What are the Galapagos Islands?
The Galapagos Islands are part of Ecuador and are situated in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 km from South America. The islands emerged from the bottom of the sea in the form of astonishing volcanic upheavals. The archipelago consists of 19 islands – 13 large and 6 small – and dozens of islets and rocks that dot a vast area that covers 45,000 square kilometers. 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 a magical destination to visit.
Also named as: Enchanted Isles, Galapago, Archipelago, Galapagos Island.
Where are the Galapagos Islands located?
Galapagos Islands Google Maps view
First of all, keep in mind that your international flight will be arriving in either 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. Why visit the Galapagos Islands?
- Wildlife Watching
- Glass-bottom boat
STOP! Before you keep reading about the wonderful species and beautiful islands you will find in the archipelago, read about the 3 Most Useful Hacks you need to know in order to choose the best Galapagos cruise for you! By now you know how to get there, now choose the best possible Galapagos experience!
Who was Charles Darwin?
Charles Darwin was the originator of the biological theory of evolution. He was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, famous for his scientific theory of evolution. It was the diversity of the Galapagos animals that lead Charles Darwin to confirm the 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 in 1835.
Good weather all year round. There are 2 seasons in Galapagos:
Hot Season: December until May – Conditions are tropical, temperatures are hot and humid from 26ºC-30ºC (79ºF-85ºF), while the water temperature averages 26ºC (79ºF).
Dry Season: July to June – Sea temperatures drop to 20ºC-23ºC (70ºF-72ºF), cooling the air temperatures to 23ºC-26ºC (72ºF-79ºF).
The islands formed from volcanic action about 5 million years ago.
Animal life began to migrate to the islands 2 million years after the initial islands formed. The animals had to acclimate to a very different environment and weather compared to their native land, leading them to evolve in unique ways. The diversity of these animals lead Charles Darwin to confirm his theory on “The Origin of Species”.
He called the islands a living laboratory, and today they have become enormous observatories for evolution.
Daily Yacht Tours in Galapagos
North Seymour was lifted from the ocean floor by a seismic event, and its origins as a seabed give the island its low, flat profile. Cliffs only a few meters high form the shoreline, where swallow-tailed gulls sit among the ledges and rocks. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stands just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for the rains to burst into bloom. This island is teaming with life!
Bartolome is famous for Pinnacle Rock, a towering spearheaded obelisk that rises from the ocean’s edge and is the best-known landmark in the islands. Galapagos penguins—the only species of penguin found north of the equator—walk precariously along narrow volcanic ledges at its base. Sea lions snooze on rocky platforms, ready to slide into the water to play with passing snorkelers.
South Plaza is a small island full of fascinating wildlife, both along its shore and along its dramatic, wind-swept cliffs: sea lions, land iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, Opuntia cacti and vegetation that changes colours according to the season. South Plaza is one of Galapagos’ most impressive visiting sites.
Santa Fe offers one of the more beautiful and sheltered coves in the islands. Its turquoise lagoon is protected by a peninsula of tiny islets forming an ideal anchorage. The island lies to the southeast of Santa Cruz within sight of Puerto Ayora. Like North Seymour, Santa Fe has been uplifted seismically, and you can see underwater lava formations.
Galapagos video from Unesco
Requirements to Enter Galapagos
- Round-trip ticket.
- Reservation (hotel or cruise) or invitation letter from permanent or temporary Galapagos resident to stay as a guest.
- Passport with 6 months validity.
Taxes, Airlines, Airports & Currency
- Taxes: Transit Control Card & Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee
- Airlines: Latam, Tame, Avianca
- Airports: Seymour (Baltra Island) / San Cristobal (San Cristobal Island)
- Currency: US Dollars
Galapagos National Park Rules
- It’s important to stay on the trails.
- Do not disturb the animals or remove any native plant or rock.
- Do not carry any live material to the islands, or from island to island.
- Do not approach wildlife, and always follow your naturalist guide.
- Do not feed the animals, especially from water bottles.
- Do not carry food to visitor sites.
- Do not approach animal resting or nesting sites.
- Smoking is strictly prohibited.
- Cellular and satellite phone usage is prohibited in visitor sites.
- Do not buy goods made from native Galapagos species (except for wooden products)
- Conservation is part of everyone’s responsibility. By showing that we care we become Galapagos supporters. Feel free to ask about our conservation programs.
Galapagos Packing List
- 1 Small backpack (waterproof)
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sneakers with rubber soles and/or “Teva” type sandals
- Long pants
- Long- and short-sleeved shirts
- Wind breaker
- Bathing suits – a wetsuit for snorkelling in cold months is recommended
- Hat or cap
- Toilette kit (biodegradable please)
- Lots of strong sun block!
- Camera & video recorder
- Any medicine you may be taking
- Book/ Notebook
- Chargers for electrical equipment
- Emergency contact information
- Plug adaptor
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 Galápagos
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…
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!
Exceptional company provided wonderful trip encompassing Quito and Galapagos.
Trip of a lifetime on La Pinta visiting Galapagos Islands. We did the combined itineraries so were on board for 14 days. Guides – Carlos, Grace, Dries and Sabina – were outstanding in both their knowledge and passion for the Galapagos. They went out of their way to make sure that this was indeed a trip of a lifetime. Entire crew were friendly, capable and very professional. Would highly recommend La Pinta for a Galapagos cruise.