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Tours to the Galapagos Islands

A group tour to the Galapagos Islands is the ultimate trip for wildlife lovers. Tick off the bucket list as you snorkel with sea lions, green turtles and rays. Above water there is an abundance of wildlife, with marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and frigate birds wherever you look.

Discover our Galapagos tours

Embark on a once in a lifetime adventure travelling through the Galapagos Islands on our small group tours. Whether you choose to explore the islands on a land-based trip or take a boat journey around this unique archipelago, your local tour leader will show you all of the popular sights as well as the hidden treasures of the Galapagos Islands. 

The main highlight of our Galapagos Island tours has to be the magnificent array of exotic wildlife. Meet giant tortoise, marine iguana, lizard and snake on the island of Santa Cruz and keep your eyes peeled for Galapagos penguin and sea lion basking in the crystalline turquoise-blue waters on a trip to Tintoreras Island. Uncover vast colonies of red and blue-footed booby birds on our cruise through the North, West and Central Islands or drift south to dive into the azure-blue sea and snorkel with green sea turtle

Our most popular Galapagos tours

Ecuador, Galapagos Wildlife Trip code GS6A
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What wildlife can been seen on the Galapagos Islands?

Frequently asked questions - Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos is a year-round destination where you’ll see different things at each point of the year.

January to May : warm and wet season (average 30C) – better snorkelling visibility, warmer waters and less choppy on the boats. Mating season for many species, nesting season for sea turtles.

June to December : cool season (average 25C) – marine life is much more abundant. Whales start migrating through, it’s nesting season for many marine birds.

A typical day on a Galapagos boat is very busy! Immediately after breakfast there will be a shore excursion, before coming back on board and changing for a snorkel trip. Snacks and juices are provided every time you come back aboard the vessel after an excursion. Lunch is taken aboard the vessel, and there is time for a siesta before the afternoon shore excursion. Occasionally there is also another snorkelling trip in the afternoon. In the evening before or after dinner, the naturalist guide will brief you on the islands to be visited the following day. You are ferried from the yacht to shore via small boats called pangas. Landings are either 'dry' or 'wet', where you may have to wade ashore in shallow water, and the naturalist guide will accompany you during all excursions.

No matter which trip you decide to take, you can expect to see marine iguanas, sea lions (and possibly their pups), land iguanas, blue-footed boobies, finches, giant tortoise and lava lizards. Other wildlife that you may encounter, depending on which islands you visit are: frigatebirds, Galapagos penguins, Galapagos Hawk, sharks, sea turtles, Sally Lightfoot crabs, flightless cormorant and swallow-tailed gulls, among countless other species.

Yes, please speak to the Reservations Team

Santa Cruz Island - Tortoises in the wild (Highlands), Lave Tunnels, Puerto Ayora, Charles Darwin Station

Santiago and Bartolome Island - Most photographed place in the Galapagos; Pinnacle Rock and Sullivan Bay, Santiago Island – volcanic landscapes, Chinese Hat Snorkelling – penguins, turtles, reef sharks, rays.

Santa Fe and Rabida Islands - Land Iguanas, cacti forest (Santa Fe), Large sea lion colony – can be seen on the beach but also to snorkel with (Santa Fe), Red Sand Beach (Rabida), Sea lions and the smallest marine iguanas in the archipelago (Rabida), White-cheeked pintails, boobies and finch (Rabida).

Sierra Negra, Galapagos Penguins, Flightless Cormorants, Huge populations of marine iguanas, Diving boobies.


Red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, Blue-footed boobies, Tropic birds, Frigate birds.

Espanola Island - Waved Albatross, Christmas iguanas, Blue-footed and Nazca boobies, tropicbirds, Sea lion colony, Gardner Bay – excellent snorkelling, reef sharks, sea lion pups, turtles and rays.

Floreana Island - Post Office Bay, Flamingos, Green Sand Beach, Coral Beach, Snorkelling – Devil’s Crown, Floreana Community restaurants and guest houses (first community-based tourism initiative in the Galapagos).

Sea lions everywhere, Interpretation Centre, Cerro Colorado, Kicker Rock – snorkelling site, lots of hammerheads, turtles and rays.


You will fly to Quito from the UK, where you will overnight. The flight to Quito usually involves one plane change, depending on the airline you use. After your overnight in Quito, you will fly to the Galapagos. The planes are relatively small aircraft due to the landing runway, but still carry upwards of 100 passengers on board.

For the cruising itineraries, no set level of fitness is required. They are quite full-on itineraries with multiple excursions per day, getting in and out of zodiacs, and doing very light island walks (completely flat). However, the boat crews are quite used to taking on board people of all ages and fitness levels and are able to manage all sorts of abilities.

For the land-based Galapagos itinerary, I would say a moderate level of fitness would be required particularly for the volcano walk in the Galapagos, and the walks on the Ecuador mainland. You don't need to be a hiker by any means, but even our city tour of Quito will involve approximately a 5-7km walk, and at altitude.

The regulations in the Galapagos are firm, rightly so, so guests are asked to ensure footwear and equipment is clean and steps are taken to ensure that no invasive species are brought into the region. The destination is ahead of the game in protecting their biodiversity, which is wonderful and hopefully an inspiration to other destinations.

Explore will provide you the equipment (minus the swimming trunks!).

Water temperatures in the Galapagos range from approximately 19-24 degrees Celsius / 66-76 degrees Fahrenheit. The warmer months are December to May, and the cooler months are June to November.

During any month in the Galapagos it’s fine to swim in the sea without a wetsuit. Those from Europe and the cooler parts of North America will find the sea warm even in the cooler months. For those accustomed to swimming in very warm waters, you may find it a little chilly on entry but it soon warms up.

On the boat-based trips there aren't laundry stops so it would be a case of rinsing a few bits in the sink when you need to. There are places to hang washing on the upper deck, and it’s very informal aboard the boat so you don’t need to pack multiple changes of clothes. On the land-based trip there are chances during the tour, so you'll be able to do a quick refresh a couple of times during the holiday.

Yes, the panga options are available for you but if you decide to stay on board the boat and just relax, that is absolutely fine.

If you're on the land-based tour there are cash machines on Santa Cruz Island, so on arrival you can get cash out. They do take card in some restaurants and shops, but cash is definitely preferred and WiFi for the card machines is quite hit-and-miss. There are no cash machines on the second island (Isabela), so we always advise customers to withdraw cash for the 2 nights there. You'll just need cash for meals and drinks, and any souvenirs that you may like to purchase. All excursions and boat trips are included on our trip.

On the cruises, everything is included on board aside from alcohol or other drinks from the bar, so you don't need to bring much cash aboard. Again, there are cash machines on Santa Cruz and San Cristobal Islands so whichever airport you fly into, you will be able to withdraw cash there if necessary.

We are OK to take you on the cruises if you don't swim, but of course you wouldn't be able to go out on the snorkelling excursions, and you'd need to accept the risks of sleeping on a boat without being able to swim. Life preservers are provided every single time that you go out of the boat, and they are obligatory to wear in the Galapagos. For customers who don’t swim, we would actually recommend our land-based tours, which reduce your exposure to risk.

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Average groups of 11; solos, couples and friends, united by a desire for authentic experiences.

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