Galapagos Marine Iguana

Galapagos Marine Iguana - The Harmless Godzilla

The Galapagos marine iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is endemic to the Galapagos Islands. They can be found in almost every island and often among coastal rocks, mangroves, lava rocks and on beaches. The Galapagos marine iguanas are the only species of iguana that feed on sea plants which makes up a majority of their diet. The marine iguanas are now classified into 11 different types of sub-species. Among the species discovered is the Amblyrhynchus cristatus Godzilla which is similar to the Godzilla we know so well from movies.

Marine iguanas are different in size in every island. In Isabela Island, they can be as heavy as 11 KG while those in Genovesa Island can weigh less than 1 KG. Female marine iguanas, usually smaller in comparison to their male counterparts, measure up to 60 centimetres, while male iguanas can grow up to 1.3 metres! During a non-mating season, marine iguanas are usually black. However, during mating season (from December/January onwards), scales on male marine iguanas will transform into gorgeous colours. For example in Española Island, the marine iguanas turn red or green, thus the name – Christmas iguanas. The colours come from pigmentation digested from the consumption of Algae. However, female iguanas are not swayed by bright colours but are attracted to larger-sized males instead.

Christmas Iguana laying on a rock in the Galapagos Islands

Habitat and Diet

The Galapagos marine Iguanas often live together in large colonies. They enjoy sun-bathing on black coastal rocks and it is not an uncommon sight to see them lay comfortably on top of one another. Sun-bathing is integral to their survival as they need to warm up after spending up to 45 minutes in the sea. They can also dive up to 30 metres deep. The best temperature for marine iguanas is between 36 to 38 degrees Celsius (97 Fahrenheit) although the air temperature in the Galapagos Islands is rarely so warm. The lower the temperature, the slower the marine iguanas move.

Marine iguanas dig their nests for their eggs close by the sea. The main predators of young marine iguanas are dogs and cats found on inhabited islands in the Galapagos as well as the Galapagos snake.

Species Protection

The  El Niño climate phenomenon causes periodic decreases in the marine iguana population. Nevertheless, the Charles Darwin Foundation estimated that over 100,000 marine iguanas reside on the coasts of the Galapagos.

To plan your trip better, check out our Galapagos Islands monthly animal activities poster.


Advice for visitors:

Galapagos marine iguanas can be spotted all-year round in the Galapagos archipelago. To see marine iguanas turn bright red and green during December and January, you can either book our cruise tour which travels on the Southern route or visit Española island with an island hopping tour from San Cristóbal Island.

✪ Galapagos Islands Marine Iguana Tours ✪

Sea Lion Family

Best Seller: Galapagos Family Tour (from 5 days)

Duration: 4 - 8 days
Highlights: Galapagos Island Hopping, Santa Cruz Island, Giant Tortoises in the Highlands, Land Iguanas on Seymour, Blue-Footed Boobies and Frigatebirds, Tortuga Bay, Bay Tours around Santa Cruz Islands, Charles Darwin Station

5 Days and 4 Nights: Galapagos family tour featuring 4 islands. Family-friendly hotels and excursions

From 1010,- USD
Price per pax
Animal Encounters

Galapagos Island Hopping with Children

Duration: 7 - 9 days
Highlights: Penguins, Sea Lions, Giant Tortoises in the Highlands, Land Iguanas on Seymour, Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds, White Sand Beaches

Child-friendly accommodation and exciting excursions for the whole family including animal encounters on Isabela Island

From 1360,- USD
Price per pax
Wittmer Statue on Floreana Island

Galapagos Island Hopping: Settlers Trail

Duration: 7 - 9 days
Highlights: Santa Cruz Island, Floreana Island, Pirate Cove, Giant Tortoises in the Highlands, Land Iguanas in Plaza Sur , History of the early settlers, Charles Darwin Station, Bartolomé Island

Galapagos Explorer - 5 Islands - Stay with the descendants of the first settlers

From 1410,- USD
Price per pax
Golondrina I

Galapagos Island Cruise on a Budget

Duration: 8 - 14 days
Highlights: 5 Routes to Choose, Magical Landscapes, Selection of Hand-Picked Cruises, To and From Baltra Island, Includes Quito Hotel, Includes Domestic Flight, Includes Cruise, Includes All Meals During Cruise, Includes All Excursions, Includes Transfers, English Speaking Guides, Individual Tour Connections

Enjoy the perfect Galapagos experience with a short cruise on a basic ship.

From 2030,- USD
Price per pax
Friendly Locals on Isabela Island

Galapagos island hopping - mission paradise

Duration: 15 - 15 days
Highlights: San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela - 7 days, Santa Cruz, English Speaking Guides, Charming Hotels , English Speaking Hosts, Including Domestic Flights, Including Inter-Island Flights, Including Speedboat Tickets, Including Transfers, Excluding Day Excursions, Prebook Your Day Excursions Now

Intensive tour - best route - choose excursions and hotels individually - natural beach on Isabela - german/english

From 2060,- USD
Price per pax
Incredible Snorkelling

Galapagos's Best Snorkelling Tour

Duration: 11 - 14 days
Highlights: Kicker Rock, Pizón - Santa Fé, Los Tuneles, Las Tintoreras, North Seymour and Las Bachas, Charles Darwin Station

Snorkelling in the paradise of the Galapagos - visit the Galapagos Islands and discover 7 unique islands

From 2060,- USD
Price per pax
Sea Lions on Isabela Island

Galapagos Island Hopping - Mission Paradise on a budget

Duration: 12 - 14 days
Highlights: Santa Cruz, Isabela - 7 days, Charming Hotels , Including Speedboat Tickets, Including Transfers, Excluding Day Excursions

Galapagos Pro offers 15 days in paradise - best routes, customised excursions and hotels, gorgeous beaches

From 2130,- USD
Price per pax
Ikala Galapagos Hotel

Galapagos Island Hopping Deluxe: Santa Cruz and Isabela

Duration: 8 - 10 days
Highlights: Ikala Hotel, Iguana Crossing Hotel, Land iguanas on Seymour, Blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds, White sand beaches, Penguins at the equator, Hike the volcano, Expert nature guides, Luxury excursion boats

Luxury abounds in the gorgeous Galapagos Islands, where nature dominates the landscape

From 2310,- USD
Price per pax

Adrenaline Rush: Ecuador and Galapagos

Duration: 16 - 21 days
Highlights: Volcanoe, Amazon Rainforest, Swing at the End of the World, Baños, Camping, Horseback Riding, Llanganates National Park, Bike Tours, Waterfalls at Baños, Hiking at the Cuicocha Lake, North Seymour Island, Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomé, Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano, Penguins on Isabela Island

Get your heart pumping and keep your mind open - travel Ecuador and Galapagos the adventurous way.

From 3430,- USD
Price per pax
Kayak in the Andes

Ecuador & Galapagos Multi-Sport Tour

Duration: 16 - 21 days
Highlights: Quito - Cultural World Heritage, Horseback Riding, Llanganates National Park, Waterfalls at Baños, Hiking at the Cuicocha Lake, North Seymour Island, Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomé, Penguins on Isabela Island

Get ready to get your heart pumping and sweat it out as you kayak, mountain bike, raft and snorkel in

From 3430,- USD
Price per pax
Breath-taking Panoramic view

Ecuador Volcano Trekking Adventure Tour

Duration: 16 - 21 days
Highlights: Quito - Cultural World Heritage, Camping, Bike Tours, Waterfalls at Baños, North Seymour Island, Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomé, Hiking the Sierra Negra Volcano, Penguins on Isabela Island

Travel Ecuador and Galapagos the adventurous way as you conquer the volcanic terrain.

From 3430,- USD
Price per pax
Traveling With Your Nature Guide

Ecuador and Galapagos: Compact Tour

Duration: 14 - 18 days
Highlights: Cultural World Heritage, Quito, Otavalo Markets, Avenue of Volcanoes, Shaman Experience, Devil's Nose, Cotopaxi National Park, Ingapirca - Inca ruins, Cajas National Park, Guayaquil, Galapagos Islands , Santa Cruz Island, North Seymour, Isabela

Ecuador's most beautiful places - the majestic Andes, lush Amazon Rainforest and enchanting Galapagos islands

From 3460,- USD
Price per pax
Galapagos Giant Tortoises

Ecuador Complete: Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Islands

Duration: 16 - 20 days
Highlights: Cultural World Heritage Quito, Ingapirca's Incan Ruins, Cajas National Park, Guayaquil, Galapagos Island Hopping

Discover the many faces of the world's most biodiverse country!

From 3560,- USD
Price per pax
Highlands of Papallacta

Best of Ecuador: Rental Car and Galapagos Island Hopping

Duration: 21 - 28 days
Highlights: Papallacta, El Angel , Devil's Nose, Ingapirca - Inca Ruins, Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island

Experience Ecuador with a rental car before island hopping through the Galapagos archipelago

From 3800,- USD
Price per pax
Iguana Crossing Hotel

Galapagos Cruise Deluxe: Mission Paradise

Duration: 13 - 13 days
Highlights: Golden Bay Hotel, Iguana Crossing, Finch Bay Ecolodge, Isabela, Santa Cruz, English speaking guides, Boutique hotels, First class cruise ships, Includes intra-island flights, Includes domestic flights, Includes transfers, Excludes international flights

Live in the lap of luxury with Galapagos PRO.

From 4000,- USD
Price per pax
Family Travel Galapagos

Galapagos Cruises for Families

Duration: 12 - 14 days
Highlights: Quito - World Heritage City, Long White Sand Beaches, Baby Turtles, Swimming with Penguins, Playful Sea Lions, Marine Iguanas, Volcano Hike

The Galapagos Islands are ideal for families.

From 4420,- USD
Price per pax
Galapagos Legend

Ecuador Complete: Amazon, Andes and Galapagos Cruise

Duration: 16 - 21 days
Highlights: Quito - Cultural World Heritage, Otavalo Craft Markets, Avenue of Volcanoes, Cuenca - Colonial History, Guayaquil - Economic Hub, Galapagos Cruise

Discover the diversity of Ecuador: Andes Mountains, Amazon Rainforest and Galapagos Islands

From 4440,- USD
Price per pax
The River Boat Manatee

Cruise Ecuador: Amazon Cruise and Galapagos Cruise

Duration: 12 - 16 days
Highlights: Yasuni National Park, Isabela & Fernandina, Santa Cruz and North Seymour, Includes all transfers and domestic flights

The three wonders of Ecuador in one trip: Andes Mountains, Amazon and Galapagos Islands

From 4890,- USD
Price per pax
Mary Anne

Galapagos Cruise for Solo and Single Travelers

Duration: 12 - 14 days
Highlights: Fantastic itinerary, beautiful sailing ship, other cruise options available: Petrel and Ocean Spray

The wistful Mary Anne yacht offers 6 single cabins - the perfect option for single travelers!

From 5310,- USD
Price per pax
Train at the station

Scenery and Society: Ecuador and Galapagos

Duration: 18 - 26 days
Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage Quito, Andes panorama, Charles Darwin Station, 4 days in the Amazon, Avenue of Volcanoes, Devil's Nose, Galapagos giant tortoise breeding centre, Snorkelling the Los Tuneles, Cycling through Isabela, VIP tour Charles Darwin Foundation, Bartolomé and Sullivan Bay, Las Grietas Gorge

Experience the diverse landscapes and intriguing culture of Ecuador

From 5840,- USD
Price per pax
Specialised Equipment

Accessible Travel: Ecuador and Galapagos Islands

Duration: 12 - 14 days
Highlights: Specialised Wheelchairs, Quito-World Heritage Site, Train ride to Cotopaxi, Accessible rainforest lodge, Andes highlands via Baños, Galapagos Islands, San Cristóbal Island, Lobería on San Cristóbal island, Lobos Island, Tortoise breeding center

A curated experience of the enchanting land of Ecuador without barriers.

From 6000,- USD
Price per pax
Casa Gangotena, Quito

Nature Deluxe: Cloud Forest and Galapagos Islands

Duration: 13 - 18 days
Highlights: Quito - UNESCO Cultural World Heritage , Mashpi Lodge, Andes Mountain Cloud Forest, Galapagos cruise, Luxury cruise, Santa Cruz, Finch Bay Eco-Lodge, Includes domestic flights, Includes all transfers, Casa Gangotena

Stay in the most beautiful and luxurious accommodations and experience the natural wonders of Ecuador and Galapagos.

From 7110,- USD
Price per pax

Galapagos Cruise Deluxe: Quito to the Islands in Luxury

Duration: 10 - 14 days
Highlights: Luxurious ships, Selection of 5 star hotels, Fantastic day trips, Selection of 5 star cruises, Domestic flights included, Personalised service, Fisr class nature guides

Discover the beloved animal paradise in first-class style with Galapagos Deluxe

From 9340,- USD
Price per pax
Pikaia Lodge

Galapagos Luxury: Santa Cruz Highlands

Duration: 6 - 7 days
Highlights: Quito Old Town, Galapagos Islands, Pikaia Lodge, Santa Cruz and Bartolomé, Santa Fé and Plaza Sur, Charles Darwin Station, Giant tortoises

The Galapagos Islands at their best: Explore the islands and stay in the exceptional Pikaia Lodge in the highlands.

From 11320,- USD
Price per pax