Galapagos activity & wildlife vacation, land based

“Our only land based Galapagos vacation tailor made to your needs. Explore 5 islands, stay in island hotels and exercise land legs not just sea ones.”

Highlights

Quito | San Cristobal | Kicker Rock | Isabela Island | Hike to Sierra Negra crater | Santa Cruz | North Seymour | Bartolome | Stay overnight on 3 islands

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this vacation or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Read up on the human history of the Galapagos before you go.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Reasonably active, but tailor made to suit your abilities.
Accomm:
3* hotels.
Included:
Accommodation, some meals, domestic flights, guides, transfers, activities & equipment.
Meals:
Waterfront restaurants charge fortune. Go a few streets back for the real thing.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for own room.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
While they provide one of the best wildlife vacations in the world, the fragile nature of the Galapagos Islands means that each and every visitor should ensure that their visit does everything possible to maintain and preserve this stunning destination. Boats are very closely controlled by the Galapagos National Park Authority, which is one of the great advantages of cruising on the live aboard yachts in the islands. Land based tours of the Galapagos are subject to few such controls and can therefore be a source of some concern to those who care about a, and want to protect, the Galapagos Islands.

This therefore makes the choice of operator all the more important when booking a land-based vacation to the Galapagos instead of a cruise. Our local partners have impeccable credentials in working in sensitive environments and supporting local community projects which ensure responsible, sustainable and positive tourism.

All of your guides on this vacation are fully authorised and trained by the National Park Authority, so that you get the most out of your time on the islands, but also to ensure that the impact of your visit is minimised. The longer your stay on the islands, the better. Fewer flights means less risk of invasive species arriving into the islands and disturbing the unique native species.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

It’s easy to forget that the Galapagos Islands have a significant human population (approximately 25,000), who live alongside the remarkable wildlife species. On a land based trip you are also going to have far more interaction with the human side of the Galapagos Islands, which makes for an arguably more ‘complete’ experience of the Galapagos. Many who travel by cruise boat spend no more than an hour or two in an inhabited town (such as Puerto Ayora), but on this trip, as well as in Puerto Ayora, you will stay in two much quieter towns, more like villages really. The vacation provides direct economic benefit to the inhabitants of the islands, as you stay in small, locally owned and run hotels and inns, eating out in a range of local restaurants.

Our local partners on this tour have both a commitment to the sustainable nature of the trip from a community perspective, as well as extensive experience of working with community projects in the islands. These projects include working with farmers and other workers to support non-exploitative means of income. They have a multi-award winning track record of working hand in hand with both local and indigenous peoples in Ecuador and Galapagos to create outstanding travel experiences which benefit both those in the visited-areas as well as the traveler.

Climate

3 Reviews of Galapagos activity & wildlife vacation, land based

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 05 Mar 2020 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


As most things about the Galapagos Islands are memorable and exciting, it is impossible to identify one particular aspect. However, some of the highlights included: snorkelling with hammerhead sharks and large turtles; observing the numerous sea lions and iguanas that are everywhere; visiting the highlands to see the giant tortoises; seeing penguins on our kayaking trip; the diversity of the landscape from lava tunnels to lush, green vegetation in the highlands; trekking up the Sierra Negra volcano.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Heed the advice to use high factor sunscreen at all times, as being so near the equator, the sun is very intense and will burn you in no time!
Consider spending longer than 8 days on the Galapagos Islands if you would like some lie-ins and time to relax. There is so much to do and see that, in order to fit it all in, we were leaving our hotel virtually every morning between 5.30 and 7.30am.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. As we were land-based we supported the local economy by drinking in local bars and eating in local restaurants. Also, all of our guides were locals and so benefited from having regular work.
All of the locals were very aware of their environment and the need to strike a balance between enjoying the economic benefits of tourism whilst at the same time ensuring that tourism is controlled so does not have a detrimental effect on the environment or the marine life. There are strict rules about what you can and can't bring onto or take from the Galapagos Islands. There are explicit guidelines in terms of the marine life, ie you are not allowed to touch or feed them. At all of our hotels we were provided with purified water in glass jugs, rather than using plastic bottles.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. The vacation of a lifetime!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Diane,

Thank you so much for taking the time to review your vacation to the Galapagos with us, we're delighted to hear you had such a good time. Sounds like your wildlife
experiences were pretty extraordinary, even by Galapagos standards!

We also really appreciate your comments on the sustainability aspects of your vacation, that's something we take extremely seriously, and it's great that you felt your
trip struck the right balance. Staying longer is definitely something we like to encourage in all of our destinations, so that's a very good tip!

I really enjoyed planning your vacation with you, and would love for you to travel with us again some time. Do get in touch if you're looking at another journey to
Latin America (or Spain / Portugal).

Best wishes,

Lucy

Reviewed on 06 Sep 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Very difficult to choose one thing as it was all amazing - probably paddling in the Amazon, and Galapagos and seeing amazing wildlife and snorkelling there

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Make sure you spend as much time as you can in the Amazon and in the Galapagos - you won't run out of things to do and see, and it is always worth having a guide

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes -all the places we stayed in were run/owned by local people, and the guides were local. The lodge in the Amazon was run by the local community. All the lodges we stayed in (Amazon, Mindo adn Otovalo) made great efforts to be sustainable. Great focus on conservation. The only think that wasn't environmentally friendly was the travle (by air and road).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 20 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


All of it ! Surpassed expectations. Micromanagement by competent guides impressive. Just one guide did not speak adequate English ( on a boat tour )

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Do not even clean teeth using local water.
Sea water can be quite cold ( especially at Kicker Rock). Wet suit hire is cheap and advisable for some
Good mosquito prophylaxis essential

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Cannot really comment - I fear for the Galapagos with plans to increase tourism dramatically (200,000 -> 500,000 pa)

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent. Expensive but worth it

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