The Galapagos day tours are one of the most popular ways for the budget conscious traveler, to explore the unique Galapagos islands, some of the islands that can be reached with Galapagos day tours are: North Seymour, Bartolome, South Plazas, Santa Fe, Bartolome and Isabela. These tours offer a great flexibility and allow visitors to customize their itinerary as desired, the great majority of the Galapagos day tours will begin early in the morning in Puerto Ayora and depending on the tour, you will either be picked up from your hotel or you will meet your guide at the main pier. Prepare yourself to be onboard a speed boat between 2 and 3 hours per way which is the average time taken by the boats to arrive to the island you will visit.
Even though, you could share the boat ride with up to 25 travelers, upon arrival you will be part of a group with no more than 16 people as this is a Galapagos National park regulation. The Galapagos day tours have a morning and an afternoon activity where you will always be accompanied by a naturalist guide, these activities can either be hiking or snorkel, be sure to follow all the guide’s instructions as the Galapagos ecosystem is very fragile and the regulations are enforced firmly.
All the tours will include lunch on a local restaurant or box lunch, when the island visited is not an inhabited one. The afternoon activity will end up around 15h00, which will allow your speed boat to get back to Puerto Ayora before the sunset. 97% of the Galapagos archipelago is a protected national park and therefore strict rules are to be followed. The authorities of the park can establish the maximum number of groups that can be at the same time in each of the 70 places authorized for visits. One very important rule is that you cannot move without the assistance of a guide; You always have to go with an official guide (one guide is assigned to every 16 travelers on the Galapagos day tours). However, around the inhabited areas of the four main islands there are recreational places – like Tortuga Bay, on the island of Santa Cruz, or the Chico volcano, in the Isabela island – where you can go with no guide. The maximum number of visitors that the islands admit is 110,000 per year. At the Guayaquil and Quito airport you have to fill out the TCT (Traffic Control Card) which costs 20 dollars. And when you get to Galapagos you have to pay an entrance fee of $ 100.