The Galapagos Islands are heaven on earth for wildlife enthusiasts, scientists, travelers, and adventure-seekers, attracting thousands of visitors every year since the islands inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The best way to visit the Galapagos is to book a charter cruise ship, which will take you to the most remote parts of the islands. Each of the 14 islands can be visited to enjoy a lot of attractions and participate in many activities. Also, there is never a bad time to visit.
A Guide to The Famous Galapagos Islands
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island is the home of Galapagos giant tortoise, land iguana, marine iguana, sally lightfoot crabs, and the Galapagos sea lion. The top attractions on the island are visiting the giant tortoise reserves, enjoying a day at Tortuga Bay Beach, visiting the lava tunnels, and a stop at the Charles Darwin Research center. Santa Cruz is the second largest island, and the largest town you can visit is Puerto Ayora. The center was built in 1959 and is listed as World Heritage by the UNESCO. Santa Cruz enjoys a central location, and it’s conveniently located near Baltra airport. This airport is one of the two main airports in the Galapagos.
Bartolome Island is an uninhabited place where you can see Galapagos sea lions, penguins, and marine iguanas. The top attractions you can visit are the panoramic viewpoint, snorkeling with sea lions and penguins, the colorful volcanic scenery, and the Pinnacle Rock.
It’s known as the most photographed island among the all of the Galapagos. It’s an island filled with volcanic rock formations of different colors. You can sometimes see more than 10 surrounding islands if you stand in a certain position. And you will notice sweeping views of Pinnacle Rock. At the base of this rock formation, you can observe a colony of penguins. This colony shares the place with other wildlife. You can take amazing shots and incorporate the native animals into the photos. Cruise ships often stop here on some of their itineraries. And for island-hoppers, it’s recommended that you arrange a trip to the island a day prior, since it’s one of the most in-demand tours and it sells out fast.
San Cristobal Island
San Cristobal Island is also known as Chatham Island. It’s the home to the blue-footed booby, the red-footed booby, and the giant Galapagos tortoise. Must see places are the San Cristobal Interpretation Center, Punta Pitt, La Galapaguera, Puerto Bazquerizo, El Junco lake, Cerro Brujo and Kicker Rock.
There are a lot of interesting facts about this beautiful island. It’s located 600 miles from mainland Ecuador, and it is the island located in the most eastern part of the archipelago. It’s one of the oldest islands that were created by the fusion of volcanoes that are nowadays extinct. San Cristobal Island’s claim to fame is due to Charles Darwin’s visit in 1835. Darwin was studying different species, mostly endemic ones, that could only be found on the Galapagos islands. The islands are the place that inspired the theory of evolution of the species. Nowadays, La Galapaguera is the breeding ground for such species.
Isabela Island is also known as Albermarle Island. It is the home of dolphins, whales, giant tortoises, and flightless cormorants. The top attractions include the Wall of Tears, Puerto Villamil, Punta Vincente Roca, Tagus Cove, and the Sierra Negra crater. This island is notable for its size. It’s known as the largest island of the entire archipelago. It’s seahorse-shaped and was formed by 6 volcanoes. Five of those volcanoes are still active today, and there are rare occurrences of activity. If you decide to go hiking the Sierra Negra volcano, you will experience an adventure of a lifetime. Why? Because the landscapes and the astonishing views will blow you away and will make you want to come back to the island. When the island formed it joined together with other volcanic islands, turning into what we now know as Isabela Island. You can see different types of giant tortoises here, since there are separate subspecies living on this island.
Take a stroll on the head of Las Tintoneras and visit the wildlife. You can see some of the marine life, such as iguanas and Galapagos penguins.
North Seymour is known as the bird’s paradise. It is a nesting place for blue-footed boobies and frigate birds. One thing you will remember for sure is the mating dance of these particular species. The island is uninhabited by people, and inhabited by land iguanas, marine iguanas, and sea lions along the coast.
While there are quite a few islands in the Galapagos Islands archipelago, here we are talking about the most notable ones! Fernandina is the youngest island of them all, and is still active with volcanic eruptions. It’s located on the western side of the archipelago, the conditions allow pioneer and mangrove cacti to grow.
Jenny grew up in Germany. All she ever wanted out of life was to leave and have adventures. Jenny always traveled as much as the budget would allow, and when she met her husband traveling became a full-time thing. You can follow Jenny on her blog and Facebook.