What are the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands are part of the country of Ecuador and are situated in the Pacific Ocean about 605 miles (1,000 kilometers) west of northern South America. The islands emerged from the bottom of the sea in the form of astonishing volcanic upheavals. All in all, the archipelago consists of 19 islands and dozens of islets and rocks that dot a vast area of 17,000 square miles (45,000 square kilometers) of ocean. Thanks to a lack of natural predators, wildlife in the Galapagos has no fear of humans, making the islands one of the world’s greatest wonders and an incredibly magical destination to visit.

Looking for more inspiration? Be sure to check out our blog about Why you should visit the Galapagos Islands!

Bartolome - Galapagos Island

Requirements to Enter Galapagos

  • Roundtrip airline tickets
  • Hotel or cruise reservation or invitation letter to stay as a guest.
  • Passport with at least 6 months validity remaining.
  • Travel & Health Insurance

Taxes, Airlines, Airports & Currency

  • Taxes: INGALA Transit Control Card ($20) & Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee (Foreigners: $100)
  • Airlines: Latam, Tame, Avianca
  • Airports: Seymour (Baltra Island) / San Cristobal (San Cristobal Island)
  • Currency: US Dollars

Galapagos National Park Rules

  • Stay on the designated trails at all times.
  • Do not disturb the animals or remove any native plants or rocks.
  • Do not transport any organic material into the islands, or from island to island.
  • Avoid approaching the wildlife and keep a distance from them of at least 6 feet (2 meters).
  • Follow your naturalist guide when exploring the national park.
  • Do not feed the animals.
  • Do not carry food and/or foreign elements into visitor sites.
  • Do not approach animals that are resting or their nesting sites.
  • Smoking, drinking, and campfires are strictly prohibited.
  • Cellular and satellite phone use is prohibited in visitor sites.
  • Do not buy goods that are made from native Galapagos species (except for wooden carvings).
  • Conservation is part of everyone’s responsibility. Our ability to show that we care allows us to become Galapagos supporters and ambassadors of conservation.

 

Learn more about the Galapagos National Park rules in our blog and experience the islands in an environmentally conscious way.

Galapagos Packing List

  • 1 Small backpack (waterproof)
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sneakers with rubber soles and/or “Teva” type sandals
  • Shorts
  • Long pants
  • T-shirts
  • Long- and short-sleeve shirts
  • Windbreaker
  • Bathing suits + a wetsuit for snorkeling in cold months is recommended (these are available for rent aboard our boats)
  • Socks
  • Hat or cap
  • Toiletry kit (biodegradable products, please)
  • Plenty of strong sunblock (SPF50 or higher)
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Camera & video recorder
  • Any important medication you may be taking
  • Book/Notebook
  • Chargers for electrical equipment
  • Emergency contact information
  • Plug adaptor
  • Passport

Now you know what you need to travel to the Galapagos.

Contact us and let the journey begin!

Where are the Galapagos Islands located?

Galapagos Islands Google Maps view

How to get to the Galapagos

First of all, keep in mind that your international flight will need to arrive either in the city of Quito or Guayaquil on the mainland of Ecuador. Both of these cities have daily flights departing in the morning to the Galapagos Islands. Furthermore, there are two major airports in Galapagos: Seymour Airport (located on Baltra Island) and San Cristobal Airport (located on the island of San Cristobal). Remember to double-check where your Galapagos cruise is departing from in order to choose the correct flight. For more information, be sure to read our blog on How to Get to the Galapagos.

how to get to galapagos

What to do in the Galapagos Islands?

snorkel kayak activities galapagos

Enjoy multiple activities aboard any of our three Galapagos cruises and hotel.

  • Wildlife Watching
  • Diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Glass-bottom boat
  • Stargazing
  • Hiking
  • Kayaking
  • Surfing

STOP!

Before you keep reading about the wonderful species and beautiful islands you will find in the archipelago, be sure to check out our

3 Useful Tips to Help You Choose the Best Galapagos Cruise!

You already know how to get there! Now it’s just a matter of choosing the best possible Galapagos experience!

List of islands, animals, flora, and visitors sites in the Galapagos

Islands
  • Bartolome
  • Española
  • Fernandina
  • Floreana
  • Genovesa
  • Isabela
  • North Seymur
  • South Plaza
  • Rabida
  • San Cristobal
  • Santa Cruz
  • Santa Fe
  • Santiago
  • Baltra
Animals
  • Galapagos Albatross
  • Blue-Footed Booby
  • Nazca-Booby
  • Red-Footed Booby
  • Flightless Cormorant
  • American Flamingo
  • Frigatebirds
  • Galapagos Hawk
  • Land Iguana
  • Marine Iguana
  • Santa Fe Land Iguana
  • Galapagos Penguin
  • Galapagos Sea Lion
  • Galapagos Fur Seal
  • Galapagos Giant Tortoise… and plenty more!
Flora
  • Beach Morning Glory
  • Black, Red, White and Button Mangrove
  • Bracken Ferns
  • Candelabra, Lava and Prickly Pear Cactus
  • Cutleaf Daisy
  • Lantana
  • Leather
  • Miconia
  • Mollugo
  • Palo Santo and Palo Verde
  • SaltBush
  • Scalesia
  • Tiquilia
  • Tribulus
Top Sites
  • Post Office Bay
  • Darwin Lake
  • Urbina Bay
  • Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Bartolome’s Pinnacle Rock
  • Darwin Bay
  • Buccaneer Cove
  • Giant Tortoise Reserve (Cerro Colorado)
  • Kicker Rock
  • Española blowhole
  • Punta Suarez
  • Punta Pitt
  • North Seymour
  • Punta Espinoza
  • Genovesa Island

Who was Charles Darwin?

 

Charles Darwin.

It’s widely known that Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution based on the information collected during his time in the Galapagos Islands.

Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking biological theory of evolution changed our perception of the world as we know it. He was an English naturalist, geologist, and biologist, largely famous for his scientific theory of evolution. It was the genetic diversity of the animals in the Galapagos that lead Charles Darwin to put forth his belief that species were not immutable in his book “On the Origin of the Species.” He called the islands a living laboratory and developed his theories of evolution in the wake of his visit to the Galapagos back in 1835.


Galapagos Weather
The weather is excellent all year round. However, it’s important to know that there are 2 distinct seasons in Galapagos:
Hot Season: December until May – Conditions are tropical, temperatures are hot and humid from 26 ºC – 30 ºC (79 ºF – 85 ºF), while the water temperature averages 26 ºC (79 ºF).
Dry Season: July to November – Weather is cloudier, cooler, and drier, with air temperatures ranging from 23 ºC – 26 ºC (72 ºF – 79 ºF). Water temperatures range between 20 ºC – 23 ºC (70 ºF – 72 ºF).

Galapagos History
The Galapagos Islands are the result of volcanic activity that ocurred around 5 million years ago.
Animal life began to migrate to the archipelago some 2 million years after the initial islands formed. These animals had to adapt to a drastically different environment and climate (compared to their native habitat), leading them to evolve in unique ways. The diversity and surprising characteristics of these animals led Charles Darwin to put forth his theory of evolution in his revolutionary book “The Origin of Species.” He called the islands a living laboratory, and today they have become a monumental site for scientific research and investigation. For more Galapagos history, be sure to check out our Galapagos Information page.


Galapagos Tours and Cruises

Hop aboard now!

Check out our tours

Special Deal Galapagos Ecuador

Find your Special Deal

Testimonials

Martin PMistyAshJohanna HElizabeth A

A great way to see the Galpagos
I had an excellent time on Isabela II. The whole cruise was high quality, very well organised and left me feeling that I had got everything possible out of the time available – all in all a very rewarding experience.
Many thanks for a wonderful trip, and thanks too to all the people who made it flow smoothly – I certainly advise anyone heading for this part of the world to use Metropolitan’s services in general, and Isabela II in particular.

A great pick for the Galapagos
Our family of four had a wonderful 6-night Western Itinerary cruise on the La Pinta. From booking (Paulina Garces), to requesting additional cabin housekeeping (Oscar, La Pinta’s manager), to the exceptional naturalists (Carlos’ team) who comprise the soul of the Galápagos trip, to the dining staff (Luis who serves desserts with a grand graceful flourish and sweet Stalin), etc., everything was very well done. I was particularly impressed by how seriously Carlos considered our comments on his staff of naturalists, even following up afterwards to ensure he understood them…

Just perfect!!!
We had booked a 2 weeks tour (mostly private) through Peru including Lima, Cuscu, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon and Arequipa through Trailfinder/U.K., who was cooperating with Metropolitan Touring. We only could congratulate them for their excellent choice of METROPOLITAN TOURING! All their organisation worked phantastically. They had excellent tour guides and drivers. They always were punctual, their drivers were driving safely and their tour guides had great knowledge of the Peruvian culture, history and people…

An Amazing Cruise Journey
We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Galapagos Islands with La Pinta Yacht. From waking up to classical music and breakfast , to the guided hikes and snorkel trips, to the wonderful food and great company. Not too large, not too small. And of course the animals were delightful. Thank you!
(Visited 85,294 times, 54 visits today)