Offering an “up-close-and-personal” Galapagos experience, this six-day itinerary combines days spent kayaking with nights camping under the stars. Galapagos Unbound is the only tour company that includes beach camping in the islands as you fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean and wake to the archipelago’s myriad birdlife.
Based on the island of San Cristobal, this adventurous tour is easily accessible from Quito or Guayaquil while feeling a world away from the hustle and bustle of these cities. From Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you’ll spend three days kayaking along the coast, interspersed with time spent stand up paddle boarding and snorkeling as you come face-to-face with sea lions, colorful schools of fish and harmless Galapagos sharks. Witness the cheeky frigate birds of Tijeretas Bay and the giant tortoises of Cerro Colorado, then end your days watching unforgettable sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.
This six-day itinerary includes accommodation in Quito before the trip, as well as the option to extend your adventure with more time in the Galapagos Islands or an add-on trip to Machu Picchu in Peru.
Images & Videos
Sunday, Arrival to Quito
On arrival at the Quito International Airport or Guayaquil International Airport, you’ll be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. Take time to explore the city or just recover from your flight before your transferring the following morning to the Galapagos Islands.
Flight to San Cristobal – Introduction to Galapagos Wildlife
This morning you’ll be met by one of our representatives in the hotel lobby and transferred back to the airport for your two-hour flight to the Galapagos Islands. After landing on San Cristobal, you’ll meet your tour leader and pass through quarantine before a short orientation.
In the afternoon, it’s time to experience your first paddle, with a brief orientation to get you accustomed to the kayaks. We’ll paddle from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Tijeretas Bay, offering an up-close view of the coastline and its wildlife as you slowly propel through the water. Keep your eyes peeled for frigate birds, which are known as the “pirates of the sea” as a result of their reputation for stealing food from boobies, as well as marine iguanas that swim and dive for their primary food source - seaweed.
After returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you’ll have time to explore the town and enjoy dinner on your own at a local restaurant before overnighting at a comfortable hotel.
Laguna El Junco - Giant Tortoises - Kayak Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Manglecito
Rise early for breakfast and prepare for the day’s adventures, heading first to Laguna El Junco, which is one of the few bodies of freshwater on the Galapagos Islands. Look out for ducks, gulls and frigate birds, then continue to the Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado, a breeding center for the island’s endemic giant tortoises. Get up close to these lumbering creatures as they roam freely around 26 acres (12 ha), with young tortoises raised in a controlled environment where they aren’t subject to predation.
We’ll return to the town for lunch before beginning our day’s kayaking, paddling north along the coast beneath the rugged mountains of San Cristobal. Don’t forget to look down into the water where sea turtles and sea lions may follow us on our journey while plummeting boobies can be observed overhead.
In the late afternoon, we’ll arrive at our beach camp for an unforgettable experience camping out in the Galapagos Islands. Enjoy a short stroll to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean before dinner back at the camp and an evening spent stargazing.
Accommodation: Beach Camping by special permission of the Galapagos National Park
Isla Lobos – Snorkeling - Camping
Wake early to experience the animals of the Galapagos Islands coming to life, then start the day with a hearty breakfast. Our paddling day begins with a one-hour kayak to Isla Lobos, a small and rocky island that’s home to a large sea lion colony. We’ll gear up with masks and snorkels to encounter the sea lions beneath the water’s surface, with playful teenagers who are quite inquisitive and will dart, spin and frolic around.
After lunch on a beach, we’ll have some more time to go snorkeling and experience the rich marine life of the Galapagos before kayaking back to camp. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing or enjoy a stroll along the beach before another unforgettable sunset and dinner spent sharing the day’s memories.
San Cristobal Island: Kayak to Campsite - Kicker Rock Snorkeling
Wake with the sound of the birds while being immersed in the natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands. After breakfast, we’ll pack up camp and don our PFDs for another superb day paddling along the coast. Watch as the mountains come into view while frigate birds, gulls, pelicans, and boobies provide ongoing entertainment above and sea turtles pop their heads out of the water to watch us from below.
After arriving at our next camp, we’ll set up and have lunch before an afternoon spent snorkeling at Kicker Rock. We’ll board a comfortable motorboat for the one-hour cruise to Leon Dormido or “Sleeping Lion”, which is named after its resemblance to this legendary African cat. Spend the afternoon snorkeling between its two rocky cliffs, with the waters below teeming with fish and harmless Galapagos sharks.
We’ll return to our camp by late afternoon and you’ll have the opportunity to go stand up paddle boarding around the bay or just soak up the natural setting before dinner and a good night’s sleep.
San Cristobal – Guayaquil or Quito
After packing your things, we’ll board our boat and return to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno for breakfast before heading to the airport for your late-morning flight to Quito or Guayaquil. Alternatively, you can spend more time in the Galapagos Islands by taking a speedboat to Santa Cruz or a small plane direct to Isabela Island
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Jul 10, 2022 to Jul 15, 2022 |
Lowest Tier Price
|Nov 13, 2022 to Nov 18, 2022 |
Lowest Tier Price
|Dec 22, 2022 to Nov 27, 2022 |
Lowest Tier Price
- $3715 per person for groups of 4-5
- $2990 per person for groups of 6-8
December Trips have a $100 supplement
Single travelers have a $50 supplement - up to two singles are allowed per departure
*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.
• 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.
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.