Discover Santa Cruz Island

Enjoy a taste of the Galapagos with this 4 day program, using Santa Cruz island as your base for exploration. The journey begins as you journey up into the highlands, for an overnight stay at the amazing Galapagos Magic Tented Camp. After a night with the wild tortoises you'll leave depart Santa Cruz via motor yacht for a full day cruise navigating the pristine blue waters to explore one of the neighboring islands. Return to Santa Cruz and relax and soak up the atmosphere in the charming port of Puerto Ayora. You will swim and kayak in the bright water and relax on white sandy beaches, hike to incredible viewpoints, and if you're lucky you may even catch a glimpse of one of the island's resident pink flamingos. Please note that this itinerary is offered as a shared set group departure, so you will be joining other travelers on your journey!

Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Baltra Arrival - Santa Cruz Island

Baltra Arrival - Santa Cruz Island
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Accommodation: Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

Upon arrival at the Baltra Airport you will need to pay for the Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee ($100 USD cash per person adult/$50 USD children under 12, subject to change without notice). Upon meeting your guide (he/she will be waiting holding a sign with your names on it) they will assist you in transferring to your accommodations on Santa Cruz island. (This service is on a group basis.)

Magic Galapagos is situated amidst a giant tortoise sanctuary, allowing you to experience some of the Islands’ the most iconic wildlife right outside of their tents. The only crowds you will see are the millions of stars in the night sky, the only noises you'll hear will be the gentle breezes and the measured passage of giant tortoises.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Ilsand is located in the center of the Archipelago of the Galapagos and is the second largest island after Isabela. Santa Cruz is the main port of entry for most itineraries in the Galapagos as it is located adjacent to the Baltra Airport.

Santa Cruz's main town, Puerto Ayora, is located on the southern shores of the island and are a great basis to explore the surrounding area. Highlights include visiting the Charles Darwin Station, Tortuga Bay or Los Gemelos.

Day 2: Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Yacht Cruise to a Neighboring Island
  • Transportation: Internal Transfer
  • Accommodation: Hotel Mainao
  • Meals: B

Yacht Cruise to a Neighboring Island

Today you will embark on a motor yacht cruise to enjoy a half day excursion to one of the neighboring islands. On board you will have the support of welcoming crew members and knowledgeable naturalist guide, to allow you to experience the wonders of these remote islands in both comfort and style.

This will be based on the boat's weekly itinerary: Mondays and Thursdays visit to North Seymour and Bachas. Tuesdays and Fridays visit to South Plazas. Wednesday visit to Santa Fe Island. Saturdays visit to Bartolome and Sullivan Bay. Sundays visit to Bartolome. (This service is on a group basis.)

** These excursions are subject to availability and change without prior notification.

After your cruise you will be transferred to your hotel in the main town of Puerto Ayora. Check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure. (This service is on a group basis.)

Day 3: Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz Island
Daily Summary
  • Tour: Cerro Mesa & Kayak at Garrapatero
  • Accommodation: Hotel Mainao
  • Meals: B

Today you will have multiple activity options to choose from! We have selected the following suggested program to give you an idea of what is possible to do with this day (Please Note: This activity can be replaced with one of the other optional activities noted in the drop down below. Please let your travel specialist know your activity preference during the planning process).

Cerro Mesa & Kayak at Garrapatero

Visit Cerro Mesa viewpoint from where you can admire the whole southern shore of Santa Cruz. Continue towards one of the iconic formations in Galapagos resembling a crater from where you will start a hike downhill for about 30 minutes to the bottom of this collapsed crater. Explore the area, recover energies and start the hike uphill for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Excellent opportunities to find endemic species such as the Wood-pecker Finch and being very lucky giant tortoises.

Later, kayak at Garrapatero. Walk for about 500 mts (~0.3 mile) on a flat and easy terrain through a deciduous forest until we reach El Garrapatero beach. Kayaking activity takes place from the beach along the bay for about 45 minutes. You can make a short walk to the brackish lagoon where we have high possibilities to find pink flamingos. (This service is on a private basis.)

Day 4: Santa Cruz - Baltra Departure

Santa Cruz - Baltra Departure
Daily Summary
  • Transportation: Airport Transfer
  • Meals: B

Today you will be met at your hotel in Puerto Ayora and transferred to Baltra Airport for your ongoing flight to the mainland. (This service is on a group basis.)

Accommodation

Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

Galapagos Magic Tented Camp

The Galapagos Magic Tented Camp is a tortoise camp, perched in the highlands of Santa Cruz and surrounded by a Scalesia forest and volcanic caves. This is the native habitat for wild tortoises, where you will be able to enjoy an intimate encounter with nature. The areas around the campsite are home to several dozen giant tortoises, seen roaming around property from June through February. During the months of March, April and May the giant tortoises generally move to lower elevations, though a handful sometimes remain, so keep your eyes out!

Hotel Mainao

Hotel Mainao

The Hotel Mainao is a unique guest house in the laid back Puerto Ayora town of Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Originally, the property was a house for the owner's two daughters as the perfect place to spend family holidays. Although, as the time passed by, they became more independent and the house grew quiet and empty. This led to the idea for a small friendly hotel for international travelers. Making the most of its exquisite location, the Mainao offers a comfortable stay, away from the downtown’s hustle and bustle. The 22 room property features an Arabic-Moroccan design, with peaceful gardens and patios, making it the ideal place for resting and relaxing. The name was inspired by the owner's daughters, Mailé and Naorí.

Pricing and Details

Starting from $ 1,208 per person

*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.

Price Includes

  • Full support before, during & after your trip
  • Meals as mentioned
  • Accommodation as mentioned
  • Tours/activities as mentioned
  • Transport as mentioned

Price Excludes

  • International & domestic flights
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Entrance visas when applicable
  • Other services not mentioned
  • Tips and gratuities to guides, drivers
  • Taxes and fees

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