A trip to the Galápagos is a unique experience for nature enthusiasts and anyone else who wants to experience fantastic nature and the traditional culture of the locals.
The wild beauty and unique ecology of the Galápagos Islands make the archipelago the perfect destination for an expedition cruise. See giant tortoises, marine iguanas and other typical animals of the Galápagos Islands.
The most common and best way to travel around the Galápagos Islands is on a cruise.
The Galápagos Islands (also spelled Galapagos Islands) are an island group belonging to Ecuador. The 19 islands are located in the Pacific Ocean approximately 1,000 kilometers west of mainland Ecuador.
The archipelago includes 18 larger islands (over 1 km² with Darwin Island being the smallest) and around 100 smaller islands. The archipelago is also the Galápagos Province as its own province among Ecuador’s provinces. The equator passes over the largest island, Isabela. The Galápagos Islands are known for the large number of endemic species found here and also for Charles Darwin’s research that resulted in his theory of natural selection.
The Galápagos Islands became a national park in 1959, which meant that 97.5% of the islands’ land area was protected. At the time, there were three settlements there with a total of around 1,500 inhabitants. By the 1980s, the number of inhabitants had increased to more than 15,000. In 1986, the surrounding sea became a marine nature reserve. Already in 1978, Unesco had included the land area of the Galápagos Islands on its world heritage list, and in 2001 the marine reserve was also included. Only five of the islands are inhabited.
Definitely one of the most exciting birds in the Galápagos Islands.
Cruise among the Galápagos Islands
Getting to explore the Galápagos is an absolutely fantastic experience so take the chance if you get it! The most common and best way to travel around the Galápagos Islands is on a cruise. You sleep on the boat and normally make two major excursions per day, from disembarking at a port to landing on a deserted beach by inflatable boat.
On a cruise between the islands you get really close to the magical nature and wildlife of the Galápagos Islands both above and below the sea surface. Delight to see with your own eyes huge galápagos tortoises, dragon-like marine and land iguanas, playful sea lions, blue-footed soles and many more.
Unique animal species
Because the Galápagos Islands are so isolated, there are many animal species that only live on these islands. Animals that are only found in one place are called endemics. The vertebrates that are mainly found on the Galápagos are reptiles and birds.
Definitely one of the most exciting birds in the Galápagos Islands. Their big blue feet are there to impress the partner.
The frigate bird is the master glider of the bird world. Frigatebirds are something of a rarity among birds that live at sea. They have no webbing between their toes and their plumage is not water-repellent like that of other seabirds. Therefore, they are extremely reluctant to land on the water. They glide with the help of the large wingspan of more than two meters and often steal food from other birds in the air. They are also known for their red front which the males inflate to impress the females.
San Cristobal is home to the islands’ second airport. There may be a point in flying to and from different islands and taking a cruise such as starts at San Cristobal and ends at Santa Cruz.
One of the Galapagos’ oldest islands, approximately four million years old. A dry island that is also very flat. Here are the visitor sites Suárez Point and Gardner Bay.
Florena is a small island in the south with a peak of 640 meters. Near Floreana is also Devil’s Crown, which is one of the best places in the Galapagos for snorkeling. At Cormorant Point, you can see flamingos in the lagoon during parts of the year.
A small island that is close to Santa Cruz and is therefore often included in the cruises that come from the south. The island has two shorter hiking trails and here you can see many landiguanas and large cacti.
Isabela is the Galapagos’ largest island with its 4640 km². It is possible to take a boat taxi from Puerto Ayora to Puerto Villamil. Excursions are organized to the island’s large volcano, Sierra Negra, which was active as recently as 2005. Here there are nice views, at least if the fog stays away, and different colored lava to look at.
Farther west, Fernandina is an island dominated by lava as the volcano is still active. It is the youngest island of the Galapagos and in terms of size is the third largest. The island’s biggest tourist attraction is the Galapagos cormorant (flightless cormorant), which is a bird that cannot fly.
Santiago is close to Santa Cruz, in the northwest. Known for its beautiful landscape and steep walls where birds nest. Here you can mainly see sea lions, flamingos and Galapagos hawks.
Wolf and Darwin
Two very small islands far to the northwest and are not accessible for shore visits. However, the islands are open to divers.
Marchena, Pinta and Genovesa
At Genovesa there are many interesting birds to view, e.g. red-footed boobie and frigate birds.