Island to Island Must See Sights in Galapagos
Certain destinations quickly run out of motivating & entertaining things to do while visiting its highlights. Fortunately, the Galapagos Islands match best of both and all worlds, because there are always some thrilling and exciting things to do. For example, viewing both land and marine life can be as stunning as exploring the unique landscapes of the islands. Considered one of the planet’s foremost destinations for viewing wildlife, the Galapagos Islands shelter a diverse assortment of plant and animal species. The unspoiled landscape of these unique islands features idyllic beaches, active volcanoes and several nature reserves. When building your itinerary, consider the Island to Island must see sights in Galapagos.
Island to Island in Galapagos
Highlands of Santa Cruz Island
The second largest island of the Galapagos archipelago is Santa Cruz, a cosmopolitan urban center that welcomes overnight guests. Many people believe that the islands have no inhabitants and become shocked to know this island alone holds about 20,000 people with lots of rewarding facilities. Santa Cruz is home to several popular attractions. It is for sure an island that gives you access to active programs such as trekking, kayaking, recreational mountain biking, and also scuba diving with local dive operators. If Darwin’s Finches is your thing, then do consider exploring this island as 8 species out of 13 in total inhabit different ecosystems. Santa Cruz boasts great geological features such as long lava tubes, which are fascinating structures formed by lava flows from past volcanic activity, and also pit craters such as Los Gemelos. This area is wildly covered by a unique evergreen lush forest of Scalesia trees. Nearby beaches are also easy to reach providing plenty of unforgettable experiences for explorers. Nothing tops seeing the iconic giant tortoises in the wild, which happens up in the highlands.
One of the most famous beaches in the islands, Tortuga Bay is known for its forever white sandy beach, natural beauty and abundant wildlife. One portion of the beach is a haven for surfers while the other half is popular with swimmers and snorkelers. It is possible to view sea lions, turtles and marine iguanas on shore as well as white tip reef sharks, manta rays and colorful fish that inhabit the sea around the offshore reefs. The path through the trees to the beach offers the opportunity to observe birds like finches, mockingbirds, doves, and yellow warblers. Walking through a prickly-pear cacti forest is also a unique highlight as most varieties of this cactus grow more like a shrub and not as a tree. The walk itself is a really good hike and highly recommended as an early outing.
Sierra Negra Volcano
One of South America’s most active geological formations of its kind, Sierra Negra Volcano is also the world’s second-largest crater caldera, definetely a must see sight on the Island to Island programme. Trekking the ethereal lava landscape of the caldera’s 6-mile wide rim affords the opportunity to see geological and thermal events as well as panoramic vistas of the surrounding area. Often draped in fog and mist, the south side of the volcano is lush with vegetation. The northern side features the paths of recent lava flows. Access to this location is only possible if you stay overnight at Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island. While trekking along the volcano rim several species of endemic and native plants can be spotted along the way. This location is perfect for the avid hiker.
Wall of Tears
Located on Isabela Island, the Wall of Tears is a historical site west of Puerto Villamil. It was constructed by prisoners held in the island’s penal colony that was active from 1945 until 1959. The colony was established by the Ecuadorian authorities after World War II using infrastructure left by the U.S. military. To keep the prisoners busy, the guards made the men build a 65-foot-high wall, which now serves as a testament to those who hauled and cut large volcanic rocks in the hot sun. While walking right along the main road keep an eye open for giant tortoises in the wild.
A small group of islands formed by lava, Las Tintoreras is home to a range of habitats for a variety of Galapagos animals. While the lagoon features reef sharks, the beach supports sea lions and the mangrove forest is a breeding ground for marine iguanas. The island’s most unusual inhabitants are the Galapagos penguins, the only species of these animals that live north of the equator. What shocks explorers here, is that in the sheltered waters of this location is where white-tip reef sharks quiet and gently come in for resting.
A small flat island, Isla Lobos is known for its quality snorkeling. The rocky shore, white-sand beaches and calm waters with visibility up to 40 feet make it ideal for viewing marine life. In addition to its resident sea lion population, the island is home to Darwin finches, brown pelicans and blue-footed boobies. Keep an eye for the elusive Chatham mockingbird one of the most intriguing island endemics.
Charles Darwin Research Station
Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands back in 1835. Named in his honor, the research station contains an informative museum and a Galapagos national park information center as well as a tortoise breeding center and a walk-in enclosure where you can meet adult tortoises in their natural habitat. The center is home to several sub-species of tortoises. The iconic symbol of the islands, these magnificent creatures can live more than 150 years and reach nearly 900 pounds. Taking a selfie picture at the Charles Darwin monument is a must!
Check our Island Hopping Programme which includes these must see sights in Galapagos!