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How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)

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How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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Hello!

We have 11 nights to spend in The Galapagos during our 5 week trip to Ecuador this December.

I am having a heck of a time trying to decide how to split our time and on what islands I decided to ask for advice.

We are a family of 5 (kids will be 12, 14, 15 when we go), we will be doing this part of our trip by land, independently (working with someone on possibly helping coordinate day tours though). We have airbnb's picked out but need help deciding how long to stay on each island.

For reference, we will be there December 21-Jan 1 so a total of 11 nights. We fly from Quito and leave into Guayaquil. We want to snorkel, see wildlife, learn about the ecosystems, and just in general experience this magical place. I do NOT like crowded tours, would be willing to pay for private tours if available.

We were originally thinking 4 nights on Santa Cruz, 3 on Isabela, and 4 on San Cristobal (in that order). We don't want to shave off anymore days of our trip on either end if possible but if we were really pressed we could maybe go on the 20th. Our flights from the mainland are not set yet.

Also, with this current itinerary we would be moving from Santa Cruz to Isabela on Christmas Day. The ferry's and water taxi's should still be working right?

I am looking for input on how you would break up 11 nights between these three islands. Isabela looks like a. nice relaxing place to spend a few days and Cristobal seems like there are more tours we'd like to do. I am thinking too hard and making my head confused.

6 replies to this topic
Boston...
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1. Re: How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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I can't answer all your questions, but I do think your breakdown seems about right. You are giving yourself more time than many people do, which is great! I don't think you will find any tours "crowded" since most (all?) visitor sites are limited to 16 guests (last I checked, anyway). You will definitely be able to meet your goals of experiencing wildlife, snorkeling, and learning about ecosystems from all the islands--no worries there. And you should see a really nice variety. Have a wonderful time!

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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You should take a look at all the day tours available on each island (many websites will have this info), make a list of which you are interested in, and then see how you want to split your time. You may find more or less tours you want to take on certain islands that will warrant an extra day here or there. If there are any you can't miss, you should probably book those before arrival.

We did a split of 4 nights on each island last February.

North Coast, N...
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3. Re: How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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Agree with blackendangel. Day tours can play a major role! We also did 4 days on the 3 main islands, flying into San Cristobal for 4 nights, the 2 on Santa Cruz, 4 on Isabela & finally 2 on Santa Cruz, flying out of Santa Cruz.

Also remember that if travelling on the inter-island ferry, you have the option of early morning or afternoon sailing which gives you a good half day (can be even more!) if you want to spend more time on an island.

Silver Spring...
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4. Re: How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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Following...I'm also going for 12 nights in August but haven't planned it yet. YIKES.

North Coast, N...
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5. Re: How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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July & August are busy months so if you have any 'must do' day tours you might want to consider booking.

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6. Re: How Best to Split up our 12 Days in Galapagos (By Land)
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I think you have a pretty good breakdown. The only things you might want to consider is taking a night from Santa Cruz and adding it to Isabela. Santa Cruz has the least wildlife on the island and feels more commercial. Santa Cruz does have some great day tours like Bartolome and North Seymour though. Isabela has a lot of things to do on the island and feels more remote,

https://www.georges-backpackingguides.com/blog/cost-visiting-galapagos-islands-independently-complete-guide/

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