The Galapagos Islands are easily one of the most famous wildlife destinations in the world. Renowned for being so vigorously unscathed by humans, the islands are the epitome of untouched nature, raw wildlife and breath-taking landscapes. The sheer spectacle of the place is unparalleled, to say the least. After all, these were the islands that inspired Charles Darwin and his theory of natural selection.
The islands have evolved differently than others in the world – due to very little human contact and interaction, the wildlife was made to roam freely, the diversity is unbeatable and the animals are not scared of humans and do not see them as a threat. This serves as an incredible place for wildlife-life watching, and is also the ultimate place for water activities – whether it be diving amidst diverse, colourful marine life, kayaking or going on boat trips, you really can do it all on the Galapagos Islands.
The backdrops of volcanoes, lush forests, and tropical beaches all intertwined gorgeously together make the islands the best wildlife-watching place in the world. Mix that with its breath-taking landscapes and you’ve got yourself quite a good deal.
From Tortuga Bay to Santa Cruz Highlands Galapagos has many beautiful views to check out. In this article I will make a how to visit guide to Galapagos’ best locations.
The Best Landscapes and Islands
Every different island on the Galapagos has a special allure and charm to it that differentiates it from the others. Of course, there is no need to say that the more time you have on the island, the more landscapes you can visit, the richer your experience will be.
Santa Cruz is the most famous of all destinations, and the most visited island on Galapagos. This will be probably be your starting and ending point as well. It is the most easily accessible, has the best weather and also offers the most activities.
Puerto Ayora is the definition of a quintessential hub, a little town with a harbor that bustles with life, hotels, activities, restaurants and a lot more. It serves as a great place to be in if you’re looking for a more luxury oriented vacation instead of just a normal place to be in. Puerto Ayora is also a great place to solo travel to!
Charles Darwin Research Station
If you had to visit only one place on Santa Cruz, the Charles Darwin Research Station would without a doubt be it. It’s the main player when it comes to protection endangered Galapagos tortoise, and you’ll get to really immerse yourself in the information offered there.
Take a tour to show you about the life of the cycle of the tortoise, their history, how they came to be, and all the information you might need to know about them. Your first encounter with a Galapagos tortoise will probably be there, and when you actually get to see them in the wild, you’ll be able to fully differentiate between them!
Cerro Chato Tortoise Reserve
Now that you’re done learning about the tortoise, watched the captive specimen, and learned about their life cycle, it’s time to actually see them in their natural habitat. A dramatically different experience, the whole encounter is bound to be fascinating.
Cerro Crocker, Media Luna & Puntado
Visiting volcanic peaks is an otherworldly experience. as you stand on top of soaring peaks, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic visits of the islands, and a chance for you to bird watch as well! A great way to mix staggering landscapes with wildlife.
If you want to see the rare land iguanas that are known to be one of the most famous species on the Galapagos Islands, then this is where to go!
The characterization of the word “paradise”, Tortuga Bay is the ultimate postcard-worthy destination. Teeming with hundreds of beaches, little islands, and powdery sand – this place is the ultimate effortless blend between tropical beaches and rewarding wildlife experiences. The people who visit Tortuga Bay usually do so by going on Galapagos cruise holidays, or by trekking on their own.
You’ll get some quality time with the Galapagos marine turtles, you’ll snorkel with marine iguanas, you’ll explore secluded caves and you’ll also catch the famous blue-footed boobies.
Of course, nothing beats snorkeling in the azure transparent waters or Tortuga Bay, or sunbathing as the echo of the crashing waves acts as a soundtrack to your trip.
An abode of natural wonders, San Cristobal is blessed with some of the most striking landscapes on the Galapagos Islands. It’s also the best place to go diving and you’ll get a chance to do plenty of water activities and immerse yourself in the hundreds of natural wonders that the island offers.
Things to do:
Centro de Interpretacion
You’ll be met with countless of chances to learn about the history of Galapagos Islands, and how they came to be. This center is the place to go to learn about how the natives lived, the climate and the unique geology of the islands.
If you’re looking for the best views in The Galapagos, go to the Cerro Tijeretas. You’ll be met with soaring mountains that juxtapose with the pristine blue waters and you’ll get spectacular views of 2 species of frigate birds.
You’re probably going to the Galapagos for the wildlife – and La Loberia beautifully delivers! A beach filled with baby sea lions, iguanas and frigates – La Loberia is your go-to place for wildlife watching up close.
The Crater Lagoon
The Crater Lagoon looks like something you’d see in an adventure movie. A misty lake that is nestled slyly between lush forests and high lands and wonderful panoramic views. You can hike around the lake to enjoy the views, or revel in the beautiful vistas!
Bartolome is named after Charles Darwin’s lifelong friend, and is renowned for the most striking landscapes and sights. Think extinct volcanoes juxtaposed with gorgeous views of the water…A chance to dive and snorkel with marine animals…White-tipped reef sharks for the adrenaline-lovers…This small island offers it all.
The most famous attraction there is, of course, the Pinnacle Rock. By hiking there, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of varied lava formations, lunar-like landscapes, and a variety of volcanic formations as well.
This island is the oldest of all Galapagos Islands, and is also one of the driest. This dominantly flat island experiences very little rain per year, but is still one of the world’s only known nesting sites of the Galapagos Albatross.
Today, the main attraction at Española is most definitely the quality and variety of wildlife found there. Lazy sea lions, colorful lava lizards, finches, mockingbirds, Galapagos doves and much more.
You could practically spend months on the Galapagos Islands, reveling in the gorgeous scenery and discovering new wildlife…No amount of time will be enough to take it all in! The islands are teeming with the most diverse landscapes and wildlife, it will be an overland for your senses…And quite a pleasant one at that!