8 days | 28 Oct 2025 - 04 Nov 2025

Nature and photography trip to the Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal and Española

Sir David Attenborough had us sitting at the edge of our seats with his fabulous BBC documentaries on the Galapagos Islands: waved albatrosses, marine iguanas and flightless cormorants against a spectacular backdrop of volcanos, dramatic coast lines and various islands. Does this sound like music to your ears? Add a good dash of STARLING, knowledgeable guides and high-quality photography at the best locations of the archipelago, and this will – without a doubt – result in an unforgettable experience! Join us during this nature and photography tour to the Galapagos.




After Darwin

The Galapagos archipelago represents extremes: the cold Humboldt Gulf Stream provides the supply of cold and nutrient-rich water that supplies a huge ecosystem with food. Due to ‘El Niño’, the sea currents temporarily change every 3 to 7 years, causing a large mortality of fish and sea lions and the absence of seabirds. Thanks to these climate changes, new species emerged and Darwin formed his first ideas for his theory of evolution through natural selection!

Although they usually spend lots of time out at sea, a little nap is mandatory. © Yves Adams

A dream for landscape and nature photographers

The Galapagos Islands have a lot to offer for photographers and never disappoint. Impressive landscapes and spectacular plants and wildlife unite on this archipelago of which 95% has been designated as National Park and which has been protected by Ecuador since 1968. A measure which has been of paramount importance for the conservation of many unique species.

Thanks to the expedition ship the Samba, we experience all this beauty from the front row. The spacious deck allows maximum nature experience at sea. The small number of participants ensures that you have plenty of room to move at sea. STARLING makes the difference through the length and planning of the excursions. We use the maximum allowed time on land and time the landings as much as possible at sunrise and sunset. Everything in function of the most beautiful light for the most unique images!

Crazy animal species

There are many wildlife species that live on the Galapagos Islands which you won’t find anywhere else in the world. For instance, the famous Galapagos iguana. His black skin colour heats up his body after a session of eating algae in the cold waters of the ocean. And then there is the iconic blue-footed booby, a pacific species of gannet, one of the symbols of this island group.

You will encounter one or more species of the famous Darwin finches on most of the islands. They are the ones that are best-known, but certainly not the only ones who differ so much. No less than 4 types of mockingbirds are part of the possibilities. And don’t forget the black lava gull. In short, a trip also birdwatchers will enjoy immensely and for which they should not hesitate to register.

In addition, other animals will provide us with lots of entertainment. There is the Galapagos giant tortoise, the largest species of tortoise in the world, which lives here. And we haven’t even mentioned the rich marine life around the island archipelago or the fact that we will certainly not get bored by the interesting vegetation either!

Without doubt one of the most attractive looking gulls on the planet. © Yves Adams

Our guides: top class photographers

As well as the STARLING guides, we can also call on the expertise of the very experienced local crew. The expedition leader is Juan Manuel Salcedo, who has been studying life on the archipelago for years and who obtained his Ecology diploma with Biology and Geology as specialities at Quito. He is perfectly familiar with the rules of this unique National Park. The area is very fragile and conservation must be monitored carefully. This way we are absolutely sure that we will be guided around the best-preserved island complex of the tropics in a correct way.

Waving at the fantastic local crew. © Yves Adams

Want to discover all the islands of the Galapagos?

During this trip we mainly explore the eastern side of the archipelago with San Cristobal en Española. Can it be a little more? Which can! With the two consecutive STARLING trips we let you discover all the islands of the Galapagos. You get a 10% discount on the total amount if you do the two trips.



What makes this nature and photography trip to the Galapagos so special?

  • You will meet animal species that are unique in the world.
  • You travel on the Samba, a modified expedition ship that STARLING chartered and that guarantees an unprecedented sea experience.
  • Both a nature and photography guide will accompany you on this photography and nature trip to the Galapagos Islands of San Cristobal and Española.
  • A local nature guide also travels with us.
Expedition cruises
Group tours
Bird tours
Experience tours
Marine mammals
Mammal tours
Travel photography
Wildlife tours

Get to know your tour guides

Yves Adams has already accompanied photo and nature trips to numerous exotic destinations. He strives for perfection in a way that every participant can follow. Also on the Galapagos he will again make the most of it! Yves has a good knowledge of nature, is an extremely skilled and talented photographer and will solve every problem with a smile. Our local guide for this trip is Juan Salcedo. This extremely talented local guide is one of the best nature guides in the world. He knows virtually everything about the Galapagos Islands and lifts this tour to the best of the best. Both guides together are a real dream team for this special trip.
More about Yves
The opinion of our travellers!
Paul, participant of our trip in 2018

This travel destination has mythical proportions, the trip itself was unique: a once-in-a-lifetime experience! In Africa you have to be careful that the wild animals do not trample you, in the Galapagos Islands you have to be careful not to step on the animals.

One of many reasons to explore the Galapagos
according to Jeffrey Van Daele

The Galapagos is a dream destination for many. I really enjoyed discovering this unique destination and photographing unique animal species. The animals are not frightened by people, so you can get very close to photograph them in their unique habitat.

Peter, participant of the Galapagos 2018

The trip was stunning. Certainly exceeded my expectations!

Is this nature and photography trip to the Galapagos something for you?

  • You always wanted to be part of a small expedition to this incredible destination.
  • You are fascinated by the beautiful wildlife and want to learn how to creatively portray it.
  • You have some patience and don’t mind waiting for the best moments.
  • You are looking for a trip where you can combine nature observation with relaxing and photography (so partners are welcome!).
Photography Level
Nature Level
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Planning is key

Itinerary & Locations

The tour schedule is flexible and dependent on the weather, local conditions and observations.
arrival Quito (flights not included)

We recommend leaving well in advance with a short stopover in Quito (27/10 – 28/10). This is to rest for a while and to build in margin. Flights and additional nights are not included in the price

Quito - Baltra - Santa Cruz

Our local guide, Juan Manuel, will be waiting at Baltra airport. He takes care of all the formalities with us, after which we drive to the port and board our ship, the Samba.

On the highlands of Santa Cruz, at about 550 meters, we admire the jungle of the Galapagos. Around the crater you will find Darwin finches, mockingbirds, Galapagos vermillion flycatcher and a rich diversity of native plants. We also visit a nature reserve where we can admire giant tortoises in their natural habitat.


Punta Cormorant contains a lagoon of brackish water where flamingos like to forage. Whimbrels, herons and himantopus can also be seen here. On the other side of the point, sea turtles use every corner to deposit eggs. You can also see stingrays and reef sharks.

In the afternoon we go snorkeling and ride the dinghy around the tiny Champion Island, accompanied by playful sea lions. We look from the dinghy for the rare Floreana mocking bird.

We end at Post Office Bay, a legendary beach where pirates, whalers and scientific expeditions landed in the past. Here we go hiking, kayaking and sailing with the rubber boat among the sea lions, mangrove forests and blue-footed boobies. We end at Baroness Lookout, where we discover the legend of “Las Encantadas”.


Punta Suarez is the westernmost peak of Española Island and is really bustling with life. As you walk among the sea lions, you will see marine iguanas in bright colors and elegant red crabs moving sideways over the rocks. On these cliffs you will find the only tropical albatross in the world, along with many other seabirds such as tropic birds, swallow-tailed gulls, Nazca boobies and blue-footed boobies.

In the afternoon we will go snorkeling around Gardner Bay, enjoying the pearly white beach and the colorful life above and below the water.

San Cristobal - Chatham

Chatham is the first island that Charles Darwin set foot on when he visited the Galapagos Islands. The volcanic cliffs of Kicker Rock are sometimes over 130m high and large numbers of seabirds breed here. We swim with Galapagos sharks, sea turtles, countless colorful fish and the beautiful eagle rays.

In the afternoon we will cruise to Punta Pitt, where we enjoy the stunning scenery, the many beautiful birds and the beautiful rock coves in the kayak.

Santa Fe/Plazas

Barrington Bay is one of the most picturesque places you can find in the Galapagos: white beaches, a turquoise sea and gigantic cacti. The island was isolated from the other islands for a long time and therefore you will find the endemic Galapagos iguana, a real yellow dragon. He is joined by Galapagos buzzard, mocking birds and finches.

Two hours further north is South Plaza, where iguanas roam the bright red carpet algae, swallow-tailed gulls breed, and red-billed tropics and shearwaters circle the sky.

Chinese Hat and Bartolomé

Chinise Hat is characterized by lava tunnels and white beaches around black cliffs. We snorkel and enjoy the sight of the penguins present.

In the afternoon we climb on Bartolomé Island to the top above 80 meters to admire the beloved view of Pinnacle Rock. Then we walk on the golden beaches where sea turtles nest and swim near the penguins, sharks and lava tunnels.

James Bay and Rabida

The next day we wake up at James Bay to enjoy the many shorebirds and reptiles. Oystercatchers, whimbrels, three-toed sandpipers, arenarias, tattlers and other wading birds can be admired, as well as marine iguanas and brightly colored crabs.

The grand finale is the huge lava tunnels that are home to the Galapagos sea bears. You can snorkel here among sea turtles, parrot fish, damselflies, white tip reef sharks and other beautiful things.

Back to the airport

On the last day we visit North Seamore in the morning. We walk between the largest colony of blue-footed boobies and frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls and tropic birds.

Then we have breakfast and then leave our ship, back to Baltra airport. Goodbye, Galapagos!

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Accommodation and transport

Our means of transportation between the Galapagos Islands is a motorsail vessel called Samba. The vessel is specially designed to make a safe crossing. It is equipped with a stabilizing sail and a high bow to minimize the impact of waves. The spacious deck offers plenty of space to peer over the sea and take pictures. Moreover, this elegant ship is environmentally friendly and consumes less fuel than average.

The price of this trip does not include international and domestic flights, due to widely varying exchange rates. It is possible to book these flights through STARLING. You can also choose to book your flights yourself. For all flights and extra nights together, count on 2000 euros, depending on how many extra nights you wish to book.

Target audience and guides

This is a nature and photography trip aimed at people who want to enjoy nature but who also want to take photographs. This trip is also suited for non-photographing partners of photographers. This trip is also very interesting for passionate birdwatchers. We have included every possible endemic species of birds in our programme. Jeffrey’s professionalism means you are assured of the best guidance, he will assist on the boat, but also when we set foot on the various islands.

On the islands themselves, we will be guided by a local guide who is perfectly familiar with the rules of this unique National Park. The area is very fragile and conservation must be closely monitored. This way we are absolutely sure that we will be guided around the best-preserved island complex of the tropics in a correct way.

Climate and clothing

The cool season on the Galapagos Islands is from May to September. During the day temperatures are pleasant and fluctuate around 20°C. From December to April it is really hot and dry. Temperatures of 32°C are the average. At night, during the cool as well as the hot season, it can get quite cold. You will need a sweater or jumper. Rain is always possible, so bring a thin raincoat just in case.

The walks we will be doing on the islands are accessible to everyone with a normal condition. We will walk a few kilometres maximum. Make sure you bring sturdy hiking boots which protect the ankles. The terrain can be quite rough because of the lava rocks.

Photography and expectations

The Galapagos Islands have everything nature enthusiasts and photographers could desire. Every island is unique because of the volcanic landscapes. Thanks to our specially adapted ship we will sail close to the shore along each island in order to guarantee carefree photo sessions each and every time. In brief: this is the ultimate photography trip for anyone wanting to capture the Galapagos Islands with the help of some excellent professional guidance.

We will sail in between the islands and stand a chance of meeting numerous sea creatures: shearwaters, cormorants, red and blue-footed booby, … There will be plenty of things to photograph on land too. Think about the Darwin finches and mockingbirds, species unique to this archipelago. Keep your camera handy!


The Samba accommodates a maximum of 14 guests, a perfect number to experience the magic of the Galapagos Islands. This small number of participants allows for plenty of privacy and ample movement. Especially with photography in mind, this is an absolute must. The professional crew of this boat is friendly and experienced and the nature guides go that little bit further than the others. A trip of a lifetime!

For this trip, we choose to charter the Samba. This means that we can obtain more freedom because Starling is in control.

On request we are happy to organize extra nights and excursions in Ecuador – Quito. An overview of the possible options/extensions will follow after registration.

Nature study and photography

This nature and photography trip is aimed at people who want to enjoy nature, but also want to photograph. Also non-photographers partners of photographers and passionate bird watchers this trip is very attractive will find their heart’s content here.

Every possible endemic bird species is on our program. We sail between the islands and have the chance to meet many sea creatures: shearwaters, cormorants, red-footed and blue-footed boobies … There is also a lot of life to photograph on land. Think of the Darwin’s finches and mockingbird species unique to the archipelago. Keep your camera at the ready!

Each island is unique due to its volcanic landscapes. Thanks to our specially adapted ship, we sail close to each island to ensure a worry-free photo session every time. In short: this is the ultimate photography trip for anyone who wants to capture the Galapagos on film under professional guidance.

8 days | 28 Oct 2025 - 04 Nov 2025

Nature and photography trip to the Galapagos Islands: San Cristobal and Española

28 Oct 2025 - 04 Nov 2025
  • insurance guarantee fund
  • specialized local guides
  • enthousiast guiding by professional STARLING photographer
  • enthousiast guiding by STARLING tour guide(s)
  • all transport at site
  • all nights
  • all meals
  • all excursions and entrance tickets for parks
  • all drinking water
  • all boat tours
  • personal expenses
  • visa fees (if applicable)
  • national flights and airport taxes
  • international flights and airport taxes
  • tips for local collaborators (horeca, hotel,...)
  • extra nights
  • alcoholic beverages and soda
Tour Language
Dutch, English
Room types
Twin cabin
Cabin sharing with one other participant.
5950 euro
Double deluxe
Only for couples.
6560 euro
Single cabin
Cabin only for yourself.
11900 euro
Starting from
5950 euro
Price per person
Book now

Something not clear?

Just ask!