Galapagos Islands are not just a place for passive exploration but a destination for active discovery with essential things to do for your best Galapagos experience.
The diverse scenery between islands gives rise to a different selection of wildlife that may be endemic to a single place on the entire archipelago. Beyond the iconic birdlife, the islands put you in touch with the essence of pristine nature that shapes culture and moves the spirit.
Use this guide to the best destinations to spot the natural wildlife and exceptional natural beauty.
The wildlife and natural beauty of the Galapagos Islands are the prime reasons for visiting. With the endless allure of the delicate ecosystems, you can experience one of the world’s most unique destinations. The wide diversity of animals on every island allows you to see mating rituals, nesting, or offspring in any season for an unforgettable look into nature at its best.
Best Places to Visit for Wildlife: Española | Fernandina | Isabela Island | Floreana | Genovesa Island
You may not think of the Galapagos as a place for enticing cuisine, but it is time on the islands combined with time in Quito that present a brand new image of Ecuadorian gastronomy. Tradition and contemporary perspective meet seasonal, local ingredients shaped by hyper-local ecosystems. This means you can find fresh seafood on the islands, great vegetarian options, and even Michelin-starred restaurants celebrating the extraordinary regional diversity of greater Ecuador.
Best Places to Visit for Food: Quito | Santa Cruz | San Cristobal | Puerto Ayora
The culture of the Galapagos is rooted in wildlife and the sea but also connects to the inhabitants of the four islands to ensure the conditions around the delicate ecosystems remain immaculate. From food that reflects the exquisite location to a history of buccaneers and penal colonies, there is a surprisingly rich cultural heritage around the islands that only adds to the allure of the wilderness landscape rising out of the crystal-clear Pacific.
Best Places to Visit for Cultural Heritage: Santa Cruz | San Cristobal | Floreana | Isabela Island
The Galapagos Islands are an exceptional place to scuba dive or snorkel, with approximately 17 percent of the aquatic life endemic only to the archipelago. The clear and azure Pacific feels like it holds lavish mysteries and does give you an experience unlike anywhere else in the world. Whether you are looking for rare whales, hammerhead sharks, or Sally Light-foot crab, marine life will delight every nature enthusiast.
Best Places to Visit for Snorkeling/Scuba Diving: Santa Cruz | Daphne Island | Wolf Island | Isabela Island | Bartolome Island
Diversity abounds in the Galapagos Islands' natural scenery, with the landscape offering as much wonder and variations as the wildlife. Rocky trails are as ubiquitous as the untouched beaches. Forests are as prickly as the cactus. You can find trails winding through lava fields, encounter lookouts with sweeping panoramas, negotiate seaside cliffs, or reach dense mangroves. Each element gives you an essential and original expression of the islands.
Best Places to Visit for Hiking: Santa Fe | San Cristobal | Santiago | Bartolome Island | Isabela Island
The Galapagos Islands are an excellent place for kayakers of any skill level. The calm and clear waters give you a chance for close encounters with majestic marine life with little resistance from the current. The grand adventure of a kayak excursion in the Galapagos focuses on your proximity to the wildlife and perspective of the landscape so you can hear the sea lions, find the sea turtles, and edge the colonies of frigate birds.
Best Places to Visit for Kayaking: Darwin Bay | Los Lobos
Birdwatching nears the dramatic in the Galapagos Islands, drawing people from around the world throughout the year. Each island in each season can give you a different perspective of the lifecycles of the native and migratory birds around the archipelago. From nesting to feeding, mating to the differences between the land and sea bird, flamingos to mockingbirds, hawks to penguins, you will have an impressive glimpse into the unfettered habits of local birds.
Best Places to Visit for Bird Watching: San Cristobal | Espanola | Fernandina | Santiago | Isabela Island
While the Galapagos Islands represent a different kind of tropical paradise, they remain a haven for witnessing the breathtaking connection between land, sea, and sea turtle. The warm Pacific waters and pristine beaches provide the perfect ecosystem for nesting and hatching turtles around the archipelago, giving you an excellent opportunity to witness the endangered species both venture out into and return from the wild waters.
Best Places to Visit for Sea Turtles: Isabela Island | Santa Cruz | Santiago | Baltra Island
The Galapagos Islands are a pocket oasis for wildlife revealing the breathtaking spirit of nature. Whether you want a family-friendly discovery of the vibrant reefs and active sea lions or a thrilling couple’s excursion around secluded colonies of penguins, the Galapagos is an endlessly enduring destination. Our Galapagos Travel Guide has more tips and information to help you with your perfect trip. Thinking of planning a trip? You can speak to a Galapagos travel specialist by filling out a Trip Request or by calling our team at 1-888-265-9707.