Wildlife Wonders of The Galápagos Islands

Wildlife Tour

The Galápagos Islands are legendary for their unique wildlife. Numerous species of giant tortoises, endemic marine iguanas, unique sea lions, tropical penguins and even albatrosses call the archipelago home. The local plant life is also astonishingly varied, from cacti and succulents to cloudforest. And the underwater world offers some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the entire Pacific, from colourful corals to dazzling reef fishes, playful sea lions and the unique sight of marine iguanas grazing on algae and seaweed.

97% of this astonishing archipelago is conserved and home to one of the highest concentrations of unique plant and animal species found anywhere on Earth. But what really separates the Galápagos Islands apart is the fact that the evolution of the wildlife took place in isolation from terrestrial predators, so that many of the native animals show little fear of mankind, allowing for exceptional photographic opportunities.

Key Facts

COST: £3,200 British Pounds (= approx US $4,000 or 3,700 Euros). Single supplement upgrade: £420.

START POINT: Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristóbal Island

END POINT: Puerto Baquerizo, San Cristóbal Island

Trip 1: Monday April 15th to Friday April 26th, 2024.
Trip 2: Monday April 29th to Friday May 10th, 2024.
NOTE: both trips start on a Monday and end on a Friday, allowing you to travel to and from the Galápagos Islands during the weekends before and after your trip. Only 10 week days are therefore needed!

BESPOKE TOUR: We also organise this expedition on a bespoke tour basis. We can set this itinerary up for private groups of up to 16 people. The cost depends upon the group size. Please email for a quote.

This expedition takes you to many of the very best wildlife sites of the Galápagos Islands to come face to face with some of the archipelago’s most iconic wildlife!


This unique trip includes exclusive opportunities to volunteer at various points during the itinerary. These volunteer activities support local conservation projects and enable you to gain access to see amazing conservation work in action and observe wildlife up close and personal in a way that regular tourists cannot (for example: collecting food plants and feeding giant tortoises). These fascinating volunteer activities are experiences that will enrich your visit and give you a unique insight into the nature of this amazing archipelago. 

The Wildlife Wonders of The Galápagos Islands trip includes donations to local conservation projects and fees to visit protected areas. By taking part, you will support these important local conservation initiatives. Additionally, local guides are employed throughout this tour, to benefit local communities. 

Redfern Adventures is donating all profits from the running of this trip to conservation and community projects in the Galápagos Islands, in partnership with the DARWIN200 project (www.darwin200.com).

Getting there: 

Multiple daily flights fly from Guayaquil (airport code GYE) and Quito (UIO), Ecuador to/from San Cristóbal Island (SCY). These can be easily booked online, for example, with www.skyscanner.net 

We recommend travelling via Guayaquil. We suggest you arrive in Guayaquil one day before your trip begins so you can recover from your international flights. There is a nice Holiday Inn very close to Guayaquil airport (less than 500 m from the terminal). A taxi costs US $5 or a free shuttle bus can be organised with the hotel.

Flights from Guayaquil to San Cristóbal Island cost around US $70-150 each way with Avianca and LATAM. We recommend that you have one buffer day at the end of your trip before flying home.

Please contact us for any information concerning pre-/post-expedition flights and accommodation advice.


Day 1: Arrive on San Cristóbal Island

Pick up from the airport and transport to a hotel in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (the main town on San Cristóbal Island and the largest town in the Galápagos Archipelago). Check into the hotel (e.g. Blue Marlin, or similar). Late lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch, the tour leader gives an overview presentation of the itinerary. We then undertake a guided orientation tour around town and walk to Playa Mann beach. We have the option of snorkelling in the tropical waters (we advise you to bring your own snorkel, mask and fins, however these can be rented or bought locally at extra cost).
Towards sunset, we walk along the waterfront of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to spot marine iguanas, frigate birds, Sally lightfoot crabs (Grapsus grapsus), and visit a sea lion beach where approximately 50-200 Galápagos sea lions (Zalophus wollebaeki) are usually present.
We have dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 2: Circumnavigate San Cristóbal Island by boat and visit key sites

Breakfast at our hotel and early departure for a “360 boat tour” around San Cristóbal Island to visit following locations:
1. Land at Rosa Blanca Beach – excellent bird watching opportunities (blue footed boobies, brown pelican) and often sea turtles and (harmless) white tipped reef sharks.
2. Visit Punta Pitt and see (from the boat) blue footed boobies, red footed boobies, masked boobies, red billed tropic birds and other bird species. Lunch on the boat.
3. Bahia Sardina – snorkelling to see shoals of fish and (often) sea lions swimming underwater. Rest on the beach and relax.
4. Visit the iconic Kicker Rocker (a spectacular offshore rock stack) to snorkel to see reef fish, rays, sharks, sea turtles and dramatic scenery. Sometimes humpbacks, dolphins and orca are sighted too.
Return back to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno by approx 4:30 pm. Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 3: Explore Isla Lobos

An early start to undertake a half day boat tour to Isla Lobos. We land on the island and walk along trails to observe nesting blue footed boobies (hopefully with eggs and chicks), a colony of sea lions, marine iguanas and many species of land birds. We have lunch, then transfer to Playa Ochoa on the mainland of San Cristóbal to snorkel and relax on one of the most beautiful beaches of the Galápagos Islands.
During the afternoon there are several options:
1. Relax on the beach.
2. Volunteer as part of a beach clean up effort.
3. Optional snorkel or diving trips at extra cost (local companies charge around US $180 – 190 per dive). A wide range of dive options are available. We can help you book a trip.
Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 4: Explore Española Island

We have a 6 am start today to begin a full day trip to Española Island (one of the wildlife highlights of the Galápagos Islands). We land and take a guided tour by a professional, local naturalist guide. This is a special island home to waved albatrosses, an endemic subspecies of marine iguana and Galápagos sea lions. We may also see masked boobies (usually large numbers), a spectacular blow hole, Galápagos hawks and terrestrial lava lizards. We have the option to visit beautiful, pristine beaches to snorkel (recommended), before returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 5: Giant Tortoises Volunteer Project

A really special day that centres on volunteer activities at a San Cristóbal giant tortoise breeding centre to support conservation work and to see the tortoises up close and personal (which the public cannot normally do). We go behind the scenes with the manager and muck in to help look after the tortoises!
We collect otoy plants which they like to eat, we help clean their water ponds so they have fresh water, work in the plant nursery to help grow their food plants, and feed baby tortoises. We may also help the team clear invasive species to restore habitat. Note: our trip includes a special donation to the tortoise breeding facility.
After lunch, we take part in a sea lion count and behaviour monitoring project at Corola Beach (we spend approximately one hour to record the sea lions on the beach).
During the afternoon, we have the optional extra of snorkel or diving trips at extra cost (local companies charge around US $180 – 190 per dive). A wide range of dive options are available. We can help you book a trip.
Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Overnight in a local hotel.

Itinerary Overview Promo Video

Day 6: Journey to Santa Cruz Island

A 7 am boat departure to Santa Cruz Island, landing at Puerto Ayora at 9 am. On arrival, we undertake a tour to visit the island’s spectacular twin craters to view dramatic scenery. We then visit the impressive lava tunnels, entering one tunnel system and afterwards, have the option to try local (world-famous) coffee.
We then visit a tortoise conservation project to see an endemic species of domed tortoise (unique to Santa Cruze Island) – the population includes exceptionally large, impressive and aged specimens.
We have lunch, then walk to the Charles Darwin Foundation to visit the research centre, several small museums and exhibits, a breeding programme to see five different giant tortoise species from across the archipelago, and we can stroll along beautiful coastal paths that are home to extensive numbers of marine iguanas, lava lizards and other wildlife. Another highlight at the Charles Darwin Foundation include visiting an extensive shark exhibition and seeing the preserved remains of “Lonesome George” (the last specimen of a species of Galápagos Tortoise that recently became extinct).
Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Ayora. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 7: Journey to Isabella Island

After breakfast, we undertake a 45 minute walk to Tortuga Bay Beach to see brown pelicans, marine iguanas and ghost crabs. The beach is spectacular and we may see the iguanas swimming. Luggage can be stored at our hotel. We return to Puerto Ayora for lunch.
We catch a boat at 3 pm to Isabella Island, arriving at approx. 5 pm. We check into our hotel and take a walk to see a Flamingo Lagoon before sunset. Dinner in a restaurant on Isabella Island. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 8: Explore Isabella Island

Today is dedicated to exploring Isabella Island – the youngest isle of the Galápagos Archipelago.
Our itinerary today is very special – not many people have the opportunity to visit the following sites.
We explore the spectacular volcanic landscape and lava tunnels of Isabella Island with a local guide. There are several options to swim and snorkel. Highlights include exploring unique cacti groves, shallow waters home to sea turtles, sea horses, white tipped reef sharks, and nesting areas of blue footed boobies. Galápagos penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus) are often present on the rocks along the coast and we can glimpse them up close and personal while snorkelling! On land, Darwin’s finches, Galápagos hawks and Galápagos doves may be sighted.
We may visit the island’s Wall of Tears (el Muro de las Lágrimas), built by prisoners when the island was a penal colony, and we have a second chance to visit the Flamingo Lagoon.
Dinner in a restaurant on Isabella Island. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 9: Explore Volcanoes and dramatic Landscapes of Lava

During the morning, we visit the Volcán Chico, a spectacular volcano with breath-taking landscapes of lava formations and steaming geothermal vents. Many visitors return saying this trek was one of their favourite highlights from this tour! Led by an expert local guide, we walk for around 5 to 6 hours. The terrain is mostly flat with a gradual ascent, although the last section to ascend the volcano’s crater is steeper. Those who struggle to walk long distances can rent a mule at extra cost. The trail is really spectacular, and we may see Darwin’s finches and giant tortoises along the way. The lava landscape is unforgettable.
We return for lunch, then during the afternoon, we can relax on one of Isabella’s beautiful beaches, or walk to Concha del Perla for excellent snorkelling opportunities (home to extensive reef fish populations, rays and turtles). If anyone wishes to see a further (very different) volcano we may be able to organise an afternoon trek to Volcán Azufre (home to sulphur fumeroles). We’ll discuss this option as a group.

It is strongly recommended to watch sunset from a beautiful beach close to our accommodation.
Dinner in a restaurant on Isabella Island. Overnight in a local hotel.

Note: Bring sturdy walking shoes, sunscreen, a water bottle, a hat and sunglasses for today! The lava rocks are very sharp – do not wear sandals.

Day 10: Visit Las Grietas

An early start to catch a 7 am boat top return to Santa Cruz (arriving around 10 am). On arrival, we catch a water taxi from the port to visit Las Grietas – or “the Cracks of Galápagos”. Three crystal clear pools lie in a picturesque setting, sandwiched in a crevasse between high volcanic walls. The water is crystal clear and emerald green. Locals and tourists alike flock here to cool off while enjoying the spectacular view. We often see giant tortoises in the area, and frequently visitors swim with sea lions, (harmless) reef sharks, extensive schools of large fish and sometimes even turtles! Las Grietas is ruggedly beautiful and an unforgettable experience.
We return to Puerto Ayora for lunch and can have a relaxed afternoon (after two busy days). Options include visiting local art galleries, coastal wildlife walks, and enjoying one of Santa Cruz’s several beautiful beaches.

Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Ayora. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 11: Explore Floreana Island

An early start to catch a boat to undertake a day trip to explore Floreana Island – the most traditional of the inhabited Galápagos Islands. Led by a local naturalist guide, we undertake walks along trails to observe Floreana’s wildlife and landscapes. The island is home to critically endangered Galápagos petrels, endemic tree finches, lava gulls and Galápagos penguins. At Punta Cormorant, there is a green olivine beach where we can see sea lions, and a nearby lagoon offers the chance to see flamingos, rays, sea turtles, and colourful Sally lightfoot crabs. The rare joint footed petrel is also found here, a nocturnal sea bird which spends most of its life away from land.

A local attraction is Post Office Bay, which provides visitors the opportunity to send post cards home without a stamp via a 200-year-old post barrel! A local tradition holds that you may deposit post in the barrel providing you take someone else’s letter home and post it when you can! In the late afternoon we return to Puerto Ayora by boat. Dinner in a restaurant in Puerto Ayora. Overnight in a local hotel.

Day 12: Return to San Cristóbal Island

We catch a 7 am boat from Santa Cruz to Cristóbal Island arriving around 9 am. We enjoy a late breakfast / early lunch together and say our goodbyes. Taxi transfers are set up to the airport for 1 pm departing flights back to Guayaquil or drop off anywhere in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.


Optional extension: A highly recommended optional extension involves spending 1-5 extra days to undertake snorkel and dive trips around San Cristóbal Island. We can prepare itineraries, organise hotels and transport, and send you lists of dive/snorkel sites to choose from.