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 16212 reviews)

    Incredible experience

    We had an amazing time in the Galapagos!
    Everything was perfectly organized for us. All we had to do was show up - just as it said in the description of the tour.
    Our tour guide Zambo would always tell us well in advance what we would be doing on the next day, what we had to bring, what we should wear.
    The food was always organized for us; they would always ask us beforehand what we wanted to eat.
    Everywhere we went they were expecting us and everything went smoothly.
    Zambo was an amazing guide! He was extremely knowledgeable. He had an answer for everything and he was very patient with our kids. One could see that he enjoyed showing his home to us.
    The encounters with the animals were truly amazing. We saw blue footed boobies, frigate birds, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, sting rays, penguins, hundreds of sea lions, sea iguanas, etc.
    The animals seemed at ease with the humans around them in some cases almost curious.
    Pirko Hamer Review Image
    – Sai Kung, Hong Kong
    Tortuga, April 2017
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Patagonia at its Best

    This was a fantastic trip which was well planned with quality places to stay, eat, and view the wonders of Patagonia. The guides were all excellent and knowledgeable making the trip super informative. Other activities such as kayaking, glacier hike, and mountain biking added to the exploration of a very unique and diverse environment. The transportation from locations was very comfortable. The Patagonia of Chile and Argentina was stunning and the organization by Active Adventures created the perfect experience.
    Donna Small Review Image
    – Oregon, United States
    Condor, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Jaguar, November 2016

    This trip truly was an 'active adventure', and exceeded my expectations in so many ways.
    Peru is such a beautiful country, rich in history, and culture. All of our guides were superb, but Erick as our trip host absolutely made this trip worry free, a true learning experience, and SO much fun! If it's all in the details, Erick and Active covered them all and more!
    I arrived as a solo traveler and left having made friends and memories that I will treasure always.
    Thank you Active Adventures, until next time!
    Sandra Datoff Review Image
    – British Columbia, Canada
    Jaguar 2017, December 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Beautiful Scenery and Great Hikes

    My husband has wanted to do this trip for several years. I hesitated as the Refugio stays were way out of my comfort zone. The whole trip was great, and even the Refugio’s were ok. Our guide Cynthia was just amazing - she knows what she’s doing, is prepared for everything, and was very encouraging. I really don’t know how she did it all! We were with a great group of people, and feel we have gained new friends that we hope to meet on another trail some day.
    Cathy Tileston Review Image
    – Florida, United States
    Condor, March 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 16212 reviews)

    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome!

    The Condor trip with our tour leader, Zac, was AWESOME! Our W guide, Cem, was also exceptional. The two of them kept us at a great pace and kept us laughing. You're on this trip for the scenery, and it was breath-taking. A great one word description of the landscape is "rugged". This tour provides a nice balance of longer hiking days and shorter hiking days with just truly stunning scenery including Torres del Paine, French Valley, Grey Glacier, Perito Morano glacier, and Fitz Roy. Definitely do the ice hiking!
    Sandy Landsberg Review Image
    – Virginia, United States
    Condor, February 2018

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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.

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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.

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