Kayak the Galapagos Islands
This is a relatively short trip for the sea kayak enthusiast who loves to kayak and camp! Sea Kayak Adventures is the only company with a tour that includes camping on the beaches of the Galapagos Islands! Waking up and going to bed surrounded by island sounds and life is an extraordinary experience that totally immerses you in nature. In addition to our explorations by kayak and on foot, you have incredible up-close wildlife encounters.
The trip takes place on the island of San Cristobal where there is an airport that provides easy access to the Ecuadorian mainland. The six-day tour starts with an overnight in Quito, Ecuador’s capital city. The next morning you fly to the Galapagos and the island of San Cristobal. Later in the day we have our first kayaking session. The next three days we kayak along the coast, enjoying the warm water and weather. We stay at two different beach camps where we have strict “Leave No Trace” systems set up to minimize our impact. We visit Kicker Rock and snorkel in clear waters to see turtles, a multitude of fish including eagle rays, harmless Galapagos sharks, white-tipped sharks, and much more. We even have an afternoon of optional stand up paddle boarding! On the sixth day we return to the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and fly on to mainland Ecuador. Or, you might wish to extend your stay in the Galapagos by adding on one of our short options the explore the islands of Santa Cruz and/or Isabela.
The Galapagos is all about wildlife. A wild menagerie of remarkable animals thrives on these remote islands, scattered nearly 700 miles (1000 km) off the coast of Ecuador. The seclusion of this archipelago honed the development of unique animals, untouched and unafraid of human civilization. Though the Galapagos now allows a limited number of visitors to its enchanted shores, careful habitat-management preserves this charmed ecosystem. The beauty of a sea kayak as a vessel for wildlife viewing lies in its non-intrusive, eco-friendly presence. On this 6-day itinerary, live the wonders of the Galapagos by getting down to sea level in this exquisite marine environment. At Kicker Rock we snorkel with a multitude of sea life and with luck might see some dolphins as well. On land there are blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, owls, marine iquanas, many finches and other birds. There’s a chance to see the legendary giant tortoises at a local breeding center. We also have an exciting snorkel session a sea lion rookery, where younger sea lions often come to play with us. Truly, there is an endless palette of terrestrial and underwater life beckoning from the surf in this "Bucket List" adventure.
The “up-close-and-personal” nature of this itinerary allows for three nights spent camping on the beach and plenty of time on the water for paddling. You’ll also enjoy the classic Galapagos highlights, like a visit to the wild tortoise farm with ample time to explore beautiful and fascinating beaches as well as the pockets of interesting animal populations that make the Galapagos unique.
Images & Videos
Sunday, Arrival to Quito
On arrival you are met by a ROW / Sea Kayak Adventures representative and transferred to your hotel. If you arrive early in the day, enjoy your time exploring Quito, settling in and recovering from your flight. Our representative will let you know the time to meet your guide and the rest of your group the following morning for your flight to the islands.
Flight to San Cristobal – Introduction to Galapagos Wildlife
A representative will meet you and the rest of the group in the lobby of the hotel to transfer you to the airport for your two-hour flight to the Galapagos. Upon arrival on the island of San Cristobal, we meet our tour leader and have a short orientation as well as pass through the quarantine process.
We may walk to Cerro Tijeretas (Darwin’s Bay) where those who desire may swim and snorkel. Or we may go to La Loberia which is a sea lion colony, to observe the sea lions and swim in the water with them. Either way, we observe various birds and wildlife, including frigate birds and their antics. Frigates are deservedly known as ʻpirates of the seaʼ because of their behavior of stealing food from unassuming boobies. There are also marine iguanas in the bay and with luck we see them swimming as they dive for seaweed which is their primary diet.
This afternoon we enjoy our first paddle! After a brief orientation to the kayaks and paddling, we sea kayak from the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Tijeretas Bay, named for the frigate birds that frequent this area. Kayaking gives you a more intimate experience of the island as you paddle past the coastline, appreciating the nature and wildlife from the water. Once we arrive at Tijeretas bay we observe the frigate birds and their antics. There are also marine iguanas in the bay, and with luck we will see them swimming as they dive for seaweed which is their primary diet.
Explore the town and enjoy dinner on your own at a local restaurant. Overnight at a comfortable hotel.
Laguna El Junco - Giant Tortoises - Kayak Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Manglecito
Rise and join breakfast as we prepare for our day’s explorations. First we head to Laguna El Junco, one of the few bodies of freshwater on the Galapagos Islands. Located at about 2200’ (700 meters) above sea level, we may see ducks, gulls and frigatebirds. Next up is the Galapaguera of Cerro Colorado, a breeding center for giant tortoises that are unique to San Cristobal. Perhaps no animal creates a more iconic image of the Galapagos than these fascinating animals. You get an intimate view of these lumbering, peaceful-looking creatures, sure to be a highlight of your visit. At the center, the tortoises roam freely around 26 acres (12 ha) of space. Young tortoises are raised in a controlled environment, and when large enough to be less subject to predation, they are let free in appropriate areas on the island.
We return to town for lunch and then start our day’s kayaking. From the town harbor, we paddle north along the coast several miles, with low-lying hills and the central mountains of San Cristobal in our view. As we paddle, we are likely to be sharing the waters with sea turtles as well as sea lions which observe us and may even follow along for a spell. Birds circle overhead while fish swim underneath, and plummeting boobies that come up with fish in their beaks add to the natural show all around.
We paddle roughly 7.6 miles and by late afternoon arrive at our lovely beach camp with time to settle in. This is a magical place and camping in the Galapagos is a rare treat made possible by our special permits. Before too long it’s time to take a short stroll to watch the sun set over the magnificent Pacific Ocean. We dine in camp, watch the stars lighten the sky, and fall asleep to the sound of surf.
Isla Lobos – Snorkeling - Camping
One thing you will quickly notice about being on the equator is that day and night each last 12 hours. Early risers witness the island coming to life as light wakens a multitude of animals. Soon after breakfast we get back into our kayaks and kayak about one hour to Isla Lobos. This is a small and rocky island with a large sea lion colony. We stop on a beach and put on masks, snorkels and fins before entering the water. We keep a respectful distance from the actual rookery, but usually young teenage sea lions swim towards us to greet us. It’s a thrilling experience to play with these youngsters who dart around, spin and frolic.
We have lunch, spend some more time snorkeling to look at the rich marine life, and then kayak back to camp. You have time to enjoy the afternoon, walk along the beach and relax. Soon it’s time to revel in another long-lasting sunset and sit down for dinner to share the memories of the day.
San Cristobal Island: Kayak to Campsite - Kicker Rock Snorkeling
As the sun rises the activity of birds and lapping waves are likely to wake you. This is a highlight of camping on the Galapagos Islands that just isn’t the same when on a boat. Truly it is a most magical way to wake and know you are truly immersed in the abundant beauty and life found only here.
A hearty breakfast is served, and then we pack up, don our lifejackets, pick up our paddles and ease ourselves into our kayaks. Today is another superb paddling day along the coast! The scenery changes as the island’s mountains come into better view. As always, frigate birds, gulls, pelicans, and boobies provide entertainment and wonder as we paddle. With luck we see more sea turtles who periscope up their heads to watch us.
After our exhilarating morning paddle, we arrive at our next camp. We'll unpack a bit with everyone’s help camp will be set up quickly and then it’s time for lunch.
We have an exciting afternoon ahead, with a trip to snorkel at Kicker Rock. We board a comfortable motorboat that is the perfect platform for our explorations and take a one-hour cruise to Leon Dormido, or Sleeping Lion, a rock formation named by early sailors for its resemblance to that far-off jungle cat. Locally it is referred to as "Kicker Rock". By any name, this dramatic geologic formation that soars out of the sea to the sky, is a superb place for snorkeling. Descending from our boat, we snorkel between two cliffs of rock in waters teeming with fish. Sea stars cling to the walls, and it’s not uncommon to have harmless Galapagos sharks join us.
We return to our camp by late afternoon. For those interested we bring stand up paddle boards to use in the small bay. There’s also time for more snorkeling, walking on the beach and soaking in the amazing nature that surrounds you.
After a full day of immersion in the Galapagos, it’s time to rest. Our view to the west allows for an unobstructed view of an equatorial sunset. Then it’s time for dinner and a good night's sleep.
San Cristobal – Guayaquil or Quito
This is our last morning in the islands. After packing your things, we board our boat to return to town. No time for breakfast this morning but we have coffee and cookies available on the boat. Once we get to town we have breakfast before heading to the airport for the late-morning flight or other options including:
1) Spend more time on the Galapagos. Travel by local speed boat to the island of Santa Cruz and enjoy another one or two days exploring the island.
2) Travel by small plane directly to the island of Isabela to spend a couple of amazing days exploring. Then by local speed boat to Santa Cruz, for more exploration and a flight back to the mainland.
3) Fly to Quito on the mainland and explore Ecuador’s capital city. From Quito we can arrange trips into the Andean highlands, or to a wildlife lodge in the Amazon.
4) Fly to Guayaquil on the mainland and continue home.
5) Fly to Guayaquil and on to an extension to visit Machu Picchu in Peru.
Accommodations: Depends on the option you choose. If returning home, then overnight at a hotel near Quito or Guayaquil airport.
Dates & Rates
|Dates||Adult (USD)||Child (USD)|
|Jul 10, 2022 to Jul 15, 2022||$2,990£0€0$0$0||$2,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Nov 13, 2022 to Nov 18, 2022||$2,990£0€0$0$0||$2,990£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
|Dec 22, 2021 to Dec 27, 2022||$3,090£0€0$0$0||$3,090£0€0$0$0||BOOK NOW|
- 4-5 Guests - $3,715 per person
- 6-8 Guests - $2,990 per person
December trips have a $100 Suppliment
*Additional dates by demand available by demand. Please note that four people are needed in order to gaurantee a tour.
- Galapagos Naturalist Guide/Tour Leader
- Double accommodation in hotels or tents
- Meals as per the itinerary above
- Panga transportation
- Kayak & camping equipment
- Airport transfers on Day 1
- Visits and Activities as per the Itinerary (Shared service for Kicker Rock)
- Bottled water
- Tips for carriers and porters
- Tips for guides and staff
- Round trip international flight to Quito.
- Internal flights (Quito-Galapagos-Quito)
- Galapagos entrance fee $100 – subject to change
- Galapagos tax TCT $20
- Tips for tour leader
- Alcoholic beverages
- Insurance of any type.
- Personal expenses.
- Cost of hospitalization and evacuation if necessary
ALL PRICES IN US DOLLARS. We will do our best to adhere to the itineraries and trip descriptions listed on our website. However, tour itineraries or sub contractors (such as taxi, cruise boats or hotels) may change slightly due to reasons beyond our control including but not limited to Acts of God, wind, waves, inclement weather or other. We always welcome you to call us to clarify any item - often this is the best way to fully clarify expectations - call us collect or on our toll-free number. You will be sent pre-trip email with latest details within a month of your tour - it is your responsibility to check in with us prior to your trip to see if you have all the information you need. We will always do our best to provide you with the best possible tour and to fully meet your expectations to the best of our ability.
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 numerousfixed 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.
FAQ & More
The Galapagos Islands (or Archipelago de Colon) are a Province of Ecuador located about 500 miles (800 kilometers) west of the Ecuadorian coast and are located directly on the equator.
The Galapagos Kayak trip visits fewer islands and there is more time spent kayaking than on the other trip. This is a tour crafted for those looking for the most paddling and camping available. Both are superb journeys offered by no other company and we invite you to call our office to help you decide which trip would be best for you. You see roughly the same number of species of animals on either trip.
On the Galapagos by Kayak trip there is from one to four hours of kayaking every day but one. We operate under permits from the Galapagos National Park Service and the rules do sometimes change with little notice.
Whenever your schedule allows! Because it’s on the equator, air temperatures don’t change a lot. However water temperature does fluctuate as much as ten degrees during the year. The cooler Humboldt Current comes up from Antarctica from May to September/October and the sea is cooler and tends to be rougher at this time of year. Cooler water temperatures mean you generally see more sea life because there is more food for the animals that depend on the planktons and other sea nourishment. From November to April, the cooler Panama Current flows from the north and brings warmer water. The sea tends to be calmer at this time of year. If you’re going on our land-based tour then rough water is less of a concern. If you’re doing a cruise, and you are prone to seasickness, you might want to consider coming in the November to April time frame. Check out further recommendations on when to go here.
For a month to month comparison of temperatures and wildlife activity check out the Galapagos Calendar.
Visit this page for a month-to-month detail on weather. Because the Galapagos Islands are on the equator, it’s warm most of the year. The warmest season is usually January to April and average temperatures range from a low of 70F/22C to around of 84F/31C. This is also the “wet season” and there may be afternoon thundershowers. During a severe El Nino year, it’s more likely to rain at any time of day. April to December is considered the “dry season” and is cooler, with average temperatures ranging from around 68F/19C to 82F/27C. At this time of year it is not uncommon to have the "garua" (misty rain) early in the morning and in the highlands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Our experience is that the time of year doesn’t make a lot of difference in terms of the amount of rain as there isn’t enough to impact your trip too much.
From the U.S. and Canada there are daily flights via Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Miami, to Quito, Ecuador.
Ecuador uses the US dollar which was adopted as the official currency in 2000. Be sure to bring cash bills in good condition because bills with markings or tears won’t be accepted. There are also ATM machines in the larger towns. It’s also a good idea to alert your bank that you’ll be traveling to Ecuador so they don’t stop the transactions.
We have been running trips in Ecuador since 1992 and know the country well. We have plenty of ideas for extending your trip whether it be to the Amazon, the Cloud Forest, the highlands in the north or south, or whatever might be your special interest. We can also arrange extensions to Peru and Machu Picchu.
There are a lot of arrangements to be made for a trip like this one. It’s very helpful with our planning if you book four to 12 months in advance. However, if you can’t plan that far ahead, then it’s usually not a problem to book up to about two months in advance. If you find yourself looking for last-minute space just call us and check!
The Galapagos is surely one of the best places in the world to snorkel. The flourishing ocean life is an ecological treasure, and one of the main draws to the archipelago. You will have multiple chances to snorkel, sometimes at multiple locations in a day. We do recommend you try snorkeling ahead of time for your trip to get the most out of your experience, if you have never done so. Wetsuits aren’t strictly necessary, but “shorty” wetsuits (knees to elbows) of about 2mm are recommended to keep out any chill. We have full snorkel gear available to use including wetsuits.
All of the kayaking and camping equipment is provided, so just bring your clothing and personal gear. Do bring a few basic camp items like water bottles, flash lights, etc. A complete pack list will be sent to you upon reservation. We highly suggest traveling “light” for this adventure.
We do not arrange international air travel but we do have a great air travel specialist we refer you to if you’d like.
On this tour, you should arrive on day one of the itinerary. This is included as a travel day to ensure all guests in the group are checked in and ready to depart for the islands on day two.
Yes, all Domestic flights between mainland Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands will be included on your invoice. We will make the arrangements in conjunction with our partners in Ecuador. Flights to the Galapagos Islands depart several times daily from both Quito and Guayaquil aboard Boeing 737’s or Airbus 320’s or similar.
We recommend if you'd like to enjoy some scuba diving, that you stay on the islands for an extra day or two. This can easily be arranged at an additional cost. Please note that most diving locations in the Galapagos are very technical and often require certification in addition to significant experience.