Galápagos Islands Tours

Why This Galapagos Adventure Tour? 
  • Galapagos Unbound is rated the #1 Galapagos Multisport Tour on TripAdvisor from unsolicited, independent travelers. 
  • We want to know why you are traveling and will accommodate your experience to deliver the most important things you want to get out of your Galapagos vacation.
  • We have exclusive access for a once-in-a-lifetime beach camping experience waking up to sea lions outside your tent!  
  • You kayak over gliding sea turtles and other thriving marine life in private coves and coastlines where nobody else goes.  
  • We intimately connect with local Galapageñans and even have the pleasure of a gourmet spread prepared exclusively for our guests in a fisherman's home!
  • Our guides are personally trained in the "ROW Difference", where others will use only guides provided to them by the National Parks, not trained in delivering the full experience you deserve in what is more than likely a one-time-ever vacation.
  • There is so much more!
  • Please carefully read the itinerary and you'll immediately see our difference.  It's a one-of-a-kind, not run-of-the-mill, Galapagos experience unlike any other tour you'll find.  Further, you can trust our Galapagos programs as we pioneered (first land tours on the islands) and advocated for low-impact, land-based travel to these stunning enchanted isles.

Trip Overview

This Galápagos Islands adventure tour, "Galápagos Unbound,” is a unique, multisport tour that includes sea kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, and amazing wildlife viewing. Unlike most tours of the Galápagos Islands, ROW’s journey transports small, personal groups to visit sites that are not on the main tourist routes and allows you to navigate your own adventure. You’re not confined to viewing the archipelago from the deck of a large ship or from well-wrung trails. Rather, you leave the crowds of visitors behind to enjoy the peace of walking, snorkeling and paddling your way through this island paradise. You even spend two nights camping on the islands within the Galápagos National Park—a one of a kind experience as we’re the only tour company with this incredible privilege!
 
While the Galápagos Islands are famous for their friendly, diverse wildlife, there is also a human population located in four small towns within the National Park. Our tour provides a holistic view of the entire Galápagos ecosystem, including the human element since that is very much a part of the landscape. Because we stay in small, local hotels, eat most meals at local restaurants, use local transport and services, and buy all our supplies in the Islands, this trip represents the best in responsible, sustainable tourism to the Galápagos.
 
This Galápagos Island trip was featured in the New York Times Travel Section January 8, 2006. You will find the article entitled "Galápagos Unbound" by Tim Neville. While the original itinerary has been modified somewhat since that time, the essence of this pioneering adventure has not changed. Our expert local guides work alongside Galápagos Park Service certified guides to bring you a superlative Galápagos multisport adventure. These trips are priced based on the number of guests per trip.
 

Detailed Description 

ROW's Galápagos Islands Adventure Tour, "Galápagos Unbound," is a multisport vacation and the first of its kind offered in this tropical archipelago. This trip gets you off the typical cruise-based Galápagos tour and allows you to see the diverse wildlife and scenery of these islands from behind a paddle. Snorkeling, hiking, and kayaking through the Galápagos gives you the most intimate journey possible in this incredible island chain.
 
The Galápagos Islands have been a national park of Ecuador since 1959. Organized tourism began in the 1960s, and the Galápagos remains a far-flung and iconic destination. Because of their famed natural history and remarkable land and marine species, these remote islands are revered the world over. In the effort to preserve and protect the Galápagos, access to the islands is strictly regulated.
 
Most Galápagos Islands tours are cruise-based, carrying from 10 to 100 people. ROW's Galápagos tour, the only of its kind, allows our small groups to visit sites off the main tourist routes. We walk and sea kayak where other, more intrusive travel, couldn't take us; our reward is not only what we see, but also the pleasure we have in getting there. ROW's Galápagos adventure is also the only tour that gives you the opportunity to camp on island beaches and to hike to the rim of a recently active volcano. Our trip is designed to give you intimate contact with a stunning, wholly unique world.
 
Our Galápagos Islands adventure vacation is the most sustainable eco-tour of the Galápagos you can support. First of all, compared to a cruise, this trip uses a fraction of the fuel (based on per person consumption) and thus has a much smaller carbon footprint. Second, a much larger percentage of your trip fee actually stays in the Galápagos Islands compared to cruises. This means your presence has a much stronger economic benefit to the local communities. Third, this is the only trip in the Galápagos that includes camping on an island beach and our camping site is approved and regulated by the Galápagos National Park Service. We are proud that we have developed minimum impact camping techniques that exceed established “Leave No Trace” practices.
 
Few places on earth allow for such close contact with wildlife as the Galápagos Islands. Words simply cannot describe the intense wonder you experience while exploring these oceanic islands where the birds and animals have little fear of humans.
 
On this superlative Galápagos adventure you'll play in the water with sea lions, get within a few feet of blue footed boobies, marine iguanas and the giant Galápagos tortoises. You'll watch pelicans and boobies dive for fish, snorkel in transparent water rich with sea-life, and even swim with sharks if you dare.
 
Our stable and speedy expedition sea kayaks are for two paddlers and specifically equipped for the conditions we encounter in the Galápagos. All kayaking portions of the trip are supported by a panga, or small launch, that ensures everyone's comfort and safety while on the water. Although we recommend that participants have some paddling experience, we begin each Galápagos sea kayaking trip with practice and a safety orientation.
 
Our Galápagos Islands tour takes us to five islands for a wealth of wildlife and ecosystem diversity. Every journey is more than its destination, and we are thrilled to offer a Galápagos adventure unlike any other.
 
Visit this page, Galapagos weather, to get a month to month description to best fit your travel preference. Further, if you need to purchase some gear before your trip, ROW has assembled the more common items at our ROWear online store.

Visit this page, Galapagos weather, to get a month to month description to best fit your travel preference. 

Rated 5/5 based on 159 reviews

Images & Videos

Itinerary

Collapse all days

Day 1

 
Arrive in Quito
 
Fly into Quito where your Galapagos Unbound adventure begins, with one of our representative meeting you at the airport and transferring you to your hotel for the evening.
 
ACCOMMODATION : Casa Ilayaku

Day 2

 
After breakfast, spend time exploring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed streets of Quito, including its colonial-era temples and the monasteries of Santo Domingo and San Francisco. Visit the St. Augustine Convent and the Jesuit Church of La Compañía, as well as the Presidential Palace and the elaborate interior of the Church of San Francisco. 
 
Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before stopping by the Galapagos Unbound headquarters for a trip briefing and tempting your taste buds with some of Ecuador’s rich chocolate. The late afternoon is free to explore at your leisure before dinner. 
 
ACCOMMODATION : Casa Ilayaku
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

 
From Quito, take a morning flight to San Cristobal, the first of the Galápagos Islands on our trip. Next we take a catamaran to our secluded beach camp to settle in and enjoy watching sea lions, blue footed boobies and more as the sun sets. This is also our first chance to get in the kayaks and meet some local wildlife.
 
Our accomodations this evening are at our exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos beach camp. (view photo)
 
ACCOMMODATION : Exclusive Beach Camp
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Today we will take our kayaks and paddle from our camp for roughly three hours, depending on the weather conditions. Our support boat is always close at hand if you need assistance or tire of paddling. We arrive at another pristine beach for lunch, bird watching and wildlife viewing. Then we continue in our catamaran to Kicker Rock*. Once at Kicker Rock, we snorkel through an amazing channel where you are likely to see white-tipped reef sharks, Galápagos sharks, sea turtles and eagle rays. We are sure to see hundreds of fish and sea stars. By late afternoon we return to relax at our beach camp, watch small hermit crabs scuttle along, as well as yellow warblers and other seabirds. Sunset over the Pacific is usually spectacular.  

Note: The order of the activities can vary depending on National Park schedules.

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

Spend another night at our exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime Galapagos beach camp.

 

ACCOMMODATION : Exclusive Beach Camp
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

This morning we leave for the airport very early so breakfast will be when we get to town, don't worry though we will have lots of hot drinks and snacks on the boat. We fly to the island of Isabela and check into our beachfront hotel and have a local lunch.

Next, we choose our favorite wildlife viewing transportation, our kayaks to navigate Isabela's beautiful bay and beachfront. There is so much wildlife to see from the water, especially birdlife, with some good fortune we will encounter the tiny Galapagos penguin as they love to hang out and nest on the rocks here. Bring your snorkel gear and jump in to explore the underwater wildlife. The pure white sand on the sea floor makes this a perfect spot to snorkel or just watch the show from your kayak. 

Note - The checked baggage allowance for these small planes is 25lbs per person - you may have a carry on like a backpack.  If you are over the limit the airline will charge $2 per lb over. 

 

 

ACCOMMODATION : Hotel Albemarle or similar
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Rising early, we head to the interior for a very different view of the Galápagos Islands. We drive just under an hour up to the highlands and begin our hike of Isabela’s Sierra Negra. This active volcano last erupted in 2005 and has the second largest caldera in the world with a diameter of approximately six and a half miles. The hike can vary from 6-10 miles and includes viewing the spectacular caldera and incredible lava formations. We return to town with time for relaxing on the beach, walking through town or simply resting.

This evening we have a delicious Beach BBQ.

 

ACCOMMODATION : Hotel Albemarle or similar
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

In the morning, weather permitting, we take a boat for roughly an hour to Los Tuneles*: a most curious and remarkable lava formation which consists of arches and caves. We walk along the shore and also snorkel in crystal clear water for an insight into the remarkable underwater world. We have lunch aboard the boat. From the lagoon we head to El Finado, here there is an inlet that for many years has been used by local fishermen to rest from their journeys in the ocean, a place with tranquil and shallow waters. Here we will anchor our boat and spend time snorkeling among submerged lava rocks forming caves and small reefs. 

On our way back to town we will visit the Tortoise Breeding Center. This is a conservation project by the Galapagos National Park to preserve and reintroduce to the wild the many and varied species of these gentle giants. 

Heading back to the hotel via the wetlands, we encounter flamingoes feeding in thebrackish waters of the tidal lagoons that are home to them, several species of mangrove and many migratory birds.

This evening, stroll along the white sandy beach and enjoy a leisurely night exploring the town and choosing a local restaurant for dinner.. 

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

ACCOMMODATION : Hotel Albermarle or similar
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8

We wake early and set off for the day’s adventures by sea. We take a chartered speed boat* to Isla Santa Cruz, the urban center of the archipelago and the home of the Darwin Research Station, the National Park Headquarters, and Puerto Ayora. Once we land, we drive on Santa Cruz’s main highway into the lush ecosystem of highlands. Wild Galápagos tortoises lumber throughout these dense forests, and we spend some time walking amongst them as they chew on the vegetation and roam slowly through the diverse environment.

After our time with the tortoises, we visit some of Santa Cruz’s lava tunnels created as hot lava once snaked throughout the earth’s crust. We explore the labyrinth of subterranean twists and marvel at the force of nature before returning to the surface. As the afternoon continues, we find our way to white-coral beach and a nearby shallow lagoon where we kayak for about an hour and a half. Watch for sharks, rays, and seabirds as we kayak along the coastline or flamingos enjoying the calm waters of the lagoon.
 
Later, we return to the hotel where you have some time to rest before we enjoy another fresh, delectable dinner.
 
*Note: Boat ride from Isabela to Santa Cruz on Shared Services in groups from 4 to 7 people.
The kayak activity could vary depending on tides
ACCOMMODATION : Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Today our drive to the highlands takes us to a stunning family-owned farm filled with fields of sugar cane and coffee. There, we’re greeted by one of the family who serves as a guide and shares with us the family’s adherence to old-fashioned methods in the creation of quality products. We have the incredible opportunity to see demonstrations of the farming, extraction, and distillation processes that go into the production of “Galápagos Moonshine.”

After our tour of the farm, our travels take us to El Garrapatero Beach whose sandy shores are surrounded by mangroves and adjoined by a freshwater lake. Swim amongst the marine life off the shores, kayak among the mangroves, or explore the lake beyond where herons, stilts, and flamingos enjoy the secluded ambience

This evening, we have a real treat in store as we join a local angler and his family for a very special farewell dinner prepared with traditional ingredients. This is a unique opportunity to engage in conversation and exchange experiences and most importantly, immerse ourselves in a new culture.

ACCOMMODATION : Angermeyer Waterfront Inn or similar
MEALS INCLUDED : Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

 
In the morning we transfer to the airport on Baltra where the original runway was built during WW II by the United States Navy. Late morning or early afternoon, we fly about two hours by jet back to the mainland city of Quito
 
Transfer to the international terminal for your return flight home or continue your travels.
 
Consider our Ecuador Multisport Short Program or a trip to Machu Picchu to lengthen your visit to South America. We can customize any one of these extension trip to fit your travel preferences or length requirements.
 
 
 

Dates & Rates

DatesAdult (USD)Child (USD) 
Dec 02, 2022 to Dec 11, 2022
Lowest Tier Price
$5,600£0€0$0$0$5,600£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Dec 18, 2022 to Dec 27, 2022 $5,600£0€0$0$0$5,600£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Dec 20, 2022 to Dec 29, 2022 $5,600£0€0$0$0$5,600£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Jan 06, 2023 to Jan 15, 2023
Lowest Tier Price
$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Feb 10, 2023 to Feb 19, 2023
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$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Mar 03, 2023 to Mar 12, 2023
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$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Mar 17, 2023 to Mar 26, 2023
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$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Apr 07, 2023 to Apr 16, 2023
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May 12, 2023 to May 21, 2023
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Jun 16, 2023 to Jun 25, 2023
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Jul 07, 2023 to Jul 16, 2023
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Aug 04, 2023 to Aug 13, 2023
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Sep 15, 2023 to Sep 24, 2023
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$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Oct 20, 2023 to Oct 29, 2023
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$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Nov 10, 2023 to Nov 19, 2023
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Dec 17, 2023 to Dec 26, 2023
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Dec 19, 2023 to Dec 28, 2023
Lowest Tier Price - Reverse Itinerary
$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW
Dec 20, 2023 to Dec 29, 2023
Lowest Tier Price
$6,250£0€0$0$0$6,250£0€0$0$0BOOK NOW

Supplementary Information

2022 Pricing:

4 - 7 Guests - $5990 per person

8 - 12 Guests - $5600 per person
 
2023 Pricing:

4 - 7 Guests - $7270 per person

8 - 12 Guests - $6250 per person
 

December Supplement = $375
Single Supplement = $775
 
Prices are based on double occupancy.  If desired, we will strive to pair you up with another single guest to elimate the single supplement fee however, please note that this is not always possible.
 
Please note that an additional amount of $1020 should be allowed for internal flights and Park Tariffs
 
Tiered Pricing Explained
 
Our trips are budgeted for full or near full sign-ups which enables us to offer trips at the lowest possible price. Because of numerous fixed costs, it is more expensive to operate a trip for a small group. Therefore, on some of our trips, in order to avoid having to cancel a trip, we have a “tier-pricing” system to avoid canceling a trip with a low number of sign ups. We have found that most people also prefer this alternative to having a trip cancelled. Thus, you will note on our trip prices there may be different price for 6-8 people versus 9-10, versus 11-12, etc...

We may initially invoice you at the higher tier price, and refund the difference depending on the final group size. Trip costs quoted are based on foreign exchange rates current at the time of this printing. We reserve the right to raise the trip fee if there are exceptional cost increases beyond our control.

Prices are based on double occupancy.  If desired, we will strive to pair you up with another single guest to elimate the single supplement fee however, please note that this is not always possible.

Included: 

  • Full service of our Adventure Consultants
  • Professional Galapagos Naturalist Guide
  • Double accommodation in hotels and for camping
  • All necessary kayaking, camping and snorkeling equipment
  • All transportation as noted on the itinerary
  • All meals and drinks as noted on the itinerary

Not Included

  • International flights to Ecuador 
  • Galapagos Round Trip Flights
  • Internal Island Transfers
  • $100 National Park fee 
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Insurance of any type
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation if necessary

Reviews

5
Average: 5 (23 votes)

Reviews

5

South American Adventure

Travel is gearing up again after the still period of travel restrictions. We started in booking Galapagos Unbound and before we were done booking it, we decided to also add the Peru Unbound adventure, as well. ROW offers solid, personal, very responsive guidance on every step of the arrangements, including help in various country-specific proofs of vaccination status. The Galapagos tour, active in nature with close-up kayaking and snorkeling opportunities, with our local knowledgeable guide, was exceptional. With completion of the tour, the flight from the island to Quito became the beginning of Adventure #2 with a flight to Lima to begin Peru Unbound. "How do you train for hiking Machu Picchu?" we were asked. It starts with taking the stairs rather than an escalator whenever the opportunity arises. Peru is also an exceptional tour with an array of guides based on our location as we traveled from area to area. The overnight family stay while on Armanti Island on Lake Titicaca offered a rare experience. These are the opportunities that are truly memorable. Travel at its best! Thank you, ROW.

5

Que Mas? Listos?

I'm the wife of reviewer Jeremy. Galapagos had been on my bucket list since middle school science class when I first learned about Charles Darwin and how his time on the Galapagos proved instrumental in his development of the theory of evolution. Those college essays that asked who you would want to have dinner with, alive or dead, Charles Darwin was ALWAYS my dinner guest. My husband was reluctant - it is a serious investment - but let me put it this way - I had dreamed of this trip for nearly thirty years - think about the anticipation and expectation I had - and this trip MORE than exceeded those expectations. ROW Adventures made it so seamless and stress-free from booking to the actual trip. The attention to detail, the expertise of the guides - our primary guide Ale, who was with us the whole trip, and our naturalists that varied by island - they were all so knowledgeable and eager to answer our questions and show us the beauty of the Galapagos. Ale would always prep our group before each excursion - filling us in on all the logistics and much more - at the end of her "briefing" she would always comment "Que mas?" - ensuring that she had filled us in on everything and ending with "Listos?" - we were always READY thanks to her diligence and ROW Adventures' attention to detail. (Read the review from Jeremy to hear about one of Ale's other go to phrases!) The wildlife was AMAZING! As my husband noted in his review, the wildlife is simply not conditioned to be afraid of humans and therefore you are literally coming face to face with sea turtles, sea lions, blue footed boobies, finches, iguanas, tortoises and so much more - it is impossible to put into words the uniqueness of this experience! We did a land based excursion vs. staying on a boat and absolutely LOVED it - I can't compare it to the boat excursions but I can tell you we really felt this allowed us to get a wonderful feel of not just the underwater treasures but the islands themselves. In short - if you've been considering a trip to the Galapagos but are wondering if it will be "worth it" - have NO FEAR - it is a once in a lifetime, truly magical experience!

5

Galapagos - Everyone should go at least once!

A trip of a lifetime that exceeded expectations in every way - from the animals, to the kayaking, to the accommodations, to the food. Our guide was exceptional. Thanks Row!

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