WHY THIS TRIP
One of the very best multisport trips possible in the Galapagos Islands, this land-based multisport combines comfortable accommodations with great guides and equipment and a well-planned itinerary designed to maximize recreation while seeing as much wildlife as possible. This trip is ideal for private groups or families, too.
When people think of traveling to the Galapagos, they often picture cruising between Islands and doing slow-paced walks. For travelers who want more action and adventure, there is a much more appealing alternative: the land-based multisport tour. You stay overnight in comfortable hotels. The Premium hotels kicks things up a notch so that while you work hard during the day, you can truly relax at night in luxurious lodges and travel in comfort between the Islands.
A multisport tour combines several different activities in one trip so that you never get bored and you experience each area a bit differently. The local operator,NeoTropic Expeditions (formerly Ecuador Adventure), was the first in the Galapagos to run such an adventurous trip and over the years they’ve only perfected the formula. You’ll be kayaking alongside sea lions, hiking up towering volcanoes, snorkeling to spot hammerhead sharks, biking through foggy hills to a Giant Tortoises reserve; and swimming in turquoise waters where Galapagos Penguins live.
Other wildlife highlights include magnificent frigate birds inflating their red chests; green sea turtles swimming and grazing for sea grass; blue-footed boobies dancing and whistling for one another; and enormous land iguanas crowding together on sun-warmed rocks. Of course, there are no guarantees with wildlife, but the itinerary is designed in such a way to maximize your chances of seeing all the wildlife that make the Galapagos famous.
Your guides are all adventure specialists, trained to both interpret the natural wonders of the Galapagos and safely guide you on each adventurous activity. Unlike many other trips with the word “multisport” in the title, this trip delivers true adventure and the trained guides to make sure you get the most out of your experience. Since this is also a land-based tour, you have a bit more flexibility with the itinerary (even more so if you do a private tour) and you can really go the pace that suits your group.
Of course, the point of the Galapagos is to see how animals and plants evolved uniquely on each different Island, so you’ll be staying on three different Islands to really get a feel for the archipelago’s diversity. San Cristoba, Isabela, and Santa Cruz Islands each have their own highlights and their own special appeal. By staying on the Islands overnight, you’ll also get a feel for the local culture and vibe of each place as well.
The lodges used on this trip reflect Island sensibilities while providing very comfortable accommodations. You can choose between comfortable standard hotels or Premium Hotels that are located on the waterfront of each Island, you can soak up the views and even do some wildlife viewing from the lodges as well.
Altogether, this tour would suit any traveler who loves to explore on their own, stay active, and would prefer to see the Galapagos in a unique way.
LOCAL PROVIDER: NeoTropic Expeditions
A pioneer of the multisport experience in the Galapagos, Quito-based NeoTropic Expeditions (formerly Ecuador Adventure) provides meaningful, fun and safe eco-adventure experiences reflecting the company’s strong commitment to sustainable eco-tourism in Ecuador.
Cheryl P. –
Everything about this trip was well-planned and well-executed. There was always a plan for each day, including every meal at different local restaurants, and we were busy all day with our adventures without worry about logistics. The guide was outstanding.
What moment or experience do you think you will remember most one year from now? Seeing hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, huge land tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions, etc.
Judy D. –
This trip was exactly as advertised. We snorkeled, hiked, biked and kayaked and enjoyed it all thoroughly. Our guide, Karen Jacome, was fantastic! She grew up on Isabella and as a native and certified park guide was a wealth of information. She was also fun and enthusiastic about her job. She coordinated every detail of our daily adventures. And she took plentiful photos along the way for us to add to our own photo collections. Every part of the trip went off without a hitch. We were constantly doing something and had to literally fit in time to take a shower before dinner. The pace was great. I feel like we got a great feel for what the Galapagos is all about.
I am not a boat/water person so staying on land on three different islands was perfect for me. I still got in enough snorkeling to see sharks, the sea tortoises and numerous other marine life. The hotels we stayed in were great. They were all fairly new, clean and spacious. Staff at all of them were very accommodating. It seemed like we had the best rooms in each of the hotels….great water views. The meals we had were delicious including a 3 lb. lobster and swordfish that melted in one’s mouth. We even had dinner one evening at the home of one of our boat captains. That was a nice special touch.
I really can’t say anything bad about this vacation. It fulfilled all of my expectations and was great value for the cost. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a land based adventure in the Galapagos.
Jessica D. –
This trip was amazing! The activities, accommodations, and food were fantastic. My only recommendation would be to pair people by physical ability.
Linda C. –
A Magical Trip for our Family
The trip exceeded our expectations. Everything from the lodging to the outstanding Galapagos tour guide was first rate. We are so glad we opted for the land based trip, We are an active family and the variety of activities was perfect. Sebastian Estrada, our guide that accompanied us throughout our 9 day Galapagos trip made the trip seamless. My kids are still talking about how great he was! We saw incredible wildlife, up close and personal, swam with sea lions, roamed with the giant tortoises, biked in the national park and kayaked to Darwin’s Bay, to name a few activities. An unexpected surprise was the food – every meal was fresh and delicious. Hacienda Zuleta in the highlands of Ecuador was a nice way to end the trip. The grounds were beautiful and the service and food were impeccable. The highlight was the horseback riding and condor visit on the grounds of the Hacienda. The only negative was that the tour guide, Fernando, that accompanied us from Quito to Hacienda Zuleta and back was unnecessary. The Hacienda Zuleta was beautiful and had a bountiful of amenities and services. We could have saved some money in that respect.
Joyce L. –
The land based Galapagos trip was amazing! The quality of the accommodations and food exceeded my expectations. Our guide Sebastian Estrada was extraordinary. He was fun, friendly, knowlegeable, flexible, and gave us a great understanding of the Galapagos. The trip was active so the kids (all boys, ranged 11-17 years old) in our private group were able to expend their excess energies. The true highlights were swimming/ playing with the sea lions and sea turtles, and also seeing the giant tortoises feasting on guayabas in Santa Cruz. The varied landscapes between islands were also beautiful. Several members in our party of 8 were prone to motion/sea sickness so flying between islands was great and a neat experience. The Hacienda Zuleta was beautiful and the people were so attentive. We loved the Otavalo market and wished we brought more stuff home. Because our stay was short, having a personal guide there was probably not needed. To save on cost, having the driver pick us up to and from the airport and going to Octavalo, was more than enough. I wished we could have seen the flower farms on the last day instead of getting to the airport 5 hours early.
This was the second part of our trip so almost 2 weeks in we were a bit tired. After hiking to Machu Picchu and having a wonderful trip we landed in Quito to a beautiful hotel La Casona de la Ronda Heritage Hotel. We had been so impressed with our tour of Peru,Ecuador Adventure Tours had a lot to live up to. They passed with flying colors. We had a day and a half in Quito on our own before heading to the Galapagos and the hotel recommended not only restaurants but a wonderful tour guide for the day. The hotel manager sat with us during dinner one night and gave us wonderful suggestions for just about everything. Early the next morning Alfredo, our guide from Ecuador Adventure showed up. He was amazing from the beginning. When one of the bags didn’t get to the airport with us he quickly took things under control and that bag and Alfredo made it onto the plane in the nick of time. Already impressed he continued to wow us. His experience and love of the Galapagos was evident from the beginning. He was a highly experienced outdoorsman and proved it every step of the way. All the hotels but the last one were great and the people working there were so helpful including the manager in San Cristobal who walked me to the ATM and the pharmacy one afternoon when my husband needed some medication. We saw and did so much. You could read what we were going to do on an itinerary but until you actually did some of these things you just can’t imagine. I felt like we were lucky because we were there a bit off season which meant less crowds everywhere and weather was cooler which made doing some of the activities easier. The highlight for me was our second day on San Cristobal when we took the boat out to this amazing beach where we were the only ones there and then to snorkel off of Kicker Rock. The snorkeling was so amazing. I am a less than experienced snorkeler but being there and knowing Alfredo and his assistant Maria were there made me brave and I am so glad I was because this was spectacular. I felt like Dory swimming with the beautiful fish, the turtles, and the sea lions. I did not want to get out. Alfredo also showed us that day how to make ceviches which I videotaped. We also did a mountain biking trail up to the Wall of Tears, and kayaked on 2 occassions. Since I am a total loser when it comes to kayaking I asked if he would partner up with me and to my relief he said yes. I was so glad since I was then able to enjoy seeing the wildlife instead of stressing out about steering the kayak. On each island we had not only Alfredo but a local guide that was so highly trained on the flora, fauna, wildlife, and sea life. Very impressive. His company also made sure that they spread the “wealth” around visiting different restaurants including someone’s home where they cooked us lobster on San Cristobal and to a private restaurant in the highlands on Santa Cruz. He knew everyone, was respectful of everyone, and was always excited about showing us the island even though he had probably been there a million times. We couldn’t have asked for more. Really great time. The only issue was the last hotel that was pretty sparse and more like a hostel, although the people working there were lovely. But it was close to the Darwin Center and a great coffee place called 1835 coffee lab which made yummy hot chocolate (Ecuador’s chocolate is wonderful by the way) and coffee. We never stressed about making a plane, boat, or ferry ride with Alfredo in charge. Speaking of Chocolate don’t miss going to Republica de Cacao in Quito. The best chocolate to buy and the chocolate liqueur is amazing. I wish we could have brought some home with us. I can’t say enough about Detour Destinations or on Ecuador Adventure (NeoTropic) in Equador. It was a trip of a life time and did not disappoint.
GREGORY M ELLIS –
Outstanding trip. Outstanding guide(Alfredo). Outstanding organization by Detour and Amazonas. Couldn’t have asked for more. Our group really felt like we got a great look at the natural world of the Galapagos – as well as some of the local culture on all the islands we visited. We could not have asked for a better experience.
I won’t go into detail about how incredible the islands are, you will know that already. However, the service from Detour and their partners in Ecuador and the Galapagos was fantastic. Prior to going we were always kept up to date by detour, making sure we knew what was needed, when etc. They helped us arrange everything. Then once we were there, we did not have to think about anything but enjoying ourselves from the moment we landed on San Cristobal to the moment we left Santa Cruz. It was incredible. All of the guides were passionate and deeply knowledgeable. The activities were well organised and slick. Hotels were fantastic. There is not one thing I can say that was not thought of and taken care of by the various people involved in our time there. Even catering for my gluten and dairy free wife was taken care of everywhere. Its worth every penny. I cannot recommend this trip, and Detour, enough.
Ellen Weiss –
This was truly a trip of a lifetime. From the moment my husband, my 23 year old son and I stepped off the plane into the arms of Sebastian and then Alfredo, we were swept into a world of natural beauty, unnatural closeness with animals. Our guides and the park rangers were all from or connected to the Galapagos by marriage – they loved this place and had a passion for sharing their knowledge and were so enthusiastic about the uniqueness of these islands. And that uniqueness begins the minute you arrive and step out of the lovely beach front hotel in San Cristobel. You and the sea lions are neighbors – or rather, you are a guest in their neighborhood and, well, they kind of rule. They are sleeping on top of an below the park benches, and we spent a long time one night after dinner just watching hundreds of them settled in on the beach. Every moment was filled with insight from our guides and the park rangers – who all spoke great english and were knowledgeable about the history, ecology, mating, plants, insects, evolution – you name it. The hiking, kayaking, biking was just so much fun and just challenging enough. What made this kind of land based trip particularly special for and others was the freedom to go for a run or a long swim in the ocean or an early morning walk and to experience the islands outside of an organized group, or on a limited schedule that staying on a boat just would not have provided. We didn’t feel like we were just another group landing on the island for a few hours…we felt that we had the time to adventure and see things that weren’t always “on the trail.” And everywhere we went, our guides knew the rangers, they knew the drivers, the farmers, the restaurant owners – their families were from the Galapagos, so they seemed to take so much pride in sharing their “home” with visitors. Our group of six was amazing – very adventurous and fun and flexible. My husband, who was the least athletic of us was never without company and always supported and encouraged – guides adjusted some things just for him while the rest of us went with the rangers – so everyone shared the adventure. The hotels were beautiful. The Iquana Crossing Hotel on Isabella is one that all of us would return to just to spend a week hanging out – that island was particularly special because of its undeveloped natural settings. The food was fresh, delicious, healthy and plentiful! You will experience a connection and closeness with nature that will remind you how precious our planet really is. From the moment I first called Greg, through Kelly’s responsiveness to my questions, even from Quito, Detour was a great company to work with. I can’t recommend this company and this particular tour enough.
Eileen & Dale –
Our time in the Galapagos was nothing short of spectacular. Juan Fernando Duran shared his love and respect of the pure nature of the islands and their resources. We were treated to seeing the animals of the Galapagos in their native habitat and explored the wonders of the islands and the unique characteristics of each island (San Cristobal, Isabella and Santa Cruz). From kayaking, snorkeling, biking to hiking, Juan was a perfect guide to the intrinsic beauty of the land and sea. His insight into the ecology and evolution of the islands gave us, not only an exciting adventure, but an educational view of the Galapagos. He also seemed to have a great rapport with the naturalist guides on each island which made it more interesting for us. We enjoyed sea lions, marine iguanas, sea turtles, sharks, assorted spectacular fish, frigates, blue-footed boobies, penguins, pelicans, tortoises and more. Juan also coordinated our connections traveling on and between the islands and we never missed a beat. The hotels were lovely, and the food was fresh and healthy. Katie and Allie from Detour consistently and patiently answered all of our questions, and gave us guidance into successfully preparing for our trip. We highly recommend this adventure!
Our trip to the Galapagos was fabulous due in no small part to our guide Tomas Espinosa. He knew seemingly everything about the biology, ecology, and geology of the islands. Because there were only four of us, my sister, our husbands, and me, he was able and willing to be flexible with the itinerary. When a political protest on San Cristobal forced the closing of several local businesses, he replaced the canceled kayaking trip with a longer trip to Kicker Rock and an extra snorkeling trip to Darwin’s Bay. Strong southerly winds also made kayaking in the bay around Santa Cruz too hard, so he took us to a protected cove for a shorter kayaking trip followed by swimming in Las Grietas, a deep gorge filled with a crystal clear mix of sea and rain water brimming with fish. And the hike to Las Grietas included lots of interesting fauna and flora. Through Detour, we substituted a trip to Los Tuneles in place of the hike to the Sierra Negra Volcano rim on Isabela. Not for the faint of heart, the boat trip to Los Tuneles was a 45-minute ride through very rough seas on an open fishing boat. To get to the bay the captain rode a wave in through an opening in the reef with waves crashing all around. But it was worth it! The volcanic formations looked like the lost city of Atlantis rising from the sea. We snorkeled nearby with sea turtles, a few reef sharks, and two seahorses clinging to mangrove branches. We also loved the walk and swim at Los Tintoreras, a short boat ride across the Isabela harbor. We spotted penguins, pelicans, blue-footed boobies, and a nursery full of young marine iguanas nesting on the rocks. We swam with sea turtles, sea lions, and marine iguanas and saw beautiful, florescent blue starfish, “chocolate chip” starfish, sea cucumbers, and several varieties of sea anemones. The staff at all of the hotels were friendly and welcoming. Our favorite hotel was the Angermeyer Inn on Santa Cruz; our favorite restaurant was the Narwhal in the Santa Cruz cloud forest; our favorite island was Isabela, and our favorite fruit juices were at Casa Optunia on San Cristobal. Allie and Katie at Detour were professional and responsive to our questions from start to finish. We would definitely book with Detour again.
Don’t miss this trip – I’m serious. I went with my wife, my 2 sons (in their 20s) and their girlfriends and we had a wonderful time. Our private guide, Alfredo, met us at the airport in San Cristobal and stayed with us until we got on the plane in Santa Cruz.
We stayed 2 days each on 3 islands. Each place was very different and full of fascinating wildlife and the range of activities was excellent: hiking, biking, snorkeling, kayaking and relaxing – just want we wanted.
The reviews by Mitch and Sylvie pretty much say it all. There is no place like this on earth and this is a wonderful way to see the Galapagos. Far more activity and flexibility than being on a boat the whole time and Detour did a great job adjusting to meet our exact needs, as did Alfredo.
We did stay an extra night in Quito and, given that we made the effort to travel to Ecuador, it was more than worthwhile to spend the extra day. We arranged a 2 hour private walking tour there which was a perfect overview.
First of all Pablo Puente our Guide was unbelievably fantastic. His knowledge and skill was impressive and went beyond informative. His planning of the activities included looking at such things as tides, weather etc and his flexibility to move event was a Plus. The Activities were fun and at times challenging, just what we expected. kayaking was terrific, equipment was in outstanding condition and the sight seeing was perfect. Would have liked them to be about an hour longer than they were. The trips to the national parks and tortoise breeding centers was interesting, but I was tortoised “out” after a while. Having been to 2 breeding centers, one on Isabela and the Darwin Center and a visit to another nature site I feel our hiking time could have be better utilized , maybe another volcano hike or a and additional bike ride. The Volcano hike was great , it was drizzling , damp and muddy but it was great fun! The view from the rim was obscured due to fog, but we loved the hike. The bike ride was very exciting, the destinations were cool and the views outstanding, again more time would have been perfect. The bikes were new. Snorkling: 3 Adventures. On San Cristibol we snorkeled in Frigate bay. Calm, easy and good viewing. Equipment was fine. The big snorkel event was out at Kicker rock. The sea was a bit rough which made for difficult swimming and hard to see wildlife in the water.The wet suits and flippers were a must and a huge help. On Isabela , Darwin Bay was wonderful. Our Nature guide would find something of interest for the group to see and call us all together as well as looking around on our own. All the naturalist guides were informative and very helpful to Pablo. — Accommodations — In Quito (actually Puembo) Hosteria San Jose: Beautiful place, loved the local Spanish motif. The help could not do enough for us. The breakfasts were perfect and we ate dinner one night, well prepared and the wine selection was good. Rooms were big and the indoor hot tub was what we needed after walking 10 miles through the old city. Casa Opuntia on San Cristibol. Lovely local flavor with fantastic views of the harbor. Big room with good views.Their food was the most Ecuadorian in style, delicious and diverse. Juices to die for. The outdoor dining was an experience to remember. Architecture had a great local flavor and design. Built with great views of the harbor and easily accessible to the boardwalk and town. Iguana Crossings on Isabela: Beautiful modern facility the infinity pool and outside deck were a treat and the view of the beach was unbeatable. The hot tub was on the roof but we needed to give the hotel at least 2 hour notice when we wanted to use it, we were never sure the time we would return so it was a hassle to use but the last night we were able to use a “warm” Hot tub. The room was very big and the ocean view made it. Food was good, dining room was nice but not as unique as the outdoor area at Casa Opuntia. Menu was a bit narrow. Breakfasts were good. Not close enough to the town but great for late night walk on the abundant beach.( we had a full moon too). Angermeyer Waterfront on Santa Cruz: Absolutely the the nicest hotel. Accommodations were outstanding and the grounds beautiful and designed to fit the location. Food was very good. Happy hour was nice. Breakfast were made to order eggs and local fruits and juices. The water taxis to get us to the town were always available and easy to ride in. The town was lively (world cup on every Bar/Restaurant TV). — The transportation: Aerogal airline is a class act. The jets were modern and their flight crew dedicated to passengers, a refreshing change from Delta (Made me wonder who was actually the 3rd world country). the six seater Piper from San Cristibol to Isabela was so much fun. The sky was crystal clear and the views of all the islands was unforgettable, a definite plus to the trip. The Boat from Isabela to Santa Cruz was a bit boring but with thanks to Pablo we left Isabela before the seas got rough. Land transportation was excellent, never missed a beat the buses were always their for us, clean and we felt very safe in them. — Summary: Everything was top notch, first class. From Detour’s communication and follow up to our outstanding Guide Pablo caring for each detail of our daily adventures. We would strongly recommend this premium multisport adventure and look forward to having Detour as our agency for our next expedition.
Our trip was indeed fantastic! First of all, we 3 were the only members of this tour-so basically we had a private tour with our guide-amazing. Our guide, Pablo Valladores was great! He is a biologist so has in depth knowledge of the natural habitat, and is passionate about the Galapagos-he lives on Isla Isabella-as well as ecology and respect for the earth. He speaks excellent English, is friendly and polite and very patient. He made everything go very smoothly with cars appearing when we needed them, restaurants and hotels ready and awaiting our arrival. The adventures were many and memorable-snorkeling with sea lions, sea turtles, rays and sharks! Flying in 5- seater plane(I found that exciting!), kayaking in the ocean swells and hiking among multitudes of turtles, iguanas with beautiful curious birds flying all around. It really was a trip of a lifetime and we were really glad to experience it as a land-based tour with this wonderful guide rather than stuck on a boat. Even the weather co-operated with no rain except the very last evening. In addition, the islands really are pristine-with not a speck of trash on any of the beaches, paths or in the water. As a bonus, the were no mosquitoes at all and hardly any pesky bugs! Our first hotel, Casa Opuntia was lovely with lovely rooms overlooking the harbor. The staff were very nice and the cook excellent. We were only disappointed with the breakfast buns- the consistency of hamburger buns -served with margarine (not butter). A pity since there was a very good bakery nearby. The granola and coffee were excellent. Iguana Crossing Hotel was boutique style-luxurious on an amazing pristine beach, but the food was so-so, stale bread and vile tasting cheese served at breakfast. The staff tried hard but appeared to be very inexperienced. The infinity pool was beautiful but the steps into the pool were so slippery I fell entering the pool despite hanging on to the railing. The Angermeyer Hotel was also lovely with hefty German architecture and a very interesting history as told in a book written by one of the Angermeyers which is sold at the hotel. The breakfast buffet was somewhat better there but overall the choice of meals so-so. The staff again very nice especially Elsie who was very helpful and welcoming. We enjoyed the adventures but the biking on Isabella was superfluous. The road to the ‘wall of tears’ was closed so we only could cycle a short way and often had to get off the bikes because the paths were too sandy. I think another site should be chosen for the biking part-perhaps in the highlands-or a visit to a cacao or coffee plantation. It should be noted that the tap water is not potable, not even for brushing teeth and travelers should be made aware in advance (we learned the hard way!) The hotels do provide purified water. This is a very active trip and participants can expect to be tired but exhilarated every night. Overall, we were enchanted and would heartily recommend the trip and especially our guide Pablo. If I could figure out how to do it, I would send you a clip taken with my underwater camera of us swimming with the Galapagos sharks! Truly an unforgettable experience!
Debbie E –
The trip was amazing and all we had hoped it would be. Spectacular views of wildlife and landscape, with an excellent naturalist guide. Hotels were all very satisfactory. We wish we could have stayed a few more days.
Sarka E –
I have been traveling the past 50 years (!, yes 50) and consider this to be one of the best trips ever. The group size (6) was perfect, not waiting for someone all the time and able to get to know each other. The guide was wonderful and easy going (Thomas Espinoza) and the program was superb. Exactly what I wanted to do. Hiking, biking, kayaking and snorkeling. The food was outstanding and the hotels for most part beautiful. Bathrooms are usually an issue, poor maintenance and lack of shelves to put anything on, yet the rooms were great!
Bob and Carol –
We had a great time – Juan (our guide) was “the best.” We both liked him very much. He was very knowledgeable, personable, and has a true passion for his country. He did a great job of making sure everyone got to see and do all that each had hoped for. We felt safe and secure with him, at all times.
Thanks so much for all of your help, as well. You did a great job of answering all of our questions.
Thanks again and take care.
Fazia M –
We had a perfectly organized tour. There was also possibility for change, depending on the wishes of the group. The only remark we have is the visits to land turtles on every island. One could easily be skipped and replaced by other animal viewing.
I would also advice people who plan to do this trip to bring good binoculars.