CONTACT US about your preferences for a hotel and tour package.
By far the best way to experience a new place is to ask the locals for advice.We are the locals and/or naturalist guides, and all have decades of experience in life and tourism in the islands.
Semilla Verde’s semi inclusive packages are by far our most popular request and have been designed to give you maximum exposure to Galapagos in a short visit, from two to ten nights, in a tight, affordable bundle.They include the very best visits to nearby islands via full day boat tours and the must-dos of Santa Cruz via half day guided tours and self guided activities. Meals are included at the hotel when convenient and private airport transfers and transport to town included.
For more information, custom options (such as scuba diving) and pricing please CONTACT US
Day Tours to Outlying Islands
Semilla Verde contracts local tour operators that offer half-day or day-long tours in small launches to the islands and attractions around Santa Cruz. These are an excellent way of seeing the variety of volcanic landscapes and wildlife that Galapagos has to offer. Travel time to each island varies between half-an-hour and three hours. They normally last all day and include a land visit and snorkeling. A qualified naturalist guide will lead the tour and lunch is also provided. You may also charter your own private boat and naturalist guide if you would prefer not to share with other tourists.
The more popular islands to visit via day tours are Bartolome, North Seymour, South Plazas, and Santa Fe.
Bartolome Island (6.30am to 5.30pm)
A spectacular volcanic landscape and great snorkeling! Climb up a long staircase to the view point on the summit offers breathtaking views over the surrounding islands. Bartolome is famous for its Pinnacle Rock – probably the most famous volcanic landscape in Galapagos. This beach is great for swimming and snorkeling with the opportunity of seeing many different reef fish, penguins, rays and white-tipped reef sharks.
North Seymour Island (8.30am to 4pm)
Located slightly to the north of Baltra, North Seymour is a low, flat island, formed as a result of the uplift of a submarine lava formation. It is covered with low, bushy vegetation and contains the largest colony of Magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos. Land iguanas are common here too. There is also a population of blue-footed boobies that perform an amusing courtship dance when nesting conditions are right. This goofy stride, picking-up high their blue feet in a slow motion, wing spreading, whistling and honking is one of the highlights of a visit to this island. Snorkeling and swimming from the beautiful and sandy Bachas beach follows the walk.
South Plazas Island (8am to 5pm)
One of a pair of small uplifted islands a short distance from the east coast of Santa Cruz, South Plaza has a unique landscape of colourful Sesuvium plants and Opuntia cacti and provides some of the most interesting wildlife observation spots in Galapagos. Land iguanas are easily seen from the trail. Swallow-tailed gulls, Pelicans and Shearwaters, along with other sea birds use the rising air to glide effortlessly over the escarpment. The protected rocky seashore is prime habitat for a large colony of playful sea lions.
Santa Fe Island (8am to 5pm)
Located south of Santa Cruz Island, this rugged island offers the chance of spotting the Santa Fe Land Iguana, that only exists here. Arriving on the sandy beach of a protected bay you will be greeted by tens of sea lions and lava lizards. A short circular trail takes you along the cliff edge where you can most likely spot the iguanas. Snorkeling in the beautiful bay here offers playful sea lions, colorful reef fish and occasionally sea turtles and rays.
Please note that we cannot guarantee availability of day tours to other islands as these services are contracted via third parties. Nor can we guarantee quality of naturalist guides or other elements provided directly by these third party operators. However, tours on Santa Cruz Island are organized directly by Semilla Verde. Lunches are included on day tours to outlying islands. Lunchtime and evening meals on Santa Cruz-based days can be arranged in town or, with notice, at Semilla Verde.
Activities on Santa Cruz Island
Tortuga Bay Beach is a hot 40-minute walk from Puerto Ayora town along a paved path that passes through arid zone vegetation (2.5km). Tortuga Bay is the longest and most famous white coral-sand beach on Santa Cruz Island. This is a must do, on Santa Cruz!
If you walk to the end of the beach, you will come to a beautiful, naturally protected pool where you can swim and snorkel safely (the main beach has strong rip tides and is only suitable for surfers). Another 5-minutes walking brings you to a protected inner bay, called Playa Manza with sun-warmed waters and shady trees. Here you can hire sea kayaks to see harmless white tip sharks and green sea turtles. There is also a short rocky trail along the coastline and around a forest of huge Prickly Pear Cacti where you can see many marine iguanas piled on top of each other and blue footed boobies.
Garrapatero Beach is another beautiful beach and a good place to swim. It is a 40-minutetaxi ride and then a 10-minute walk. Fixed grills are available if you would like to make yourown BBQ there.
Station Beach is just off the narrow road leading to the Charles Darwin Station. It is
small but pretty and conveniently close to town.
Playa de los Alemanes Beach is next to the Finch Bay Hotel, via water taxi on the ‘other side’ of the harbor. From here you can take a rocky 20-minute walk to ‘Los Grietas’ where you canswim in crystal clear seawater. You can use the hotel pool for just $10 per person.
Highland Tour including bird watching and nature trails through scalesia cloud forest, visit two giant pit craters ‘Los Gemelos’, walk through underground lava tunnels and search for tortoises in the wild. This is a must do, on Santa Cruz!
Bay Tour a half day trip from Puerto Ayora offers snorkeling with sea lions at the ‘La Loberia’ (sea lion island) and the chance of seeing harmless white tip reef sharks at the ‘Canal del Amor’ and a visit to las Grietas and Playa de los alemanes beach.
Local operators offer excellent Scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking, surfing and mountain biking excursions. Hiking can also be done in the highlands although it is recommended that a National Park guide accompany any expedition.
Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora has a wealth of information about current conservation efforts and the captive rearing program for giant tortoises and land iguanas. See the tiny new born tortoises and join the huge adults in their corrals. Lonesome George, the last remaining individual of Pinta Island and conservation icon of Galapagos sadly died in 2012 but you can still meet Super Diego ‘the latin lover’ who has fathered the vast majority of over one thousand tortoises repatriated onto Espanola island. There is no entrance fee and so you can do a self-guided tour. However, it is well worth paying a guide to take you round, for added insight and perspective. This is a must do, on Santa Cruz!
Jica Exhibition Centre a very new exhibition found on the road to Tortuga Bay Beach. Focusing on the natural history and wildlife of Galapagos, it is fun and very educational. Can be combined with a visit to the beach.
The Galapagos Islands offers some of the best pelagic scuba diving in the world. In fact, Galapagos is rated as one of the seven underwater water wonders of the world. You can swim with harmless hammerhead sharks, playful sea lions, manta rays amongst others.
The diving is for advanced divers but there are courses run in town for beginners that we give you the necessary skills to enjoy the less testing sites. Many great dive sites are accessible via day tours from Santa Cruz Island.