Galapagos Islands

Spectacular, isolated and populated by some of Mother Nature’s most bizarre creations, Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands really do feel like a world apart. One thousand clicks off the South American mainland, this humble archipelago and its fauna – which set the religious world aflame in the 19th century – remain as riveting and rewarding an ecological adventure as it ever was. Inquisitive sea lions and spiky marine iguanas breach and bask between island and shore, while friendly hammerhead sharks patrol the depths and giant tortoises lumber the land. Nowadays, the islands host a steady stream of modern-day explorers; but as far as face-to-face, flipper-to-fin wildlife encounters go, the Galapagos experience truly is in a league of its own.

Galapagos Islands tours & travel

Active Galapagos

10 days from
USD $3,225
CAD $3,496
AUD $3,434
EUR €2,358
GBP £1,914
NZD $3,819
ZAR R34,315
CHF FR2,854

Travel to the Galapagos Islands from Quito, Ecuador. Tour the Galapagos' highlights from Isla San Cristobal to Isla...

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Galapagos Venture

9 days from
USD $1,880
CAD $2,036
AUD $2,004
EUR €1,373
GBP £1,119
NZD $2,224
ZAR R20,005
CHF FR1,664

Discover the Galapagos Islands on this enchanting adventure visiting the islands of Isabela, Santa Cruz and San...

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Galapagos Santa Cruz and around

7 days from
USD $2,535
CAD $2,620
AUD $2,571
EUR €1,767
GBP £1,488
NZD $2,861
ZAR R25,716
CHF FR2,140

Travel from Quito out to the gorgeous Galapagos Islands. Sail pristine waters, be awed by the friendly wildlife and...

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Galapagos Family Holiday

8 days from
USD $2,920
CAD $3,021
AUD $2,969
EUR €2,038
GBP £1,719
NZD $3,294
ZAR R29,620
CHF FR2,469

Discover the Galapagos’ Isla la Isabela with the family. See the volcano-scarred landscapes, which boasts beautiful...

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Classic Galapagos - Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

10 days from
USD $5,255
CAD $5,425
AUD $5,327
EUR €3,662
GBP £3,074
NZD $5,926
ZAR R53,276
CHF FR4,431

Travel to the Galapagos Islands and embark on a sailing adventure around southern islands that serve as a paradise...

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Classic Galapagos - Central Eastern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

10 days from
USD $3,714
CAD $3,836
AUD $3,912
EUR €2,590
GBP £2,179
NZD $4,191
ZAR R37,676
CHF FR3,133

Travel to the Galapagos Islands and sail around the central eastern islands, witnessing amazing wildlife and visiting...

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Classic Galapagos - Central Southern Islands (Queen Beatriz)

10 days from
USD $5,255
CAD $5,425
AUD $5,327
EUR €3,662
GBP £3,079
NZD $5,926
ZAR R53,276
CHF FR4,431

Sail the aquamarine waters of the Galapagos’ central southern islands taking in Mosquera, Cerro Dragon, Isla Rabida,...

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Galapagos Explorer - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz)

7 days from
USD $2,682
CAD $2,776
AUD $2,726
EUR €1,771
GBP £1,577
NZD $3,029
ZAR R27,235
CHF FR2,143

Take to cerulean waters to explore the beautiful Galapagos Islands. See huge populations of animals and experience...

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Complete Galapagos - (Daphne)

10 days from
USD $4,465
CAD $4,610
AUD $4,527
EUR €3,112
GBP £2,619
NZD $5,036
ZAR R45,271
CHF FR3,766

Travel from Ecuador’s striking capital to the Galapagos Islands. Explore the archipelago’s rich history, dazzling...

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Galapagos Encounter - Central Islands (Queen Beatriz)

6 days from
USD $2,262
CAD $2,338
AUD $2,386
EUR €1,578
GBP £1,332
NZD $2,553
ZAR R22,962
CHF FR1,912

Explore the central islands of the Galapagos on this startling adventure that highlights the best of the San...

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Galapagos at a Glance - Southern Islands - (Daphne)

6 days from
USD $2,585
CAD $2,675
AUD $2,627
EUR €1,802
GBP £1,519
NZD $2,921
ZAR R26,251
CHF FR2,186

Travel to the Galapagos Islands and see the unique Scalesia cloud forest, myriad birdlife of Isla Española and...

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Galapagos Discovery- Hotel Based

11 days from
USD $3,580
CAD $3,885
AUD $3,805
EUR €3,080
GBP £2,115
NZD $4,240
ZAR R38,080
CHF FR3,725

From Quito to the gorgeous Galapagos Islands, discover dramatic island scenery, thriving wildlife, intriguing...

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Glimpse of Galapagos - Central Islands - (Nemo III)

6 days from
USD $3,080
CAD $3,185
AUD $3,127
EUR €2,147
GBP £1,809
NZD $3,476
ZAR R31,256
CHF FR2,601

Watch sea lions on Isla Santa Fe, explore the hidden bays and coves of Sombrero Chino and observe the peculiar...

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Articles on the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Bowl: Ecuador’s star football line-up

Posted on Mon, 2 Feb 2015

The USA isn't the only one celebrating football's day of days. The animals of the Galapagos are lining up for the Big Game (with some surprising last minute inclusions).

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Walking home from the pub (in the Galapagos Islands)

Posted on Mon, 1 Dec 2014

"The Galapagos, as far as I’m aware, are utterly unique. It’s so rare to be able to use that word and actually mean it."

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Five of our favourite things about Ecuador

Posted on Wed, 19 Nov 2014

Sure, Ecuador doesn’t have the famous ruins of Peru or the culinary draw of Argentina, but it still belongs on your ‘go to’ list for a South American adventure.

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  • Keep an eye out for dolphins breaking the waters around Genovesa
  • Get up close and personal with the fur seals of James Bay
  • Search for nesting sea-turtles on Espumilla Beach
  • Spot storm petrels on the wing off Prince Philip's Steps
  • Snorkel among the manta rays and sharks of Darwin Bay across Bahia Sullivan's 100-year-old lava flow
  • Learn about the islands' history at Puerto Ayora's Charles Darwin Research Station
  • Stroll among the giant tortoise population in the Santa Cruz highlands
  • Splash about in Punta Moreno's beautiful lagoons
  • Pitter-patter with the penguins of Elizabeth Bay
  • Photograph the pink flamingos in Las Bachas lagoon
  • Check out Fernandina Island's marine iguanas
  • Hear tales of the pirates who used to seek shelter in Buccaneer Cove See all Galapagos trips


Nemo III

  • Nemo III is a luxury Twin Hull Sailing Catamaran so passengers will spend some time sailing without the use of an engine (weather and wind permitting). This is a real selling point as very few sailing boats operate in Galapagos.
  • Twin Hulls means its much sturdier and more comfortable than a single hull boat 8 double and twin cabins all with private bathroom and air-conditioning.
  • Maximum 16 Pax A range of 10, 7 and 6 day itineraries
  • Excellent itinerary that includes all highlights and visits the Northern Islands including Genovesa which is a highly sought after location
  • There’s an indoor AND an outdoor lounge to relax
  • All meals are included on board
  • Tea, coffee & water available round the clock, and a bar for any soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • 7 Friendly crew members and a fully qualified naturalist guide
  • Beautiful sundeck to enjoy the beautiful climate and scenery

Queen Beatrix

  • Luxurious Double Hull Motor Yacht
  • Twin Hulls means its much sturdier and more comfortable than a single hull boat
  • There are four different types of cabins on this ship: 3 x Standard Twin, 2 x Deluxe Twin – with Balcony, 2 x Deluxe Double – with balcony, 2 x Suite – spacious with lounge
  • Max group size 16
  • A range of 17, 10, 7 and 6 day itineraries
  • All meals are included on board
  • Tea, coffee & water available round the clock
  • Bar for any soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Snorkelling gear, towels and wetsuits are all included
  • 7 Friendly crew members and a fully qualified naturalist guide

About Galapagos Islands

Ecuador might be smaller than its heavyweight South American neighbours, but this audacious land stakes a legitimate claim as the continent's most complete package. Blessed with a bonanza of perfect beaches and the remarkable Galapagos Islands, Ecuador's wealth of natural riches make it a one-stop shop for incredible real life experiences. Come and indulge in a scoopful of the Amazon rainforest, a generous helping of the Andes and a refreshing glass of colonial Quito - Ecuador makes for a scrumptious serving of South America's best.

Best time to Visit 

Simply put, there’s no bad time to visit the Galapagos Islands. Good weather is mostly found year round, as are the animals. This being said, November through to June is the preferred time to visit, with clearer skies, calmer seas and decreased winds. Of these, March and April have less rain, while November and December are the warmest. July to November is the best time for divers as whale sharks can often be spotted at Wolf and Darwin islands.

Geography and Envrionment 

The main 18 islands of the Galapagos (ranging from 4,588 sq km Isabela to 1.1 sq km Darwin) are lava-formed with mostly rocky shorelines. Some are sparsely vegetated with mountainous interiors and high central craters, while others are comparatively lush with white-sand beaches and mangrove-lined inlets.

A trip to this constellation of islands is like setting foot on the planet for the very first time. An Eden of flora and fauna that inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, this enchanting paradise is bound to captivate the most adventurous of travellers. 

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. 

Isla Espanola 

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.

Isla Floreana 

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.

Isla Rabida 

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.

Isla Isabela

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. 

Isla Genovesa 

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.

Isla Bartolome 

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! 

Isla Baltra 

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.

Top Picks


Top 5 Wildlife Encounters

1. Sea Lions
Whether you're loafing about on the beach or snorkelling offshore, you’ll be hard-pressed not to come face-to-face with these frolicsome critters at some stage. Playful, plentiful, and pretty much fearless, you’re supposed to keep a 2-metre distance from these guys at all times - though their insatiable curiosity can make this hard!
2. Marine Iguanas
The only lizards in the world that can live and forage in the ocean, the marine iguana is found solely in the Galapagos. Fierce and ferocious though these Godzilla-like reptiles may appear (Darwin called them ‘Imps of Darkness’), it’s all bluff – they only feed on algae. And with lung capacities permitting up to half an hour of underwater foraging, you’re just as likely find them gorging on the islands’ surrounding seabeds as scampering about the craggy rocks they inhabit.
3. Hammerhead Sharks
Boasting one of the animal kingdom’s most puzzling physiologies, hammerhead sharks are found in abundance off Wolf, Bartolome, Santa Cruz and Darwin islands. Unlike most sharks, they will often merge into schools of over 100 during the day - making for some incredible and surreal photo opportunities. And with no known human fatalities and a wealth of choice natural prey on offer, diving amongst them isn’t as scary or dangerous as one might think.
4. Finches
Though dull in colour and nondescript in appearance, the 13 types of finches that Darwin found in the Galapagos gave rise to one of the most controversial and game-changing theories the world has ever known. In short, by studying the anatomical differences between finches from different islands, Darwin hypothesised that the birds’ various adaptations to their different habitats and geographical separation from each other had eventually resulted in their mutation into different species: his Theory of Evolution. In his journal he also reports that the birds were so unaccustomed to human presence that he’d often find them coming in to perch on his shoulder - which made for some very easy specimen collecting on his part.
5. Giant Tortoises
No trip to the islands is complete without a visit to its most famous residents. Weighing up to 400 kg, regularly living for more than 100 years, and able to go for up to 1 year without food, these gentle and slow-moving monsters are an intriguing and humbling spectacle to observe.

FAQs on Galapagos Islands

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: [site:intrepid_insurance_link]
The Galapagos Islands celebrate the same National Holidays as the rest of Ecuador.

Health and Safety

Intrepid takes the health and safety of its travellers seriously, and takes every measure to ensure that trips are safe, fun and enjoyable for everyone. We recommend that all travellers check with their government or national travel advisory organisation for the latest information before departure:
From Australia?
From New Zealand?
From Canada?
From US?
From UK?
The World Health Organisation also provides useful health information: 

Responsible travel

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 Galapagos Islands

  1. Do not touch the animals.
  2. Stay further than 2 meters from the animals at all times, both for your own safety and theirs.
  3. Do not feed the animals, as it can be detrimental to their health.
  4. Do not take ‘souvenirs’ of rocks or flora off the island.
  5. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water or use water purification tablets.
  6. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  7. Smoking in the national park areas is prohibited.
  8. Stay within the designated walking trails, both for your own safety and that of the flora and fauna.
  9. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse animals, or that sell endangered animal products.


Further reading

Recommended reading

Galapagos Kurt Vonnegut
My Father's Island: A Galapagos Quest Johanna Angermeyer
The Voyage of the Beagle Charles Darwin
Marine Life of the Galapagos Pierre Constant
Wildlife of the Galapagos Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter and David Hosking

Handy links