• Swimming turtle,  Galapagos Islands

Highlights and main attractions of the Galapagos ISlands

Highlights and main attractions of the Galapagos ISlands

A wildlife utopia quite apart from the rest of mainland Ecuador, so overwhelming was the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands that when Charles Darwin opened the world’s eyes to them in 1835 they are said to have inspired his seminal book "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection".  Such is the extent of the rigorous protection and respect for these islands that visitation numbers are tightly regulated, and the inimitably photogenic wildlife is fearless of man; a place where nature and man enjoy a rare equilibrium. Experiencing these mesmerising islands is one of the continent’s greatest attractions, one that feels exclusive and extraordinary despite its popularity.

The Galapagos Islands straddle the equator some 600 miles off the western coast of Ecuador. Comprised of 13 main islands, numerous smaller islands, islets and over 100 rocks that were formed from volcanic activity believed to be 5 million years ago, the islands vary in topography from flat sand to rocky lava ground and vegetation-covered. Despite humans living on the Galapagos for some years already, they are not considered natural predators by the animals, which allows for truly unique walks with unparalleled close encounters with the wildlife.

Galapagos Islands Holidays

Galapagos Island experiences

Each of the main islands enjoys its own character and activities vary accordingly. Isabela is the largest island with a ring of volcanoes and good land-based activities. Santiago is a lush world of mangrove forests that host prolific birdlife, such as flamingos, pintail ducks and stilts. Santa Cruz is the most inhabited island with the popular Charles Darwin Research Centre, whilst Española is uninhabited and is renowned for sea lions along the golden sands of Gardner Bay, marine iguanas and great snorkelling. These are just a handful of islands, a greater selection of which can be discussed at length with our experts.

As the islands emerged from the sea from volcanic activity and were never connected to mainland, some of the wildlife found in the Galapagos is endemic to that area, and has remained unchanged for centuries. Of the 58 species of bird found here for example, a staggering 28 are endemic. Some of the biggest highlights on a rather impressive list include giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, flightless cormorants and pre-historic marine iguanas. 

The waters of the Galapagos teem equally with life and here you can enjoy the unique experience of swimming with the world’s only equatorial penguins and watch turtles, dolphins, whales, sea lions and sharks.

The most popular and practical way of visiting the islands is on a cruise aboard comfortable and well-equipped liveaboards which cover a variety of routes and are guided by our expert naturalists. This allows you to absorb the breathtaking environment whilst not disturbing it. As some species or certain flora are found in particular areas, we can use our personal experience and expertise to tailor an itinerary to match your requirements. 

Cruise lengths vary from 3 to 14 nights and vessels range from small sailboats to mid-size motor cruisers and traditional yachts. After a day of enlivening the senses, relax and reflect on your life-changing experiences over a sunset drink back on board.


Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey to Ecuador. Please note we recommend a budget of from £7,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.

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