Galapagos Islands: Overview

Galapagos Islands: Overview

June 2018

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

This bucket list location has been on my radar though I struggled to find vacation time to fit it in over the past few years (damn American vacation standards…). A co-worker, who travels all over the world, shared that her favorite trip was to the Galapagos Islands. With that high praise, it was time to make this trip a reality.

Kevin and I have always shared a fascination with many topics, including evolution, amazed with Charles Darwin’s deductive reasoning to create his theory. There is no where in the world like the Galapagos Islands, not one, that is as preserved and perhaps a true reflection of what the world could have been without destructive ways.


The Galapagos Islands provide constant opportunity to extend beyond comfort zones and try something new. There is no shortage of things to see and activities to do and we were excited to book for 2018.


There are two ways to do the Galapagos Islands- on a cruise or on land. I was not a fan of being quarantined to a boat, no matter how luxurious, and we like to freedom of exploring a new place independently so we decided to island hop.


We decided to book portions of our trip with SharkSky Eco Adventures Galapagos. I worked closely with the owner to develop an itinerary that allowed to to see as much as possible while giving us free time on our own as well. While many travelers book excursions day of and do save a bit of money, there are benefits to booking ahead (even if it comes at a small premium). The reasons we decided on this included (also summarized in what to expect post):

  • Carrying less cash with us since a majority of the items were paid for in advance
  • No risk of missing anything due to full capacity since our spots on the tours were booked ahead of time
  • All transfers from airports and between islands was included
  • Vetted hotels were booked for us
  • We had a network of Sharksky members at each island that we could lean on for help and recommendations
  • Meals included at the hotels for breakfast and lunch on the excursions
  • Afternoons and evenings were open for a majority of the trip for our own exploration

Booking with SharkSky worked perfectly for our trip and we cannot recommend them enough. The services range from single excursions, day trips, island hopping, and fully planned itineraries for any length of time. I felt that we got a custom experience that met our wishlist giving us the comfort of knowing we were going to see the highlights and the flexibility to explore on our own. The hotels Sharksky use are great, the excursions are all incredible and high quality, and the staff goes above and beyond to make your experience perfect Thank you Sharksky team!

Screenshot 2018-06-20 at 6.10.12 PM

We had such a limited time for this trip, we wanted to get as much out of the islands as possible. We were envious of the people we met that were exploring for a month, three months, even a year of this part of the world. It would have been great to have paired this trip with the Amazon or Manchu Picu as many others we met had. Or even to have spent some time in Guayaquil or Ecuador as a whole since we did not have the time.

But for now, it was simply focused on the Galapagos Islands. Words fall short of describing what an incredible trip this was and I hoped to have captured the essence through these series of posts documenting our experience on the islands. Needless to say, I do not anticipate this to remain a “once in a lifetime” trip for us as there is so much more to discover.

Make sure to read what to expect, what to pack (including this packing video), and our full itinerary. Video clips can be found here!

To read full posts: Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Isabela

Full Galapagos Islands Itinerary

Activity Food
Friday Night Flight from JFK to GYE
Saturday Morning Flight GYE to Baltra

Arrival at Baltra Island

Transfer to Santa Cruz Island

Afternoon “Twins” sinkholes

Manzanillo Ranch

El Garrapatero beach

Lunch at Manzanillo Ranch
Evening Hotel check in- Posada del Mar

Walked around Puerto Ayora

Kiosks on Binford- Williams

1835 Coffee Lab

Galapagos Grill- Ice Cream

Sunday Morning Tortuga Bay Galapagos Grill
Afternoon Boat from Santa Cruz to San Cristobal Kiosks on Binford- Sazon Manabita
Evening Hotel check in- Cabanas Pimampiro

Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Playa Barrio Frio

Monday Morning Sick (canceled excursion to Espanola Island) Breakfast with Cabanas Pimampiro
Evening Playa Mann, Interpretation Center Calypso
Tuesday Morning Kicker Rock excursion Breakfast with Cabanas Pimampiro
Afternoon Lunch provided on excursion
Evening Frigate Hill El Descanso Marinero
Wednesday Morning Flight to Isabela Island Breakfast with Cabanas Pimampiro
Afternoon Hotel check in- Hotel Cally

Concha de Perla snorkel

Coco Surf
Evening Wall of Tears bike ride

Bar de Beto

Maestro de Casa
Thursday Morning Sierra Negra hike Breakfast with Hotel Cally

Lunch provided on excursion

Afternoon Tintoreras paddle board and snorkel
Evening Explored Puerto Villamil Coco Surf
Friday Morning Cabo Rosa Lava Tunnels Breakfast with Hotel Cally
Afternoon Boat ride from Isabela to Santa Cruz Lunch provided on excursion
Evening Hotel check in- Posada del Mar

Walked around Puerto Ayora

The Rock
Saturday Morning Darwin Research Center Galapagos Grill
Afternoon Transfer to Baltra Island

Flight from Baltra to GYE

Evening Hotel check in- Holiday Inn Restaurant at Holiday Inn
Sunday Morning Flight from GYE to JFK


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