Capturing the Wonders of Pristine Nature through a Camera

The purity of the Galapagos Islands is spectacular, and for wildlife photographers it is a veritable paradise.

White beaches contrast crystalline, turquoise waters where bright red and orange sally light-foot crabs scamper across shiny black boulders; suns rays dance through unpolluted air, shining on rocky cliffs and sketching a path across the water towards the horizon; and rare endemic wildlife lounges fearlessly across paths, staring curiously into the camera.

Approximately 83% of the terrestrial biosphere is directly under the influence of man. Crops make up more than one third of land biomass, and around 20% of life produced on land every year is harvested for human purposes; in short, there are desperately few places on this earth that remain mostly untouched by humans. The Galapagos Islands are one of those few places. At around 95% of its pre-human biodiversity levels, they are the world’s most biologically intact tropical archipelago

Equipment to bring

In total, 97% of the Galapagos Archipelago is protected under Ecuadorian law, meaning that 97% is free from tourist traps, invasive species (for the most part thanks to recent conservation efforts) and human life. With its beautiful scenery and unique animals, it is not difficult to take a good picture in the Galapagos; however, there are a few things you might want to consider. Check out our Packing list

Depending on your level of experience, your equipment may be as simple or complex as you desire; however, keep in mind that the animals are generous with their modeling, and offer wildlife photographers a variety of shots including portrait-like pictures, behavioral pictures, in-flight shots and underwater shots, to name a few. People often recommend a short- or medium-length lens, as it is possible to get quite close to the animals when you are taking a photo. However, a long lens can also be useful to catch animals in action; out of curiosity, it may stop what it is doing when you approach. Also, it is important to keep in mind that visitors are not permitted to leave the paths. In this case, a long lens will allow you to capture a unique scene far from the trail. Nevertheless, it is important to keep in mind that you will likely be walking for several hours and you want to be comfortable. Furthermore, an ultra-wide lens is useful for capturing the full scope of Galapagos scenery. With no buildings or electrical poles to disrupt the beauty, you will want to be able to capture everything the light touches.

Visitors often forget that much of the Galapagos National Park consists of marine life. With one of the largest marine reserves in the world and also some of the richest waters, the Galapagos Marine Reserve supports an extremely varied and beautiful array of life, made all the better thanks to its remarkably clear waters…and you may want an underwater camera to capture it.


We generally recommend that you do your research before heading to the archipelago. Know you animals – which interest you the most, which islands do they inhabit, when are they awake/feed, etc. It is also useful to have a general understanding of the behavior of the animal and how it moves. Although there are excellent naturalist guides to help you with this, the better you understand the animal, the better you will be able to capture its true image.

Learn more about “Galapagos BIG 15

“It’s quite simple: The more iconic species you see on the Galápagos Islands, the more rewarding and memorable your experience will be!”

Furthermore, as the Galapagos lies on the equator, light plays an important role for wildlife photographers. Sunrises and sunsets are quick but remarkable, providing excellent lighting for landscape and wildlife photographers. Make sure you are ready for dusk when it arrives to best take advantage of these astonishing scenes. On the other hand, the bright midday light creates harsh shadows that can negatively affect your shot; you may wish to avoid shooting during these hours.

Important information for wildlife photographers

Keep in mind that the subject is always more important than the photograph. Strict rules are implemented on the islands to protect their delicately balanced ecosystem, and it is important that all visitors follow the rules, no matter how good the photo potential may be. Below are a few important rules.

  • Keep at least 2 meters from the wildlife.
  • Do not leave the trail.
  • Do not use a flash when taking pictures.
  • Watch your step; avoid stepping on any plants.
  • Take only photos, leave only footprints

However, most importantly, as you crouch on the ground to capture the gaze of a marine iguana in the golden evening light, remember to step back, take in the scene with your own eyes and breathe in the air of these enchanted islands- a place like none other.

Updated:May 9, 2023

Published:May 5, 2016


Machu Picchu & Galapagos Islands Tour 2024 Package: 12 days / Quito, Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu / From USD 9,598 per person



Condé Nast Traveler ONLINE

This small, secret rooftop of the restored Casa Gangotena mansion peers over Plaza San Francisco in the center of Quito’s colonial Old Town, the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. Order a Cedrón Spritz, a refreshing mix of rum, lemon, sparkling wine, and fresh lemon verbena (cedrón) syrup and leaf, then revel in the mesmerizing, real-time montage of daily life in Ecuador’s capital as it parades past.

National Geographic Traveller

A Font of information, Klaus has spent decades in the field, leading tours in the Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands. He hung up his guiding boots a few years back and now creates itineraries for the tour operator, Metropolitan Touring. Adrift in the Pacific Ocean, hundreds of miles from mainland South America, Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locales on Earth.

Cruise Critic

Santa Cruz II is a replacement for the much-loved Santa Cruz, which plied the waters of the Galapagos for 36 years. It is not a new ship; it was built in 2002 and sailed as Mare Australis under the Australis cruise brand, operating expedition cruises around Cape Horn and to Antarctica. Metropolitan Touring bought the ship in 2015 and completely refurbished it, launching it as Santa Cruz II in October 2015.

Telegraph Ultra Travel: 50 Greatest Hotels in the World

When this modern, minimalist, glass-walled jungle lodge opened in 2012, it changed the accommodation game in South America. Arquitect Alfredo Ribadeneira’s “protective cocoon” would impress in a modern city; in the depths of an Andean cloudforest, it is wild, audacious and beautiful. Though only 70 miles from Quito, Maspi Lodge sits in splendid isolation, perched on a cliff at the end of an unsealed road.

Terms and Conditions

Itinerario de 5 días / 4 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (4214 USD + impuestos por persona)
Itinerario de 7 días / 6 noches: Basado en la tarifa regular (5672 USD + impuestos por persona)
No reembolsable. Aplica únicamente para residentes ecuatorianos en nuevas reservas directas realizadas, hasta el 30 de junio del 2022, con un ejecutivo de ventas del hotel. Válido para estadías hasta el 31 de agosto de 2022. No puede ser combinada con otros descuentos, promociones u ofertas. El descuento no aplica para otros servicios. El precio no incluye recargo de combustible de $20 por noche de crucero.

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