The 19 main islands and numerous smaller isles of the Galapagos archipelago present a unique microcosm for some of the world’s more spectacularly diverse creatures, with a biodiversity unlike anywhere else on earth. Here’s what you need to know about island hopping through this natural wonderland that inspired Charles Darwin.
While most Galapagos visitors tour the islands aboard a multi-day cruise, it’s also possible to sleep on dry land and visit various points of interest within the UNESCO World Heritage–listed national park on day trips from one of the four inhabited islands: San Cristobal, Isabela, Floreana, and Santa Cruz. Options include observing the flamingos and finches of beachy Tortuga Bay, and sailing past the sea lions, sea turtles, and white-tipped reef sharks of Loberia Island.
The biological and geological diversity of the Galapagos Islands are staggering, and the best way to take it all in is during a multi-day tour, usually aboard a boat. Tours range from four to eight days, with visits to some of the archipelago’s most iconic destinations. The tour and activity options are plentiful: Observe flamingos in Flamingo Lagoon, hike up Sierra Negra Volcano, see Galapagos tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station, kayak past marine iguanas and Galapagos penguins in the bay of Puerto Villamil, or snorkel in the calm waters of Los Tuneles.
Things to Know
Galapagos National Park visitors must be accompanied by a certified tour guide.
Stay on land and day trip to the park, or opt for a multi-day cruise.
Island hopping tours through the Galapagos Islands range from four to eight days.
Don’t forget your camera—these islands are teeming with wildlife photo ops.