Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos Islands are named after the giant tortoises that live on the islands - 'galapago' in Spanish means 'saddle' and refers to the tortoise shell. We've given you some of the fast facts on the Galapagos Tortoise below, but there's nothing like learning first-hand. On our 10-day Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure 'Tortuga' trip, you'll visit a giant tortoise breeding centre and hike in the Santa Cruz highlands, to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. 

turtle walking away

The 3 Types

The Galapagos tortoise comes in three versions, which are distinguished by the shape of their shells, sizes, colors and behavior: 1. Saddle-Backed: Mostly found on the lower drier islands. They have raised shells, long necks and limbs.
2. Dome-Shaped: Found on the upper parts of the islands, where plant growth is dense and thick. They have round shaped shells, very short necks and limbs.
3. Intermediate: This third race is a mix between the two described above.

turtles in the galapagos

Old and wise

The Galapagos Giant Tortoise can keep growing for 30 or 40 years, reaching almost 1 1/2 metres (5 feet) and weighing up to 230 kilograms (500 pounds). These are the largest tortoises in the world and the longest living of all vertebrates (animals with backbones). Because of their life span, it's possible that some of the old-timers in the Galapagos Islands that are around today, hatched about the time of Darwin's visit in 1835! 

The oldest giant tortoise on record lived 152 years, but reliable records of tortoise life spans aren't available yet because people haven't been observing them long enough.

tiny turtle

Then and now

In the 19th Century sailors and whale hunters visited the Islands and quickly discovered that these giant tortoises were an excellent food supply, being easy to catch and able to live for months without food or water. In vast numbers the animals were flipped on their backs and stacked in the cargo hold of ships, giving the sailors a ready source of fresh meat when there was no land in sight. Sadly, many thousands of giant tortoise were collected this way and today there are only around 15,000 left, a fraction of what there once was. 

turtles eating

  • Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure - Tortuga

    10 Days  | 

    Galapagos And Ecuador  | 

    From US$4999

    ACTIVE 2 - 3
    • ACTIVE 1

      What's The Rush?

      I’m not a triathlete, but I’m in decent shape and I’m not looking to experience a place just through a bus window. I’m happy to slow down on the trail, soak it in and breathe in the fresh air.


    • ACTIVE 2

      Leg Stretcher

      Sure, I own some hiking boots, they’re even worn in, but they don’t go on long trips. I like my creature comforts and I like to give a range of activities a go.


    • ACTIVE 3

      Earn Your Lunch

      I stay active on vacation so that I can eat and drink what I like without feeling guilty. I season my trips with a little fresh exercise.


    • ACTIVE 4

      Challenge Accepted

      I’ll let my trusty guides sweat the small things, so I can focus on my goal. Getting to the top, reaching the end, achieving my dreams! Sure, it’ll be tough, but the views will be worth it.


    • ACTIVE 5

      The Ultimate

      I’ve put in the hard yards and now I get to reap the rewards. I’m a seasoned adventurer, not afraid to get my boots wet.


    • Read more about the Active Range

    4.55 out of 5 (from 1356 reviews)

    Hike, cycle, snorkel and swim the Galapagos Islands. On this 10-day tour we’ll give you a fresh perspective as we land-hop from island to island, soaking in the Galapagos culture and wonderful wildlife.

 

Trip Reviews

  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16211 reviews)

    Condor

    This trip was excellent. The guides were fantastic (super friendly and great with seamlessly managing various ages of people and fitness levels), it was very well organized and the weather held all but two days of the entire trip allowing really amazing views of most mountain vistas. A real must for the bucket list.
    Kathleen Christians Review Image
    – Wisconsin, United States
    Condor, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16211 reviews)

    Nov. 2017 Condor trip with Cynthia

    What an awesome trip with one of the best guides ever. I would highly recommend this to all. The scenery was amazing, the activities were sweet, and the places stayed were top notch especially the one in El Calafate. The Refugio's were nicer than expected with ok food.
    Jim Gray Review Image
    – Colorado, United States
    Condor, December 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16211 reviews)

    Condor 2018

    This IS the trip of a lifetime! The itinerary is excellent, including the highlights of Patagonia and more! Trip logistics are well planned and expertly executed. Our guide, Arturo was one step ahead at all times and clearly has developed relationships with all hotels, refugios, restaurants and especially our local guides, creating incredible, seamless travel. The local guides, Cem (Jim) on the W Trek, Christian in El Chaltan, our drivers and specific activity guides were all excellent and willing to share their knowledge and love for their countries. This trip was FUN, Arturo is fun and all the new friends we met on our trip were fun!!!
    Cindy Jacobs Review Image
    – Maine, United States
    Condor, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16211 reviews)

    Active is the Word!

    I thoroughly enjoyed my Condor adventure. I've been on a few of these hosted by other companies and I think Active Adventures is the best so far - a good value too. When you say all-inclusive, you mean it. We often ordered whatever we wanted right off the menu. Arturo and the other guides did a great job. The itinerary was excellent - I know because a few times we barely made the connection to a boat. There was little down time. Doing the W Hike in the first week is also key - We were fresh and ready then. The weather on our trip was not ideal. We totally missed seeing Fitz Roy, despite 4 days in El Chalten. Oh well. Mother Nature didn't cooperate. The only thing that would've made the trip better would be better accommodations at some of the refugios. I know you can't control this and there's not a lot of choice, but, boy, some of those shower facilities and bathrooms were just awful. I'm looking forward to hiking with you guys again soon. :)
    Henry Gorecki Review Image
    – Illinois, United States
    Condor, March 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16211 reviews)

    Everything I hoped for

    This was my bucket list trip and it did not disappoint! As a biology major, the main draw was the wildlife, the natural history, and scientific significance of the Galapagos but it was also so much more. Our guide, Pepo, led our small group on a journey of discovery while sharing his expertise and great sense of humor. Our fellow adventurers were so much fun and we bonded over great food, once in a lifetime experiences, and fun in the sun. I highly recommend Active Adventures and will most likely book another trip with them soon!
    Stephanie Hammer Review Image
    – Oregon, United States
    Tortuga, November 2016

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Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

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