Private Tours of the Galapagos

Custom Galapagos Island Tours

If you’ve dreamed of coming to the Galapagos but have no interest in set cruises, consider a customized land-based tour.

These programs can be tailored to your interests, combining guided wildlife tours with explorations of less visited locations.

Additional active adventure options include SCUBA and snorkeling day trips, artisanal fishing or sea kayak excursions, volcano hikes, mountain biking, and visits to ecologically-focused cacao and coffee farms.

Ecuador Galapagos passport stamp

Single and Multi-Island Tours

Single-island and multi-island tours can be arranged, usually focusing on the islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, and Isabela.

Accommodations are provided at a selection of comfortable hotels and lodges.

Mid-range and top-hotel options are also available. Itineraries can be designed to include stays at Galapagos Safari Camp.

Safari Camp

Bespoke Itineraries: Birdwatching, Wildlife Tours & Beyond

Most itineraries span for four, five, or seven days, although longer trips are possible.

Tours can be adapted to fit specific interests, such as geology, bird watching, botany, and photography.

Tours can also be arranged for families with young travelers.

yellow sulphur
The following multi-island, multi-sport itinerary provides a good example of the possibilities:

Day 1:

Fly to San Cristobal Island from the Ecuadorian mainland. Upon arrival, you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.

After lunch, ride mountain bikes to the Interpretation Center, and then on to the Loberia—an ideal spot for observing sea lions.

Dinner is included in today’s tour.

Day 2:

After breakfast, take to the water. Start with an introduction to sea kayaking, paddling from the Puerto Baquerizo beach to the Frigate Hill nesting area.

Afterward, snorkel at Leon Dormido and enjoy kayaking near cliffs that brim with birdlife.

Later, snorkel in a colorful rock channel, abound with tropical fish. Lunch and dinner are included in today’s tour.

Frigate Red Magnificent

Day 3:

Board an early morning flight to Isabela Island and check in to your hotel in Puerto Villamil.

After breakfast, depart for the nearby Tintoreras Islands—a Galapagos in miniature.

Here you can observe white-tipped reef sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, rays, and penguins. Enjoy snorkeling in the turquoise bay.

In the afternoon, visit the giant tortoise breeding center. Lunch and dinner are included in today’s tour.


Day 4:

After breakfast, depart for a hiking tour of Sierra Negra, the largest crater in the Galapagos.

On this moderate hike, you’ll learn about the geologic history of the archipelago while enjoying spectacular vistas.

A box lunch and dinner are included in today’s tour.


Day 5:

After breakfast, visit Turtle Cove and snorkel through a maze of small islands and arches in the company of fish, sea turtles, rays and disinterested white-tipped sharks.

In the afternoon, walk the Wetlands Trail through the mangroves and marine iguana colonies.

As the day winds down, visit the Wall of Tears constructed by prisoners during World War II. Lunch and dinner are included in today’s tour.

Day 6:

After breakfast at your hotel, depart by speedboat to Santa Cruz Island. Check in to your next hotel and head to the Highlands for a day of biking.

In the afternoon, you’ll be guided to the white sand beach at Tortuga Bay for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking amongst marine iguanas, sharks and sea turtles.

Lunch and dinner are included in today’s tour.

Tortuga Bay

Day 7:

After breakfast at your hotel and a morning visit to the Charles Darwin Research Center, transfer to Baltra for your return flight to mainland Ecuador.

Alternatively, you could extend your stay with scuba diving and wildlife viewing day trips to other islands.

Our tours include nightly accommodations, activities, and equipment as indicated in the itinerary, in addition to expert, English-speaking, adventure and naturalist guides.

They also include meals as noted in the itinerary, and air, land and sea transportation while in the Galapagos.

Private Galapagos yacht charters are also available.

At LANDED, each travel request is personal. After all, you’re trusting us with your most precious asset—free time with the people you care about. By getting to know you, we’ll create the most memorable, most exceptional trip of your life. Call us today at 801.582.2100. Dream big. We’ve got you.

“I am a firm believer, that without speculation there is no good and original observation.”

Charles Darwin


What cities in the Galapagos do tours visit?

Only four of the Galapagos Islands are continuously inhabited by non-scientists. There are no cities in the Galapagos. The largest town is Puerto Ayora on the south side Santa Cruz Island. The island of San Cristobal is anchored by the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the administrative capital of the Galapagos. The largest island, Isabela, has its port at Puerto Villamil. Floreana has a very small resident population—around 100.

Although you could visit these places on your cruise or land-based itinerary, that’s a little beside the point. The magic of the Galapagos lies in its wildlife and landscapes.

Where do you stay on Galapagos Island tours?

Visitors to the Galapagos have choices. Often, the first decision is whether to visit the islands by sea or, instead, to opt for a land-based itinerary. Both have pros and cons. The choice of accommodation is a major factor in the type of experience you’ll have in the Galapagos Islands.

Most visitors choose multi-day cruise itineraries. We prefer cruise vessels that cater to families and small groups – usually up to 18 or 20 passengers. A list of our favorite cruises can be viewed here. These cruises can span 3 nights or up to 14 nights. Advantages of cruises include:

  • Seeing more islands
  • Potentially seeing a more diverse set of wildlife and landscapes
  • The solitude and freedom of cruising
  • Point-to-point travel usually occurs at night or during meal service, which leaves more time for land exploration, under water touring, photography, and relaxation
  • Forming friendships with fellow travelers

Although we love small-ship cruises in the Galapagos, land-based itineraries are excellent option. Many of our clients choose to stay on land during their entire stay in the Galapagos Islands, or as an addition to a cruise—a pre or post-cruise addition. A list of our favorite hotels and lodges can be found here

What are some of the advantages of a land-based itinerary in the Galapagos Islands?

  • Staying on land offers the potential for additional flexibility and customization. We usually arrange private guides and touring for these clients. These programs can be custom-tailored to your wishes, combining privately guided wildlife tours with explorations of less visited locations. Additional active adventure options include SCUBA and snorkeling day trips, artisanal fishing or sea kayak excursions, volcano hikes, mountain biking, and visits to ecologically-focused cacao and coffee farms.
  • Many of our clients wish to extend their time in the Galapagos beyond their cruise dates, arriving before the cruise or staying several nights after completing their cruise itinerary.
  • For families with very young children, hotels / lodges / camps offer a worry-free alternative to multi-day cruises.
  • Some of our clients are visiting Galapagos with special health or mobility considerations. Some guests are highly sensitive to seasickness.

You might only visit the Galapagos Islands once. With so many options, it’s hard to know which choices would be the best fit. LANDED’s team of experts knows the Galapagos first hand and by heart. We’ve helped clients experience the magic of these islands since 2006. Speak with one of our experts today.

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

Galapagos is a year-round destination.

Wet, or Warm Season (December to May) temperatures hover in the mid 80’s and even the 90’s. Rainfall is uncommon but strong, and water temperatures near the surface can average 75°. The island’s lack of shade and the equatorial sun combine to take a toll on visitors. Reflective sand and lava can magnify the effect. Winds and seas are generally calmer.

Garua, Dry, or Cool Season (June to November) brings merciful fog, drizzle, and cool winds. Overnight air temperatures drop into the high 60’s, with similar water temperatures near the surface. These months are the height of the breeding season for many of the island’s avian species. Winds and seas are less calm.

May is often cited as the ideal month in terms of weather, water temperature, and wildlife. Guides will tell you their favorite months are April / May or December / January.

September is traditionally the least visited month; many cruise and land operators shut down in September for annual dry dock or repairs. Still, some visitors prefer to be in Galapagos at times when fewer people are in the islands.

Bottom line, this is a year-round, equatorial destination with very little seasonal or temperature change. Species migration is rarer than elsewhere; most birds are in residence continually. Rainfall is low and welcome. Seas are generally calm. There is no “bad” or “wrong” time to visit.