The Galapagos Islands are a once-in-a-lifetime destination where you can come face-to-face with fearless wildlife and explore otherworldly volcanic landscapes found nowhere else on earth. This Ecuadorian archipelago is located 600 miles off the coast of South America in the Pacific Ocean. It’s renowned for its unique biodiversity, endemic species like giant tortoises, and its role in inspiring Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Planning a trip here takes advance preparation, but the chance to snorkel with sea lions, hike atop ancient craters, and observe Darwin’s finches in their natural habitat is an adventure you’ll never forget. Our website is a full guide to help you plan the perfect Galapagos vacation.
The Galapagos Islands were formed by volcanic action over the past 4-5 million years. The oldest existing island, Española, is estimated to be around 3.5 million years old. The Galapagos archipelago consists of 13 major islands, 6 smaller isles, and over 100 rocks and islets.
Though uninhabited, the islands were known by indigenous South Americans and discoverd by the Spanish in the 16th century. The Galapagos get their name from the Spanish word for saddle, due to the shape of tortoise shells. The islands became part of Ecuador in 1832.
Charles Darwin brought scientific attention to the area after visiting in 1835. His observations of the differences between similar species on separate islands led to his groundbreaking theory of evolution by natural selection. Today, the Galapagos remain over 90% protected national park with conservation efforts focused on maintaining this one-of-a-kind ecosystem.
The Galapagos have two distinct seasons:
Getting to this remote archipelago involves flying into one of two small airports, Isla Baltra or Isla San Cristobal. Visitors then explore the islands either on a cruise or via daily boat trips and flights while staying in hotels on the inhabited islands.
Here are three key ways a travel agent can help plan an amazing Galapagos Islands trip:
Our Travel Guide is complete and will give you a step by step detail to planning a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Yet the Galapagos require intricate planning, and if you do not have a lot of time it is best left to a specialized agent. Their knowledge and connections lead to a dream trip full of once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters and scenery.
Recommended Travel Agents: Voyagers Travel Company, Peru For Less, Travel Edge, Adventure Smith Explorations.
Most visitors stay on a cruise boat, but there are some hotel and eco-lodge options primarily on the four inhabited islands:
The most populous island with the widest variety of hotels, resorts, and budget options close to attractions like the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Charming port town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno with boutique hotels plus lodges in the highlands. Great base for scuba divers.
Laidback island with scattered accommodation choices. Ideal for nature lovers and those who want a quieter experience.
Smallest inhabited island with few hotels. Known for its black sand beaches and rich history as one of the first settled islands.
Offer close wildlife encounters in natural settings on islands like Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Floreana. Recommended options: Pikaia Lodge, Scalesia Lodge, Hotel Ikala.
The Galapagos offer endless opportunities to interact with wildlife and take in the archipelago’s striking volcanic formations. Top activities include:
See native and endemic animals thrive up close, like:
Unwind on white or black sand beaches like Tortuga Bay, Las Bachas, Bartolome, and Gardner Bay.
Visit reserves like El Chato on Santa Cruz to get up close to these gentle ancient giants.
Follow these expert tips to make the most out of your Galapagos adventure:
With over a dozen islands to explore, it’s tough choose what to prioritize in just a few days. These sample itineraries will help jumpstart your planning:
Day 1: Arrive, visit highlands of Santa Cruz
Day 2: Snorkel with sea lions at Champion Islet off Floreana
Day 3: Española Island – hike Punta Suarez, snorkel at Gardner Bay
Day 4: Bartolomé Island – Pinnacle Rock, volcanic formations
Day 5: North Seymour Island to see boobies, marine iguanas
Day 1: Arrive, visit Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz
Day 2: Snorkel with penguins off Bartolomé Island
Day 3: Genovesa Island – hike and birdwatching
Day 4: Santiago Island – Sullivan Bay lava fields
Day 5: Rábida Island’s red sand beach, coastal walk
Day 6: Santa Cruz Island highlights – tortoises, Darwin Station
Day 1: Arrive, explore Santa Cruz Island
Day 2: Day trip to South Plaza Island
Day 3: Isabela Island – snorkel Concha y Perla lagoon
Day 4: Ferry to Floreana, relax on its black sand beach
Day 5: Day trip to Seymour Island’s wildlife
Day 6: Santa Cruz highlands, see giant tortoises
Day 7: Visit Fausto Llerena Breeding Center before departure
With its captivating mix of wildlife, landscapes, and adventure, the Galapagos deliver an incredible experience for nature lovers. Use these tips and itinerary ideas to plan your perfect trip!
The GalapagosIslands.travel website is an interactive travel guide dedicated to help travelers plan their trip to the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador. This website will share pictures, videos and blogs of Galapagos travel experiences from the perspective of visitors, guides and travel companies.
We are guides, photographers, writers, yet our main task is to offer help in planning Galapagos trips through creative story guides.
We have a true love for these islands and are keen to sharing travel planning tips to help you organize your Galapagos vacation.
Get inspiration from some of the worlds best wildlife photographers on our virtual tours of the archipelago.
Read through our stories and blogs to learn more about the isles of fire, our team of travel writers keep this site updated with first hand knowledge and essential tourism information. We are confident you will be able to plan a better trip once you read through our website.