The Galapagos has been called the greatest wildlife show on earth. Made famous by Charles Darwin, the Galapagos Islands are a protected heritage site 1000km off the coast of mainland Ecuador. The 18 volcanic islands and 40 islets host an abundance of wildlife and natural wonders not found anywhere else in the world.
The islands are world renowned for their fearless wildlife but no amount of hype can prepare you for such a close encounter with nature. Here, you can snorkel with penguins and sea lions, watch 200kg tortoises lumbering through giant cactus forests and enjoy the courtship display of the blue footed booby and frigatebird, all in startling close-up. Read on to find out more about the highlights of the different islands.
The Western Islands - Isabela and Fernandina
Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos and was formed by six volcanoes fusing together over time, making it one of the world’s most volcanically active places. Fernandina is the youngest of the islands in the archipelago.
Hike to the top of Sierra Negra, the most recently active volcano in the Galapagos
View the flightless cormorant, only found in the western islands
Discover huge colonies of marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins at Elizabeth Bay
Spot whales and dolphins at Tagus Cove
The Southern Islands - Floreana and Espanola
The Southern Islands are renowned for their excellent snorkelling sites. Espanola is the nesting site of nearly all the world’s waved albatross population.
Snorkel at Devil’s Crown and search for sharks, rays and tropical fish
Discover flamingos at Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island
View large colonies of the comical looking blue footed boobies on Espanola
See the waved albatross, the largest bird in the Galapagos
The Central Islands– Santiago, Santa Cruz and surrounding islands
The Central Islands have so much to offer. Walk through giant cactus forests on Santa Fe, visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz and relax on white sand beaches.
Encounter wild giant tortoises in the highlands of Santa Cruz
Relax at Tortuga Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos and a great place to spot sea turtles and pelicans
Snorkel at Chinese Hat with Galapagos penguins, rays, turtles and sea lions
Pinnacle Rock on Bartolome Island is one of the most photographed sites in these islands, climb to the top for stunning panoramic views
The Northern Island – Genovesa
Genovesa has developed a reputation as ‘The Bird Island’ because of the numerous and varied bird species that nest there. It is one of the only places to see red footed boobies en masse. It also boasts a large population of frigatebirds.
Hike the trail that leads to El Barranco for excellent views, passing large colonies of seabirds along the way
Spot reclusive fur seals which breed here
Discover the smallest marine iguana in the archipelago that lives on Genovesa
Look for hammerhead sharks which are common in Darwin Bay
The Eastern Island – San Cristobal
San Cristobal is one of the oldest of the islands geologically. One of the main highlights is Kicker Rock which is one of the most famous sites in the Galapagos.
Visit Isla Lobos, named after the large sea lion population that lives here, it is also a great place to watch nesting frigatebirds and blue footed boobies
Discover imposing Kicker Rock, rising hundreds of feet above the ocean and inhabited by large numbers of seabirds