Famous People That Have Visited Galapagos

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Images of a whole new universe, complete with alien life that defies our preconceived notions about species and their behavior in the wild, are often evoked by visits to the Galapagos Islands. These species paint surreal, recently formed volcanic landscapes with their peculiar textures, striking body forms, and oddball, almost amiable behavioral habits. Hundreds of thousands of people, including famous figures, have traveled to the islands, each with their unique set of senses to experience the marvels of the Galapagos.

Even with their status and notoriety, these individuals, like all other visitors, were required to follow the stringent guidelines of the Galapagos National Park. After all, in the wilderness, real fame doesn’t exist, and true beauty doesn’t seek attention.


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Tomas de Berlanga, Bishop of Panama: The Discoverer of Galapagos (1535)

Berlanga had intended to send a message to Spain’s army in South America, but when he came across the Galapagos Islands, his original plan took an unexpected turn. He is credited with being the first to see and unintentionally find the Galapagos Islands. 

William Dampier: Pirates Ahoy! (1784)

There are numerous legends about pirates who visited the Galapagos and how they made clever calls to their loved ones or port calls at the island’s stunning harbors. Sadly, Dampier and his team discovered that Galapagos tortoises produced delicious meat that was kept for an absurdly long time, which brought him and his crew to the evil side of the island’s history. Throughout their lengthy maritime voyages, his team used hundreds of them as fresh food, never needing to be fed. 

Lonesome George
Poor Fellas!

Charles Darwin: Revolutionary Encounters (1835)

One of the primary supporters of the scientific books we use today. Darwin was a human forerunner of the size and significance of the Galapagos Islands on the global map. Throughout his travels, he remained youthful and very curious, and he would eventually learn many things about the Galapagos that would later inspire him to develop the Theory of Evolution. 

Herman Melville: Galapagos Musings (1841)

Nearly two centuries ago, the well-known author of the tale that started with the famous words “Call me Ishmael” visited the Galapagos. He made his remarks about the roughness and desolation of the islands at this point. The same ship that the author traveled through the Galapagos on—and which subsequently suffered an attack by a sperm whale—would later serve as the inspiration for the story in his well-known book Moby Dick. 


Bo Derek (2007)

When stunning actress Bo Derek visited the Galapagos in 2007, she fell in love with the sea lions and the archipelago home to them. She teamed up with actor Jackie Chan to help spread awareness in Asia about the value of these creatures and to help preserve their unique lives after discovering that some of the island’s animals were being poached for their fins and meat. 

White-Tip Shark
Beautiful Creatures To Many, Delicious Food For A Select And Terrible Few.

Richard Gere (2009)

Renowned actor Richard Gere visited the archipelago with his family and was so touched by the experience that he felt compelled to advocate for global conservation efforts.

Russel Crowe & Paul Bettany (2003)

Russel Crowe and co-star Paul Bettany had an up-close experience of the archipelago while filming the epic film Master and Commander (2003) on location. They dressed up and played shipmates on a British vessel that sailed through the archipelago during the Napoleonic Wars.

Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall (2009) & Prince Phillip (1960)

After traveling to the Galapagos, Royalty followed his grandfather Phillip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, who had visited Genovesa in 1960. On the island, Prince Phillip even has a set of steps named after him (now a visitor facility). 

Leonardo DiCaprio, Chevy Chase, Daryl Hannah, Glenn Close, and Edward Norton (2010)

A few celebrities traveled to the Galapagos Islands to participate in an Ecuadorian-hosted conservation conference. Later, Leonardo DiCaprio supported the Yasuni Nature Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon. 

Come with those who have been to the Galapagos and schedule your trip on Yacht La Pinta!

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Javier Garcia

Eduardo Silva

Carolina Escobar

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Updated:March 5, 2024

Published:July 26, 2017