The Galapagos Islands are one of the best tropical vacation spots in the world. With just over 200,000 visitors
per year, it's not a tropical hotspot like Mexico, but should be on your travel bucket list, anyway.
The islands were the very first World UNESCO Heritage Site
. Its location at the junction of three ocean currents makes it one of the most biodiverse marine ecosystems
in the world. Volcanic eruptions are constantly changing the islands, making them a unique travel experience.
There are many things to do in the Galapagos Islands to keep you busy. Whether you're on a cruise, island hopping, or animal spotting, there are activities for everybody.
Keep reading to find our tips on planning your Galapagos Islands vacation
The Best Time to Go on Your Galapagos Islands Vacation
The islands are a beautiful destination all year round. The time of year you go will change the experience you have on your vacation. Here are some things to consider when you're planning your Galapagos travel.
April, May, September, and October are the low tourism seasons for the Enchanted Islands. You'll find that pricing is at its lowest during these months of the year.
There are two seasons on the islands — dry (June through November) and hot (December through May).
It's much rainier during the hot season with intermittent daily rainfalls. You can also expect bright sunlight and lush vegetation.
During the dry season, there's almost no rainfall at lower altitudes. The highlands of the larger islands are green and lush.
Flora and Fauna
The Galapagos are well-known for their biodiversity. Much of the flora and fauna you'll find on the islands you won't see anywhere else in the world.
You may see giant tortoises, humpback whales, sea lions, and penguins during the dry season.
The wet season brings about marine iguanas, sea turtles, flamingos, and albatross.
Though hiking in the hot season may be uncomfortable, it's the best time to spot the diverse flora and fauna of the islands. The highlands will be full of lush vegetation and the red-footed boobies will be breeding and nesting. It's during these months you'll find Galapagos giant tortoise eggs hatching at various breeding centers.
If you're a diver, there are two main seasons to know about on the Galapagos. Whale shark season runs from June through November. Manta seasonruns from December through May.
Marine life is more active during the whale shark season due to extra nutrients in the waters. There tends to be less sunshine and rougher waters during these months, however.
During manta season, you may find schools of hammerhead sharks and giant manta rays off of Isabela Island. These months often see calmer ocean conditions and a lot more sunshine, too.
If seeing flora and fauna is a focal point of your vacation, consider our eight-day travel package
. You'll visit three main islands and catch sightings of sea lions, giant tortoises, and flamingos.
Seeing the Different Islands
Thirteen main islands
that make up the Galapagos. There are six smaller islands and scores of islets
, too. You could spend your whole vacation on land, but to fully experience the region, we recommend seeing other islands.
Taking a Cruise
One of the best ways to get a taste of it all is by taking a cruise on the Galapagos Islands. Plus, some islands, like Fernandina and Genovesa, are only open for cruise passengers.
Cruising allows you to see several different islands and live in the lap of luxury simultaneously.
We have several different cruise options available to choose from. Whether you want to experience first-class
or are on a shoestring budget, we can work with you to find a cruise that matches your needs.
If you don't plan on getting on a boat during your vacation, it will be hard for you to take it all in. You'll waste a lot of time getting from your hotel to your day's destination. If you're not interested in cruising, island hopping is the next best option.
With an island hopping tour, you'll spend your evenings on land instead of on the boat. Your days will be spent hopping from island to island.
Our eight-day island hopping tour
is a fantastic way to see the Enchanted Islands. You'll visit the Sierra Negra Volcano, kayak in Pto. Villamil
and even have time to explore on your own.
If you're short on time and have a smaller budget, our five-day tour
is a great option. We'll take you to two of the main islands — Santa Cruz and Isabela
. You'll take in the Sierra Negra volcano
and the Twin Craters
as well as the Charles Darwin Station.
Where to Stay on Your Trip
If you aren't embarking on a cruise, you'll need to book hotels during your vacation.
Only four of the Galapagos Islands are suitable for overnight stays — Santa Cruz, Floreana, Isabela, and San Cristobal. Each island has budget, mid-range, and luxury hotel options.
is an excellent pick if you like to be in the midst of all the tourist hustle and bustle. The Finch Bay Hotel
is terrific for its beautiful natural surroundings and fine dining. The Hotel Solymar
is another excellent pick known for its easy ocean access and stunning views.
Floreana Island is the southernmost island in the Galapagos. It features the "Devil's Crown" - a famous dive and snorkeling spot with an underwater volcanic cone. There are many guesthouses to stay in, most of which run out of permanent residents' homes.
Isabela Island is the archipelago's largest island.
It has five active volcanoes and is a great place to spot flightless cormorants and giant tortoises. Its Iguana Crossing beachfront hotel
is our favorite on the island for a relaxing and memorable stay.
San Cristobal is the easternmost island in the archipelago.
It's perfect for history lovers as its where Charles Darwin first went ashore in the 1800s. The Casa Opuntia hotel
is on the oceanfront boardwalk steps away from the beautiful Playa de Oro beach.
Plan Your Galapagos Islands Vacation Today
While planning a holiday is fun and exciting, it can be overwhelming to do it alone. That's why we're here to eliminate your doubts and organize your vacations in the Galapagos Islands.
Check out this comprehensive list of our current Galapagos Islands tour options to start building your holiday.