Galapagos Islands land tours
Galapagos Islands Land Tours & Activities
Galapagos Hotel Tours
Staying closer to home (well, the hotel), guests are welcome to join our guided tours of attractions on Santa Cruz Island. These can take half-a-day or a whole day, and all are accompanied by our highly-qualified and –experienced bilingual naturalist guides (if you have a specific language request, please get in touch so we can help you).
As well as our most popular trips listed below, please note that we can also organise one-day SCUBA diving excursions (or multi-day trips, see here), as well as helping you organise more adventurous pursuits such as trekking or mountain biking in the Highlands of the island.
Read on to find out more, or get in touch with us to help you plan your ultimate Galápagos journey!
Santa Cruz Highlands and Charles Darwin Research Station
AM: Depart the hotel towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz, around to the Village of Santa Rosa where guest can hike down through the Guayabillo forest to the Tortoise Reserve, though it is easier to view them on one of the farms where they share the fields with cattle, watch out for the only “TORTOISE CROSSING” signs in the world !. There are also many mosses, ferns and other epiphytes on the trees, watch out for the small and large tree Finches, from Los Gemelos the road descends in a straight line to Ithabaca channel which separates Santa Cruz from Baltra Island, almost immediately it turns into the transitional zone and then, in marked contrast to the south side, there is a very long dry-zone.
In the highlands of Santa Cruz Island you will find Los Gemelos, they are a pair of collapse or pit craters, one on either of the road in the Scalesia Zone, here you get an excellent opportunity to see Scalesia Pedunculata.
PM: The headquarters of the Galápagos National Park Service and The Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation centre open to the public and also one may view the tortoise rearing program. Unfortunately, the number of tortoises is so reduced in the wild that this is the only place where many visitors to Galápagos have the chance to see tortoises. Return to the hotel.
Visit to Charles Darwin Station + Highlands:
Price 2016: $249.00 per person
Tortuga Bay Beach
Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means turtle, since it is the favorite place for sea turtles to lay their eggs. The beautiful white sand beach is considered by many the most beautiful in the Galápagos Archipelago. The beach is reached via a marked and cobbled two kilometer-path that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street; at the beginning of the path guests must sign in and out at the National Park control point – it is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily. There is excellent bird-watching along the path, with plenty of Darwin’s Finches and other sea birds.
There are two beaches at Tortuga Bay: “Playa Brava”, aptly named for its persistent swells, ideal for surfing; and “Playa Mansa”, one kilometer further along the beach, a mellow cove, protected by a natural basalt barrier. Generally conditions here are suitable for snorkeling year-round. It’s also a good place for swimming and kayaking. Beware of limited natural shade and the glare of the sun on the white sand. Return to the hotel around midday.
Visit to Tortuga Bay:
Price 2016: $149.00 per person
Highlands of Santa Cruz and Garrapatero Beach
AM: We depart the hotel towards to the Highlands of Santa Cruz, where a bus will take us for a visit to the Giant Tortoises Reserve in their natural habitat, a once in a lifetime experience! Pass the Village of Santa Rosa going through the Guayabillo forest to the Tortoise Reserve, here it is easier to view them on one of the farms where they share the fields with cattle, watch out for the only “TORTOISE CROSSING” signs in the world !. There are also many mosses, ferns and other epiphytes on the trees, watch out for the small and large tree Finches. Our first stop is at Los Gemelos, the Twin Pit Craters, these are a pair of collapse or pit craters, one on either side of the road in the Scalesia Zone, great depressions of volcanic material, formed by a long process of slow sinking of the ground, here we get an excellent opportunity to see Scalesia Pedunculata, ferns, mosses and orchids can be seen in the surroundings. We then continue to the tortoise reserve, visit the reserve, lunch in the area, and afterwards continue to Garrapatero Beach.
PM: El Garrapatero Beach is a beautiful unspoiled beach with white sand and turquoise water, northeast of Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island. It is reached by road driving to the highlands of Santa Cruz, past the small town of Bellavista (about 20 minutes), and then a 15-minute walk through a gorgeous trail beneath a canopy of mangroves. A short walk from the beach leads to a lagoon, surrounded by vegetation, where pink flamingos are found, and often ducks, herons, stilts, oystercatchers and resident and migratory shore birds and also bright sally-lightfoot crabs. The beach is great for both adults and children, as pools are formed, and the beach is very gradual going into the water. It’s great for swimming the snorkeling or basking in the sun amid a perfect combination of sun and natural beauty. Return to the hotel. Time table for reference only, please reconfirm information at front desk or with your local guide. For the excursion to the highlands of Santa Cruz and El Garrapatero Beach, departure from the hotel is at 9:00 and return at about 14:30 approx.
Visit to highlands + Garrapatero beach:
Price 2016: $279.00 per person