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Rating 4.3 (145 votes)

Galapagos Islands

Listed under Islands in Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.

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The Galapagos Islands are deservedly famous for close encounters with wildlife. Some of the animals here are unique to these islands, such as the marine iguanas and giant tortoises. You can swim with sea lions, sharks, sea turtles and whales. The islands are best visited on a small boat cruise of at least one week. It is expensive but well worth it for the experiences of a lifetime.

Written by  Mike Lyvers.

Other expert and press reviews

“Galápagos Islands”

'Situated in the Pacific Ocean some 1,000 km from the South American continent, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, t… Read more...

Written by press. UNESCO

“The Galapagos Islands: Look but don't touch”

By Chris Smith for The Independent First published March 4, 2002 The two young sea-lions took not the slightest interest in our arrival. They were playing on the jetty, rolling over and tumbling into the water together, entirely ignoring the human bein… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The Independent

“What would Darwin Say?”

By Rachel Dex for The Guardian First published May 5, 2007 Ten years ago, I visited the Galapagos Islands for the first time. And, like all first timers, I was completely enchanted by the dramatic scenery of this Eden-like outpost and the guileless cha… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The Guardian

“Excerpt from 'Sailing towards Paradise'”

By Matthew Power for The New York Times First published December 23, 2007 When Darwin arrived at San Cristóbal (then called Chatham Island) on Sept. 17, 1835, he remarked in his journal: “Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance. A brok… Read more...

Written by press. Full Article from The New York Times

“'As we clambered off the yacht, we felt like explorers'”

By Sarfraz Manzoor for The Guardian. First published 7th December 2008. The baby sea lion looked as if it was sleeping, resting peacefully under a mangrove tree seemingly hiding from the sun. I went closer and realised it was dead: the third carcass I … Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Guardian, 8th December 2008.

“The grown-up gapper: close encounters on the Galápagos”

By Ruth Holiday for The Telegraph. First published 24th October 2008. ...In the afternoon a guide takes us to Rancho Permiso, a few kilometres outside town. The project is home to 125 giant tortoises living in vast open meadows criss-crossed with narro… Read more...

Written by press. See the full article in The Telegraph, 24th October 2008

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Is there any currant danger from volcanic activity in the Philipines?

My son is currently on vacation on Palawan Island and the news just reported something about the possible eruption of one of the volcanos in the islands. I didn't hear any details.

Wonderful Place

It's a brilliant place the finches are wonderful

Galapagos Islands - things to consider when planning a trip

1) Make sure you take a boat with a decent itinerary around the islands ie one that doesn't have to double back on itself. I personally think that the best ones are those that do a loop around the outer islands which is to say, around the western side of Isabella.

2) Please try not to bother going for less than 7 nights.

3) Bigger boats....98 passengers might not sound like a big boat but you watch a dozen zodiacs landing all at once in this environment and it's like D-day. If you can live without captain's cocktail hour and chandeliers then go for a smaller boat - 16 passengers is great.

4) See if you can go for a locally owned boat - these tend to source more of their provisions and more of their staff from the islands themselves (rather than Guayaquil on the mainland) which makes the whole thing more sustainable.

Galapagos Islands Best Time of Year to Visit

Go in May or June. There are plenty of reasons and explanations as to when you should go but here's my thinking - the water's fairly warm, the weather is good, the seas aren't too choppy, the animals are great (including the mating boobies) and it's all in low season which will save you a little bit.

If you are interested in a general visit to the islands i.e. you are not an expert in marine life or birds, but just want to see everything you can imagine, then May/June is great. I was there mid-May and was lucky enough to watch albatross nesting and blue footed boobies mating. On top of this, and I'm not sure how much of this is seasonal but I spent a long time snorkelling with turtles, sea lions, sharks and even penguins. We saw sea lions, fur seals, land iguanas, marine iguanas, rays, sharks, dolphins, giant tortoises, etc, etc...When I say saw, what I mean is that they were there, within inches. Not being perceived as a threat to the animals really can change the way you look at things.

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