The Top Five Galapagos Islands to Visit
The Galapagos Islands make for an excellent holiday vacation, whether it be an adventure on a budget or a special occasion. However, with 20 islands to choose from and a staggering number of fantastic visitor sites, planning can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, we have narrowed down a list of the top five islands to visit in the Galapagos.
When looking at a map of the Galapagos Islands, Isabela Island is the first island to physically stand out. Its rich diversity makes it one of the more notable islands to visit. From Galapagos penguins to flightless cormorants and magnificent frigatebirds, many of the most sought-after Galapagos species can be observed here (not to mention more species of the Galapagos tortoise than on any other island!). Isabela’s small town of Puerto Villamil is arguably the most beautiful in the Galapagos, and its abundant waters attract whales and dolphins. Additionally, Los Tuneles and Las Tintoreras are excellent sites for snorkeling and diving, and the Sierra Negra caldera, the second largest in the world, offers visitors an unforgettable nature hike.
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island, the second largest in the Galapagos Islands, is popular among tourists as it boasts all seven habitat zones found in the Galapagos archipelago. As well as numerous fun activities. A visit to the twin pit craters, ancient lava tunnels, and Cerro Mesa will astound you with the wonders of nature. On the other hand, the Tortuga Bay and Garrapatero beaches offer breath-taking opportunities to watch the day come to a close.
The island is particularly renowned for its highlands, which provide a home to nearly every species of land bird in the Galapagos, as well as the famous giant tortoises. The breeding program at the Charles Darwin Research Station is also an excellent spot to observe these gentle giants and learn about Galapagos preservation projects.
San Cristobal Island
San Cristobal has made a name for itself as the first island where Charles Darwin disembarked in 1835. However, the vibrant animal life and rich waters surrounding the island mean that it continues to be a center of observation and research. Within the idyllic town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, visitors can learn about the Galapagos’ past and future at the San Cristobal Interpretation Center. San Cristobal is also well known for Kicker Rock, a majestic geological formation just offshore. Where the countless number of tropical fish, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine life found. Making it one of the best diving and snorkeling areas in the archipelago.
Floreana has become a hot spot for visitors due to its intriguing human history. Home to the first Galapagos resident and first post office, it also housed a penal colony and a toothless doctor. Nevertheless, several endemic Galapagos birds and animals also live on Floreana, such as the Floreana Mockingbird and Galapagos penguin. You may also get a glimpse of the Galapagos flamingo at Cormorant Point, beautifully contrasted by the unusual olive-green sand.
Española Island is a colorful Rolodex of wildlife, beautiful beaches, and stunning geographic formations. Visitors can observe a wide range of iconic Galapagos fauna, including the frigatebird, the elusive Galapagos Hawk, blue-footed boobies, and the Galapagos albatross. Between April and December, it is thought that almost every waved albatross in the world comes to Española to breed. Punta Suarez is an excellent site for observing wildlife, and its trails will take you to the famous Galapagos blowhole, which shoots water almost 100 feet into the air! End your day at Gardner Bay and relax amidst the beauty of this white-sand beach and, of course, sea lions.