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With 13 major islands and dozens of smaller islets each more unique than the last, 10 days in Galapagos is a perfect amount of time to see everything this diverse natural paradise has to offer. This archipelago in the west coast of Ecuador is famous for inspiring Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, as it is home to some of the most diverse plant and wildlife species, many of which cannot be found in other parts of the world. See creatures such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, finches, and boobies in their natural habitat. Traverse through unique ecosystems, including endangered forests, pristine beaches, and otherworldly volcanic landscapes.

Keep reading for our top 3 recommendations on how to spend 10 days on a tour to Galapagos.

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1. Galapagos Island Hopping: 10 Days in Galapagos

Galapagos sea view, as seen on a tour of Galapagos in 10 days.
Explore the islands and relax on pristine beaches on your 10 day tour in Galapagos.
Day 1 Arrive in Quito, Ecuador. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is renowned for its lively markets and a bustling nightlife scene.
Day 2 Spot giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island, before visiting the world-renowned Charles Darwin Research Station.
Day 3 Explore an uninhabited island in the Galapagos archipelago. Choices include South Plazas, Bartolomé, or North Seymour.
Day 4 Take to the stunning waters of Tortuga Bay by kayak, followed by an afternoon of sunbathing and swimming.
Day 5 Learn about local wildlife at the Flamingo Lagoon or Giant Tortoise Breeding Station on Isabela Island. Snorkel in the waters of Tintoreras Islet.
Day 6 Hike the Sierra Negra Volcano followed by free time in Isabela in the afternoon.
Day 7 Enjoy a free day on Isabela Island. Recommended activities include visiting the Wall of Tears, and snorkeling and swimming in Concha Perla.
Day 8 Discover everything that Santa Cruz has to offer, from the La Loberia sea lion colony to sharks and turtles at Shark Channel and Canal del Amor.
Day 9 Head back via Puerto Ayora and across the Itabaca Channel to Quito.
Day 10 Explore Quito on your own.

Island hopping across the Galapagos is a great way to see everything these islands offer, especially the wildlife. These 10 days in Galapagos give you not only the chance to see unique species like giant tortoises and marine iguanas in their natural habitat but also to understand the conservation efforts being made to protect these species. See all 10-day tours in Galapagos.

2. Best of Galapagos Cruise: 12 Days in Galapagos

Reef sharks in the Galapagos, visible on a 12-day tour to Galapagos.
Dive and get up close with reef sharks on a 12-day tour to Galapagos.
Day 1 Touch down in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
Day 2 Enjoy a guided city tour of Quito, taking in the main attractions, before heading north to the ‘Middle of the World’ to stand on the equator.
Day 3 Explore the indigenous towns of Otavalo and Cotacachi to browse the markets for unique handcrafted goods like colorful ponchos and artisanal leather.
Day 4 Follow in the footsteps of famed explorers trying to find El Dorado with a trip to Papallacta. Enjoy the natural hot springs, located 3,300 meters above sea level.
Day 5 Bask in the untamed nature of the Amazon Rainforest, before being transported by canoe down the Napo River to your Amazon lodge.
Day 6 Trek through the Amazon rainforest. Highlights include swinging from vines and making a river raft. Finish the day surrounded by butterflies at the Mariposario.
Day 7 Continue along the mountain trail to Banos, to explore its 20 kilometers waterfall trail. Take in the stunning views of the Tungurahua volcano.
Day 8 Navigate through the Cotopaxi National Park to view the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano and the glittering Andean Limpiopungo Lake.
Day 9 Visit Santa Cruz to see the giant tortoises. Traverse through naturally formed lava tunnels before embarking on your cruise ship.
Day 10 Try birdwatching at Dragon Hill before walking through an endangered Scalesia tree forest. View Galapagos penguins, sea lions, and marine iguanas at Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino).
Day 11 Learn about the wild birds of the Galapagos on the Genovesa Islands, famous for its red-footed booby colony. The stunning views from El Barranco's cliff trail reveal a wide range of bird species.
Day 12 Enjoy the final hours of your tour in Black Turtle Cove.

To gain a true sense of how diverse the Galapagos Islands are, we recommended taking an extended 12-day trip, including a tour of Ecuador. This itinerary will take you through many different types of terrain, from the Amazon rainforest to the towering peaks of the Andes, before leading you to the stark volcanic surroundings of the Galapagos. This tour also combines insights into local indigenous cultures and practices, making for a truly comprehensive experience. See all 12-day tours in Galapagos.

3. Galapagos In Focus (Grand Queen Bea): 8 Days in Galapagos

Aerial view of Bartolome island and Santiago Island in Galapagos Islands.
Enjoy scenic view of the sea and the islands on an 8-day tour to Galapagos.
Day 1 Arrive in San Cristobal, meet your guide, and embark on the M/Y Grand Queen Beatriz. Visit Red Hill to see giant tortoises in their natural habitat.
Day 2 Explore the volcanic landscape of Bartolome before snorkeling at Isla Santiago. End the day with a walk across James Island.
Day 3 Visit Espumilla Beach, before following in Darwin’s footsteps at Caleta Bucanero. Walk the black sands of Puerto Egas.
Day 4 Spend some time in Santa Cruz at the Charles Darwin Research station, before a walk through the misty island highlands.
Day 5 Walk the nature-filled trail of North Seymour Island, before snorkeling at Mosquera in the afternoon.
Day 6 Take a panga to Black Turtle Cove to paddle among green turtles and rays. Trek across Dragon Hill in the afternoon.
Day 7 See penguins, sea lions, and marine iguanas at China Hat (Sombrero Chino), and view the scarlet cliffs of Isla Rabida.
Day 8 Go on a morning walk in Las Bachas.

A private cruise is a fantastic choice to make the most out of the Galapagos tour in a short period. It allows you more time to explore at your own pace than on a larger group tour. With so many wild species to discover on the Galapagos Islands, your cruise will take you to several secluded areas for encounters with several unique and endemic creatures. Cruise tours are also a great way to get a true feel for and appreciate the volcanic landscapes of the Galapagos. See all 8-day tours in Galapagos.


Planning a trip to Galapagos? Our in-house team of travel experts can help you plan every little detail. Contact us to see how we can craft the perfect customized adventure in the Galapagos Islands and beyond. Also, check out our other itinerary guides below:

One week in Galapagos
Two weeks in Galapagos

Published by Swechhya S, updated on March 29, 2024

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