Planning a Trip to Galapagos: How Many Days Do You Need to Explore Galapagos

Plan your trip to Galapagos

Planning a trip to Galapagos can be a challenging task. After all, it’s a remote destination that requires much planning, analysis, and preparation. Many travelers who embark on such a distant destination struggle with the trip duration and deciding on the number of days they should spend in each location.

While the minimum recommended number of days to spend in the Galapagos is 5, different itineraries, day tours, and activities may require a bit more. There are customized packages that allow you to spend extra time in certain islands of the archipelago and include different activities in the price so that you can take advantage of that.

To help you plan your trip and get the most out of the Galapagos journey, we’ve put together a brief guide that will provide insight on how to prepare accordingly. Let’s check it out!

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How Long Does it Take to Get to Galapagos?

A Galapagos trip takes around 3 days if you depart from Ecuador. If you’re from a European, Asian, or African country, you’ll need to book a flight to Ecuador first and then take a cruise. Some cruise lines will take you directly to the Galapagos, so a cruise is a right choice if you want to travel by water and experience the ultimate sea ride.

A flight to the Galapagos from Quito or Guayaquil takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours, depending on the city of departure. If you’re taking a flight, remember that all the flights to the islands are in the morning.

Thus, if we put it that way, you’ll need a day and a half to get to and from Galapagos, which makes it plausible to spend at least 5 days exploring the archipelago.

Planning a Trip to Galapagos

Planning the Trip

For a well-rounded adventure in Galapagos that will include the hot snorkeling spots, exciting treks along the rocky formations, and the volcanic craters with lava fields, a 10-day itinerary would be perfect.

To maximize your stay on the islands, a 2-week trip is a must. You’ll have time to marvel through the lushing rainforest, swim with marine life, and see giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions, manta rays, and sharks.

Then, you can plan a trip to Kicker Rock, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station and dive at Los Tunnels.

What to Expect on a 5-day Trip?

If you’re traveling on a budget or your time is limited, a 5-day trip can keep you on your feet and let you experience the islands on a short schedule. You can choose several options and see the highlights in the main tourist spots and islands.

For instance, booking a group tour to the highlights of Santa Cruz will allow you to go wildlife spotting, swim alongside the island’s bays and coves, take a selfie with the giant tortoises in the research station, or hike on the famous treks.

The Galapagos Marine Reserve is perfect for those who want a bit of adventure since it’s the home to the aquatic kingdom of sea turtles, rays, sharks, sea lions, and many more endemic species. The Seymour Channel is the best place to swim with sea lions, while Baltra Island is known for its diving activities with hammerheads.

If you want to extend the Galapagos itinerary and include two more islands on the schedule, Santa Cristobal and Isabela Islands are easily accessible on a speedboat.

Planning a Trip to Galapagos

What to Expect on a 7-day Trip?

Exploring the Galapagos in one week gives you a couple more days, so you don’t need to rush and squeeze the activities on your itinerary. You can comfortably visit two islands per day or sail to a more remote and secluded islet uninhabited by humans.

If you want to add a tour to Quito, the capital of Ecuador, make sure your itinerary is well planned, and you don’t have more than 2 islands per day.

For those who want to see a bit of everything, an island-hopping adventure will take you on a trip to multiple islands. You can visit 6 different islands and islets while enjoying sea and land excursions to the South Plaza Island, Punta Suarez, Isla Espanola, or a visit to Eden.

What to Expect on a 10-day Trip?

10 days is the perfect length for exploring as much as possible on Galapagos. Not only will you see the major islands, but you can also include wildlife tours, multi-sport adventures, and yacht cruises to certain islets and snorkeling spots.

You can book a nature and wildlife tour and go kayaking, trekking, mountain biking, or snorkeling. Or choose a land-based adventure that will include the highland viewpoints, onshore caves, an excursion to see the penguins or a kayak trip to Isabela Island.

Start Planning

The information above regarding the itineraries can vary from agency to agency. For more detailed elaboration on each itinerary, visit the agency’s sites where you’ll make the booking.  Visit our blog If you’re looking for more ideas on what to include in your itinerary or which places are a must-see.