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How to Spend 3 Days in the Galapagos Islands

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How to Spend 3 Days in the Galapagos Islands
Encompassing more than 55 islands, Galapagos is a warm-climate getaway that’s home to staggering biodiversity. Here’s how to make the most of three days on Charles Darwin’s favourite islands. 

Day 1: Santa Cruz 
 As Galapagos’ most-populated island, Santa Cruz makes a great base for exploring the archipelago. Kickstart your trip with a morning tour of the island, which typically visit beaches and rock formations, and give you the chance to spot sea lions, sea turtles, pelicans, dog crabs, and golden rays. Some tours also include time to snorkel in Tortuga Bay or with the sea lions of La Lobería. 

After lunch, head to the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora for an orientation in Galapagos geology and ecology; you’ll also see Galapagos tortoises at the breeding center. As the sun begins to set, pull up a chair at one of Puerto Ayora’s al fresco restaurants for a cocktail and some ceviche, a local specialty of citrus-marinated raw fish.

Day 2: Floreana
This morning, set sail for Floreana island, a popular day trip destination just south of Santa Cruz. Tours tend to include a speedboat ride across the Pacific Ocean in addition to time to swim at Black Beach—home to marine iguanas, Galapagos sea turtles, and giant rays—and a short history lesson at Post Office Bay, once used by 18th-century whalers to leave letters for passing ships to deliver to their families. During the journey there, keep your eyes peeled for pods of dolphins or a passing whale. If you’d rather stay on Santa Cruz, consider a day trip to the Santa Cruz Highlands to sea Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitats. 

Day 3: Choose an Island
Santa Cruz is within day trip distance of several worthy Galapagos destinations. Head to Bartolome to hike to a volcanic outcrop and capture panoramic views of the surrounding islands, which are home to penguins and white-tipped reef sharks, or take a boat trip to North Seymour Island, where it’s possible to spot frigate birds, the iconic blue-footed boobies, and land iguanas. 

If you’d like to see multiple islands in a single day, opt for an excursion to Santa Fe and South Plaza Islands. The former is home to land iguanas, sea lions, and several endemic species, while the latter is known for its diverse bird life, which encompasses swallow-tailed and lava gulls, frigate birds, masked and blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and red-tailed tropicbirds.
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Galapagos Islands Tours & Activities (6)
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Tortuga Bay Tour and Yacht Cruise to La Loberia IslandDay Cruises

Tortuga Bay Tour and Yacht Cruise to La Loberia Island

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Spend the day venturing into the Galapagos on an adventure from Santa Cruz Island to Tortuga Bay beach. Enjoy a morning spent relaxing on sandy shores before exploring the bay on a trip to La Loberia Island, another of the Galapagos’ most famous sites. 
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD169.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trip to Santa Fe Island from Puerto AyoraDay Trips

Day Trip to Santa Fe Island from Puerto Ayora

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Santa Fe Island is a popular day trip for wildlife enthusiasts in the Galapagos. Home to rare iguanas, a giant cactus forest, and great snorkeling opportunities, the island has a lot to offer, and this day trip from Puerto Ayora lets you effortlessly explore its highlights. Tour Santa Fe Island with a guide who can share lots of insight about the local ecosystem and travel from your hotel with peace of mind.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours

Full Day Plazas & Carrion PointDay Trips

Full Day Plazas & Carrion Point

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The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, but you don’t have to take a pricey multi-day tour to experience Ecuador’s natural wonders. Discover the Plaza Islands on this full-day tour from Santa Cruz and marvel at exotic birds, manta rays, seals, and other wildlife. Hotel pickup and drop-off is included.
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  • 8 hours
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  • Free Cancellation
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USD260.00 
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  • 8 hours
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later
  • Free Cancellation

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Santa Fe and South Plazas Galapagos Day Trip - Aboard Luxury Windrose YachtDay Trips

Santa Fe and South Plazas Galapagos Day Trip - Aboard Luxury Windrose Yacht

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Visit two uninhabited Galapagos Islands in a single day on a luxury yacht charter that lets you feel like a VIP without the prices to match. Take a guided nature walk through cactus forests on Santa Fe Island, and look for blue-footed boobies and other native Galapagos birds on South Plazas Island. Everything you need for the day is provided on board, from a catered lunch to refreshing drinks and snorkeling gear.
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  • 7 to 8 hours
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USD371.00 
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  • 7 to 8 hours

Day Trip to South Plaza Island from Puerto AyoraDay Trips

Day Trip to South Plaza Island from Puerto Ayora

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Get up close to iconic Galapagos Islands wildlife, including marine iguanas and masked boobies, on a full day tour to South Plaza Island from Santa Cruz. There’s no need to rush to a meeting point, as complimentary hotel pickup is provided. After a scenic yacht ride from Itabaca Canal, swim and snorkel with white tip sharks and sea turtles at Punta Carrion. Book the excursion in advance to maximize your limited time on the islands.
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  • 8 hours
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  • 8 hours

Skip the Line:El Chato 2 Reserve Admission Ticket in Santa Cruz Island,GalapagosAttraction Tickets

Skip the Line:El Chato 2 Reserve Admission Ticket in Santa Cruz Island,Galapagos

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While on Santa Cruz Island, don’t miss the chance to see Galápagos giant tortoises in their natural environment. This admission ticket grants you access to the nature trails and lava tunnels of El Chato Reserve, an easy 30-minute drive from Puerto Ayora. On this privately owned land, tortoises roam freely, and a self-guided walk allows for plenty of photo ops. Coffee, tea, and rubber boots are provided for convenience.
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  • 2 to 5 hours
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  • 2 to 5 hours


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