Galapagos Unbound - Signature Tour | Galapagos Unbound

Galapagos Unbound - Signature Tour

Trip Highlights

*Please note that the following information is meant to provide a general overview of your tour. The specifics of your trip will be contained in a pre-trip letter you will receive prior to your confirmed departure.

Important Trip Details:

MEETING PLACE:  Wyndham HotelGuayaquil
ARRIVAL TIME: Any point on day one of your trip itinerary. 
TRIP MILES: Varies depending on group size, weather and kayaker's abilities
TRIP LENGTH: 10 days
AGE LIMIT: Minimum age is 7 years
BOAT TYPE: Sea Kayak
NEAREST AIRPORTS: José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport, GYE

Sample Itinerary

Galapagos Unbound Tour Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive in Guayaquil

After flying into Guayaquil, which is located on Ecuador's mainland and serves as the gateway to the Galapagos Islands, you will be greeted by a Galapagos Unbound representative and transferred to your hotel in the city center.

  • Accommodations: Whydham Hotel Guayaquil
  • Meals Included: None

Day 2: Guayaquil to San Cristobal

After breakfast at the hotel, a Galapagos Unbound representative will take you back to the airport for your flight to the Galapagos Islands. Once we land on San Cristobal, the easternmost island in the group, a naturalist guide from Galapagos National Park will meet us there, marking the start of our journey.

After lunch in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, we will try on our snorkeling gear and wetsuits before embarking on our first kayaking excursion. Our two- to three-hour paddle takes us beneath volcanic peaks and along Lobos Island's shores while offering sightings of blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas. This afternoon, we’ll arrive at our exclusive Galapagos oceanfront campsite at Manglecito beach.

  • Accommodations: Exclusive Beach Camping
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Explore Galapagos Beach Camp

Activities: Sea kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, wildlife viewing.
Wildlife: Sea lions, blue-footed boobies, sea turtles.

After a relaxing morning spent exploring Manglecito Beach, we will embark on a three-hour kayaking trip to another picturesque beach. Should you become fatigued or require help, our support boat will be close by to assist. Lunch will be enjoyed at a secluded beach with the sounds of nature as our soundtrack. 

After lunch, we will go snorkeling at Kicker Rock, where you may spot Galapagos sharks and eagle rays if you're lucky. In the mid-afternoon, we'll return to our beach camp where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing while seabirds soar overhead. Fingers crossed, we will be treated to a spectacular sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

*Note: Boat ride to Kicker Rock on Shared Services in groups of 4 to 7 people

  • Accommodations: Exclusive Beach Camp
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Explore Isabela Island

Activities: Swimming, snorkeling, kayaking.
Wildlife: Sea lions, blue-footed and masked boobies.

Our day starts with a boat ride to the airport for our flight to Isabela Island. Once we check into our hotel, we'll visit the Tortoise Breeding Center, run by the Galapagos National Parks Service to protect the islands' iconic tortoises. During a walk through the marshlands, we can get up close with these gentle giants - an experience that is sure to be a highlight of your Galapagos Islands tour. 

The afternoon will be spent kayaking along Puerto Villamil's pristine white-sand beach where you should keep an eye out for Galapagos penguins nesting among the rocks. Have your snorkeling gear ready to observe the incredible marine life that inhabits the area.

*Note: The order of the activities may vary, depending on National Park schedules.

  • Accommodations: Isabela Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sierra Negra Volcano

Awake early to witness the sunrise before we journey into Isabela Island's highlands, where we will hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano. This massive caldera, measuring over six miles across, is one of the world's largest volcanos and last erupted in 2005. Along the hike, you'll see striking lava formations and enjoy panoramic vistas of the caldera. 

Once back at the hotel, you’ll have the rest of the afternoon at your leisure to relax at the beach or explore the town.

  • Accommodations: Isabela Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Los Tuneles + El Finado 

On Day 6 of your Galapagos Islands holiday we’ll embark on a boat ride to Los Tuneles, an extraordinary lava formation formed when volcanic lava met and hardened upon contact with seawater. This area offers magnificent snorkeling, with the crystal clear waters unveiling a stunning underwater landscape.

After lunch on board the boat, we'll sail on to El Finado, a peaceful inlet where you can snorkel with white-tip reef sharks and colorful tropical fish. If weather allows, we'll cap off the day with a beachfront barbecue in the evening.

  • Accommodations: Isabela Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Box Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Santa Cruz Island + Giant Tortoises + Lava Tunnels

After an early departure by speedboat, we will visit Santa Cruz's Darwin Research Station and take a scenic drive through the lush highlands. During a leisurely walk, you can observe giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat as they feast on vegetation. Next, we will explore ancient lava tunnels that reveal the geological history of the island. 

For dinner, you can select a restaurant of your choice in town. 

  • Accommodations: Santa Cruz Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

*Note Boat ride for Tuneles on Shared Services in groups from 4 to 7 people

Day 8: Tortuga Bay + Santa Cruz Island

This morning we'll embark on a scenic two-mile hike from Puerto Ayora to Tortuga Bay, passing prickly pear cacti and palo santo trees along the trail. At Tortuga Bay, we'll have time to unwind on the beach before paddling to a calm cove perfect for snorkeling. 

In the afternoon, we'll kayak through a series of peaceful lagoons, home to rays and sharks. To conclude our Galapagos Islands tour, this evening we'll gather for a farewell dinner together.

  • Accommodations: Santa Cruz Hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Return to Guayaquil

This morning, you’ll be transferred to the airport on Santa Cruz Island to catch your return flight to Guayaquil. From Guayaquil airport, you can transfer to the international terminal for your flight home, marking the end of an incredible trip to the Galapagos Islands. 

  • Meals: Breakfast

Travel Arrangements

Galapagos Travel Arrangements

Travel to Guayaquil: 

The simplest way to get to Guayaquil is to connect through one of several US cities, including NYC, Atlanta, Houston, Miami and Fort Lauderdale, which all offer direct flights to Guayaquil. 

Airport Transfer Upon Arrival: 

Arrival airport transfer is included in your package price. Please provide your international flight information and we will arrange to provide transportation to your hotel in Guayaquil, where the tour officially begins. If you have arranged extra hotel nights or extensions to your trip at the tail end of the trip, you will need to arrange your own transportation. The hotels we use offer complimentary shuttle services, and taxis are available in abundance at the airport. 


Galapagos Weather

The Galápagos has two main seasons: the cool and dry season that lasts from July through December and the hot and rainy season that goes from January through June. The weather remains relatively temperate throughout both seasons and so it’s always a good time to visit the Galapagos Islands.

The “peak season” for tourism is usually attributed as lasting from mid-December through mid-January and mid-June through September. However, since the Galápagos National Park Service has various travel restrictions, you will never have to deal with hordes of tourists and can instead enjoy the natural serenity of the islands in relative solitude.

When To Go?

Galapagos Dry Season

The dry season in Galápagos is known as the garúa season, and this is when temperatures begin to drop.

  • As cold waters travel north from the Antarctica region, the climate becomes more subtropical than tropical.
  • One of the most visible effects of the subtropical climate is the misty rain that coats the island peaks and turns the vegetation green. As garúa translates to “drizzle” in English, it’s a fitting name for the misty season.
  • The garúa season attracts more marine mammals, fish, and birds despite the colder waters because the Humboldt Current brings up nutrient and plankton rich water.
  • The drizzle largely effects the highlands while the lowlands continue to have an arid climate, and there’s plenty of wildlife to observe in both.
  • The sea is swarming with fishes, and so it’s one of the best times to observe seabirds and Galápagos penguins who are enjoying the feast swimming below the surface.

Galapagos Rainy Season

The rainy season extends from January through June, and the water and weather is at its warmest during these months. Explore the shores of Galápagos during ideal tropical weather on our Galápagos Adventure.

  • The tropical rain showers are at their heaviest January through March, but although the rainfall can be heavy the storms are generally short.
  • The predominately sunny days paired with the warm waters coming down from Colombia and Panama make for great snorkeling weather.
  • While the weather is at its clearest and the water at its smoothest from March to April, there are less fish to see in the warm waters; rather, more fish can be found later in the year.

Click Here to Access Our Helpful Weather and Wildlife Guide

Getting Ready

Adventure Unbound Physical Requirements  

Here at  Adventure Unbound our first and foremost goal is for you to have an enjoyable and safe experience. While most of our trips are suitable for beginners, some of our trips are more active than others and it’s important that you understand the physical requirement of the trip you choose. 

All of our trips are active adventures that involve some level of physical exertion and possible exposure to the elements including but not limited to wind, rain, heat, sun, cold temperatures and cold water conditions. Adventure Unbound is able to accommodate people with physical limitations, disabilities and medical conditions; please speak with your Adventure Consultant if you think you will require any additional assistance while on the trip. We ask that you consult your doctor if you have health or medical conditions that could impact your ability to participate in an active and outdoor adventure. In general, all trip participants must be able to do the following:  

  • Wear all protective and safety equipment that are required by Adventure Unbound and recommended/required by industry wide standards.
  • Load and unload, on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion, the bus and/or van providing transportation for Adventure Unbound activities.
  • Reach the water access points (put-in and take-out) on their own, or with the aid of a qualified companion.
  • Enter and exit a raft, kayak and/or inflatable kayak on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion.
  • Remain seated and balanced in a floating raft, canoe, kayak or inflatable kayak w/ the aid of adaptive equipment, if necessary.
  • Float on their back when entering moving and still water. The participant must be capable of turning from face-down to face-up in the water with the aid of a Personal Floatation Device and must be able to hold their breath while under water.
  • Remain calm and keep breathing under control in the event of a swim.
  • Climb into the kayak, with the help of another person, should an involuntary swim happen at any point on the water.
  • Make progress toward the shoreline or a boat by swimming in moving water and must be able to exit the water and ascend the shoreline once reached.
  • Participate as an active paddler when instructed by the guide for the duration of trip. 
  • Move about the campsite on their own or with the aid of a qualified companion on all trips that include overnight camping and/or lunch.

Physical Preparedness

Whether you are an avid sea kayaker, or it is your first time, you’ll enjoy these incredible trips, and share in our passion for adventure, commitment to conserving the environment, and relishing unique experiences. For those new to the sport, kayaking is easy to learn in the sheltered waters that we visit, and we provide all of the camping gear, kayaking equipment and guidance needed. In addition, we keep our groups small to allow you to not only travel intimately among nature, but to ensure you receive the necessary attention from our guides.

Packing List

Galapagos Unbound Packing List


The packing list outlined below is meant to serve as a guide to help you plan, prepare and outfit yourself for your upcoming travels. We have provided our best recommendations and suggestions. These suggestions are broken down by your tour type and are based on the outlined itinerary, the geographic region, our knowledge of the Galapagos, and our personal experience. We hope you find this list helpful, use it as a guide and feel free to amend it with your favorite travel items too!

Gear Provided by Adventure Unbound

Adventure Unbound provides all necessary equipment for your selected tour. This includes all necessary camping equipment for your tour: tent, cot, sleeping pad, sheets, and pillow with pillow case. In addition to all the necessary equipment for kayaking and snorkeling: personal flotation devices (PFDs), paddles, kayaks, and one 10L dry bag to serve as your day bag. 

Aadventure Unbound trips are best enjoyed if you travel light. For Galapagos trips pack as lightly as possible. The reasons for this are many:  

  • Inter-island flights are limited to 25 pounds baggage per person.
  • You have to lug your stuff.
  • You don’t need much.  

Galapagos Unbound provided 10L dry bag

Provided Snorkeling Attire

We will provide you with a shorty wetsuit, snorkel mask, fins, and PFD.

Luggage Recommendations:

We think it is wise to avoid checking any luggage under the plane. If you do, make sure that you have everything that is either essential or, would be hard to replace, with you in your carry on bags. You will be using three main bags during the trip. One is your main duffel for things you only need at camp. The second is a small day pack that has things you need with you during the day, and the third is a dry bag provided by ROW that you carry on the kayak with you and the fourth is an optional “wet gear bag.” The contents for each is explained below.

1) One duffel bag or roll-on that meets carry on requirements. If you don’t want to carry a duffel bag through airports on your air travels, pack a light duffel bag inside a roll-on bag of carry-on size. Then, in Guayaquil, you can pack the things you need for the Galapagos inside the duffel bag and leave the roll-on at the hotel. At the end of the trip, this same duffel can then be used as an extra piece of luggage for your souvenirs on your return flight. Again, this should be a medium-size duffel that meets carry-on requirements. You can just take your roll on bag with you but remember - Wheels add weight.

2) One small day pack. Outside zippered pockets are nice. This qualifies as a carry-on “personal item.” A good size measures 18” high x 12” wide by 8” deep plus outside pockets about 2” deep. Carry medications, books, games and other essentials or “hard-to-replace” items in this on the plane. While in Ecuador, this is perfect for stashing those items you’ll want during the day, whether sea kayaking, hiking or visiting towns.

3) Dry Bag (Provided by ROW) – To use in the Galapagos on the sea kayaks for items you want to keep handy during the day in your kayak. This small bag will hold your rain gear, sunscreen, sun shirt, binoculars, camera, etc. on top of your kayak for easy accessibility.

Adventure Unbound branded green suitcase and orange duffel bag

Essential Items

  • Passport - must be valid for at least six (6) months after the date of your arrival
  • Money belt to carry your passport, travel documents and money, concealed under your clothes
  • A photocopy of your passport, inside a ziplock bag and stowed elsewhere in your luggage (As an additional precautionary measure, consider leaving a photocopy with family or friends at home as well)
  • Copy of your air tickets with ticket numbers, placed elsewhere in your luggage
  • $100 cash for Galapagos National Park fee
  • $12 cash for Isabela Arrival Tax
  • Cash for gratuities (see more information below)
  • Credit and/or Debit/ATM card that works internationally, ideally with a chip technology (Before leaving home, notify your bank of your travel to help prevent any fraud detection holds on your card)
  • Watch or small travel clock with alarm (if you are taking a phone, this can serve as your alarm clock)
  • TSA-accessible lock for luggage security when not on your person (optional- can buy at any travel or outdoor recreation store)

Focus on lightweight nylons or polyesters that dry quickly. On the island of Isabela where we stay in the middle of the trip, there is a laundry service at the hotels or, this is a good time to hand-wash clothes in the bathroom sink. We hope you find this list useful and we welcome your favorite ideas as well.



  • One pair long, lightweight, nylon pants with zipper pockets - zip off legs give you more options
  • One other comfortable pair of pants or skirt  (One of these first two items is worn on airplane)
  • One pair nylon shorts (that double as a swimsuit for the guys)
  • Swimsuit for gals
  • Two t-shirts or polo shirts
  • One pair light weight pajamas
  • One short sleeve button-up shirt -  nylon or poly/cotton
  • One long sleeve shirt for sun protection - you can buy tight-weave nylon shirts with 30 SPF protection made by companies such as Columbia, etc. Sun protection is essential and the equatorial sun is intense and reflected by sky and water
  • One long sleeve button up shirt for town – light poly/cotton (pack in a ziplock bag to minimize wrinkles if you care)
  • One light fleece or polyester sweater or jacket for warmth in the evenings and mornings
  • Three or four pairs underwear
  • One wide-brim, tie-on hat – floppy nylon is ideal as it packs well. A baseball cap & bandana also works
  • One lightweight raincoat – like a windbreaker that has some waterproof qualities
  • Three pair light nylon or cotton socks, (one thicker pair cotton for the Volcano hike)
  • One pair sandals with ankle straps to wear while kayaking, on the beaches, walking around towns, etc. Chaco is our preferred brand, but Teva and others make these
  • One pair sturdy tennis shoes, or running shoes, to use for the volcano hike and for other times when you want to wear something other than the sandals. Most people would find hiking boots unnecessary, but if you prefer them, or need extra ankle support, then a lightweight pair may be appropriate.
  • Water Gear
  • One pair of paddling gloves. If your hands are prone to blisters. Cheap, fingerless bike gloves work great
  • One lycra “rash guard” shirt adds to the warmth and ease of getting your wetsuit on and off but is not essential
  • *If you wish to borrow snorkel, fins, mask and/or wet suits, please let us know and it can be provided at no additional cost – this gear will not be considered part of your 35lbs check in weight as we will transport the rental gear for you


Additional Gear

  • Lip balm w/sunscreen for your day bag
  • Sunglasses - Good ones that will protect your eyes from the sun and the reflection off the water. Polaroid lenses offer great marine wildlife viewing.
  • Headstrap for glasses and sunglasses – Chums, Croakies or similar
  • Extra pair of sunglasses and glasses
  • One flashlight.  The nicest kind is a headlamp. Extra batteries and bulb
  • One wide-mouth water bottle
  • Water filtration system - Bringing this along will help reduce our use of single use plastic. Ecuador has nearly perfect tap water that can be easily filtered so it wont upset your bodys system. We recomend you bring a filter such as a LifeStrawGrayleSteripen, or Sawyer Squeeze
  • Small towel for camping. Beach towels are available on the snorkel boats.
  • One bandana for sun protection and cooling off
  • Sewing Kit (optional)
  • Small container of clothing detergent – If you want to do some laundry in your hotel room.  Just 3-4 oz of powdered kind.  (Optional – soap and shampoo work too)
  • Four or Five white 11-gallon kitchen garbage can liners - for wet clothes, dirty shoes etc - these are quite useful
  • A few 1-gallon ziplock bags – for packing sunscreens, lotions or anything that might make a mess
  • Camera, video camera, film or memory cards and extra camera batteries – No Flash Photography allowed on the Islands
  • A waterproof camera or GoPro is great for snorkelling
  • Small waterproof camera box like the Pelican brand. ROW provides a soft dry bag for daytime essentials and your camera can go in this but it is not as secure as a box
  • Binoculars – optional but nice for bird watching, dolphin or whale watching, etc
  • Books, pen and note pad, deck of playing cards or other games, etc


Toiletries and First Aid

  • Standard toiletry kit including general hygiene products, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. (keep liquids under 3.38 oz.(100ml) for carry-on)
  • Bug Spray or Lotion – Guests have experienced a higher than normal presence of mosquitos while at camp recently. It is highly recommended that you have plenty of bug spray, preferably with some DEET. In addition, Insect Shield is a company that will treat your selected items of clothing to be insect-repellent up to 70 washes. While the cost can add up, a treated long-sleeved shirt and pair of pants may go a long way towards ensuring your maximum comfort during the camping portion
  • Biodegrable sunscreen (we highly recommend Stream2Sea as an all natural option) - 30 SPF or higher - sun protection is essential and the equatorial sun is intense and reflected by sky and water
  • Pre-moistened toilette packets or disposable shower wipes to refresh
  • Prescriptions and any necessary personal medicines (please be sure to bring necessary prescriptions and any needed emergency medicine such as an EpiPen, Benadryl, etc)
  • Heavy duty skin lotion for dry, sun-baked, and salted skin
  • Small squeeze bottle of hand-sanitizer gel
  • Shampoo and soap (we recommend biodegradable, multi-purpose options)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste (Ivory or biodegradable are best*)
  • Female urinary device (allows women to urinate standing up without removing clothing). Silicon or hard plastic ones work great. Popular name brands include Gogirl and Shewee
  • General hygiene products & shaving essentials
  • Chapstick/ lip balm with sunscreen
  • Medications - (Dramamine-motion sickness, Benedryl -allergic reactions. See below)
  • Prescription Medications

* Under our Park Service permit we are not allowed to use any soap in the sea. At camp you can use soap to wash your face, hands, etc. and we have a bucket where we store this soapy water.

Reading List

Adventure Unbound - Recommended Galapagos Reading List

  • Agee, P. (1989). Inside the company: Cia Diary. Bantam Books.
  • Andrews, M. A. (1986). The flight of the Condor. Collins.
  • Collier, J., & Buitrón Aníbal. (2013). The awakening valley: A photographic record of the indians of the otavalo valley in Ecuador. Literary Licensing.
  • Constant, P. (2007). Marine Life of the galápagos: A diver's guide to the fishes, whales, dolphins and marine invertebrates. Cordee.
  • Corkill, D., & Cubitt, D. (1988). Ecuador: Fragile democracy. Latin America Bureau.
  • Emmons, L. H., & Feer, F. (1990). Neotropical rainforest mammals: A field guide. University of Chicago.
  • Ferreiro, Larrie D. (2013). Measure of the Earth: The Enlightenment Expedition That Reshaped Our World. Basic Books,
  • Fitter, Julian, et al. (2016). Wildlife of Galápagos. Princeton University Press.
  • Forsyth, A., Miyata, K., & Landry, S. (1995). Tropical nature: Life and death in the rain forests of Central and South America. Simon & Schuster.
  • Frazier, C., & Secreast, D. (1985). Adventuring in the Andes: The Sierra Club Travel Guide to Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, the Amazon Basin, and the Galapagos Islands. Sierra Club Books.
  • Grubb, K. G. (1930). Amazon and Andes. Mathuen & Co. Ltd.
  • Harris, M. P. (1992). A field guide to the Birds of Galapagos. HarperCollins.
  • Hassaurek, F., & Gardiner, C. H. (1967). Four years among the Ecuadorians. Southern Illinois University Press.
  • Hickman, C. P. (1998). A field guide to sea stars and other echinoderms of galápagos. Sugar Spring Press.
  • Horwell, D., & Oxford, P. (2005). Galápagos wildlife: A visitor's guide. Bradt Travel Guides.
  • Hurtado, O. (1980). Political power in Ecuador. Routledge.
  • Jackson, M. H. (1993). Galapagos, a natural history. University of Calgary Press.
  • Kricher, J. C. (1999). A neotropical companion: An introduction to the animals, plants, and ecosystems of the New World Tropics. Princeton University Press.
  • McIntyre, L. (1988). The incredible Incas and their timeless land. Nactional Geographic Society.
  • Meisch, L. (1987). A Traveler's Guide to el dorado & the inca empire. Penguin Books.
  • Michaux, H. (2001). Ecuador: A Travel Journal. Marlboro Press/Northwestern.
  • Miller, T. (2017). The panama hat trail. The University of Arizona Press.
  • Mitchell, A. (1986). The enchanted canopy. Macmillan.
  • Morrison, T. (1974). Land above the clouds: A survival special on South American wildlife. A. Deutsch.
  • Morrison, T. (1977). The Andes. Time-Life Books.
  • Ridgely, R. S., & Greenfield, P. J. (2001). The birds of ecuador. A field guide. Christopher Helm.
  • Schofield, E. K. (1984). Plants of the Galápagos Islands: Field Guide and Travel Journal. Universe Books.
  • Treherne, J. E. (2011). The Galapagos Affair. Vintage Digital.
  • Weiner, J. (1994). Beak of the finch: A story of evolution in our time. Vintage Books.
  • White, A., & Epler, B. (1986). Galapagos Guide.
  • Whymper, E. (1990). Travels amongst the Great Andes of the equator. Murray.
  • Wittmer, M., & Antonio, M. W. J. (2010). Floreana. Editorial Galápagos.

Helpful Links

Additional Galapagos and Sea Kayaking Information 

Galapagos Islands Weather Forecast - Check the local weather before you go. 

Trip Adviser - Read reviews from past guests. 

Galapagos Unbound Website - Here you can find information on other Galapagos tours and mainland Ecuador extensions. 

Quito Tourism Guide - Learn more about the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Terms & Conditions

Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.

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