• Marine Iguana

ECUADOR: 9 Days Birding or Photography - Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are recognized worldwide for their great biodiversity and endemic-ism. In the enchanted islands you will enjoy photographing wildlife only a few meters away.

This can be a stand-alone tour or an add on to any of our other Ecuador tours with the option to customize the itinerary on the mainland.

Our itinerary is specially designed to photograph the most beautiful and emblematic species of the islands. We will visit the best places for wildlife viewing and photography.

Itinerary tab directly below, next to the gallery tab
Click on days to expand text

We have just had the pleasure of spending 30 days with Casper in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. It was a most exhilarating experience, and one not to be missed. All travelling and accommodation arrangements ran very smoothly, with local guides providing outstanding photographic and ornithological skills, which made the whole trip an absolute pleasure to be part of. Nothing was too much trouble for Casper whose kind and patient personality was a bonus. We look forward to our next trip with Casper, which on past experience, will be another outstanding, and good value for money expedition - Chris and Helen Gregory, October 2021

This is a land-based trip and all accommodation is on land. Island day trips and sea boat day trips start each day with walks or short transfers to a nearby port where you will embark a boat or to a nearby national reserve.

Total luggage weight allowed on flight between islands:12kg (including hand luggage) for flight to Isabella Island. There will be at least three opportunities to have laundry done so no need to pack 8 sets of clothes.You can safely leave any extra luggage at the hotel on the mainland while we are visiting the Galapagos.

Please note that during January, February and March the Waved Albatrosses are not present on Espanola Island.

Weather considerations: The sea is more calm and the weather drier from December to April while the sea can be more rough from May to November which are the "wetter" months.

Snorkels, masks, flippers and wetsuits are included and provided. The snorkeling sessions are around 1 hour and is easy and fun, you can always return the boat whenever you feel to do so.If you prefer not to snorkel there is always the option to continue birding from the boat or on the beach.



Click on each day to see daily itinerary & target species

Day 1 Arrival - Quito or Guayaquil

Arriving in Quito ( or Guayaquil depending where your previous tour has ended ) on your international flight. You will be met by your guide in the airport arrivals hall and transfer to your accommodation.

Accommodation Quito: Zaysant Ecolodge

Day 2 San Cristobal

Flight: Quito, Guayaquil, San Cristobal

30 minute flight to Guayaquil. Passengers for Guayaquil disembark and passengers to Galapagos stay on board. 1 hour 45 minutes flight from Guayaquil to San Cristobal.

Transfer to Hotel.

After lunch we will visit La Loberia beach where Sea Lions, Marine Iguana, Lava Lizard, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Small GroundFinch can be seen along the footpath and on the beach. We will walk to a viewpoint where Swallow-tailed Gull, Brown Pelican, Galapagos Shearwater and Blue-footed Booby can be seen from the cliffs.

Taxi transfer to Tourist Intepretion Centre. Target species: San Cristobal Mockingbird and Galapagos Flycatcher

 Accommodation: Hotel Casa Opuntia or similar

Day 3 San Cristobal - Espanola Island

6am depart from harbour on a shared group boat, 2-3 hours. Target species en route: Elliott Stormpetrel, Galapagos Shearwater, Red-necked Phalaropes, Waved Albatross, Galapagos Petrel

2 hours private guided bird walk on the island. Target species: Waved Albatross, Galapagos Dove, Large Tree Finch, Espanola Ground Finch, Red-billed Tropicbird, Blue-footed Booby, Nazca Booby, Espanola Mockingbird, Grey Warbler Finch and Swallow-tailed Gull. Note: Española is an uninhabited island reserve where visits are limited to 2 hours per group and depending on the park management decision your group may either walk in the morning and snorkel in the afternoon or vice versa.


1 hour snorkeling with Green Turtles and Galapagos Sea Lions

Accommodation: Hotel Casa Opuntia or similar

Day 4 Isabela Island – Galapaguera

Galapaguera wetlands and Tortoise breeding centre birding walk. Target species: Dark-billed Cuckoo, Greater Flamingo, White-cheeked Pintail, Common Cactus Finch, Black-necked Stilt, Galapagos Mockingbird,  Galapagos Flycatcher, Small-,  Medium- and Large Ground Finches


In the afternoon we will drive up to Volcán Sierra Negra parking. Target species: Grey Warbler Finch, Vermillion Flycatcher, Galapagos Rail, Small Tree Finch, Vegetarian Finch

Mirador el Mango. Target species: Galapagos Hawk, Short-eared Owl

Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar

Day 5 Isabela Island - Punta Moreno

Our day starts at 6am as we take a private boat to Punta Moreno, a 2,5 hour trip. Punta Moreno is located on the north coast of Isabela Island between the volcano Sierra Negra and Cerro Azul volcano. It has a panoramic view of three volcanoes, the most active of the Galapagos.  Whales, sea birds and dolphins are often encountered along the way. En route targets: Red-necked Phalarope, Brown Noddy, Galapagos Shearwater, Elliott Stormpetrel, Wedge-rumped Stormpetrel, Band-rumped Stormpetrel

We will anchor in a small bay where our target species will be Galapagos Hawk, Yellow Land Iguana, Galapagos Penguin, Flightless Cormorants

After lunch we will move to another bay where there will be time to snorkel for 1 hour. You may encounter Hawks-billed Turtle, Green Turtle, Flightless Cormorants, Galapagos Penguins while snorkeling or if you choose to rather walk on the beach.

Return trip 2,5 hours

Accommodation: Cormorant Beach House or similar

Day 6 Beach walk and Santa Cruz Island

Morning beach walk 2-3 hours. Target species: Sanderling, Semipalmated Plover, Black-bellied Plover, Wimbrel, Lava Gull, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Pelican, Ruddy Turnstone, American Oystercatcher, Wandering Tattler, Lava Heron

Afternoon 2 hour boat transfer to Santa Cruz

Accommodation: Hotel Dejavu or similar

Day 7 Santa Cruz Island – Media Luna, Rancho Primicias

In the morning we will drive up to the hills behind town. It can be cold, wet and very muddy so bring a rain jacket, closed shoes and long socks to tuck your trousers in and dry socks for after the walk. Target species: Paint-billed Crake, Galapagos Rail

We will stop lower down the slope searching for Woodpecker Finch and Vegetarian Finch

Lunch at Rancho Primicias

Walk at Rancho Primicias among Giant Turtles. Target species: Vegetarian Finch, American Gullinule, Short-eared Owl, Common Moorhen

Accommodation: Hotel Dejavu or similar

Day 8 Santa Cruz Island – North Seymore, Bachas Beach

45 Minute land transfer to Santa Cruz ferry terminal by bus. 1 Hour sea transfer around Baltran Island to North Seymore by boat.

North Seymore is an uninhabited island reserve where visits are limited to 2 hours per group and depending on the park management decision your group may either walk in the morning and snorkel in the afternoon or vice versa. Target species: Great Frigatebird (breeds July to December), Magnificent Frigatebird (breeds all year round), Blue-footed Booby, Swallow-tailed Gull, Galapagos Land Iguana

Snorkeling will be done at North Seymore or at the nearby Mosquera Island depending on the park authorities decision. Birders that prefer not to snorkel today can ask the guide permission to walk to the lagoon (on North Seymore) or around the island (at Mosquera) while the rest of the group is snorkeling .

Accommodation: Hotel Dejavu or similar

Day 9 Gemelos Craters and return to Quito

On the way to Baltran airport we will stop 30min at Los Gemelos volcanic sinkholes trying for Short-eared Owl if we haven't seen it before.

It is a 1 hour transfer to Santa Cruz ferry terminal from your accommodation. 10min minutes ferry crossing to Baltran Island. 15 Minute bus ride to the airport.

1 hour 45 minute flight to Guayaquil. Passengers for Guayaquil disembark and passengers to Quito stay on board. 30 minutes flight to Quito.

Light lunch will be provided on the flight.

Accommodation: Zaysant Ecolodge

*This trip can be combined with any of our central or southern Ecuador birding or photography trips.

Day 10 Departure

Today will either be your international return flight home or the start of your next trip.


The tour starts and end in Guayaquil city.
The best months to travel to the Galapagos are from May to August, this is the nesting season, but September and October are still excellent birding months.

Please inquire for rates

All accommodation (land based accommodation on the Galapagos islands), meals and transfers, photography/wildlife guide, entrance and daily park fees and taxes, boat trips, boat transfer and flight between islands, domestic flights: Quito – Galapagos – Quito or Guayaquil - Galapagos - Guayaquil, snorkel gear

International flights, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, travel and medical insurance, laundry or any other additional services, tips.