Spectacular, isolated and home to the famed Galapagos giant tortoise, Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands really do feel like another world.
Inquisitive sea lions and spiky marine iguanas breach and bask between island and shore, while friendly hammerhead sharks patrol the depths and blue-footed boobies cut through the sky.
Nowadays, the islands host a steady stream of modern-day explorers. And for good reason - as far as face-to-face wildlife encounters go, the Galapagos wildlife experience rivals even the likes of Africa.
Top Galapagos Islands travel deals
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|Galapagos Venture||9||$2,645||View Trip|
|Galapagos Island Hopping||8||
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Galapagos Islands tour reviews
Our Galapagos Islands trips score an average of 4.71 out of 5 based on 207 reviews in the last year.
Galapagos Venture, January 2017
The culture the history the people and the varied environments of Galápagos Islands and many other areas of South America make it a 'must do' for travellers wanting to be inspired by their travels
Review submitted 17 Jan 2017
Active Galapagos, December 2016
Each day was filled with fun, excitement, education, and wonder. We were snorkelling, swimming, climbing, hiking, walking, and kayaking. We enjoyed every second of every day. Don't miss it!
Review submitted 13 Jan 2017
Articles on Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands travel highlights
Isla Santa Fe
Home to a colony of notoriously tame sea lions, it’s possible to take a dip alongside the friendly population in crystal-clear waters. You’ll also be privy to parades of iguanas progressively prowling the beaches like a scene from a tiny Jurassic Park.
Ornithology spoiler alert: virtually the entire world population of waved albatross can be found here. And it gets better: boobies, mockingbirds, doves - the list of feathered friends you can make here goes on and on.
Green beaches? Check. One of the most remote post boxes in the world? Check. Mega-wildlife-watching opportunities? Check. Isla Floreana has long been considered a highlight of the archipelago, where passing ships used to stop to collect mail from the wooden barrel postbox in the 18th century.
Isla Santa Cruz
Discover the secrets of the Galapagos that inspired the Theory of Evolution at the Charles Darwin Research Station and meet the island’s famous giant tortoises.
This patchwork quilt of various volcanic landscapes is home to a brackish lagoon boasting a star-studded shoreline of wildlife: flamingos teeter at the water’s edge, pelicans chatter in the bushes and further out to sea, boobies plummet torpedo-like into the deep.
Isla North Seymour
The rocky coastline of Seymour provides shelter to the region’s largest colony of frigate birds and blue-footed boobies, where treks through the cliffs bring you in close proximity to the nesting areas.
Isla San Cristobal
Brimming with remarkable wildlife and landscapes, this is also a prime spot to view the ‘booby two-step’, the captivating dance performed by blue-footed boobies in the throes of courtship.
Surrounded by enticing turquoise waters, Isabela is the biggest island in the archipelago, and home to the largest tortoise population in the Galapagos. Here, you can hike volcanic landscapes and view convict-built remnants.
A twitcher’s paradise, Genovesa is home to the full hat-trick of boobies, with masked, blue-footed and the rare red-footed all inhabiting this remote island.
The youngster of the archipelago, this island boasts an erratic volcanic landscape not matched anywhere else on Earth. A huge draw card is the iconic Pinnacle Rock, with views from the top to rival any you’ve seen before. And lucky snorkellers might even get to spot the Galapagos penguins!
Gateway to the Galapagos, and home to the main airport, Baltra is used as a launching pad when travelling to other islands in the region. This is a great location to spot iguanas strolling along the main street or sometimes even crossing the runway of the local airport.
Transport in Galapagos Islands
Intrepid believes half the fun of experiencing a new country is getting there, and getting around once there! Where possible, Intrepid uses local transport options and traditional modes of transport - which usually carry less of an environmental impact, support small local operators and are heaps more fun.
Depending on which trip you're on while in Galapagos Islands, you may find yourself travelling on:
- Private rooms with-en suites and air-conditioning
- Undercover outdoor terrace
- Safe boarding area
- Indoor lounge and dining area
- Top-level sundeck
- Bar on board
- Fresh, chef-prepared meals three times a day
- Tea, coffee and soft drinks available at all times
- Friendly crew and naturalist guide on board
- Maximum of 16 passengers
A spacious boutique yacht with a choice of cabins, expert Naturalist Guides and first class service
- All cabins have updated furnishings, en-suites, air conditioning and entertainment systems
- Spacious bar and lounge with large screen TV
- Dining room with big picture windows
- Expansive sun deck with lounges and outside dining area
- 3 meals a day prepared by our on board chef
- Tea, coffee, drinking water and snacks available 24 hours a day
- Expert, multi-lingual Naturalist Guides
- On demand movies available in each cabin
- Maximum of 36 passengers
Galapagos Islands holiday information
About the Galapagos Islands
Best time to visit Galapagos Islands
Geography and environment
Top wildlife to spot in the Galapagos
Health and safety
Galapagos Islands travel FAQs
Australia: Not required
Belgium: Not required
Canada: Not required
Germany: Not required
Ireland: Not required
Netherlands: Not required
New Zealand: Not required
South Africa: Not required
Switzerland: Not required
United Kingdom: Not required
United States: Not required
If you have enjoyed the services provided by your guide and crew, a tip will be very much appreciated. As a guideline US$10-15 per passenger, per day, is standard for the crew, and US$7-10 per day for your guide. Tips can be left in envelopes in your cabin on the last day of your journey. Some restaurants on the islands may already include a 10% service charge in the bill, in which case an extra tip isn't required. At places that don’t include a service charge, feel free to round up the bill or leave some spare change.
There are reliable internet cafes in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) and Puerto Baquerizo (San Cristobal Island). Some hotels and restaurants on other islands will have a Wi-Fi connection, but it is best not to count on it.
There is good mobile phone reception on the larger islands, but don’t expect it when at sea. The best local telephone companies are Porta and Movistar. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.
Toilets in the Galapagos towns are generally of the Western-style flushable variety (and always on the boats), though you might have to deal with pit/squat toilets in rural areas. When on land it’s a good idea to carry your own supply of toilet paper and soap, as these aren't always supplied.
Soft drink = US$2
Meal at an inexpensive restaurant = US$5
Meal at a mid-range restaurant = US$30
Tap water in the Galapagos Islands isn't safe to drink. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, bring water purification tablets or ask your leader where filtered water can be found.
No, not widely. There are a handful of shops on Santa Cruz that may accept payments from the major credit cards, but it's preferable to have cash on hand.
The banks in Puerto Ayora and Puerto Baquerizo have ATMs. The Banco del Pacífico in both towns is open Monday to Friday - 8am to 3.30pm, Saturdays - 9am to 12.30pm. It's best to withdraw your money on the mainland however, in case these are out of order.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.
Top responsible travel tips for the Galapagos Islands
- Do not touch the animals.
- Stay further than 2 meters from the animals at all times, both for your own safety and theirs.
- Do not feed the animals, as it can be detrimental to their health.
- Do not take ‘souvenirs’ of rocks or flora off the island.
- For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water or use water purification tablets.
- Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
- Smoking in the national park areas is prohibited.
- Stay within the designated walking trails, both for your own safety and that of the flora and fauna.
- Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse animals, or that sell endangered animal products.