Galapagos Islands flora

Galapagos flora

Birds have been one of the culprits of plant colonization on the islands. Wind and ocean currents also explain how plant life would reach them, providing food for other land creatures such as tortoises, lizards, iguanas, finches, and allowing the subsequent food chain to develop, with animals that eventually feed on previous colonizers to survive. Successful life on the Galápagos certainly begins with the many plants that have made the archipelago their home.


The coasts are typically lined with three different mangrove species (white, red and black), which have proven to be quite effective pioneers. Fernandina, for example, features mangrove beds along what otherwise would seem unfertile ground for anything. Seabirds thus find sanctuary here, and so the chain begins. It is perhaps more admirable that plants like the brawny lava cactus could conquer the more barren, lava-clad areas, peeking out from enormous impenetrable rocks… And more admirable still is to find a single white flower that has eked its way to the light through the cracks. The story of pioneer vegetation is as awe-inspiring as any story on the Galápagos. Cruise Galapagos Islands to better appreciate the flora.


Other areas are covered in Sesuvium, a carpet-like bush that during the ruthless rainless months on the islands, have adapted to drought-like situations, turning the ground into beautiful hues of orange, red and purple as conditions worsen. Cacti, such as the giant candelabra (that also sprout uncannily from the rocks) or the ever-present Opuntia (indispensable for land iguanas, giant tortoises and cactus finches) are also central to life on the Galápagos. As we move inland, however, it gets much more interesting. Because as dry and barren as the Galápagos may seem from the edges, the higher, mid-aged islands, turn lush and tropical inside. The highlands can even be home to orchids and are commonly shrouded in mist, a refreshing contrast that offers, yet again, its share of mystique.


Botanists have thus divided the archipelago into vegetation zones: Arid, Transition and Humid, this last one further subdivided into Miconia and Scalesia zones (depending on which plant species dominates them). The island’s floral spectrum creates a fascinating and surprising variety not only from island to island, but within single islands as well.


“When I drew back to focus my Graflex camera, the mirror was suddenly obscured, and looking up I saw the bird clinging to the lens, pecking at the brass fittings”
William Beebe, Galapagos, World’s End


Keep reading “Galapagos’ Islands Evolution

Updated:May 5, 2023

Published:December 31, 2015


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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