Galapagos Islands Travel Guide
Ecuador • South America

From: South America Travel Guide

See also: Cruises ToursAdventure ToursAnimals


Galapagos Islands Travel Guide
The volcanic archipelago of the Galapagos Islands has long been luring visitors who come to enjoy its many treasures from the exotic and bountiful supply of animals and plants to the sublime scenic views that encompass and enchant the islands.

Truly astounding!
'Galapagos' original music by Cart (video from BBC)

Weather Guide
The Galapagos Islands have an excellent climate all year round which can be roughly split into two main seasons, the warm and tropical shower season and the dry and windy season.

Travel to The Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands can be reached by plane from either Guayaquil or Quito airports in Ecuador and you will arrive at either Baltra or San Cristobal airport. You will need send your passport number one month ahead of travelling to the islands and there is also a $100 National Park entry fee (subject to change) which has to be paid upon arrival on the islands.

Galapagos Tours and Cruises
There are plenty of tour and cruise options available that include land based tours such as island and adventure tours, as well diving and island cruise options. The tours itinerary is set by the national park to allow visitors the opportunity to experience a wide range of the islands diverse landscapes and abundant supply of rare and in some cases endangered species flora and fauna.

The Galapagos Islands can be found lying on the equator within the Pacific Ocean approximately 600 miles to the west of the coast of Ecuador, South America to which they also belong.

There are 18 main islands and several other smaller rock islands and rock formations that are surrounded by over 50,000 square miles of protected marine reserve.

The islands were formed from volcano's which remain active to the west of the island, volcanic remains are still visible today with craters, crater lakes, lava tubes and sulphur fields offering some spectacular scenery, both on land and under sea.

The islands are positioned in such a way that they benefit from several ocean currents which includes the Humboldt and South Equatorial Current, bringing in a diverse range of nutrients and sea life.

Galapagos Islands Inhabitants
Four of the islands known as Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal and Floreana are inhabited with a total population of well over 30,000 people, although none are indigenous.

Where To Stay
There are a wide range of hotels available on the inhabited islands that vary from basic accommodation through to 5 star luxury depending on your budget, with some hotels offering spectacular water front views while others are nestled away in the tranquility of the highlands.

Safety and Park Guidelines
Due to the ongoing conservation and preservation of these unique island there are certain guidelines which should be adhered to that will help ensure the preservation of the islands flora and fauna for the future:

Preservation and conservation of these beautiful islands and the plants and animals that they support is an ongoing process. The human impact caused to the islands such as through over fishing, increasing numbers of human population on the islands, the effect from tourism and the devastation that introduced animals have caused to some of the islands are of course all at the forefront of conservation efforts. The Charles Darwin Research Station works alongside the Galapagos National Park Service to study and help preserve the islands and marine reserve.

Galapagos History
The islands have a history with pirates and whalers who took advantage of the rich supply of animals especially tortoises which they used for food as well as using the islands to replenish their depleted fresh water supplies.

The well known 'Post Office Bay' is a historic reminder of when whalers would leave mail in a barrel for a homeward bound vessel to carry home and deliver, a tradition which is still going on today.

The visit of naturalist Charles Darwin to the islands and his subsequent scientific findings led him to his theory of natural selection which were published in his well known book called 'The Origin of Species'.

Galapagos Animals
Observation of the animals of the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin led to one of the most significant books ever written on behalf of science. Their obvious isolation makes them both sometimes colourful and somewhat bizarre, and hence therefore they are the Galapagos' greatest attraction... more about Galapagos Animals

Galapagos Adventure Travel Guide
From walking up rocky cliffs and along stunning coastlines to diving with Sharks, snorkeling with Sea Lions and Marine Iguanas or kayaking to the coves and islets that surround many of the islands there is plenty to keep you entertained... more about Galapagos Islands Adventure Travel Guide

Galapagos Plants
Due to the incredible diversity of altitude and terrain there is a wide range of flora to be found on the island that varies from coastal vegetation where you will come across shrubs and herbs, to salt water lagoons and mangrove swamps. There are also plenty of dry arid areas where several species of cacti plants, shrubs and trees such as Palo Santo trees can be found. Across the highlands of the islands you can enjoy green fern locations while taking in some spectacular views.

Islands Travel Guide
This unique archipelago of volcanic islands offers both spectacular scenery combined with an abundant supply of wildlife, each island is totally unique and can but capture your imagination: