Experience an adventure that will provide memories to last a lifetime. Learn about Darwin, geology, and unique wildlife and enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and nature walks as you visit six of the Galapágos Islands.

Starting at: $7,995 * Price includes special offer Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Mother and baby seal  Two Nazca Boobies  Sally Lightfoot Crab  Blue-footed Boobies  Travelers snapping a photo of seals   A tortoise and a traveler   Bright Frigate bird  Swallow-tailed Gull  Green sea turtle in the Galápagos  Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals and Sally Lightfoot crabs  Seals basking on the beach  Colorful iguana

Galápagos Islands

Aboard the 48-guest La Pinta

9 days from $7,995

Experience an adventure that will provide memories to last a lifetime. Learn about Darwin, geology, and unique wildlife and enjoy snorkeling, swimming, and nature walks as you visit six of the Galapágos Islands.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details


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The Smithsonian opens doors to sites that you could not see on your own and to travel with a Smithsonian Journeys expert brings life to the history and romance of the experience.

- Barbara C.


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* Click on hotel name to visit hotel web-site.

Hilton Colon Guayaquil

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Elegance, comfort, security, and personalized service are just some of the characteristics that make Hilton Colón Guayaquil, a true five-star city resort hotel. Located only five minutes away from the International Airport, the hotel is surrounded by the main shopping centers and offers easy access to the downtown district area. All of the rooms have A/C with individual control, plasma TVs with cable system, modern work area with three phone sets, answering machine, broadband and wireless internet, hair dryer, mini bar, safety boxes, soundproof windows, sprinklers, smoke detectors, and electronic locks, among other benefits.

Number of nights: 2

Activity Level

Activity Level 3: Active

Expectations: Excursions will be active, and you will often spend the entire day out of the hotel or off the ship. There will be some days with early morning departures (8:00 or 8:30 a.m.). Fully scheduled days are balanced by time at leisure in some ports. There will be some coach travel, and a mile or more of walking on most days. Walking tours are often on streets or trails which may be uneven, and up and down hill. Some buildings do not have elevators and some historic towns do not allow buses into the city centers. Footwear with good traction and support is essential. Please be advised that the ship will tender ashore by Zodiac inflatable landing craft. Zodiacs may involve a dry landing (participants step from the tender vessel directly onto land or a dock) or a wet landing (participants step from the tender vessel into knee-deep water and wade ashore). 

For the optional post-tour, please be aware that Quito’s elevation is more than 9,000 feet/2,743 meters. Cuzco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu (Post-Tour) are also located at high altitudes. At these elevations, some people may be subject to a shortness of breath, or even altitude sickness, especially during or after physical activity. To minimize the effects of the higher elevation, you should consider avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, and heavy foods. You should also be sure to drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest. Also, be aware that you will be more at risk of sunburn at high elevations and should take the necessary precautions.  

Appropriate for: Travelers who are physically fit, lead active lives, are comfortable participating in long days of activities, and expect some physical exertion.

Pre-Tour Extension

Quito Pre-Program Option – 4 days, 3 nights

Surrounded by snowcapped peaks, yet only miles from the Equator, Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its magnificent Spanish colonial architecture and lively street life. On the walking tour, visit the noble, 16th-century Iglesia de San Francisco, the Moorish-influenced Catedral Metropolitana and Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesus, renowned for its lavish interiors decorated with an estimated seven tons of gold leaf. Stroll along La Ronda for a glimpse into its Spanish heritage and enjoy Ecuadorian chocolate at Chez Tiff.

Stand in the “middle of the world” with one foot in each hemisphere at the Equator and see the hundred-foot-tall monument where an 18th-century multinational expedition located zero degrees latitude, accurately establishing the earth’s size for the first time. Admire panoramic views of the surrounding mountains from El Panecillo and tour the Ethnographic Museum, illustrating the diversity of Ecuador’s indigenous peoples. In the Old Town, enjoy the contrast of open-air markets steps away from skyscrapers. Accommodations are for three nights in the five-star JW Marriott Hotel Quito.

Tour extensions available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.

Post-Tour Extension

Machu Picchu Post-Tour Extension — 8 Days, 7 Nights 

Explore Peru’s UNESCO-inscribed archaeological treasures and signature landscapes on this comprehensive opportunity featuring Machu Picchu, Cuzco and the captivating Sacred Valley.  

Cradled by the soaring peaks of the Andes Mountains, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu summons awe and wonder like few other places—nothing can diminish your first glimpse of this fabled “lost city.” Machu Picchu was unknown to the Western world for four centuries until American explorer Hiram Bingham III discovered the site in 1911. Research and excavation have revealed that Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century as a retreat for the Inca emperor Pachacuti.  

Admire the spectacular archaeological sites of the Sacred Valley, where ancient engineering marvels, such as the fortress of Ollantaytambo, stand as lasting testimony to the powerful and far‑reaching Inca Empire. Here, village craftspeople employ age‑old techniques to spin, dye and weave intricate tapestries and sculpt pottery painted with ancient, artistic patterns.  

In the historic Inca capital of Cuzco, a UNESCO World Heritage site, see the stone fortress of Sacsayhuamán and Baroque- and Renaissance‑style churches that provide a fascinating mix of pre-Columbian and colonial influences. 

Enjoy deluxe, ideally located accommodations in Lima, Machu Picchu and Cuzco. 

Tour extensions available at additional cost. Details will be provided with your reservation confirmation.


La Pinta

La Pinta’s modern design offers plenty of style and comfort throughout its interior and exterior spaces. It is the perfect size for exploring some of the most precious and hard-to-reach places in the Galapagos Islands. Sustainable sailing is a big component of La Pinta’s operations, too, and the vessel takes several measures to help safeguard the ecosystem. This Galapagos vessel measures approximately 209 feet (64 meters) and features 24 cabins that can accommodate up to 48 guests.

La Pinta

La Pinta’s modern design offers plenty of style and comfort throughout its interior and exterior spaces. It is the perfect size for exploring some of the most precious and hard-to-reach places in the Galapagos Islands. Sustainable sailing is a big component of La Pinta’s operations, too, and the vessel takes several measures to help safeguard the ecosystem. This Galapagos vessel measures approximately 209 feet (64 meters) and features 24 cabins that can accommodate up to 48 guests.



The Smithsonian opens doors to sites that you could not see on your own and to travel with a Smithsonian Journeys expert brings life to the history and romance of the experience.

- Barbara C.
Reading List

Highly Recommended

Galapagos: A Natural History, Revised and Expanded
By: Michael H. Jackson
Twenty thousand copies of the first edition of Galápagos were sold. An attractive and comprehensive guidebook, this work has been completely revised and updated by the author. The reader will find an easy-to-use text which details the natural history of the plants and animals found in the Galápagos Islands. Management and conservation of the Galápagos National Park is discussed, and visitor information and notes about the various tourist sites are given. An index and checklist of plants and animals with page references and a glossary of technical terms are provided. New photographs have been added.
Galapagos: World's End
By: William Beebe
"Galápagos is a glorious book. It is high romance, exact science, fascinating history, wild adventure."—NationThe Galápagos Islands are famed for their remarkable wildlife, including land and marine iguanas, land tortoises, four-eyed fish, and flightless cormorants and albatross. In 1835, Charles Darwin observed variations among the islands' species that inspired him to formulate the theory of natural selection. Eighty-eight years later, in 1923, a scientific expedition sponsored by the New York Zoological Society followed in Darwin's wake. Led by renowned biologist and explorer William Beebe, the scientists visited the the islands to study and obtain specimens of indigenous plants and animals. This is Beebe's personal account of that fascinating expedition.Combining rare literary skill with careful research, Beebe produced an exceptionally readable volume, replete with youthful enthusiasm, a romantic's awe before the mysteries of nature, and a scientist's passion for accurate description. He recounts the expedition's enormously productive results, including specimens of 60 species previously unknown to science, and an unparalleled accumulation of data that stimulated many scientific papers and new avenues of naturalistic inquiry. Beebe's account is enhanced with more than 100 splendid illustrations, selected from hundreds of paintings, drawings, and photographs by expedition members. A classic of popular science, it is scientifically rigorous as well as exciting and accessible.
The Voyage of the Beagle
By: Charles Darwin
In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on an expedition that, in his own words, determined my whole career. The Voyage of the Beagle chronicles his five-year journey around the world and especially the coastal waters of South America as a naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. While traveling through these unexplored countries collecting specimens, Darwin began to formulate the theories of evolution and natural selection realized in his master work, The Origin of Species. Travel memoir and scientific primer alike, The Voyage of the Beagle is a lively and accessible introduction to the mind of one of history's most influential thinkers.
Galapagos Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide)
By: Horwell, David, Oxford, Pete

Also Recommended

Evolution's Workshop
By: Edward J. Larson
More than any other place on Earth, the Galápagos Islands are the workshop of evolution. Isolated and desolate, they were largely overlooked by early explorers until Charles Darwin arrived there in the 1830's. It was Darwin who recognized that Galápagos' isolation and desolation were advantages: the paucity of species and lack of outside influences made the workings of natural selection crystal clear. Since then, every important advance and controversy in evolutionary thinking has had its reflection on the Galápagos. In every sense-intellectually, institutionally, and culturally-the history of science on these islands is a history of the way evolutionary science was done for the past 150 years.Evolution's Workshop tells the story of Darwin's explorations there; the fabulous Gilded Age expeditions, run from rich men's gigantic yachts, that featured rough-and-ready science during the day and black-tie dinners every night; the struggle for control of research on the Galápagos; the current efforts by "creation scientists" to use the Galápagos to undercut evolutionary teaching; and many other compelling stories.
Insight Guides Ecuador & Galapagos (Travel Guide with Free eBook)
By: APA Publications Limited
Moon Quito (Travel Guide)
By: Pitts, Bethany
Satan Came to Eden: A Survivor's Account of the "Galapagos Affair"
By: Dore Strauch
In 1929, Dr. Frederick Ritter and Dore Strauch fled the social and economic turmoil of post-World War I Germany, choosing to abandon the chaos of modern civilization, as well as their respective spouses. They began a quest to reclaim the purity of nature for themselves. They chose as their Eden the dry, uninhabited volcanic island of Floreana in the Galapagos chain. Their experiences in their new paradise—and the ensuing scandals—would captivate the Western world. Floreana's unforgiving environment hardly proved to be a idyllic choice, and were it not for the assistance of American yachters, Ritter and Strauch, naive and unprepared as they were, might easily have perished during their first year as colonists. Yacht crews returned with news of the eccentric couple's adventures, and they became darlings of the Western press. This unwelcome publicity lead to the arrival of a second family on the island, soon followed by a pistol-wielding Austrian "baroness" and her two young lovers. While not without her charm, this mysterious "aristocrat" could also be sinister and controlling. Tensions grew rapidly, jealousies and resentments raged, and soon this island with a population of 9 was at war with itself. Floreana was to become rife with danger, suspicion, murderous thoughts, and a notorious scandal that still entices today. Who was the "Satan" who came to Eden? Was it a singular person, or was it the darkness of self-destruction that can arise in every human heart? It is a question for each reader to answer in their own way and it beckons to the aspiring detective in all of us. Originally published in 1936, Satan Came to Eden meticulously recounts Ritter and Strauch's often bizarre, true-life struggle from a survivor's point of view—an account lost to the public for nearly 80 years. Editor Joseph Troise supplements Strauch's original memoir with previously unpublished photographs and an informative preface, introducing a new generation of readers to one of the strangest stories of the twentieth century. "All the satisfaction of a well-plotted mystery adventure, with the added fun of its all being true"--Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Floreana: A Woman's Pilgrimage to the Galapagos
By: Margret Wittmer
The remarkable first-hand account of
Galapagos: The Enchanted Islands (Through Writers' Eyes)
By: John Hickman
Every year a quarter of a million well-heeled, well-read travelers take the holiday of a lifetime to the Galapagos. John Hickman presents an intriguing cast of characters, from Incas to whalers, pirates to Robinson Crusoe's, the original Swiss Family Robinson and the revered Charles Darwin.
Galapagos: A Novel (Delta Fiction)
By: Kurt Vonnegut
“A madcap genealogical adventure . . . Vonnegut is a postmodern Mark Twain.”—The New York Times Book ReviewGalápagos takes the reader back one million years, to A.D. 1986. A simple vacation cruise suddenly becomes an evolutionary journey. Thanks to an apocalypse, a small group of survivors stranded on the Galápagos Islands are about to become the progenitors of a brave, new, and totally different human race. In this inimitable novel, America’ s master satirist looks at our world and shows us all that is sadly, madly awry–and all that is worth saving.Praise for Galápagos“The best Vonnegut novel yet!”—John Irving “Beautiful . . . provocative, arresting reading.”—USA Today“A satire in the classic tradition . . . a dark vision, a heartfelt warning.”—The Detroit Free Press   “Interesting, engaging, sad and yet very funny . . . Vonnegut is still in top form. If he has no prescription for alleviating the pain of the human condition, at least he is a first-rate diagnostician.”—Susan Isaacs, Newsday   “Dark . . . original and funny.”—People   “A triumph of style, originality and warped yet consistent logic . . . a condensation, an evolution of Vonnegut’s entire career, including all the issues and questions he has pursued relentlessly for four decades.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer   “Wild details, wry humor, outrageous characters . . . Galápagos is a comic lament, a sadly ironic vison.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch   “A work of high comedy, sadness and imagination.”—The Denver Post   “Wacky wit and irreverent imagination .  . . and the full range of technical innovations have made [Vonnegut] America’s preeminent experimental novelist.”—The Minneapolis Star and Tribune
Galapagos: Preserving Darwin's legacy
By: Tui de Roy
This sumptuous large-format book was first produced in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Charles Darwin Foundation on Galapagos. The book comprises a series of invited essays under the editorship of world-renowned photographer and long-term Galapagos resident, Tui de Roy, who has also provided most of the photographs. The authoritative essays cover the entire spectrum of Galapagos wildlife including the marine environment, unique vegetation such as sunflower trees as well as wildlife including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, sea lions, and the Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin's theory of evolution.This new edition has significant updates to a number of chapters including brand new photography and information about scientific developments elsewhere, and a new jacket.
Wildlife of the Galápagos: Second Edition (Princeton Pocket Guides)
By: Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking
Since its first publication more than a decade ago, Wildlife of the Galápagos has become the definitive, classic field guide to the natural splendors of this amazing part of the world. Now fully updated, this essential and comprehensive guide has been expanded to include the more than 400 commonly seen birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, and other coastal and marine life of this wondrous archipelago. Over 650 stunning color photographs, maps, and drawings are accompanied by accessible, descriptive text. This new edition includes information about all the common fish of the region and Spanish names are featured for the first time. There is also a revised section that discusses the islands' history, climate, geology, and conservation, with the most current details on visitor sites.This is the perfect portable companion for all nature enthusiasts interested in the astounding Galápagos.Covers 400+ commonly seen species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, and plants, and other coastal and marine lifeIllustrated with over 650 color photographs, maps, and drawingsIncludes maps of visitor sitesWritten by wildlife experts with extensive knowledge of the areaIncludes information on the history, climate, geology, and conservation of the islands
Lonesome George: The Life and Loves of the World's Most Famous Tortoise
Lonesome George is a 5 foot long, 200 pound tortoise, between 60 and 200 years old. In 1971 he was discovered on the remote Galapagos island of Pinta, from which tortoises had supposedly been extinct for years. He has been at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island ever since, on the off-chance that scientific ingenuity will conjure up a way of reproducing him and resurrecting his species. Meanwhile, countless tourists and dozens of baffled scientists have looked on as the celebrity reptile shows not a jot of interest in the female company provided. Today, Lonesome George has come to embody the mystery, complexity and fragility of the unique Galapagos archipelago. His story echoes the challenges of conservation worldwide; it is a story of Darwin, sexual dysfunction, adventure on the high seas, cloning, DNA fingerprinting and eco-tourism.
Galapagos Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Animals (A Pocket Naturalist Guide)
By: James Kavanagh, Waterford Press
One of the most unique ecosystems in the world, the Galapagos Islands feature a bizarre diversity of wildlife, with many species endemic to the islands. This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, seashore creatures and butterflies/insects. Also features a unique map that shows the location of the top 10 most sought-after species including the Galapagos tortoise and the flightless cormorant. Laminated for durability, this lightweight, pocket-sized folding guide is an excellent source of portable information and ideal for field use by eco-tourists visiting the islands. Made in the USA.
Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World
By: Paul D. Stewart
Rocky, fragile, beautiful, strange―the Galápagos archipelago is unlike any other place on earth. Its geology, its unique flora and fauna, and its striking role in human history intersect in surprising and dynamic ways. This book is the most wide-ranging and beautifully illustrated book available on the famous islands. Not since Darwin’s Naturalist’s Voyage has a book combined so much scientific and historic information with firsthand accounts that bring the Galápagos to life.Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World describes how tragedy and murderous pirates curtailed settlement of the islands and how the islands’ pristine nature, spectacular geology, and defining isolation inspired Darwin’s ideas about evolution. The book explores the diverse land and marine habitats that shelter Galápagos species and considers the islands’ importance today as a frontier for science and a refuge for true wilderness.The book’s extensive gazetteer provides details about endemic plants and animals as well as travel advice about visitors’ sites, diving, photography, when to go, and what to take. Vividly illustrated throughout, this guide is an indispensable reference for natural history enthusiasts, armchair travelers, and island visitors alike.
24x36 World Wall Map by Smithsonian Journeys - Tan Oceans Special Edition (24x36 Laminated)
Travel Insurance

For the convenience of our travelers, Travel Guard provides an on-tour Insurance Plan. On-tour emergency evacuation insurance (up to $100,000), medical expense coverage (up to $25,000), dental expense coverage (up to $500), travel medical assistance and worldwide travel assistance (U.S. Residents only). It also includes up to $25,000 medical and up to $500 dental expense coverage, and 24-hour worldwide travel and medical assistance. Please click here to view complete coverage details.

Please visit www.TravelGuard.com/SmithsonianJourneys or call Travel Guard at 1-800-208-6142 to learn about additional (optional) coverage.