The Galapagos Islands have a diversity of endemic wildlife and activities that can only be seen and done within the confines of the archipelago. Galapagos tours offer opportunities for one of a kind experiences that put you in the midst of the natural world, connecting you with the exotic beauty of the islands. Keep reading for ten things you can only do in the Galapagos Islands.
Galapagos penguins are endemic to the islands and are among the smallest of their species. The penguins are found year-round in numbers around the shores of Isabela Island and flock to the waters of Bartolome Island during the dry season between June and December. Galapagos tours to the island give those who take the plunge the chance to swim with the quick-moving marine creatures, who dive in the waters around Pinnacle Rock in search of small fish.
Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island is an active adventure that takes you above the treeline to a six-mile-wide crater whose crust hides hot lava underneath. The hike starts in the forest, alive with the bird’s of the islands, ascends through recent lava fields, and continues to the volcano’s crater. It is a challenging hike but well worth the effort for the flora and the view stretching out over Isabela and the neighboring islands on the horizon.
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise is an icon to the islands, written about by Darwin when he first visited. The tortoises are found in the wild in reserves on many islands, including San Cristobal, Isabela, and Santa Cruz- where visitors can get up close and personal with the slow, lumbering giants.
Marine Iguanas are the only one of their species and live exclusively in the Galapagos Islands. While slow-moving and cumbersome on land, the reptiles prove themselves to be nimble swimmers, often joining snorkeling travelers in the water for short periods of time.
Isabela was once a hideout for pirates, using the island to avoid capture from Spanish ships after plundering their cargo. Today when visiting Tagus Cove, you can see the names of pirate ships from centuries past carved into the rock cliffs of the bay. Many cruise tours stop at the historic site, and it can also be visited by kayaking from Puerto Villamil.
Post Office Bay on Floreana Island was started by English whalers as a way to send letters home to their loved ones. Using a wooden barrel, whalers going away on two-year journeys left letters to be hand delivered by those on the way home. Today, the tradition continues; visitors leave letters in the makeshift wooden boxes that are picked up by others and delivered once the trip is over.
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Tortuga Bay on Santa Cruz Island is one of the most beautiful tropical beaches in the world. The waves attract international surfers, who often find themselves in the company of sea turtles while on Galapagos tours to the pristine stretch of sand.
Gordon Rocks off of San Cristobal Island is well-known for attracting schools of hammerhead sharks, who feed and clean themselves along the reefs below the surface. Renting a kayak and paddling up the coast to the landmark puts you in the middle of hundreds of sharks circling the water.
The blue-footed booby’s mating dance is on the top of the list to see for many who visit the Galapagos. The awkward shuffle of the amusing animal showcases its bright-blue feet, in attempts to win a mate by outshining the competition.
The whale shark is the largest fish in the sea and visits the archipelago annually to feed off of krill and small fish that are attracted to the nutrient-rich waters. The enormous, polka-dotted creatures frequent the waters around Darwin and Wolf Islands and are found on dive excursions from live-aboard cruises.
For information about visiting the islands and finding out firsthand the activities, creatures, and destinations that a Galapagos vacation has to offer, contact a member of our staff through this site or by using our toll-free number.