Kayaking the Galapagos Islands
Offering an “up-close-and-personal” Galapagos experience, this nine-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 Guayaquil while feeling a world away from the hustle and bustle of these cities. From Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you’ll spend days kayaking along the coast, interspersed with time spent hiking 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 nine-day itinerary includes accommodation in Guayaquil 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 in Guayaquil
Fly into Guayaquil International Airport where you will be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you may explore the city or simply relax, overcome any jetlag, and prepare for your Galapagos Islands adventure tomorrow.
Guayaquil to San Cristobal
After being met by one of our reps in the lobby of your hotel, you’ll be transferred to Guayaquil International Airport for your two-hour flight to the Galapagos Islands. On arrival in San Cristobal, your tour leader will provide a short orientation as you pass through quarantine.
In the afternoon, you’ll begin your adventure with a sea kayaking excursion from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Tijeretas Bay to spot some of the frigate birds that reside here. Spend time watching them go about their business, with the birds having a reputation for stealing food from other wildlife species. As you paddle along the coastline, you may also spot marine iguanas swimming in the bay and diving for seaweed.
Dinner is at a restaurant of your choice in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Manglecito Beach
After breakfast, it’s time to don your life jacket as we embark on a kayaking expedition north to our beach camp at Manglecito. With the low-lying hills and mountains of San Cristobal as our backdrop, we’ll paddle roughly 7.6 miles to the north, hopefully with sightings of sea turtles and sea lions along the way. Watch as the birds circle overhead looking for food, with boobies often seen plunging into the water for fish.
On arrival at the beach camp, there will be time to settle in as your guide prepares lunch. The rest of the afternoon will be spent kayaking and relaxing on Manglecito Beach, with a huge diversity of colorful fish to be seen. In the late afternoon, we’ll take a short stroll to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean before returning to camp for dinner.
San Cristobal Island Full Day Kicker Rock
Wake to the sounds of the birds and the lapping waves as you begin another day in the majestic Galapagos Islands. After a hearty breakfast, we’ll head out by motor boat for a snorkeling excursion around Kicker Rock to come face-to-face with the archipelago’s incredible marine life.
A one-hour cruise will take us to Kicker Rock (otherwise known as “Leon Dormido” or “Sleeping Lion”), a geological formation that rises spectacularly from the Pacific Ocean. There will be plenty of time to snorkel between its two cliffs where you can observe sea stars clinging to the walls and Galapagos sharks patrolling the surrounding waters.
We will return to our beach camp in time for sunset and a short stroll before another memorable dinner in paradise.
Manglecito Beach to Puerto Grande
We’ll begin the day with a three-hour kayak along the coast of San Cristobal to our next beach camp at Puerto Grande. On arrival, there will be time to explore as we set up camp before another amazing snorkeling experience. Keep your eyes peeled for Galapagos and white-tipped reef sharks, as well as eagle rays, sea turtles, and a myriad of fish species.
In the late afternoon, you’ll be treated to yet another magical sunset and (if the skies are clear) an evening of unforgettable stargazing.
Puerto Grande to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
Embrace the early morning on your final day at camp before we pack our things and board a boat destined for Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. On arrival, we’ll have breakfast in town before continuing to one of the only freshwater bodies in the Galapagos Islands, Laguna El Junco. Nestled at an altitude of around 2,200 feet, it provides an important habitat for a variety of ducks, gulls, and frigate birds.
Our next destination is the Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado, which serves as a breeding center for San Cristobal’s unique giant tortoises. Get an up-close view of these gentle giants as they roam free across the 26-acre site. Learn about the center’s role in rearing young tortoises and preparing them for release into the wild across San Cristobal.
San Cristobal to Santa Cruz
This morning, we will be traveling from San Cristobal to Santa Cruz, with the journey by motorboat taking between two and three hours. On arrival in Puerto Ayora, we’ll drop our luggage at the hotel before heading into the highlands to enjoy another intimate experience with giant tortoises. In the highland farms of Santa Cruze, native and endemic vegetation is being preserved to provide a habitat and food source for these magnificent creatures.
Stretch your legs on the trail that winds through this wonderful landscape while keeping an eye out for the dome-shaped shell of the tortoises. They can often be seen partially submerged in muddy ponds to help combat parasites and regulate their body temperature on hot days. Our trip into the highlands will also include a visit to one of the area’s fascinating lava tunnels.
Tour to Bahía Ballena
Today, you will join some of Santa Cruz’s former fishermen to learn about their new role in protecting the Galapagos Islands’ marine life. After a short boat ride, you’ll arrive on the sandy shores of Bahia Ballena, an ocean inlet that’s known for its resident sea lions and marine iguanas.
Aside from snorkeling amidst the lava rocks and reefs that provide a habitat for tropical marine life, you’ll have the opportunity to see Darwin’s finches in action. Pacific green sea turtles and long-tailed stingrays are regularly spotted here, together with a variety of tropical fish, which the fishermen will show you as they practice catch-and-release fishing. Today’s experience is not just about observing the archipelago’s unique marine life but also understanding the culture and lifestyle of the local community.
After returning to Puerto Ayora, you’ll have time to shower and freshen up before dining at a restaurant of your choice.
Puerto Ayora to Baltra to Guayaquil
This morning, you will be transferred across the island of Santa Cruz to the Baltra Airport, which served as a US Navy base during World War II. On arrival, your tour leader will assist you as you check in for your flight to Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Mar 24, 2024 to Mar 29, 2024 |
Lowest Tier Price - 6 Day Itinerary
|Apr 07, 2024 to Apr 15, 2024 |
Lowest Tier Price
|Jun 16, 2024 to Jun 24, 2024 |
Lowest Tier Price
|Jul 07, 2024 to Jul 15, 2024 |
Lowest Tier Price
|Nov 10, 2024 to Nov 18, 2024 |
Lowest Tier Price
|Dec 26, 2024 to Jan 03, 2024 |
Lowest Tier Price
2024 Dates Coming Soon!
Tier Pricing 2024:
4 - 6 Guests - $6150
7 - 8 Guests - $5750
Regular Season Single Supplement: $650.
December Peak Season Trip Supplement $300
*Please note that four people are needed in order to gaurantee a tour.
- Full service of our Adventure Consultants
- Accommodation based on double
- occupancy rooms
- Private tour leader for 8 passengers or more
- Galapagos Naturalis Guide
- Activities as per itinerary
- Meals as per itinerary
- Transportation as per itinerary
- Sea Kayaking and camping equipment.
- Alcoholic beverages at the camp
- Snacks and purified water
- Galapagos Carbon Footprint charge
- International flights to Ecuador
- Ecuador to Galapagos round trip flights (*Free Ecuador to Galapagos flights may be offered on select dates)
- Internal island transfers
- $120 National Park Fee and Immigration Tax
- Items of a personal nature
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel insurance of any type
- Additional hotel nights pre or post tour
- Cost of hospitalization or 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.
Tiered Pricing Explained
Our trips are budgeted for full or near full sign-ups which enables us to offer trips at the lowest possible price. Because of numerousfixed costs, it is more expensive to operate a trip for a small group. Therefore, on some of our trips, in order to avoid having to cancel a trip, we have a “tier-pricing” system to avoid canceling a trip with a low number of sign ups. We have found that most people also prefer this alternative to having a trip cancelled. Thus, you will note on our trip prices there may be different price for 6-8 people versus 9-10, versus 11-12, etc...
We may initially invoice you at the higher tier price, and refund the difference depending on the final group size. Trip costs quoted are based on foreign exchange rates current at the time of this printing. We reserve the right to raise the trip fee if there are exceptional cost increases beyond our control.
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 Guayaquil 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 Guayaquil, 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.
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.
Yes. Spanish is the official language of Ecuador and the Galapagos but all tour guides are bilingual and speak english.
Yes, most major credit and debit cards are accepted in Ecuador. There are plenty of ATM’s to use if you prefer to purchase things with cash as well.