A trip to the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador – designated a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO – is a unique experience that changes visitors’ perception of the planet and the forces that have shaped it. It’s a milestone in thousands of travelers’ bucket lists because when looking for intimate encounters with nature there is no place on earth that resembles this one. Ancestral giant tortoises, curious and playful sea lions, land iguanas feeding themselves with cacti, blue-feet boobies, penguins, and many more non-flying species. Groups of dolphins or orcas following the shipping vessels, allow us to imagine how life was thousands of years ago.
After an hour and half flight from Quito or Guayaquil, you will reach this remote paradise of volcanic origins. Nineteen big islands and more that 40 rocky islets form the archipelago, home to 30.000 inhabitants, spread out across four populated centers. Puerto Ayora is located at the Santa Cruz Island, adjacent to Baltra. It offers some of the best touristic facilities in the Galápagos, and hosts the Charles Darwin Research Stations. Visitors can learn here about the giant tortoise reproduction programs as well as other efforts to preserve the ecosystems and fauna of the islands.
Short 4-day expeditions; cruises or hotel stays; visits that offer breathtaking views of impressive landscapes; adventures that let you see a massive array of the emblematic species that live on the islands; shipping vessels that travel to the most remote places in the archipelago… There are many alternatives and options to consider when visiting the Galapagos, but we highly recommend doing a guided expedition in order to get the best experience.
You can choose a comfortable 40-90 people cruise that will take you to the farthest islands. This journey of 5 to 10 days will introduce you to the most iconic species of the Galapagos. For those seeking a more personalized experience, another option is to travel on a smaller yacht where naturalist guides will be with you during the whole trip, and will share with you fascinating facts that will allow you to understand what Charles Darwin went through when he arrived to this world in 1835. It was this episode that led to his evolution theory development.
For those who prefer a land-base experience, there are many hotels that offer great comfort and the luxury of stunning views, high quality gastronomy and excellent costumer service. They also offer daily excursions to the nearby islands where visitors can interact with sea lions, marine and land iguanas, and many of the Galapagos bird species that will become unforgettable memories. The populated areas of the archipelago such as Puerto Ayora, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Puerto Villamil and Floreana will also let you have a close encounters with sea lions and numerous bird species that are not afraid of humans.
This is also the best place in the world for those who love diving! The underwater world – the one that Charles Darwin did not have time to explore – is another laboratory of great wealth. Those who go for a diving adventure will discover great hammerheads, gigantic rays, seahorses, and compact colorful fish schools in an astonishing and pristine world. This marine reserve is the second most important one in the world, just after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The Ecuadorian government declared the waters surrounding the Darwin and Wolf islands (popular places for scuba diving) a marine sanctuary, and artisanal fishing is prohibited. Recent studies have discovered that here lays the highest shark density in the planet, reflecting a healthy and privileged ecosystem.
The Galapagos islands are an all-year destination, although the high seasons go from June to September, and from December to mid-January. The Galapagos National Park has a strict limit for number of tourists visiting the islands by boat, which is why it is very uncommon to come across big groups.
We will craft your itinerary to the Galapagos based on your interests and time availability. We want to make sure your visit fulfills all your expectations, and that it becomes the journey of your lifetime.
To start, let us suggest you a land-based itinerary in the Enchanted Islands