The Galapagos Islands are unique on Earth. In this far-flung archipelago, giant tortoises roam misty meadows. Sea lions loll, nonchalant, on pristine beaches. Iguanas bask on sun-baked lava while sea turtles, rays and reef sharks swim alongside snorkelers in aquamarine waters. Paddling this primeval paradise is a privilege few visitors get to enjoy. We pioneered kayaking in the Galapagos, and our special paddling permits allow us access to places most visitors never see. Our private deluxe catamaran whisks us between anchorages and provides a comfortable accommodation base. Each day we explore a different island—on foot, by kayak, via snorkeling, and sometimes all three—you won't sit around on deck on this active adventure! The islands are surprisingly diverse, with new discoveries at each spot we visit.
Active Adventures with Abundant WildlifeDiscover the islands' wonders as we hike, snorkel and paddle—meet sea lions, turtles, iguanas, penguins and more, all at close range
Special Kayaking Permits for Exclusive AccessOur paddling permits grant extended access to places others can't go—see marine life at eye level as we explore more remote areas
Stay at Our Private Tortoise CampSleep aboard our chartered catamaran in en suite cabins, and spend a night among wild giant tortoises at our exclusive camp on Santa Cruz
The Most Immersive Galapagos Itinerary You'll Find
The Galapagos is a “must-see” destination for any nature traveler. But how you see the islands is another matter altogether. The majority of visitors travel aboard larger ships with dozens (and dozens!) of other passengers, all going ashore together in large groups. For more adventurous travelers who prefer an active experience, this trip offers a secluded encounter with the islands and their wildlife, via our special kayaking permits and very small group size. Read more about why this Galapagos adventure is truly in a class by itself:
Kayaking Permits = A Unique Itinerary
Through permits originally secured decades ago when we pioneered paddling expeditions in the Galapagos, Nat Hab has permission from Galapagos National Park for guided kayaking exploration that goes far beyond the standard excursions accessible to most Galapagos visitors. Via paddling, we discover the water and shoreline at eye-level, with seabirds bobbing alongside and turtles in view just below the surface.
The Smallest Groups—and Best Group-to-Guide Ratio (7:1!)
With approximately 14 guests led by two Galapagos National Park-certified Nat Hab Expedition Leaders, this trip offers the smallest group size in the Galapagos. The typical ratio for most boat tours is 16 guests to one naturalist guide. Our ratio is one guide for just seven guests. This gives us flexibility to offer different concurrent activities: for instance, one group can paddle along the shoreline while the other opts for a deepwater snorkeling opportunity. With two Expedition Leaders, equally qualified guides accompany each set of guests when we divide into smaller groups.
Our Catamaran is the Ideal Floating Base Camp
Our motorsailing catamaran is the optimal vessel for this adventure. Stylish, sporty and well-appointed, Nemo III offers an experience that's ideal for explorers with an adventurous spirit who would prefer a smaller craft with a small crew, instead of a more impersonal larger ship. With a crew of seven plus two two naturalist guides, Nemo III offers prime flexibility. We can move quickly, embark and disembark with ease, and spend more time exploring from the kayaks and panga, on land, or snorkeling. For a closer look at Nemo III, take a virtual walkthrough—examine the decks, cabins and interior common spaces in detail.
A Private Stay at Our Safari-Style Tortoise Camp
Unique to Nat Hab's Galapagos adventures is a stay at our exclusive Tortoise Camp. Located in the volcanic Santa Cruz highlands, the private camp is secluded within giant tortoise habitat, and these placid reptiles often wander directly among our raised walk-in safari-style tents and treehouse cabins overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Though the accommodations are rustic, they offer plenty of comfort, with en suite facilities. Meals are served in the covered open-air dining room, and a sheltered lounge with log fireplace offers a cozy spot for relaxing.
The Best Naturalist Guides
Natural Habitat Adventures is known worldwide for employing the finest naturalist guides on the planet. In the Galapagos, our elite Expedition Leaders each average more than 15 years' guiding experience and receive additional resources from WWF scientists, an advantage that further enhances our guests' experience. See Expedition Leader bios and traveler comments regarding the quality of our leaders.
An Itinerary Shaped By World Wildlife Fund As WWF’s travel partner, we are privileged to work with some of the world's most accomplished scientists to develop the best nature travel adventures on the planet. This small-group itinerary, arranged in conjunction with WWF, features walking, hiking and kayaking excursions for close-up wildlife viewing in the most personalized manner.
Active Physical Pursuits Throughout the Itinerary Unlike many Galapagos itineraries, this one includes a mix of active adventures, every day. Via our special kayaking permits, we paddle far more than other tours that offer much more limited kayaking opportunities. We include daily chances to snorkel and walk ashore, offering a multifaceted perspective on the islands' flora and fauna you won't get in other contexts.
Better Snorkeling Experiences
With inquisitive sea lions, sea turtles, rays, dolphins and penguins abundant in the island waters, snorkeling with friendly Galapagos wildlife is a huge highlight. If you're traveling aboard a large ship, it can be disappointing to find yourself surrounded by more snorkelers than marine creatures, however. In our small groups, secluded snorkeling encounters are guaranteed, with much more direction and attention from our guides.
See More of Ecuador with a Stay in Quito
Ecuador, though small, is one of the world's most geographically diverse countries, with a rich history. As a complement to your Galapagos adventure, we include a visit to Quito, whose colonial heritage is reflected in extravagant churches and European, Moorish and indigenous influences that have made the 16th-century Old Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Highest-Quality Gear for Comfort & Safety
If you've ever tried kayaking in basic (cheap) kayaks with subpar equipment, you'll agree that it can be uncomfortable—and, frankly, not much fun. With our decades of experience leading kayak expeditions, we know what equipment is required for the best paddling experience...and we make sure our guests get the very best, for both comfort and safety.
Our Quality-Value Guarantee Ensures Your Special Galapagos Experience
With Natural Habitat Adventures, you receive our exclusive guarantee: that we will meet the lofty expectations we establish in our promotional materials. To our knowledge, this is the most ambitious guarantee made by any adventure travel company. Read our important promise.
Feel Good About Your Carbon-Neutral Journey
We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do. When you travel with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset—including your round-trip flights from home. Natural Habitat Adventures has been the world’s first carbon-neutral travel company since 2007.
Natural Habitat Adventures is World Wildlife Fund's Travel Partner
Because of our commitment to environmentally conscious travel, as well as the outstanding quality of our worldwide adventures, World Wildlife Fund—the world's leading environmental conservation organization—has named Natural Habitat Adventures as its worldwide travel partner, a designation that makes us exceedingly proud!
Read what travelers are saying about our Galapagos Hiking & Kayaking tour:5.0 average rating out of 28 reviews