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Say hello to Quito and Baltra and Isla Isabela and a bunch of other crazy beautiful islands

As the basis of Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Galapagos has a bit of a reputation. And boy does it live up to it. Y’know, if you’re into massive tortoises, swimming lizards, more birds than you can shake your binoculars at, and volcanoes. Let’s be honest – who isn’t into all of that?

Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(7 reviews)
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 15

Why we love this trip

  • Say hello to Quito, its prettyful churches and beautilicious boulevards

  • Collect your solid gold bragging rights after climbing Isla Isabela's volcano. The views don't get much better than this

  • Get up close and personal with the stars of the show: the Galapagos giant tortoises

  • Go snorkelling through underwater realms of freaky fish and sharks that don't actually bite

Is this trip right for you?

  • This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.

  • This trip travels from island to island on speed boats. If you have trouble with motion sickness (even if you don’t really!) we recommend you visit your doctor before the trip to get some motion sickness medication.

  • Wildlife is a big focus on this trip. You'll be taking part in activities such as bird watching, swimming and making visits to museums. It's a great trip for those who love nature and animals.

  • This trip includes a 17km hike (approximately 6-7 hours) on rocky terrain. We recommending bring comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.

  • While you're free to go diving if you so choose, our leaders are specifically prohibited from recommending or assisting with booking this activity. This is part of Geckos internal safety policy.


Bienvenidos! Welcome to Ecuador.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Sitting at an altitude of 2,850 m under the gaze of Volcan Pichincha, Quito is one of the most attractive cities in South America. Long and incredibly thin, the city stretches along a central valley formed by the east and west ranges of the Andes. Although compact, Quito's Old Town is full of historic buildings - there are more than 30 churches to explore, not to mention the fascinating museums.
La Compania de Jesus is considered by many the most beautiful in the Americas; it's certainly one of the most ornate. It's claimed that seven tonnes of gold leaf cover the interior whilst the exterior is decorated with statues, busts, sculpted heads and a jungle of carved leaves.
Take a walk down the famous Calle La Ronda, Quito's oldest street. La Ronda is a peek into the colonial past of the city. This quaint street offers the city's best in one place.

Quito is located above 2800 metres/9200 feet, where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary!

Before your trip: some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition(s) with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatising to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor.

On arrival in Quito: while our local representatives and hotel staff are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience:
Optional Activities
  • Cotopaxi National Park - Hiking Tour - USD95
  • La Ronda - Free
  • Antisana Trek Full day from Quito - USD120
  • Quito City Tour - USD42
  • Otavalo Indian Market Full Day from Quito - USD70
  • Papallacta Hot Springs Day tour from Quito - USD70
  • Quito City Tour by Night (Optional) - USD35
  • Quito city tour + the Equator line Full day - USD75
  • Saquisili Indian Market & Cotopaxi National Park Full Day from Quito - USD95
  • Bellavista Cloud forest – Day trip from Quito - USD110
  • Quito Market Discovery Urban Adventure - USD99
  • Quito Sweet & Culinary Experience - Urban Adventures - USD103
  • Condors and Culture in Otavalo Urban Adventure - USD156
  • Old Town & Gastronomic Urban Adventure - USD99
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Today begins with an early morning transfer to the airport and a flight (approx 2.5-3 hours) to Baltra Island, Galapagos. Departure time will be between 8.20am and 10.30am depending on flight schedule time.
The Galapagos National Institute has introduced a Transit Control Card. This card has a cost of US$10 and it must be purchased by every person travelling to the Galapagos Islands. You will need to purchase this card upon arrival to the domestic airport on day 2, prior to checking in to your Galapagos flight.
Please note the Transit Card fee has recently increased from US$10 to US$20 and will come into place from March 1st 2015.
Your flight will stop once in Guayaquil to pick up more passengers (2.5-3 hrs total). Upon arrival we will need to go through immigration and pay the Galapagos National Park entrance fee of US$100 in cash (small bills please)
Once in Baltra we transfer to Puerto Ayora and board a speed boat ride to Isabela Island (approx 2.5-3hrs)
Upon arrival to Isabela Island you are required to pay the Isabela Island port fee of USD5.
Optional Activities
  • Kayak rental - USD30
  • Wet Suit rental - USD10
  • Isla Tintoreras - USD47
Included Activities
  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start with a visit to the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center for a chance to get a close encounter with these placid giants. Afterwards, move onto the Sierra Negra Wetlands where you can observe migratory birds like sandpipers, common stilts, plovers, flamingos, American oystercatchers and many other interesting species. After spending an hour here, take a bus to the Sierra Negra Volcano, the most active volcano on the Galapagos Islands and the largest crater in the world. Go for a challenging 13 kilometre hike up to the crater, which will take around five to six hours in total. Please wear comfortable walking shoes that offer good support.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy a free day in Isla Isabela. You might like to do some of the optional activities, like an excursion to the small islet of Las Tintoreas. Here you can see the rare Galapagos penguin and journey through Shark Alley, where white tipped sharks rest during the day. This is also a great place to see the freaky-looking marine iguanas who nest here.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Start the day with an early-morning speedboat ride to Isla Santa Cruz, which takes about two and a half hours. After settling into your hotel, head out to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and learn about the Charles Darwin Foundation's success in repopulating the islands with the once endangered land iguana and several species of giant tortoise. In the afternoon, head to the higher part of the island to observe the giant tortoise roaming in its natural habitat.
Optional Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Tortuga Bay visit - Free
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
This morning you'll have some free time to do any optional activities you couldn't fit into your schedule yesterday. Later, travel to Isla San Cristobal for about three hours. In the afternoon, your leader will take you on a walking tour of San Cristobal. This evening and all of tomorrow is yours to explore the island at your own leisure. Take as much time to relax as you want or squeeze in as many optional activities as you can. See tomorrow's notes or ask your leader for ideas.
Optional Activities
  • Isla Lobos. - USD70
  • Kicker Rock excursion - USD120
  • Frigate Bird Hill - Free
  • Mann Beach - Free
  • Snorkelling gear rental - USD5
Included Activities
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is completely free for you to see more of Isla San Cristobal and do any activities you couldn't do yesterday. Perhaps hike to Mann Beach where you can swim with sea lions, or climb up Frigate Bird Hill where you can enjoy incredible views over the islands. There's the option of taking a boat ride to Kicker Rock or Isla Lobos, a favoured excursion that involves swimming and snorkelling with the famous Galapagos marine life. Keep an eye out for sea turtles, eagle rays and the odd harmless Galapagos shark among many others.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Before saying goodbye to the Galapagos Islands, make one last visit to the Interpretation Center. Learn more about the natural history of the islands, human settlement and conservation.
Sadly all good things must come to an end and this is our final excursion. We bid farewell to the Galapagos Islands and all its inhabitants and head to the airport for our flight back to Quito for the last night of our tour. Upon arrival in Quito Airport we are transferred back to our hotel for an overnight stay. Hit the tiles in Quito to talk about all those giant tortoise you saw whilst knocking back a couple of pisco sours. Heavenly.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Our tour ends today after breakfast.There are no activities planned for the final day so we are able to depart our accommodation at any time. If you have not spent time here before, we recommend you stay on a few days as there are many fascinating things to do in and around Quito. Please speak to our customer service representative about any optional activities that might be of interest. They can also assist you in booking a departure transfer to the airport.
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.


2 breakfasts


Boat, Bus, Plane


Hostel (2 nights), Hotel (6 nights)

Included Activities

  • Isla Isabela - Giant Tortoise Breeding Centre (1 Hour)
  • Isla Isabela- Sierra Negra Volcano Hike (5-6 Hours)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Charles Darwin Research Centre (45 Minutes)
  • Isla Santa Cruz - Highlands Visit (3 hours) - Dry Landing


Our Galapagos on the cheap trips score an average of 4.86 out of 5 based on 7 reviews in the last year.

Galapagos on the cheap, August 2016

Shannon Howard

Galapagos on the cheap, August 2016

Karla Bensmann

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Galapagos Park, Transit Card & Isabela Port fees:
A Galapagos Transit Card fee of US$20 is payable on departure from Quito Airport (or whichever airport in Ecuador you are flying to the Galapagos from). The Galapagos park fee (US$100) and Isabela Port fee (US$5) are payable upon arrival to the islands (cash only). These amounts are in addition to your trip payment.
When booking, please ensure that your details are correct and they match your passport.
Your passport must match the booking details provided to us; otherwise it could cause issues with your transit card and internal flights resulting in purchasing a new card and flights at your own expense.

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.