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Galapagos Iguana on a land based galapagos islands vacation

All Southern Crossings tours can be custom-made to fill your travel requirements. Contact us for a custom tour and quote.

Depart any day in 2021! 

land based galapagos islands vacation accommodation





Land Based
Galapagos Islands Vacation

7 days
From US$3875 per person

Domestic flights included
Discount for Groups

Visit the enchanted archipelago, the Galapagos Islands. Start out with a tour of the picturesque city of Guayaquil or Quito and then on to the Galapagos Islands for four-nights at a unique island hotel. Our land based Galapagos itineraries can visit the islands of Bartolome, Santa Cruz, South Plaza, Santa Fe and North Seymour or choose from land based tour options on Santa Cruz island – a great combination of marine wildlife viewing, remote visitor’s sites and fascinating volcanic formations.

Day 1: Arrive in Quito or Guayaquil anytime today and transfer to hotel.

Day 2: City Tour Quito or Guayaquil.

Day 3: Flight to the Galapagos Islands. Transfer from Galapagos airport to hotel on Santa Cruz Island.

Day 4-6: Galapagos Islands tour continues, visiting  Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Bartolome, South Plaza, Santa Fe and land tours.

Day 7: Transfer to airport and flight back to Quito or Guayaquil. International flights may depart any time after 6:00pm.

What’s included in the trip

  • All airport transfers.
  • Southern Crossings bilingual guides.
  • All other internal transport excluding transport to optional restaurants, bars, sights and excursions.
  • Five day/four-night Galapagos cruise including all food, excursions, snorkeling opportunities, fuel surcharge of $90.00 and Galapagos National Institute Migration Control Card (US$ 20.00).
  • Galapagos National Park Tax  US$100.00, US$50 for children under 12.
  • Two nights of 4-star hotel accommodation, four nights of 5-star hotel accommodation in the Galapagos Islands on your land-based galapagos islands vacation.
  • Domestic flights Guayaquil or Quito-Galapagos Islands, Galapagos Islands-Guayaquil or Quito.
  • Breakfast included with all hotel stays in Quito or Guayaquil.
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included in the Galapagos Islands.
  • Private Quito or Guayaquil city tour including entrance fees, private vehicle, driver and professional guide.
  • 24-hour customer support line while on tour.

What’s not included

International flights, pre- & post- tour accommodation, visas, vaccinations, personal insurance, meals except where specified above, drinks, laundry, souvenirs, tips while on optional excursions and other items of a personal nature. Medical travel insurance is not included through Southern Crossings and cancellation insurance is advisable. On this Land based Galapagos Islands tour the following is not included: wet suit – optional (US$ 25.00 for the whole tour), alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages medical services, travel cancelation insurance and tips (optional).

Land Based Galapagos Islands Vacation – Detailed Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Guayaquil or Quito anytime today and private transfer to your hotel.

Day 2

On this tour you have the option to arrive into Guayaquil or Quito. Today on your Guayaquil City Tour you will visit the Rotonda Monument, the archaeological museum of the Central Bank, the Malecon and the 19th century neighborhood of Las Penas. Quito City tour – Today you will enjoy a city tour of Quito. Quito displays the largest colonial town of the Americas and is the first Unesco’s World Heritage Site. The tour includes parks like El Ejido and Alameda, the monument of Simon Bolivar, Independence Square developed over the past five centuries and flanked by the Presidential and the Archbishop’s palaces and, the Metropolitan Cathedral. Walk along the so-called street of the seven crosses and pass by the Jesuit convent, El Sagrario church with a unique orthodox cross lay out dated back to the seventeenth century and the jewel of the crown, the Jesuit temple of La Compañía de Jesús. From there continue to the plaza of San Francisco, with temple and convent known to be the largest of the once Spanish colonies on the Americas. You will then be taken to the Middle of the World complex and the Equator Monument situated at 0°0’0” latitude, where you will have the chance to step one foot in the northern hemisphere and the other one in the southern hemisphere. The ethnographic museum located inside the monument is filled with clothing, artwork, and lots of information about Ecuador’s indigenous cultures. North of the complex is the Inti-ñan Museum that means “Museum of the Path of the Sun” in Kichua.

Day 3

Galapagos Islands to Baltra Airport. Departure from Guayaquil or Quito to Baltra (approx. two- and half-hour flight). Passengers will be picked up at the airport by our guides and transfered to the hotel.

Day 4-6

During the next few days you will choose from land-based tours on Santa Cruz Island or from several yacht excursion visiting the islands mentioned below. You´ll have one free day to relax at the hotel or explore on your own or add an extra activity today. On this tour you have the flexibility to choose from different activities. If travelling with a small group or family members it´s ok to choose different activities.

North Seymour Island was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit among the ledges and rocks. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst them into bloom.

Santa Fe Island is one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations.

South Plaza Island is a small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colors according to the season. South Plaza is one of Galapagos Islands’ most impressive visiting sites.

Bartolome Island is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands. The Galapagos penguins-the only species of penguin found north of the equator, walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers.

The Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means “turtle”, and the island received this moniker because it is sea turtles favorite place to lay their eggs. The stunning white sand beach is considered by many the most beautiful in the Galapagos archipelago. The beach is reached via a marked and cobbled two-kilometer path that starts at the west end of Charles Binford Street; guests must sign in and out at the National Park control point at the beginning of the path– it is open from 6:00 AM to 6:30 PM daily. There is excellent birdwatching along the path, with plenty of Darwin’s finches and other sea birds. And for active visitors, it is a great place to kayak, snorkel and surf.

The Charles Darwin Research Station is located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora. There is an interpretation center open to the public and also one may view the tortoise rearing program. Those guests who do not have the opportunity to explore the highlands of Santa Cruz and see tortoises in their natural habitat will have the chance to see tortoises here. And for those who have already seen them in the wild, a visit to the Centre will expand their knowledge of this unique, iconic Galapagos animal.

Giant Tortoise Reserve

On this excursion we depart the hotel towards the Highlands of Santa Cruz. A short drive across the farming area will lead us to El Manzanillo at the northern edge of the Giant Tortoise Reserve. El Manzanillo is located on the path tortoises take every year as they either migrate to higher moist locations during the garúa season (June-September), or when they descend to the warmer lowlands during the wet season. The Galapagos giant tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) is the largest living tortoise species. They can weigh between 250 kg (551 lbs.) and 300 kg (661 lbs.) and can live up to 150-200 years. It plays an important biological role as the top grazer in its habitat. In the wild, these gentle giants slowly barrel their way through the plant cover. The shape of their carapaces varies from island to island. On Santa Cruz, year-round, tortoises can be seen grazing on the surrounding vegetation, or wallowing in muddy banks or in a small red-colored ponds (covered by surface red pond-weeds). They can weigh between 250 and 300 kg and can live up to 150-200 years. The area is teeming with life: woodpecker mockingbirds and flycatchers, as well as ducks, herons and gallinules make this an exciting morning visit. On the return to Puerto Ayora, we visit one of the island’s lava tunnels, significant geological formations that take us back in time and helps us learn how lava flows formed the islands. We´ll have lunch at El Manzanillo this afternoon.

hotel deck with pool

Day 7

Late morning return flight to Quito or Guayaquil. International flight can depart today any time after 6pm.

Accommodation Upgrades

This tour includes a combination of 4-star and 5-star hotels. We would be happy to give you an upgrade your rooms.

Extra accommodation

We will gladly arrange additional accommodation for you before or after your trip.

Is this trip for me?

Land based Galapagos Islands Vacation tour, with an option of Quito or Guayaquil is a seven-day tour which includes land based and yacht tour options and includes walking around the islands on tours. As always, a certain patience is required for the inconsistencies and occasional delays of developing-world travel.

Joining the tour

On all Southern Crossings tours you are met at the airport by one of our representatives (holding a Southern Crossings placard) who will accompany you to our joining hotel.

Please note

If you are travelling alone, a single supplement will be added to your trip price.

Pre-trip planner

Required documents

All travelers to Ecuador are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency or a bank statement, from the bank or printed off the internet are sufficient for proof of funds.

Required immunizations

No vaccinations or immunizations are required for this tour. Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. The areas we are visiting are not yellow fever or malaria zones. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.


The climate in sites you will visit is as follows: Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. Quito: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly. Rain always possible. Temperatures can vary between 45° to 70° Fahrenheit or 6° to 21° Celsius. Guayaquil and Galapagos Islands: hot and humid, rain always possible. Galapagos can have a cooler more moderate climate depending on current conditions. One should come prepared for outdoor activity with temperatures ranging from 70° to 90° Fahrenheit or 21° to 32° Celsius and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain.

National Park Rules – Conservation is part of everyone’s responsibility!

  •  Stay on the designated trails at all times.
  •  No disturbing wildlife or removing any native plants or rocks.
  •  No transporting of any organic material from one island to another.
  •  Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from wildlife.
  •  Stay with your naturalist guide when exploring the national park.
  •  Do not carry food into visitor sites.
  •  Do not feed the animals.
  •  Do not approach animals that are resting or their nesting sites.
  •  Cell and satellite phone use is prohibited in visitor sites.
  •  Do not purchase goods that are made from native Galapagos species.
Money guide

The unit of currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. Automatic cash points are available in Quito and Guayaquil. Credit cards and cash are accepted on the Galapagos Islands. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks are difficult to cash (American Express is best, but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Quito and Guayaquil. Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country. Expect to spend about US$7-20 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink. Artisan market prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters for example cost between $5 and $30. Currency Converter