Jordan Harvey's Ultimate 7-Day Galapagos Islands Itinerary

An itinerary from a member of Travel + Leisure's A-List, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world.

Galapagos Islands
Photo: Courtesy of Knowmad Adventures

Jordan Harvey is a member of Travel + Leisure’s A-List, a collection of the top travel advisors in the world, and can help plan your perfect getaway. He is the co-founder of Knowmad Adventures, which, after being founded in Patagonia, operates exclusively in South America and specializes in high-quality, custom adventures. Below is an example of the type of itineraries he creates. To work with Jordan, you can contact him directly at

Day 1 - Quito

Fly to Quito likely arriving late evening where you’ll be met and taken to your colonial mansion turned charming hotel situated in historic Old Town Quito.

Day 2 - Quito

Experience an insider’s look at Quito’s historic district, which was the epicenter of the Spanish colonial empire and also the first ever UNESCO World Heritage site.

Galapagos Islands
Courtesy of Knowmad Adventures

Day 3 - Quito - Galapagos Islands - San Cristobal Island

Island hop aboard an intimate catamaran and get face-to-face with an incredible array of animal species. Whether walking, snorkeling, kayaking or in a zodiac, you will be overwhelmed with wildlife such as the giant Galapagos tortoise, marine iguanas, albatrosses, blue-footed boobies and more. A 4-day Galapagos cruise takes you to some of the famed sites through the islands while stopping at a few lesser-known locations along the way. (Exact itineraries vary depending on your vessel choice. We select partner ships based on expert naturalist guides, fantastic and diverse itineraries, comfortable cabins, food quality, and overall experience. Let us help pair you with your perfect Galapagos experience.)

This evening you’ll visit the Galapagos Interpretation Center as well as La Galapaguera where you’ll witness giant tortoises up close and roaming freely.

Day 4 - Española Island

Spend the day on Española Island, the breeding site of nearly all of the waved albatrosses in the entire world. Starting at the spectacular Gardner Bay & Osborn Islet, walk across a lovely white sand beach among a busy sea lion colony or dive into the water to snorkel and possibly swim with sea lion pups.

Visit Suárez Point to take a trail where you can see the incredible wildlife of the Galapagos, possibly including blue-footed and Nazca boobies, mockingbirds, Darwin finches, doves, hawks and marine iguanas. This hike offers incredible photography opportunities, and you will also have the chance to see the island’s unique blowhole that spurts water into the air.

Day 5 - Floreana Island

Head to Cormorant Point and hike to a salt-water lagoon that is home to vibrant flamingos. You will be amazed by the green-colored beach, caused by a high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand, and you will get to swim in the crystal-clear waters off of the Devil's Crown. This extinct volcano peaks out of the waters just off of Floreana's coast and offers a magnificent snorkeling experience through the colorful marine life and submerged volcanic structures.

Explore the famous Post Office Bay where 18th century whalers once placed a wooden barrel for use as an unofficial mailbox, a custom that continues to this day with Galapagos visitors.

Day 6 - Santa Cruz

After disembarking you’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station getting hands on with their fieldwork. From here you’ll head to the Galapagos Safari Camp perched in the highlands of Santa Cruz exploring two enormous collapsed lava chambers and their tunnels en route. Enjoy a relaxing evening and the creations of arguably Galapagos’ best chef at this luxury safari style oasis.

Galapagos Islands
Courtesy of Knowmad Adventures

Day 7 - Santa Cruz

Enjoy the day to relax and/or continue exploring Santa Cruz. You will have a private guide and transportation at your disposal. We recommend visiting the eastern side of Santa Cruz, the Cerro Mesa and Garrapatero for trekking, biking and kayaking options. At 490 meters above sea level, Cerro Mesa offers spectacular views and boasts the largest crater on Santa Cruz. This will all be on a private basis with guide so you can decide how active you would like to be and do more or less activities or simply soak in the sun and relax on the white sand beach. Enjoy the sunshine and wildlife as you have a delicious picnic on the beach. After lunch you can visit Garrapatero Beach, where the contrast of mangroves, black lava, white sand and turquoise water, along with its birdlife and flamingo lagoon, is magnificent.

See one last sunrise from your private perch and a relaxing morning. You’ll be taken to the Baltra airport flying in the late afternoon to Quito where you’ll await your overnight flight home.

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