Discover Galapagos - A travel guide to Galapagos cruises, tours, boats and yacht charters

Galapagos Islands tours - fun for the whole family!

A travel guide to Galapagos tours, boats, cruises & yacht charters

Galapagos Islands Pre-trip Planning

The Galapagos Islands - A Brief Introduction
with photos and comments from our Galapagos Guided Tour

Bartolome Island

On Bartolome, it seems like we are walking on the moon. This young Island is inhospitable to most plants and animals. After a dry landing, climb 30 minutes up a steep slope to the summit of a once active volcano. Pause along the way to marvel at lava bombs, spatter cones and cinder cones. From the top, gaze out across a panoramic view including the famous "Pinnacle Rock", an eroded tuff cone. Down below, crystal clear water invites you to snorkel with schools of tropical fish. Penguins often swim in this area. On the other side of the Island encounter sea turtles and white-tipped sharks.

Galapagos Penguins at Bartolome, Galapagos
Jeff Waugh
"You will probably see the Galapagos Penguin somewhere in the shade along the base of the pinnacle or flying by you in the water."

Tower (Genovesa) Island

Tower Island is one of the most spectacular islands in Galapagos. After a wet landing on Darwin Bay's coral beach, wind your way past tide pools where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather. Enter a forest of mangroves where colonies of great frigate birds nest. The males inflate their red-throated pouches to attract females that fly overhead. Take a "panga" or dinghy  ride along the jagged shoreline. See the beautiful red-billed tropic bird. At Prince Philip's Steps, find storm petrels and the elusive short-eared owl, and watch the famous red-footed boobies nesting in palo santo trees. 

Great Frigate bird displaying on Tower Island
Jeff Waugh
"The most impressive sight here is the large number of male Great Frigates displaying from March to June."

Santiago (James) Island

Puerto Egas - This is a wonderful location for looking for octopus, starfish and other sea life caught in the tide pools. At low tide, catch a glimpse of marine iguanas as they feed on exposed green algae. Watch for great blue herons, lava herons, oystercatchers and yellow-crowned night herons. Our walk ends at the grottos, deep pools of clear water where we encounter fur sea lions that were once on the verge of extinction.

Fur Seals at James Bay, Galapagos
  Jeff Waugh
"The grotto is a collapsed and flooded lava tube that provides some protection from rough seas for fur seals."

Fernandina (Narborough) Island

Punta Espinosa - Located in the western part of the archipelago, Fernandina is the youngest and most pristine island found in Galapagos. Hundreds of marine iguanas, the largest colony in Galapagos, bask in the sun along the rugged shoreline. Observe sea lion harems with resident bulls carefully guarding their territory. Flightless Cormorants build their nest on the point and Galapagos Hawk fly overhead. Evidence of recent lava flows formed by an active volcano stretch their way around the coast.

Flightless Cormorant at Punta Espinosa, Fernandina Island, Galapagos
  Jeff Waugh
"Behind them on the rocky shore is a Flightless Cormorant warming its wings in the early morning sun. An adult and young sit on a nearby nest. We sit and observe the action." 

Isabela (Albemarle) Island

Tagus Cove - Six volcanoes flowed together and formed Isabela, the largest island in Galapagos. On a nature walk, discover a salt-water lagoon, a scenic overlook, and a spectacular view of lava fields, volcanic formations and the ocean. Note graffiti dating back to the 1800's is written on the rocky cliffs. Explore Tagus Cove in pangas or sea kayaks and find Galapagos penguins and other seabirds. 

The trail to the viewpoint at Tagus Cove, Isabela Island
  Jeff Waugh
"As we climb we are able to get a good look at the saltwater lagoon in one of the nearby craters, and a view back down to our boat in the cove."

Santa Cruz Island

Watch the scenery change as we wind our way through all seven vegetation zones found in Galapagos. From June to January you can find giant tortoises on a private farm in the highlands.

We also visit Los Gemelos "The Twins", a pair of large pit craters where we find the bright red male vermilion flycatcher. Afterwards, we head to "the tunnels", the largest lava tubes found in Galapagos. 

After lunch at a highland ranch, we visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Scientists from all over the globe work at the station and conduct biological research from anatomy to zoology. Get your picture taken with the giant tortoises. Observe year-old tortoises and learn about the captive-breeding program. 

Next, stroll through the town of Puerto Ayora (population: 10,000) - the largest town in the Galapagos. Buy souvenirs, mail postcards and absorb local charm in the social heart of the Islands.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise in the highlands of Santa Cruz
  Jeff Waugh
"It is possible to see the Galapagos Tortoise at any point along the trail, especially the closer you get to the reserve." 

Galapagos Giant Tortoise at the Charles Darwin Research Station
  Jeff Waugh
"The Darwin Station has been doing a wonderful job of protecting the Galapagos through scientific research and conservation."

Hood (Espanola) Island

Walk along seemingly endless stretches of sandy beach where you'll find colonies of sea lions. Swim and snorkel with the sea lions and enjoy the colorful diversity of sea life near Gardner Islet. 

This afternoon, we disembark at Punta Suarez,  where we witness the highest rate of "endemism" in the Galapagos. Sea lions noisily green us as we land on their beach. Curious mockingbirds peck at our shoelaces. From April to November waved albatross perform their wild mating rituals only on Espanola. Colonies of blue-footed boobies engage in "sky-pointing" while masked boobies busily care for their young. Stunning swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds take shelter under the cliffs. 

Other species endemic to Galapagos and found on Espanola include Darwin's Finches, Galapagos Doves and Galapagos Hawks. Observe a unique species of marine iguana identified with traces of red and green colorings. Colorful lightfoot crabs crawl along the shoreline near to the famous "blow hole".

 Sea Lion on the beach ar Gardner Bay, Hood Island
  Jeff Waugh
"We see a herd of sea lions all lined up basking in the sun along the beach."

Galapagos Marine Iguana on Hood Island
  Jeff Waugh
"The iguanas on Hood Island turn a brilliant turquoise and red during the breeding season and we are here at the right time. These colors really are amazing." 


Galapagos Cruises and Tours
SCUBA Diving Cruises



Frequently Asked Questions
Galapagos Map
A Brief Introduction
What to Bring
Travel Insurance

Hotels in Quito & Guayaquil


The Galapagos Archipelago
Baltra (Arrival)
Santa Cruz - Caleta Tortuga Negra
San Salvador - Sullivan Bay
San Salvador - James Bay
Fernandina - Punta Espinoza
Isabela - Tagus Cove
Isabela - Urvina Bay
Isabela - Elizabeth Bay
Santa Cruz - CDRS and Highlands
Hood Island - Punta Saurez
Hood Island - Gardner Bay
Santa Fe
Baltra (Departure)


Family Travel Planner
Adventures of Little Miss Chievous
Evan's Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia 2000
Evan's Ecuador 1998

Follow this link to Evan's Ecuador...
Evan with Galapagos Tortoise




Hotels, Haciendas, & Jungle Lodges

Photo Journal

Follow the iguana to Hood Island...
Marine Iguana


 Discover Galapagos
Inti Travel and Tours, Inc
Box 1586 Banff, AB., Canada T1L 1C1

galapagos boats,  tours, cruises, cruise ships, yacht charters and reservations