This exclusive Galapagos kayak tour is perfect for people passionate about kayaking and want an adventure filled with miles of paddling and nights spent camping under the stars. This is the only expedition-style kayak tour in the Galapagos Islands that combines 3 nights of camping with kayaking along the shores of two distinct islands - Santa Cruz and San Cristóbal. Unlike other kayak tours offered in the Galapagos, which are boat-based and offer limited time for paddling, our Galapagos Kayaking Expedition allows you to explore the archipelago from the best, most personal seat around: a kayak.
There is no finer way to experience the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands than on one of our land-based Galapagos tours. On this tour, you kayak almost every day, starting with shorter paddles, building up to two full days of paddling while moving from one camp to another on San Cristóbal Island.
If kayaking is your passion, you are sure to love this tour which is limited to just 8 guests giving you a more intimate experience on the islands. Join in the fun as we set up camp, spend our nights falling asleep to the sounds of ocean waves, and wake up under the magical Galapagos sky.
Saturday, Arrival to Quito
Quito is Ecuador’s capitol city and the ideal introduction to Ecuador with it's UNESCO Heritage Old Town and spectacular setting in the Avenue of the Volcanoes, our tour is designed to take advantage of this immediate cultural immersion. Once you arrive, you are met by a ROW Adventures representative and transferred to your hotel. If you arrive early in the day, you will have the chance to enjoy your time exploring these wonders, settling in and recovering from your flight. You will receive a welcome letter at the hotel which will let you know the time to meet your guide and the rest of your group the following morning for your flight to the islands.
Flight to Santa Cruz, Visit Giant Tortoise Farm, Kayak - Beach Camp
A representative will meet you and the rest of the group in the lobby of the hotel to transfer you to the airport for your two-hour flight to the islands. Upon arrival on the island of Baltra we will meet our tour leader and have a short orientation to answer any last minute questions and from there we will take a short bus transfer, then a 10-minute ferry ride across the Itabaca canal. We continue by bus to the highlands on Santa Cruz Island to a private farm to see the giant Galapagos tortoise. Perhaps no animal creates a more iconic image of the Galapagos than these fascinating animals. You get an intimate view of these lumbering, peaceful-looking creatures, sure to be a highlight of your visit. While on the farm we also have a delicious lunch of local specialties, then continue on to see one of the more intriguing geological features of the island, the “lava tunnels.” Created as flowing magma cooled down, these bigger-than-a-subway tunnels are accessed via a stairway and their fascinating formation is explained by your guide.
We will then check-in at our hotel and get ready for our kayak experience. Academy Bay in Puerto Ayora is the perfect point of departure for an exciting sea kayaking expedition. Blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas can be observed resting as we paddle from the beach at Finch Bay to reach our final destination: Punta Estrada. Punta Estrada is a calm and beautiful bay where you can kayak close to magnificent mangroves, home to golden cow rays, sally light foot crabs, and lava herons. The kayak trip will take you down a tranquil canal with prickly pear opuntia cactus sprawling from solid rock and common noddy birds nesting nearby. We continue our travels on Santa Cruz Island, one of the 13 main islands of the 61 islands and islets that comprise the Galapagos. By late-afternoon, we check in to our hotel and enjoy a peaceful dinner.
Trapiche Visit – Garrapatero Beach
In the morning, we will drive through the town of Bellavista, before we reach the beautiful El Garrapatero Beach, there is a farm that specialized in the production of sugar and they do so the old fashioned way. They also produce sugar cane and coffee, unique throughout the region. One of the family members will demonstrate the farming process for coffee and sugar cane, and show us the process for the extraction of the sugar cane juice. We will learn about the distillation process that leads to the final product, the “Galapagos Moonshine”. In the process, we will be able to taste the fruit of the coffee plant in its natural state. From here we will continue to El Garrapatero beach where we will have the opportunity to relax on the beach, swim in the ocean or kayak to explore the nearby mangroves. For a unique experience, today, we will have a special dinner with a local fisherman. He will provide us with deeper insights into the flavor and native lifestyle of Ecuador, as his family prepares a special dinner for us.
Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Darwin Bay
One thing you will quickly notice about being on the equator is that day and night each last 12 hours. We rise early and after breakfast we catch the 7am boat to the island of San Cristobal and the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno where we check into our hotel and have lunch in a local restaurant. After lunch we choose from a couple of options based on the weather and sea conditions. We may walk to Cerro Tijeretas where those who desire may swim and snorkel. Or we may go to La Loberia which is a sea lion colony, to observe the sea lions and swim in the water with them. Either way, we observe various birds and wildlife, including frigate birds and their antics. Frigates are deservedly known as ʻpirates of the seaʼ because of their behavior of stealing food from unassuming boobies.
After a full and wonderful day, we return to our hotel to freshen up and then enjoy dinner in town.
Kayak Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Manglecito
Rise and join breakfast as we prepare for our longest paddle yet. We head north along the coast several miles, with low-lying hills and the central mountains of San Cristobal in our view. As we paddle, we are likely to be sharing the waters with sea turtles as well as sea lions which observe us and may even follow along for a spell. Birds circle overhead while fish swim underneath, and plummeting boobies that come up with fish in their beaks add to the natural show all around.
We paddle roughly 7.6 miles today passing Isla Lobos on the way. By late afternoon we arrive at our lovely beach camp with time to settle in. This is a magical place and camping in the Galapagos is a rare treat made possible by our special permits. Before too long it’s time to take a short stroll to watch the sun set over the magnificent Pacific Ocean. We dine in camp, watch the stars lighten the sky, and fall asleep to the sound of surf.
Snorkeling Kicker Rock
Immersed in all of the uniqueness of nature in the Galapagos Islands, today is a day to get better acquainted with the underwater marvels. We board a comfortable motorboat that is the perfect platform for our explorations. We start with a roughly one-hour cruise to Leon Dormido, or Sleeping Lion, a rock formation named by early sailors for its resemblance to that far-off jungle cat.
Locally it is referred to as "Kicker Rock".
By any name, this dramatic geologic formation that soars out of the sea to the sky, is a superb place for snorkeling. Descending from our boat, we snorkel between two cliffs of rock in waters teeming with fish. Sea stars cling to the walls, and it’s not uncommon to have harmless Galapagos sharks join us.
We return to our beach camp with more time to stretch our legs, revel in another long-lasting sunset and sit down for dinner to share the memories of the day.
Kayak North to Next Beach Camp
As the sun rises the activity of birds and lapping waves are likely to wake you. This is a highlight of actually camping on the Galapagos Islands that just isn’t the same when on a boat. Truly it is a most magical way to wake and know you are truly immersed in the abundant beauty and life found only here.
A hearty breakfast is served, and then we pack up, don our lifejackets, pick up our paddles and ease ourselves into our kayaks. Today is another superb paddling day along the coast! The scenery changes as the island’s mountains come into better view. As always, frigate birds, gulls, pelicans, and boobies provide entertainment and wonder as we paddle. With luck we see more sea turtles who periscope up their heads to watch us.
After our exhilarating morning paddle, we arrive at our next camp, here we say goodbye to our kayaks. We'll unpack a bit with everyone’s help camp will be set up quickly and then it’s time for lunch followed by a relaxed stroll on the beach. We spend a fulfilling afternoon exploring the beach, snorkeling! Our view to the west allows for an unobstructed view of an equatorial sunset. Then it’s time for dinner and a restful night's sleep.
San Cristobal to Quito
This is our last morning in the islands. After packing your things, we board our boat to return to town. No time for breakfast this morning but we will have coffee and cookies available on the boat. Once we get to town we will have breakfast before heading to the airport for the late-morning flight back to the mainland of Ecuador. There’s some time to explore the city before dinner with the group or on your own.
Final goodbye or extend your trip!
Transfer to airport provided by the hotel. Fly home or to points beyond for other exploration.
Note: many people add extensions to visit mainland Ecuador, the Amazon or Peru.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Apr 21, 2018 to Apr 29, 2018||$4,350£0€0$0$0||$4,350£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Jul 21, 2018 to Jul 29, 2018||$4,350£0€0$0$0||$4,350£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Aug 25, 2018 to Sep 02, 2018||$4,350£0€0$0$0||$4,350£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Nov 17, 2018 to Nov 25, 2018||$4,350£0€0$0$0||$4,350£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Dec 15, 2018 to Dec 23, 2018||$4,350£0€0$0$0||$4,350£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
2018: $5,150 per person for groups of 4-6, $4,350 for groups of 7 or 8.
Single Supplement: $650
*Contact for custom dates for groups of 4 or more
Please note: All 2018 trips begin and end in Quito.
Price does not include round trip flights from Ecuador, Galapagos Immigration Card or Galapagos National Park Fee, Tips for naturalist guides and staff.
ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.
• Professional ROW Guide and Galapagos Naturalist guide
• Double accommodation in hotels or tents
• Meals as per the itinerary above
• Panga (support skiff) transportation
• Kayak equipment including fiberglass kayaks, paddles, pfds (lifevests)
• All camping equipment including tents, sleeping bags, self-inflating sleeping pads, kitchen gear, etc.
• Airport transfers if arriving/departing per itinerary.
• Visits as noted
• Bottled water
• Roundtrip international flight to Ecuador
• Internal flights (Round trip Galapagos) $570– subject to change
• Galapagos National Park Entrance fee. $100 – subject to change
• Galapagos Transit Card $20
• Gratuities for guides and staff
• Insurance of any type
• Personal expenses
• Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary
Images & Videos
FAQ & More
What is the distinction between this Galapagos Island kayak tour and ROW Adventure’s flagship kayak tour known as “Galapagos Unbound”?
There are several differences between the tours. This trip is designed more for those people who are kayak enthusiasts. The trip is shorter, costs less and includes 3 days of camping. By contrast, the Galapagos Unbound Tour has only two nights of camping coupled with five nights of hotel. This Galapagos Kayak trip visits fewer islands and you paddle more distance and spend more time kayaking than on the other trip. While both are superbly-orchestrated journeys that no other company offers, this tour will appeal to those seeking a more rustic and participatory experience. Note as well, that on ROW’s Galapagos Unbound trip we also visit the island of Isabela for three days during which there is no kayaking. Please call our office and speak to one of our experienced Adventure Consultants who will help you decide which Galapagos Kayak tour will best suit.
Yes, even though we visit fewer islands, you still see roughly the same number of species along the way.
On this Galapagos by Kayak trip we spend between one and four hours of kayaking on every day except for one. It is important to recognize that we operate under special permits from the Galapagos National Park Service and the rules sometimes change with very little notice. On the island of Santa Cruz, expect one or two hours paddling over relatively short distances. There is more paddling when we visit San Cristobal where you should expect from two to four hours of kayaking each day. See the itineraries for further details.
It’s easy to fly to mainland Ecuador and either the city of Quito or Guayaquil. We do not book international flights for you, but are happy to refer you to an air travel specialist who understands our trip logistics and timing.
Since the year 2000, the official currency of Ecuador is the US dollar. Thus there is no need to exchange currency if you are traveling with US dollars. ATMs are available for cash withdrawals in Ecuador and the Galapagos in Santa Cruz. Do bring cash bills in good condition, as tears or markings are not accepted. Many vendors only accept cash, but large purchases (particularly in Santa Cruz) may be made with credit cards. The hotels all accept credit cards. You may want to alert your bank about your travels so your card is authorized for use in Ecuador and the Galapagos.
Many travelers elect to spend some additional time in Ecuador after visiting the Galapagos Islands. A compact country, it’s easy to see a lot in little time. We work closely with several lodges in the Amazon Basin; haciendas in the Andean highlands; unique lodges in the Cloud Forest and much more. Really, the possibilities are vast. Some people extend their travels on to Peru and Machu Picchu. Our Adventure Consultants know about all these places and are happy to create a seamless itinerary.
The Galapagos is surely one of the best places in the world to snorkel. The flourishing ocean life is an ecological treasure, and one of the main draws to the archipelago. You will have the chance to snorkel every day, sometimes at multiple locations. We do recommend you try snorkeling ahead of time for your trip to get the most out of your experience, if you have never done so. Wetsuits aren’t strictly necessary, but “shorty” wetsuits (knees to elbows) of about 2mm are recommended to keep out any chill. We have full snorkel gear available to rent including wetsuits.
We provide all of the kayaking and camping equipment, while you need to simply bring your clothing and personal gear. We also rent wetsuits and snorkeling gear for your convenience, or your may bring your own. We send a complete list with items to bring such as paddling gloves, a water bottle, flash light, etc. We suggest traveling “light” for this adventure, as the inter-island flights are limited to 25 pounds of luggage per person. (If you rent snorkel gear and wetsuits from us, their weight is not counted in your baggage allowance as we pay for their transfer.)
As Ecuador is on the equator, temperatures don’t vary much during the year. While it is normally drier July to December we have found that the difference in precipitation between the “seasons” is slight. Air temperatures are generally 5-10 degrees warmer January through April. However, the bigger difference is in the temperature of the sea which has about a 5-6 degree swing during the year, from about 69 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit . From roughly October to early May, the sea currents come from points north, and the Panama Current brings warmer water. From June to September the Humboldt Current comes from the south, bringing colder and more nutrient-loaded water. Even so, the temperature swing is only about 5 degrees, but for some this can make a difference in the comfort of prolong snorkeling. Wetsuits are a great idea for this reason.
For a month to month comparison of weather and wildlife - check out our Galapagos Calendar.