you want. If you want to grab a bike to explore town, go ahead! If you want to head out in a kayak or paddleboard to check out the bay, we’ll help get things organized.
To explore further afield, there are many options we can help you book. Espanola Island is known for great encounters with Nazca and Blue-footed boobies. It also has fantastic snorkelling and is home to the Waved Albatross during part of the year.
You can also choose to explore more of San Cristobal Island. El Junco is a lake in the highlands, where you can see frigate birds, while Puerto Chino is a beautiful sandy beach on the other side of the island that can be reached by taxi. There is also a small Galapagos Tortoise center you can visit on the way there, if you need more tortoise time! There is also the option to return to Kicker Rock again and do some diving.
Whatever option you choose, we’ll all get back together in the evening for a final dinner in the Galapagos. You’ve paddled your way around the best islands of the Galapagos, seen amazing wildlife and explored parts of the islands that aren’t visited by cruise tourists. Sadly, tomorrow you have to begin your journey home, but that means you’re also that much closer to deciding on where to go on your next adventure!
Squeeze in some souvenir shopping, head to the beach for one last swim or visit the Interpretation Center to learn about the history and mystery of the archipelago. This educational center explains how the islands were discovered and what makes them so special. You can learn about Charles Darwin’s visit and the present day efforts to protect this amazing World Heritage site. There’s a short hike to Tijeretas, a panoramic lookout over the town and Kicker Rock, for those who are interested.
After the short morning exploration, you’ll fly back to the mainland to prepare for the next part of your travels, or get ready for a flight back home. If you need help booking some day tours or a hotel night in Quito, we’re happy to help you out!