Top 10 Attractions in the Galapagos Islands

Albatros-Pärchen auf der Galapagos-Insel Española

No. 1 Española Island – Albatrosses are the main cast on Española Island, which located southeast of the Galapagos Archipelago. From the end of March to mid-January, they perform ecstatic mating dance rituals, build nests, breed and take care of their newborns. The fledgelings’ first attempt to fly begins in mid-December. The colony living on Punta Estrada beach is the only surviving endemic Galapagos Albatrosses and are considered endangered. If you want to see these delightful birds up close, you should definitely visit the island. There are two ways to get there: with a cruise which takes the Southern Albatross Route or on an excursion from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (only on Thursdays and Saturdays).

No. 2 Bartolomé Island – The island is home to the northernmost penguins in the world. Whoever visits Bartolomé will get to enjoy stunning views of volcanic and lava formations, discover unique vegetations and relax on pristine secluded beaches. 95% of the island is untouched and preserved in its natural state. You can get to Bartolomé Island with a cruise or on an excursion boat.

The Charles Darwin Research Station is a tortoise breeding station located on Santa Cruz Island

No. 3 Santa Cruz Island – It is rather strange that Charles Darwin did not visit Santa Cruz Island during his legendary expedition to the Galapagos Islands. Ironically, this is where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located. The Galapagos National Park office and the tortoise breeding station is also close by. The island has the most restaurants and hotels with daily excursion boats to bring visitors to other islands. There are several beaches on the island where you can meet colourful endemic marine iguanas and snorkel with sharks and rays. Read more about Santa Cruz Island here.

No. 4 Isabela Island – This list is undeniably subjective, but I am confident that Isabela Island should always be listed as one of the top attractions. This paradise will surely not disappoint. Cruises usually head towards the southern part of the island where peculiar flightless cormorants live, while Island hoppers on excursions will get to visit Puerto Villamil, a charming town which resembles a beach paradise. It is a usual occurrence for Marine iguanas and sea lions to steal the show and take up space at the beach bar (as pictured) and park benches. Find out more about Isabela Island here.

"don't knock, just walk on in. Happy hour"
The irridescent beak and bright red feet characterise this special Genovesa resident, the red-footed Booby

No. 5 Genovesa Island – For bird lovers, this island is a must see. It lies on the northwestern part of the Galapagos Archipelago and is reachable with a cruise which travels on the Northern Route. There are currently no excursions to Genovesa Island as the travel duration is too long (around 4 hours from Santa Cruz Island). Genovesa is home to the red-footed boobies. The blue-footed and masked boobies often nest in the bushes on the island. There are also several fascinating diving and snorkelling sites around Genovesa Island not to be missed!

No. 6 Seymour Island and Las Bachas beach – According to our insider and staff working in the Galapagos Islands, Karin Kugele, the island is one of the most beautiful islands in the archipelago. Also known as North Seymour Island, it is a mini islet north of Baltra airport. You will find a large variety of exciting wildlife within a small area such as land iguanas, blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, mockingbirds and Darwin finches. Excursion boats usually include snorkelling at the peaceful and quiet Las Bachas Beach (part of Santa Cruz Island). 

Galapagos island Nord Seymour is known for the large population of golden land iguanas
Charles Darwin Statue in San Cristóbal, Galapagos Islands

No. 7 San Cristóbal Island – The little town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is not only the provincial capital of the island but also known as the capital of sea lions. More than 500 sea lions reside in the city area where they take up park benches, laze around the promenade and sunbathe on the beaches. Residents wake up daily to birds chirping and sea lions bellowing. The island has so much to offer, and it is the perfect starting point for your Galapagos trip!

No. 8 Fernandina Island – When I see a flightless cormorant waddling gleefully in the water against the low rumbles of the majestic La Cumbre Volcano, I know that I am on Fernandina Island. Being only 35,000 years old, it is the youngest western island in complete isolation. The island has the least number of visitors as it is only accessible with a cruise which travels on the West Route. Visitors can snorkel alongside playful penguins and hungry marine iguanas foraging for algae. Read more about this beautiful island here.

The flightless Cormorant on the Galapagos Islands
Rolf Wittmer memorial on Floreana Island

No. 9 Floreana Island – From pirates, an eccentric dentist who pulled out all his teeth to a Baroness with multiple lovers, early settler stories from Floreana Island are excellent materials for your next novel! Today, Floreana Island is the most peaceful island amongst the other inhabited islands. The small village of Puerto Velasco Ibarra has less than 120 inhabitants, and you can get there on an excursion boat from Santa Cruz Island. The excursions include a visit to the caves where early settlers first took shelter. Cruises only get to the northern part of Floreana. Read more here!

No. 10 Darwin Island and Wolf Island – Have you ever heard of Vampire finches? It feeds on the blood of other birds! They live on the research islands in the northwestern part of the archipelago. When there is no fresh water available, it pecks at the blue-footed boobies to drink their blood. Disgusting? Well, scientists think that it is a perfect symbiosis. The two islets are only accessible on a dive tour, and there are no excursion boats which sails there. It is an absolute heaven for divers as the Galapagos Islands are listed as the top destination for big fish diving. Click here to read more about diving in the Galapagos Islands.

Diving in the Galapagos Islands is an adventure you will never forget!