Kayak the Galapagos Islands
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 wildlife 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 nine-day tour starts with an overnight in Guayaquil. 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. At the end of the tour, you might wish to extend your stay in the Galapagos by adding on one of our short options the explore the island of 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 nine-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
A representative will meet you at the airport to assist with your luggage and transfer to your hotel. Depending on the time of your arrival you may wish to explore your new surroundings, or simply relax and prepare for the big adventure ahead.
Guayaquil – Galapagos
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 islands. 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 for the islands. This afternoon we will enjoy a sea kayaking expedition from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno to Tijeretas Bay, named for the frigate birds that frequent this area. Kayaking will give 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 will observe the frigate birds and their antics. Frigates are deservedly known as pirates of the sea' because of their behaviour of stealing food from unassuming boobies. 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. We enjoy dinner in town at a local restaurant on your own and overnight at a comfortable hotel.
San Cristobal Island
Kayak Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Manglecito – Snorkel in Manglecito Beach
Rise and join breakfast as we prepare for our day’s explorations. After, we pack up, grab our lifejackets, pick up our paddles and ease ourselves into our kayaks. From the town harbor, we paddle north along the coast for 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 the 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. We have lunch at our campsite.
For the rest of the afternoon, you can snorkel along Manglecito Beach, where you can observe several species of fish with different colors and forms or you can just relax and rest at your tent. Before too long it’s time to take a short stroll to watch the sunset over the magnificent Pacific Ocean. We dine in camp, watch the stars lighten the sky, and fall asleep to the sound of the surf.
San Cristobal Island
Full Day Kicker Rock
As the sun rises, the activity of birds and lapping waves are likely to wake you. This is a highlight of actually camping on the Galapagos Islands which just isn’t the same when on a boat. Truly it is a most magical way to wake up and know you are truly immersed in the abundant beauty and life found only here. A hearty breakfast is served, and then we will prepare ourselves for a full day of discovery. Snorkeling Kicker Rock - Immersed in all of the uniqueness of nature in the Galapagos Islands, today is a day to get better acquainted with underwater marvels. We board a comfortable motorboat that is the perfect platform for our explorations. We start with a roughly 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 super 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 beach camp with more time to stretch our legs, revel in another long-lasting sunset and sit down for dinner to share the memories of the day.
San Cristobal Island
Kayak to Puerto Grande – Snorkel at Puerto Grande
Our day will begin with a 3-hour kayaking session as we paddle along the coast toward Puerto Grande Beach camp. Once we arrive, and have had some time to explore our new campsite. Then, we will set out on an amazing and unique snorkeling experience! We may see Galapagos and white-tipped reef sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles, hundreds of fish, and sea stars. In the afternoon, relax and enjoy a very exclusive sunset and if clear skies allow, a starry last night.
San Cristobal Island
Boat from Puerto Grande to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno – Laguna El Junco – Giant Tortoises
This is our last morning at the camping site. After packing your things, we board our boat to return to town. No time for a hot breakfast this morning but we have coffee and cookies available on the boat. Once we get to town we have breakfast before heading 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 frigate birds. 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 set free in appropriate areas on the island.
San Cristobal Island – Santa Cruz Island
Highlands of Santa Cruz
This morning you’ll board a motorboat for a 2-3-hour ride towards Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. Once you arrive, we will leave our luggage at the hotel and get ready to visit the highlands of Santa Cruz in order to get up close and personal with the giant Galapagos Tortoise where farms conserve pristine, native, and endemic vegetation for the habitat of these magnificent creatures. As you follow the trail winding through this landscape, you’ll get plenty of chances to marvel at the Galapagos Tortoise in its entire splendor—just don’t forget your camera! These majestic giant tortoises of Santa Cruz— part of a family best known for their dome-shaped shell and gigantic form—are often found partly submerged in mud ponds to combat skin parasites or to regulate their body temperature on warm and sunny days. After becoming acquainted with your new hard- backed friends, continue to explore the volcanic origins of the island by journeying through the intriguing Lava Tunnel.
Santa Cruz Island:
Navigable Tour To Bahía Ballena
Today’s tour will not only offer you an exciting nature experience but also a unique cultural encounter. In order to preserve Galapagos’ marine wildlife, we initiated a project to motivate fishermen to stay away from their regular jobs more than 20 years ago. Since then, they have left their fishing days to offer our guests the opportunity to experience a navigable tour with them. A fisherman and his crew will welcome you aboard their speedboats and share their life experiences on the sea as they navigate to our visitors’ site.
Our special crew will take you on a short ride to the sandy beaches of Bahia Ballena, an ocean inlet where Galapagos sea lions and marine iguanas bask on carpetweed and lava rocks. There, you will appreciate Darwin’s finches and snorkel through an underwater world of lava rocks and small reefs swarming with tropical marine life. Reaching depths of up to thirty feet, the sandy ocean floor is home to pacific green sea turtles and long tailed stingrays of different shapes and sizes.
Depending on sea conditions and on your interest in fishing, the crew can practice catch and release to show you the marvelous fish they can get from these rich waters. At the end of the tour, you will not only have observed the unique marine wildlife of the Galapagos and enjoyed a beautiful beach but also have learned about the lifestyle of the local community. In addition, you should feel the satisfaction to have contributed to the preservation of Galapagos’ wildlife and of a local family through this experience. Upon your return to Puerto Ayora, you will have some time to change clothes and then have dinner before going back to the hotel for the night.
Puerto Ayora – Baltra – Guayaquil
Flight to Guayaquil
In the morning, you will drive across the island of Santa Cruz, back to Baltra’s airport. Baltra was the location of an air base built by the US Navy during WWII, though the runway has been relocated. Once you arrive safely and on time at the airport, our tour leader will assist you with the check-in process for your flight to Guayaquil.
Dates & Rates
2024 Dates Coming Soon!
Tier Pricing 2024:
4 - 6 Guests - $6150
7 - 8 Guests - $5750
Regular Season Single Supplement: $650.
December Peak Season Trip Supplement $300
*Please note that four people are needed in order to gaurantee a tour.
- Full service of our Adventure Consultants
- Accommodation based on double
- occupancy rooms
- Private tour leader for 8 passengers or more
- Galapagos Naturalis Guide
- Activities as per itinerary
- Meals as per itinerary
- Transportation as per itinerary
- Sea Kayaking and camping equipment.
- Alcoholic beverages at the camp
- Snacks and purified water
- Galapagos Carbon Footprint charge
- International flights to Ecuador
- Ecuador to Galapagos round trip flights (*Free Ecuador to Galapagos flights may be offered on select dates)
- Internal island transfers
- $120 National Park Fee and Immigration Tax
- Items of a personal nature
- Alcoholic beverages
- Travel insurance of any type
- Additional hotel nights pre or post tour
- Cost of hospitalization or 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 kayaking included in five out of nine days. 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.
Yes. Spanish is the official language of Ecuador and the Galapagos but all tour guides are bilingual and speak english.
Yes, most major credit and debit cards are accepted in Ecuador. There are plenty of ATM’s to use if you prefer to purchase things with cash as well.
Please see our full Terms & Conditions HERE.