Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking Adventures in the Galapagos Islands

During our time in the Galapagos Islands, we were able to experience a multitude of adventures including snorkeling, SUP, kayaking, hiking, and more. I love almost every adventure thrown my way, but the one I was the most hesitant about during this trip? Biking.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

We have bikes and have ridden bike in a variety of places during our travels, but I’ve had several instances that have made me a bit leery about my biking skills. So, when I saw two bike rides on our itinerary for our Galapagos trip with Galakiwi, I was nervous. At the same time, I was excited to check out the islands on two wheels. Micah on the other hand, is always up for a biking adventure!

Our two bike rides were on different islands and through completely different landscapes. The first one was on our first night on San Cristobal, and the second bike ride was on Isabela Island. On San Cristobal we made our way through the highlands on a paved path towards the beach. On Isabela Island our bike path was a gravel road leading to the Wall of Tears. The two experiences were drastically different, but we loved them both.

Biking the Highlands on San Cristobal Island

We hit the ground running when we arrived in the Galapagos. After checking into our hotel and going over our trip itinerary, aka “the super plan”, we geared up for our first adventure. The group jumped into a few taxis and made our way to the highlands of San Cristobal island. While the crew unloaded our bikes, we took a short hike to a nearby church and viewpoint where we were rewarded with expansive views overlooking the island and ocean below.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Next it was time to pick our bikes and start off on our ride. The new bike trail on the island is a two-lane path that was built next to the road. It was great that we had a dedicated path and didn’t have to worry about biking with traffic. There were also support vehicles following our group, so if anyone decided they weren’t up for the ride, they could hop off at any time. Thankfully, the ride was mostly downhill, which means we were able to coast our way towards the beach.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

We also had one stop to make along the way to break up the bike ride. The family of our guide, Pepo, owns an extraordinary property. In addition to a restaurant/bar there is a giant tree house built with recycled materials. The tree has both an upstairs and downstairs—the house comes complete with a bed, bathroom, kitchenette and running water.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

You can get down from the tree house either via the rope bridge or sliding down on a fireman’s pole! There was even a rope swing and rope for climbing on the branches outside. It was such a neat property, and the tree house can even be rented for the night! After exploring the house, we relaxed in the garden and snacked on delicious banana bread and coffee.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Once we hopped back on our bikes, we continued on towards the beach and arrived just in time for sunset. We watched the sun dip below the horizon while standing on a beautiful, rocky beach with marine iguanas. It was a wonderful introduction to San Cristobal and the Galapagos Islands as a whole.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

After the sun went down, we were supposed to ride our bikes back into town. There was a steep hill in front of us and it was getting dark, so a few of us decided to hop in the support vehicles and take the easy way into town. Even though I skipped the very last portion of the ride, I was glad I completed most of the ride and came out on the other side unscathed!

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, San Cristobal Highlands

Biking to the Wall of Tears on Isabela Island

Our second biking adventure was on Isabela Island. We picked up our bikes from the shop in town and rode out towards the Wall of Tears. The path to the wall used to be open to cars, but it is now only open to bikers and walkers. After a short ride through town, we found ourselves riding on a beachside path with beautiful views overlooking the ocean. Once the path diverted from the beach and into the trees, we were almost at the trailhead for the road to the Wall of Tears. The gravel road is around 3 miles long and has a number of small hills. The ride was pretty easy on the way out and went fairly fast, but we arrived covered in sweat—it was hot! Oh, and Micah got a nice surprise when we rode underneath a group of trees. Some type of animal, we think it had to have been an iguana, pooped all over him! We almost died laughing. He was covered in greenish brown goo—his hat, shirt, shorts…everywhere! Needless to say, a shower was definitely in order at the end of the bike ride.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Once we made it to our destination, we parked our bikes and went for a walk along the wall. Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s Isabela Island was actually home to a penal colony. The Wall of Tears is essentially a giant wall of lava rocks carried from a nearby field. The wall is around 65 feet high and over 300 feet long, and it was built by prisoners as a way to break them. I can’t even begin to imagine what life must have been like during that time—it was a sobering experience.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

We walked along the wall while learning about its history, and then continued on the trail which led up the nearby hill. On top of the hill we found even more expansive views of the island where we took a break underneath a shaded bench area.

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

The ride back from the wall was pretty easy as well, but with most of it being downhill, I was definitely the last one in line. I went extremely slow because I was worried about losing control of my bike on the gravel, but luckily, I didn’t fall. On the way back Micah, Steph and I got turned around—we were supposed to head to the Tortoise Breeding Center but since I was riding so slow we got a little behind the rest of the group and ended up in town instead. Tim, one of the Galakiwi owners found us, and since we were close to the bike shop, we returned our bikes and took a taxi out to the turtle sanctuary instead. It all worked out well in the end and the three of us were back with the group in no time!

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

To finish off the morning, we cooled down with popsicles and then took a tour of the Tortoise Breeding Center. We learned about the history of tortoises on the islands and were able to see some adorable baby turtles! It was a great way to end the bike ride.
Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Biking in the Galapagos Islands, Wall of Tears

Both bike rides ended up being a great time, and I’m glad we were able to experience biking on the islands. I’ve always thought that all the adventurous activities in the Galapagos Islands would revolve around water, so it was fun to try something a little unexpected!

 

Special thanks to Galakiwi for hosting us on an amazing adventure! As always, all opinions are our own.

26 Comments
  • Henry
    Posted at 18:34h, 10 August Reply

    Very cool adventure! I didn’t even consider biking when I visited the Galapagos…feels like I missed out on a really fun experience! Thanks for sharing.

  • Renee
    Posted at 22:54h, 10 August Reply

    Love that you guys rode bikes what a cool way to really see the island!

  • Linda de Beer
    Posted at 01:58h, 12 August Reply

    I love that treehouse! The reference to the wall of tears made me think of Robben Island in South Africa, my home country. I think cycling is a wonderful way to see a country, and it sounds like it is just the right thing for Galapagos.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 10:20h, 25 August Reply

      That’s interesting–will have to look into Robben Island. Haven’t heard of that spot. Always sad to learn about those places, but it’s important to look at the history of spots! And I agree–cycling is a great way to see a place!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  • Siddhartha Joshi
    Posted at 05:59h, 12 August Reply

    Cycling in Galapagos Islands certainly seems like a great way to enjoy the islands! And your pictures are absolutely stunning and make the journey even more enticing 🙂
    Siddhartha Joshi recently posted…A visit to ‘Hathi Gaon’ in Jaipur, and why I regret it…My Profile

  • Gokul Raj
    Posted at 08:30h, 12 August Reply

    Really a cool way to explore the islands. Lot a scenic views on the way. I usually love renting bikes while traveling. Love exploring those narrow lanes.
    Gokul Raj recently posted…Where and What to eat in JakartaMy Profile

  • Anne
    Posted at 02:57h, 13 August Reply

    I love exploring new places by bike. It gives such a different perspective. This seems like a great way to see a different side to the Galapagos

  • Lydia Smith
    Posted at 15:00h, 13 August Reply

    Biking is just too fun an adventure. When people ask if I hike, I tell them I bike. A good bicycle is all you need. Sure you had an awesome experience especially when it’s on Galapagos Island.

  • Fern
    Posted at 01:19h, 14 August Reply

    I love it when the guide Pepo shares the property for a break, that’s really amazing, I love checking on some local places as well. I think I should try this biking adventure, although I haven’t done it for long distance surely, the wonderful views to see in Galapagos will motivate me to do the same.

  • Megan Jerrard
    Twitter:
    Posted at 18:58h, 14 August Reply

    Very cool – we spent a week on San Cristobal, though didn’t ride, but I can see how biking would have been a really fun way to spend the day. The highlands are so beautiful there, what a way to explore 🙂 I would love to get back and visit Isabela Island, and will definitely take you up on the tip to join a bike tour – haha though noted to be careful about riding through tree cover and falling iguana poo! How hilarious! That’s a story you’ll remember and laugh about forever!

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 09:52h, 25 August Reply

      Hahah, yeah that’s definitely a story we will laugh about forever! It was too hilarious!! 🙂 But yeah, biking was such a fun way to see the islands. Hope you can head back and make it to Isabela Island sometime!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  • Paula
    Posted at 02:43h, 15 August Reply

    Hello! I have been to Galapagos myself and done it all by car tour. Its a great idea to do it on bike! I loved the big turtles, they are really amazing animals. Thanks for the tips!

  • Paige W
    Posted at 17:07h, 15 August Reply

    This sounds like a great and a slower way to experience the Galapagos. I’ve been wanting to go there and my best friend has it at the top of her list, so I’m sure we’ll go soon. The zoo in my hometown had some of those giant turtles and I always wanted to see them for myself. Looks like a wonder trip.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 09:45h, 25 August Reply

      Hope you can take a trip there sometime soon! It’s such a wonderful place and we really enjoyed the couple of bike rides we went on. Such a fun way to explore!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  • Kasia
    Posted at 04:29h, 16 August Reply

    I loved biking but last year I had an accident and a long surgery and now it’s painful when I’m trying to bike ;(… well. I can always walk an also visit so many beautiful places 🙂
    As for me (I’m from Europe) Galapagos Islands sounds like something really exotic and very far away 🙂 I would love to visit it one day!

    Best,
    Kasia

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 09:44h, 25 August Reply

      Oh no! That’s so sad–always a bummer to have a bad accident like that! Hope you recover and are able to bike again sometime soon! But you’re right, walking is a great way to explore too at least!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…A Photo Essay: Columbus, OhioMy Profile

  • Agness of aTukTuk
    Twitter:
    Posted at 15:06h, 11 September Reply

    Galapagos islands are a piece of paradise, Jenna! When’s the best time of the year to explore this place?

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