The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) are an archipelago of volcanic islands famous for the fact that they were unpopulated by man until the 1800s and the amazing endemic species, especially the giant tortoises which give the islands their name. The islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the surrounding waters are a national park, and a biological marine reserve.

Of the 18 islands Baltra, Floreana, Isabela, San Cristobal and Santa Cruz are now populated by more than 25 000 people. The original names were given by an English pirate but the Ecuadorians have given the islands Spanish names.

The Islands were made famous by Charles Darwin after he visited them on his scientific voyage on the HMS Beagle and the endemic species here contributed significantly to Darwinian Theory.

What’s on offer in the Galapagos?

Darwin Island

Darwin Island

The smallest of the Galapagos Archipelago, measuring only one square kilometre, Darwin Island’s wealth lies under the ocean’s surface, where marine life abounds.

Wolf Island - Galapagos

Wolf Island

Accessible by scuba diving, with no landing, this pristine island named after German geologist Theodor Wolf is an extinct volcano within the boundaries of the Galapagos National Park. Marine and birdlife abounds.

Pinta Island

Pinta (Abingdon) Island had its own subspecies of Galapagos tortoise the sole surviving member of which, Lonesme George, can be seen at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island.

Marchena Island - Galapagos

Marchena Island

The Marchena Lava Lizard, colonies of sea lion as well as the Galapagos Hawk abide here. Due to its extremely sensitive environment, Marchena Island’s 130 square feet surface area is off limits to visitors, although excellent scuba diving sites exist that are accessible by boat. Centrally located on the island is a 343m volcano.

Genovesa (Tower) Island - Galapagos

Genovesa (Tower) Island

Genovesa or Tower Island is also with good reason known as Bird Island. Darwin Bay and Prince Philip’s Steps both offer exceptional viewing with Great frigatebirds, red-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and storm petrels all on offer, in the thousands.

Fernandina (Narborough) Island - Galapagos

Fernandina (Narborough) Island

Fernandina (Narborough) Island is the youngest island and is home to an active volcano, La Cumbre. La Cumbre erupted in 2005 and 2009.

Fernandina has an amazing combination of barrenness and abundant wildlife. Having no introduced mammals, it has a very unique environment, with the highest density of marine iguanas, sea lions, Sally light foot crabs and hawks.

Rabida Island - Galapagos

Rabida Island

Rabida Island’s owes the distinctive colour of its red sand to the high content of iron oxide in its volcanic lava. It is a bird watcher’s paradise, home to rare species such as brown pelicans, large-billed flycatchers, nine finch varieties and the Galapagos hawk, among others.

Santiago (James) Island - Galapagos

Santiago (James) Island

One of the larger islands in the archipelago, dramatically covered with lava flows. Arid vegetation and volcanic black sand beaches. At low tide the marine iguanas graze upon the emerald green algae. Santiago is great for snorkelling and swimming.

Santiago (James) Island was one of the islands most heavily impacted upon by the introduction of domestic animals (pigs and goat) but the last of these were removed in 2006.

Isabela Island - Galapagos

Isabela Island

The largest island created by lava flow from six volcanoes, five still active. View giant tortoises, land iguanas, blue-footed boobies, mocking birds, Galapagos penguins, flamingos and pelicans.

Isabela (Albemarle) Island is the only place in the Northern Hemisphere where naturally occurring penguins are found. It is named in honour of Queen Isabela of Spain is made up of six volcanoes the highest of which, Wolf, rises to 1707m. It is also home to the Galapagos’s third-largest human settlement Puerto Villamil.

Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island - Galapagos

Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island

Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island gets its English name for the HMS Indefatigable of Napoleonic War fame. It is home to the Galapagos’s largest population in Puerto Ayora, which is in turn home to The Charles Darwin Research Station and the headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service.

Learn about the conservation efforts being undertaken at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Impressive giant prickly-pear cactus forests, many land birds including eight species of Darwin finches and the famous giant tortoises can all be seen here.

San Cristobal Island - Galapagos

San Cristobal Island

In September 1835 it was the first island Charles Darwin set foot upon in the Galapagos. The island is home to many sea birds, including frigate birds and the blue-footed booby and large sea lion colonies.

San Cristóbal (Chatham) Island is home to the capital of the Galapagos Province Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and the largest lake in the archipelago, Laguna El Junco. It is named after the patron saint of seafarers, “St. Christopher” and William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham.

Floreana Island - Galapagos

Floreana Island

Floreana (Santa Maria) Island is one of the first in the Galapagos to be inhabited by man and offers your best chance of seeing a Galapagos petrel.

In 1793, the ‘Post Office barrel’ was established by British whalers to send letters to/from England; home to pintail ducks, warblers, stingrays, green turtles and the pinkest flamingos in the world.

Espanola (Hood) Island - Galapagos

Espanola (Hood) Island

The most southerly island with the whitest coral beach, complete with a noisy colony of sea lions and excellent snorkelling opportunities. Encounter curious mockingbirds, blue-footed and masked boobies, Sally lightfoot crabs and red bill tropical birds.

Espanola (Hood) Island is named after Spain and Admiral Samuel Hood and is renowned for its large number of endemic species and being the only nesting site of the waved albatross.

Fast Facts

FLIGHT INFORMATION: Daily flights from Quito and Guayaquil take 1.5-2 hours.

HOW LONG TO GO FOR: We highly recommend a 7-night cruise, although we also offer 3,4 & 5-night cruises. Or why not stay at Finch Bay Hotel with day trips to the various islands.

ACTIVITIES: All activities are included and led by expert naturalists. You will enjoy morning and afternoon excursions including nature walks, snorkelling or trips by glass bottom boat.

NATIONAL PARK ENTRANCE & TOURIST CONTROL CARD FEES: An entrance fee of US$100 per person is payable locally; the tourist card fee of US$10 per person needs to be prepaid (subject to change).

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