Interesting Galapagos Islands Facts

The Galapagos archipelago is one of the top adventure tourism destinations in the world. The Galapagos Islands are also the only place on the planet where certain plants and animals exist. Here are some interesting Galapagos Islands facts to help make your adventure even richer.

The Galapagos Tortoise

Galapagos Animals: Giant Tortoise
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise Has Become One Of The Most Iconic Animals Of The Islands

The Galapagos tortoise may live up to 150 years in the wild, and a captive animal may live up to 170 years. These extraordinary creatures can survive for months without food or water and can float, which is considered the reason their ancestors were able to travel on the ocean currents from mainland South America to the Galapagos millions of years ago. There are several different subspecies found on different islands that have slightly different shaped shells. Considered an endangered species in 1959, the captive breeding program has brought seven of the eight subspecies back from the brink of extinction. You can visit the captive breeding program at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island or at the Cerro Colorado Station in San Cristobal Island.

Marine Iguanas

Interesting Galapagos Islands facts: some people speculate that marine iguanas inspired the tales told by pirates and explorers of dragons in the new world. These huge lizards live on the rocky shores of virtually all of the Galapagos Islands. Millions of years ago, the land iguana could not find enough to eat on land and thought the seaweed looked pretty good. Over the millennia, they learned to dive up to 30 feet and harvest and eat seaweed. The reason they appear like dragons is their reptilian appearance and a salt gland at the top of their head that filters excess salt from their blood and expels it in a plume of mist from their nostrils.

Galapagos Marine Iguana Feeding Habits
Marine Iguanas Often Ingest An Excess Of Salt As They Feed Of Algae From The Bottom Of The Ocean

Galapagos Penguins

Even though the Galapagos Islands are right on the equator, the penguins stay cool because of the water from the Humboldt Current and the cool water brought up from the deep sea by the Cromwell Current. The penguins are found on the west coast of almost all the islands. The best way to interact with the penguins is by diving or snorkeling. They are clumsy on land, where they sleep at night, but they are a marvel of aerodynamics in the water.

The Galapagos National Park – Galapagos Islands Facts

The Galapagos Islands were designated the first National Park in Ecuador in 1959 and one of the first designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1978. Interesting Galapagos Islands facts – about 97 percent of the entire area of the islands is a national park. The park authorities control tourism, and this is a boom for visitors who take an expedition cruise. You can experience all there is to see and do without crowds of tourists.

Extraordinary Birds

Flightless Cormorant Feeding Its Chick.
A Couple Of Flightless Cormorants Nesting.

The flightless cormorant is endemic to the Galapagos. It has had no natural predators for millennia, so it never had to fly. Today, this species is the largest cormorant on Earth. A big bird with tiny wings that are useless for flying, it is an ace at diving.

Frigate birds have tiny bodies with huge wings. They cannot take off on water, so they soar over the waves. The male has a brilliant red pouch that it inflates to impress females.

World-famous Coffee

For more than 150 years, people on the Galapagos Islands have been growing Arabica typical coffee plants and exporting the beans all over the world. You may have had a latte at Starbucks that was made with Galapagos coffee as the company is the biggest buyer of these beans.

The Post Office Barrel

Galapagos Islands Popular Sites: Post Office
The Galapagos Post Office Is A Popular Touristic Site.

On Floreana Island at Post Office Bay is a barrel in which visitors place letters and remove letters. Anyone can place a letter to someone in another country if they are willing to take a letter that is addressed to someone in their country. No stamp is required. This was started more than 200 years ago by lonely whalers who stopped in the islands, and the tradition is still going strong today.

Snorkel and Dive in a Volcanic Cone

Devils Crown is a submerged volcanic cone in which there are circular currents that you can ride with a huge variety of marine animals such as sea turtles, sharks, sea lions, and much more.

It may be helpful to have an idea about the wonderful adventures that await you when you visit the islands and learn about interesting Galapagos Islands facts. These are just a very few of the sights that you may see. From flocks of pink flamingos to docile white-tip sharks, you will be amazed watching wild animals that seem just as interested in watching you.

Updated:May 5, 2023

Published:September 23, 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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