The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a nature lover's paradise. Isolated from the mainland for thousands of years, some of the most unusual species in the world evolved here, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and even the world's only equatorial penguin. The islands comprise the Galapagos National Park and were recently named a "World Heritage Site". Nearly all uninhabited, these islands can only be visited with a certified naturalist guide on one of the Galapagos yachts approved by the park service.

Adventure Life offers 7 and 10 day Galapagos tours on over 40 different yachts. On our 10-day Galapagos tours, we visit eight to ten of the islands described below. The 7-day tours typically visit four to six islands.

Galapagos Islands

Each island offers something unique. Unusual geological formations, tortoise nesting grounds, rare bird species, winding lava flows... These are just a few of the features located on individual islands. Read the descriptions below to learn more about the highlights on each island.

Contact us to select a Galapagos cruise that features the islands that interest you most. You can also access the island itineraries for each yacht from our Galapagos tour page.

San Cristóbal (also called Chatham)

Home of the oldest settlement in the islands, San Cristóbal claims some of the most spectacular landscape. Cloudforests in the highlands are a perfect habitat for giant tortoises, and Punta Pitt is one of the only places to see red-footed boobies.

Española (also called Hood)

This is the southernmost island and the breeding site of nearly all of the world's 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses. Española teems with mockingbirds, blue-footed and nazca boobies, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, hawks, red and green marine iguanas, and sea lions.

Floreana (also called Charles)

At Punta Cormorant a flamingo lagoon can be found behind white and black mangroves. Clear water and interesting coral growths make Devil's Crown a perfect spot for snorkeling. Floreana is also home to Post Office Bay, where 18th century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop. The custom continues to this day between Galapagos visitors!

Santa Cruz (also called Indefatigable)

Santa Cruz is home to the Charles Darwin Station, where visitors can observe tortoise research and breeding programs. Don't forget to say hello to the tortoise Lonesome George - the last of his species. A trip to the highlands offers the chance to see enormous pit craters, lava tunnels and giant tortoises roaming freely.

North Seymour

This tiny island is packed with countless sea lions and it's one of the most popular breeding grounds for sea birds. A very large colony of frigate birds nest here, and it's almost guaranteed to see a few males proudly displaying their red pouches to impress a mate.

Rábida (also called Jervis)

Rábida is a bird-watcher's delight. Some of the rarest species are in abundance, such as 9 varieties of finches, large billed flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans. The dark red sand beaches and a horde of snoring sea lions make for spectacular snorkeling.

Bartolomé (also called Sullivan)

Home of the famous Pinnacle Rock. Climbing to the top of this island rewards visitors with panoramic views of varied lava formations, volcanic peaks and a moon-like landscape. Bartolomé also provides the chance to swim with the unique Galapagos Penguin.

South Plaza

This small, steep-cliffed island was formed by uplifted lava and is covered by Opuntia cacti. It is also home to one of the largest sea lion colonies and colorful yellow and red land iguanas.

Genovesa (also called Tower)

Considered a bird-watcher's paradise, the volcanic sea cliffs offer prime breeding places for frigate birds, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, tropic birds and red-footed boobies.

Santa Fe (also called Barrington)

The endemic land iguanas here can grow over five feet long and in true Galapagos style the Opuntia cactus, a favorite food of the land iguana, has responded by growing tall and woody - up to 33 feet high. Manta rays and sea turtles flit by as dark shadows against the sandy bottom of Santa Fe's beautiful anchorage.

Santiago (also called San Salvador)

Fur sea lions (once called fur seals) were thought to have gone extinct by 1905, but have since made a dramatic comeback. Santiago provides habitat for many of the 30-40,000 fur seal lions that call the Galapagos home. There are also plenty of lazy sea lions on the black beach of Puerto Egas.

Isabela

The largest and one of the most volcanically active islands, Isabela provide habitat for five subspecies of giant tortoise - one for each of its five volcanoes. West of the island, humpback whales are sometimes seen breaching completely out of the water. Stingrays, small sharks, and turtles are found in mangrove lagoons on Isabela.

Fernandina

No foreign species have ever invaded this island, and, as a result, it claims one of the world's most pristine island ecosystems. After walking past a colony of marine iguanas and a group of lazy sea lions, visitors arrive at the island's highlight - the flightless cormorant nesting site.