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
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)|
|Feb 16, 2019 to Feb 24, 2019||$4,990£0€0$0$0||$4,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Apr 06, 2019 to Apr 14, 2019||$4,990£0€0$0$0||$4,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Jul 20, 2019 to Jul 28, 2019||$4,990£0€0$0$0||$4,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Aug 24, 2019 to Sep 01, 2019||$4,990£0€0$0$0||$4,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Nov 16, 2019 to Nov 24, 2019||$4,990£0€0$0$0||$4,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Dec 14, 2019 to Dec 22, 2019||$4,990£0€0$0$0||$4,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
- $5,490 per person for groups of 4-5
- $4,990 per person for groups of 6-8
- Single Supplement: $650
*If none of the dates listed above work for your travel plans, please contact us and we may be able to create a custom departure.
Please note: All 2018 trips begin and end in Quito.
• 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) $600– 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
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.
Images & Videos
FAQ & More
The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) are a Province of Ecuador located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast and are located directly on the equator.
Visit this page for a month-to-month detail on weather. Because the Galapagos Islands are on the equator, it’s warm most of the year. The warmest season is usually January to April and average temperatures range from a low of 70F/22C to around of 84F/31C. This is also the “wet season” and there may be afternoon thundershowers. During a severe El Nino year, it’s more likely to rain at any time of day. April to December is considered the “dry season” and is cooler, with average temperatures ranging from around 68F/19C to 82F/27C. At this time of year it is not uncommon to have the "garua" (misty rain) early in the morning and in the highlands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Our experience is that the time of year doesn’t make a lot of difference in terms of the amount of rain as there isn’t enough to impact your trip too much.
Whenever your schedule allows! Because it’s on the equator, air temperatures don’t change a lot. However water temperature does fluctuate as much as ten degrees during the year. The cooler Humboldt Current comes up from Antarctica from May to September/October and the sea is cooler and tends to be rougher at this time of year. Cooler water temperatures mean you generally see more sea life because there is more food for the animals that depend on the planktons and other sea nourishment. From November to April, the cooler Panama Current flows from the north and brings warmer water. The sea tends to be calmer at this time of year. If you’re going on our land-based tour then rough water is less of a concern. If you’re doing a cruise, and you are prone to seasickness, you might want to consider coming in the November to April time frame. Check out further recommendations on when to go here.
For a month to month comparison of temperatures and wildlife activity check out the Galapagos Calendar.
You should arrive on day one of the itinerary. You will spend that night in Quito before departing for the islands on the morning of day two.
From the U.S. and Canada there are daily flights via Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Miami, to Quito, Ecuador.
We do not arrange international air travel but we do have a great air travel specialist we refer you to if you’d like.
Yes, all Domestic flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands will be included on your invoice. We will make the arrangements in conjunction with our partners in Ecuador. Flights to the Galapagos Islands depart several times daily from both Quito and Guayaquil aboard Boeing 737’s or Airbus 320’s or similar.
Ecuador uses the US dollar which was adopted as the official currency in 2000. Be sure to bring cash bills in good condition because bills with markings or tears won’t be accepted. There are also ATM machines in the larger towns. It’s also a good idea to alert your bank that you’ll be traveling to Ecuador so they don’t stop the transactions.
We have been running trips in Ecuador since 1992 and know the country well. We have plenty of ideas for extending your trip whether it be to the Amazon, the Cloud Forest, the highlands in the north or south, or whatever might be your special interest. We can also arrange extensions to Peru and Machu Picchu.
There are a lot of arrangements to be made for a custom trip like our Unbound Signature active adventure. It’s very helpful with our planning if you book four to 12 months in advance. However, if you can’t plan that far ahead, then it’s usually not a problem to book up to about two months in advance. If you find yourself looking for last-minute space just call us and check!
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 multiple chances to snorkel, sometimes at multiple locations in a day. 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 use including wetsuits.
We provide all of the kayaking and camping equipment, while you need to simply bring your clothing and personal gear. We also provide 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.
This trip is shorter, costs less and includes three days of camping. The Signature tour has only two nights of camping with the rest spent in hotels, including an extra night and day tour in Quito. This trip is designed more for kayak enthusiasts, with more time spent paddling than any other. While both are superbly-orchestrated journeys that no other company offers, this tour will appeal to those seeking a more rustic and participatory experience.
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.
We recommend if you'd like to enjoy some scuba diving, that you stay on the islands for an extra day or two. This can easily be arranged at an additional cost. Please note that most diving locations in the Galapagos are very technical and often require certification in addition to significant experience.