The Galapagos Islands…a marvel of Mother Nature. Largely untouched by human activity over the centuries, this isolated archipelago is home to a fascinating array of land and marine species found nowhere else. Blue-footed Boobies and crimson red Sally Lightfoot Crabs contrast dark lava rocks and camouflaged Marine Iguanas. Basking Sea Lions line powder-white beaches while Pelicans and Frigate birds ply the skies. Plunge into the turquoise waters to join playful Sea Lions and Sea Turtles. On land, the Giant Galapagos Tortoises have a magical presence all their own and can weigh up to 500 pounds! Explore out Galapagos Travel Tips blog post.
Each day is as varied as the islands are different–from birdwatching and hiking to the world’s second largest caldera, to kayaking through mangroves and diving with sharks. This UNESCO World Heritage site is explored and loved by travelers of all ages, activity levels and interests.
How do I visit the Galapagos?
While the Galapagos is a one-of-a-kind destination, the travel options are numerous. There's something for everyone, whether land-based, shipboard or a combination of both; from luxury yachts and expedition ships to safari-style tents and treehouses, and everything in between!
Why choose a Travel Designer?
With over 15 years of experience specializing in the Galapagos, Latin Excursions helps you sift through the many options and select or design a Galapagos trip that fits like a glove (at no extra cost). As award-winning Galapagos Specialists, our itineraries have been recognized by
Condé Nast and Travel+Leisure.
Each of our private Galapagos tours are a masterfully choreographed experience with exclusive local access and an impeccable standard of service sewn into every detail
This is our craft. Our commitment.
Latin Excursions has been recognized and honored with multiple awards for our travel innovation and expertise:
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essential to crafting private Galapagos tours and cruises is knowing what experiences await
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RIGHT FOR ME?
The Galapagos Archipelago is an infinitely intriguing collection of over 60 islands and islets, only four of which are inhabited. A unique, mini ecosystem in itself, roughly 600 miles off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, in the Galapagos biodiversity is evident not just in its wildlife populations, but also across many different plants, landscapes and environments.
Here, you can find ancient lava fields and depleted volcanoes, picture-perfect white sand bays and some of the best snorkeling anywhere in the world, all within a day. There are grassy highlands, mangroves and forests of giant cacti to be seen, as well as rocky outcrops and barren tundra, depending on exactly which islands are included in your tour.
The main and most popular Galapagos Islands are Isabela (the largest of the group), Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Santiago, with lesser-known Genovesa, Marchena, Santa Fe, Baltra, Pinta and Pinzon making up the 13 recognized volcanic land masses. Certain species, such as Sea Lions, Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs, can be seen throughout the Galapagos. However, if visiting the northern islands including Santiago and Genovesa, look out for nesting seabirds, Turtles and Stingrays, native plant species and forest-covered islets. The western isles are known for their populations of Giant Tortoises, Flightless Cormorants and Dolphins found in and around the lava fields of Isabela and Fernandina, while the east is awash with Red-footed Boobies, Gulls and Waved Albatrosses. Finally, you could cruise south to the sandy beaches, White-tipped Reef Sharks and Frigate Birds of Espanola and Floreana, among many others.
Thankfully, the Galapagos Islands are a perfect travel destination for all types of experiential travelers: families with young children, small groups, retired couples and honeymooners alike. This is thanks to the versatility of trips, range of activities and choice of routes, all sewn together with predictable weather, endless wildlife and stunning landscapes to admire.
Active holidaymakers will love the open-water sea kayaking, volcano hikes and some of the best scuba diving in the world. Meanwhile, anyone looking for a more relaxing Latin American vacation can sit back and enjoy the view, aboard a luxury Galapagos cruise yacht in between gentle wildlife walks or afternoons spent strolling pristine beaches.
The Galapagos Archipelago, and each unique travel experience to be had here, has made this region a popular bucket-list destination. For wildlife enthusiasts, tracing the footsteps of Charles Darwin is a must, witnessing the same species and scenery that he did aboard the HMS Beagle, prompting the now famous Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection. That said, visitors don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world to have an adventure of a lifetime. Former pirate hangouts, deserted beaches, luxury cruise vessels, mountain biking and trekking and eco-lodges...there really is something for everyone in the Galapagos.
Most flights into the Galapagos will travel via Quito or Guayaquil to airports on the islands of Baltra, San Cristobal or Isabela. We recommend staying in Quito at least two days, prior to your Galapagos flight, to recover from international flights, acclimate, and to explore this beautiful, historic Latin American city.
On arrival, you can either enjoy a pre-set cruise, taking in a handful of islands while aboard one of the many luxury vessels which operate throughout the archipelago, opt for a land-based itinerary staying at boutique Galapagos hotels and eco-lodges, or combine both. With so many itineraries to choose from, travelers can see plenty of wildlife and certain Galapagos highlights even with a shorter three or four-day tour. Longer trips, of course, allow for a greater immersion into the variety of landscapes, and give easier access to a wider range of species. Each island has its own habitats, animals and marine life, so we suggest five to seven days to see it all, if possible.
The beauty of a Galapagos cruise is that you can enjoy unforgettable sunsets at sea, travel further distances, and visit more islands with little effort on daily excursions.
Land-based programs of the Galapagos, on the other hand, allow you to explore at your own pace, choosing which days will be spent relaxing and which will be dedicated to wildlife walks, boat tours, activities and adventures (i.e. mountain biking, kayaking, diving, trekking, cooking classes..). The choice is yours!
Whichever option you select, the expert Latin Excursions team will help personalize your vacation perfectly, advising on when to go, where to stay, what to do, how to maximize your time and what to pack.
The Galapagos is a year-round holiday destination, with the seasons broadly split into two. It’s either dry and cool between June and November, or warmer and often wetter between December and June, with August and September seeing slightly choppier seas, which could affect your cruise itinerary.
The real question then, is which species can be seen during those two seasons. January and February are good if hoping to witness both Giant Tortoise hatchlings, and Green Sea Turtles laying their eggs, as well as penguin migrations to Isabela and Fernandina Islands. March and April see a lot of activity for Frigate Birds and Waved Albatrosses, while May and June marks the arrival of Humpback Whales and Whale Sharks, making for the most exciting boat tours. July is traditionally the mating season for Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, coastal birds and Sea Lions, so expect a lot of fascinating rituals during this time, particularly if visiting Espanola or Fernandina.
Air temperatures are usually at their lowest during August and September, though wildlife-watching opportunities do not stop as both highland and lowland species are still active. October through to December is then a great time of year to spot newly born chicks, pups and calves, while throughout it all, the foliage changes and flowers blossom to create an ever-changing backdrop to this most beautiful of places.