The Galapagos Islands are a group of tropical islands 550 miles (900 km) off the coast of Ecuador. The islands are home to incredible wildlife, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, incredible birdlife, as well as beautiful beaches and scenery.
Filled with a fascinating history of explorers, sailors and pirates, the islands are now a top travel destination to see the iconic Galapagos animals and to enjoy the tropical environment.
A popular amount of time to enjoy the islands is on 5-day Galapagos tours, however, the amount of time you wish to visit depends on your time available and what you would like from the experience. There are even 15-day mega cruises to fully explore this incredible region.
When to Visit
Because the Galapagos Islands are found in the world’s tropical region, the islands provide a fantastic experience at all times of year. Most of the wildlife doesn’t migrate and can be seen throughout the year. Of the famous animals, there are some marine species that visit the islands over certain months, such as manta rays, whale sharks and hammerheads.
There are two distinct seasons driven by different currents. The Humboldt Current brings the cooler and drier weather from June to November. This is when you can expect temperatures of between 70ºF (21ºC) to 80ºF (27ºC).
Between December to June, the El Niño Current brings the warmer and wetter weather. The temperature over this time is between 80ºF (27ºC) and 90ºF (32ºC). Note that a little rain is to be expected over this time.
For more information on when to visit, see our Galapagos Travel Guide.
An Island Guide
The Galapagos archipelago is composed of 20 main islands, which are split into 13 large islands and seven smaller islands. There are also around 100 small islets and rocky outcrops.
The main islands visited on the below tours including the following:
San Cristobal Island
As one of the largest islands in the Galapagos, San Cristobal is home to many different animals. See a diversity of birdlife, sea lions and giant tortoises in the highlands. A main natural attractions is the beautiful El Junco Lagoon.
Santa Cruz Island
Another large island, Santa Cruz is one of the main islands of the Galapagos. Here, you can find many attractions, including the Charles Darwin Research Center, giant tortoises in the highlands, many other iconic animals, and a variety of restaurants
Santa Fe Island
Found near Santa Cruz, Santa Fe is a smaller island home to one of the only populations of land iguanas on the Galapagos. You can also find lava lizards, sea lions and many different birds among the Opuntia cacti.
South Plaza Island
The Plazas are made of North Plaza Island and South Plaza Island. Both are found near Santa Cruz and are home to different birds, sea lions and marine iguanas. This is where you can also find one of the largest populations of land iguanas.
North Seymour Island
North Seymour is a fantastic place for birdwatching. Favorite species to see here are the blue-footed boobies, frigate birds and swallow-tailed gulls.
Genovesa is another bird lover’s paradise and famous among birdwatchers. This is also where you can find the smallest marine iguanas of the Galapagos.
Although a small islet, Bartolomé is worth a visit because it’s one of the few islands to see Galapagos penguins. You can also swim in surrounding water to spot sea turtles, reef sharks and colorful fish.
Chinese Hat Island
Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino) is a smaller island with an easily recognizable shape. Enjoy beautiful beaches where you can find marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs. There is also a trail leading through a lava field, which is a great place to spot sea lions.
Although one of the smallest islets on the Galapagos, Mosquera provides fantastic snorkeling opportunities and is where you can find one of the largest sea lion colonies on the archipelago.
For information on other islands, see our Galapagos Travel Guide.
Now we will have a look at some of the top 5-day Galapagos tours for exploring the islands.
These include hotel-based experiences, luxury cruises, and some comfortable yet more adventurous experiences.
Let’s start with some luxury 5-day Galapagos tours.
The Ocean Spray Cruise – 5-day Itineraries
Offering a luxury cruise of the Galapagos Islands, the Ocean Spray is a luxury-class catamaran designed for comfort and performance.
Providing more stability than many Galapagos cruises, aboard the Ocean Spray enjoy a fantastic island hopping experience. Explore the islands on expert guided trail walks, kayaking trips, and snorkeling tours.
The vessel offers comfortable suites, a sundeck with jacuzzi, and delicious meals. Your suite offers a private balcony to keep you connected to this incredible environment.
You have a choice of itineraries from a 4-day experience to a 15-day mega cruise for in depth exploration of the Galapagos.
Here is a summary of the 5-day cruise.
After arrival on Baltra Island, you will be transported to the Ocean Spray vessel for your briefing on the boat, the islands and your excursions.
You will then visit Bartholomew Island and the iconic Pinnacle Rock. This is perhaps the most famous view of the Galapagos Islands.
The next day, you will visit Genovesa Island and Prince Phillip’s Steps. Enjoy a beautiful coral beach and a trail through colonies of seabirds.
After an enjoyable dinner and a relaxing night’s sleep, you will then visit Santiago Island. Enjoy Espumilla Beach with its marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs, a black-sand beach and then Buccaneer Cove for stories of British buccaneers.
Day four is spent on North Seymour Island to see blue-footed boobies and to find giant tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz .
Your last day will be spent on Mosquera Island with a beautiful stretch of white sand, rocks, and tide pools before being transported to Baltra Island airport.
The Galapagos Habitat Hotel – 5-day Package Tour
The Galapagos Habitat Hotel is a luxury hotel positioned on Santa Cruz Island. The hotel is near some fantastic things to see and do. Even from the hotel, you can see marine iguanas and sea lions on the hotel deck.
Located beside the hotel is the popular attractions of the Charles Darwin Research Center, which is where you can see a giant tortoise breeding facility and learn about the Galapagos and the conservation work of the foundation.
The hotel offers the Almar Restaurant by Isla Grill for a fantastic dining experience right at the hotel. Enjoy beautiful views while enjoying a fusion of Argentinian and Ecuadorian cuisine.
In addition to very comfortable suites, delicious meals and beautiful views, the Galapagos Habitat Hotel offers different package tours.
The package tours from the Galapagos Habitat Hotel provides a fantastic way to explore the islands in comfort. The tours can be tailor made to your preferences.
On the 5-day tour, visit the highlands to see giant tortoises, visit the Charles Darwin Research Center and island-hopping aboard the Windrose yacht with its high comfort and service.
The islands you can visit include Bartolomé, Santa Fe, Plazas and North Seymour, and Chinese Hat.
For full and detailed itineraries to help you choose which islands to visit, please send an inquiry to check on availability for your travel dates using the below booking button.
The Eco Galaxy 5-day Cruise
The Eco Galaxy Cruise offers a comfortable catamaran for exploring the Galapagos Islands. The Eco Galaxy is a first-class vessel and offers a fantastic island-hopping experience.
There are 8 cabins in total split equally between the main and upper decks. All of the cabins provide twin or double beds, private bathrooms with hot water, air conditioning, a telephone and internet connection.
Aboard the Eco Galaxy, you can also enjoy the comfortable social areas, such as the sundeck, the lounge area for a cocktail or reading, and the dining room where you will enjoy delicious meals.
On the Eco Galaxy 5-day Cruise, enjoy many different activities, including wildlife watching, guided island walks, kayaking, swimming, snorkeling and many photography opportunities.
Your 5-day itinerary can include island hopping to surrounding islands, such as San Cristobal, Santa Fe, South Plaza, Seymour, Genovesa and the highlands of Santa Cruz.
Enjoy swimming and snorkeling with sea lions and tropical fish, walking with marine and land iguanas, and observing incredible birdlife, including Galapagos hawks, red-footed, blue-footed and Nazca boobies, frigatebirds and Darwin’s finches. Walk on some beautiful beaches and see the iconic sights of the Galapagos Islands.
The Nemo II 5-day Galapagos Cruise
The Nemo II provides a more adventurous experience than the above tours, as this is a motor-sail catamaran to explore the Galapagos.
Enjoy a 5-day island hopping adventure aboard the Nemo II, as you are led by certified Galapagos guides on island trail walks, kayaking tours, and snorkeling experiences.
See the iconic wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions and blue footed boobies. In the water on snorkeling experiences, you can see colorful fish and sea turtles.
The Nemo II vessel offers double or twin cabins, a private bathroom and comfortable social areas to relax when not out exploring the islands. There is also the vessel dining room where you will enjoy delicious regional cuisine.
The Nemo II 5-day Galapagos itinerary begins on Santa Cruz for a tour of the highlands. This is where we find the iconic giant tortoises and many different Galapagos birds.
Note that the Galapagos National Park control the flow of visitors to the different islands, so the order of islands you visit will depend on availability.
Islands usually visited include Bartolome Island, South Plaza Island, Santa Fe Island, North Seymour, and Isabela Island.
Enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Galapagos including the volcanic landscape, famous landmarks and iconic sights. In addition to the amazing wildlife, interesting landforms, lava tunnels and beautiful beaches are popular sights to see on tour.
Here’s a summary of the above tours, which all offer a 5-day itinerary: