Galapagos Islands: A Paradise on earth.
Follow into the footsteps of Charles Darwin and go island hopping or take a Galapagos cruise on perhaps the most beautiful and diverse island group in the world: the Galapagos Islands.
1000 kilometers west of South American, Ecuador, this archipelago is a paradise for nature lovers. The literal translation of Islas Galápagos is “Turtle Islands”.
Around 1960, the islands were considered a national park and since 1978 they have even been on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Galapagos Islands are known for their pristine beauty and exceptional nature. Due to its isolated location from the mainland, the islands have a unique ecosystem and you will encounter many animals that you will not find anywhere else in the world. The archipelago consists of 128 islands, below you will find an overview of the most famous islands.
Isla Isabela (4588 km²)
The largest island of the Galapagos archipelago is Isla Isabela. Base on the island is Puerto Villamil, an ultimate relaxed village where they speak almost no English, only know sandy roads, and you can choose from a few hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. Because of the small scale, Isla Isabela is a wonderful place to enjoy the unique nature and a good base for excursions. One of the best things you can do is take a boat trip to ¨Las Tintoreras¨, a beautiful lagoon where you can snorkel with sea turtles and rays nearby. The literal highlight is an ascent of the Sierra Negra volcano.
Isla Santa Cruz (986 km²)
The main island of the Galapagos and most likely the starting point of your trip is Isla Santa Cruz. This is the most central island and a good base for getting to know the archipelago. Puerto Ayora is the bustling center of the island, a cozy coastal village with hotels and restaurants. Here you will find tour agencies that can help you book diving excursions, but also day trips to other islands.
On the island itself you can tick off the various sights by taxi. For example, the Charles Darwin Research Station is definitely worth a visit, because you not only learn more about the island group, you also have a great chance to spot the beautiful Galapagos giant tortoise. It is also nice to follow the walking path to Tortuga Bay, this three kilometer long path takes you to a paradise-like sandy beach surrounded by mangrove forests. And don’t forget your snorkeling gear, because the underwater life is phenomenally beautiful here.
Isla Fernandina (642 km²)
Isla Fernandina is the youngest island in the archipelago and also the most unspoilt. Here you will find the most special animals of the entire island group, including crabs, marine iguanas, the galápagos cormorant and the blue-footed beaver. Isla Fernandina is best known for the huge colony of marine iguanas. It is a special experience to see the lizards up close. Fernandina is mainly known because it is relatively often in the news with eruptions from the active volcano.
Isla San Cristóbal (558 km²)
From Santa Cruz it is about two hours with a speed boat to Isla San Cristobal. The main village of this island is Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, where you will find accommodations in all price ranges. Isla San Cristóbal is known for the many diving and snorkeling possibilities, but you can also take beautiful walks on the island, for example to Laguna El Junco. Combine land and sea by taking a beautiful walk to one of the paradise beaches, or board a boat for a diving excursion to Kicker Rock. Always wanted to swim with sea lions? Take your chance at Lobos island.
Isla Floreana (172 km²)
The human impact on the Galapagos ecosystem is painfully visible on Isla Floreana. The arrival of settlers who brought animals such as rats, pigs and goats irrevocably affected the local plants and animals. Places of interest on this island are Punto Cormorant, Post Office Bay and Asilo de La Paz. In addition, you will find on Isla Floreana the most beautiful snorkel spot in the entire archipelago: Devil’s Crown.
Isla Bartolome (1.2 km²)
Isla Bartolome is one of the smaller islands of the Galapagos, but worth a visit for its unsurpassed viewpoints. Despite its small size, Isla Bartolome is the most visited island in the archipelago and should therefore not be missing in your itinerary. You can enjoy beautiful walks, snorkeling and bird watching, but especially climb to the viewpoint for a great overview of the area. Between June and September you will find the penguins here. These temporarily stay on the island to enjoy the fresh water.
Isla Española (76,192 km²)
The island of Española is one of the oldest islands in the extreme southeast of the Archipelago. Because of the unprecedentedly beautiful animal life, the uniqueness of the albatross and the variety in terms of hiking and snorkeling, Española is one of the top three islands to visit.