There are so many places that you should visit while in the Galapagos, and many of them are “don’t miss”. However, some places are even more amazing than others. The Galapagos best itineraries will typically include the seven places highlighted below. For the best chances to see endemic species and nature in action, Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders can offer some of the best itineraries for the Galapagos Islands to take these in. The seven places we think you shouldn’t miss are:
Place One – one of the places you should definitely not miss while in the Galapagos Islands is Isabela Island. The biggest island of them all, this one has some of the most amazing geology including spectacular looking volcanoes and jeweled lakes, and the island harbors some fascinating wildlife. It is considered to be one of the most active places in the world for volcanic activity, and some take a hike to view the Sierra Negra Volcano’s massive 10km caldera. Another amazing highlight of this part of your trip is a visit to Laguna Salinas where bright pink flamingos can be found in sizeable groups too.
Place Two – Espanola Island is another of the top places you should visit while on the islands, and the Galapagos best itineraries usually swing by. Espanola Island is home to the waved albatross, who visit for the purposes of breeding each year. If you want to ensure that you will see a waved albatross on your trip it is best to visit between April and December for the best chances. It is worth making the effort to see this gigantic bird, with its massive wingspan of almost two and a half meters across. If you’re really lucky you might get to see the courtship dance which occurs between new breeding pairs and those that did not have a good season for breeding. The majority of the world’s population is here during the period mentioned, so it is a site to behold with approximately 12,000 breeding pairs, and most of these breed on Espanola.
Place Three – the trips of Ecuador and Galapagos, (https://galapagosinsiders.com) that are among the best Galapagos itineraries often include Tower Island for a snorkeling visit, and this is extremely worthwhile. Tower Island is also known as Genovesa, and here it is possible to snorkel with opportunities to see hammerhead sharks and massive manta rays. There are two excellent snorkeling spots here, and there are both warm water fish and tropical fish including parrot fish, unicorn fish, angel fish and hogfish as well as butterfly fish. This is a snorkeling adventure not to be missed!
Place Four – the Santa Cruz Highlands should not be missed and is on all the best Galapagos itineraries because it is here that you get a chance to see giant tortoises lumbering around in the grassy hills. This is a particular highlight for photographers, as there are plenty of chances to get great pictures while these beasts roam around, seeking out grass to eat and pools to rest by. Like all the other creatures on the Galapagos Islands, these animals are completely unafraid of people. Your naturalist guide will not let you get too close, but sometimes the giant tortoises break the rules, strolling right across the path in front of you. A trip to the highlands is often combined with an informative trip to the lava tubes, an interesting lava formation that has left tunnels behind that you can walk through if you wish.
Place Five – North Seymour Island is close to Baltra Island where the main airport for the Galapagos is located, meaning that the Galapagos best itineraries often stop off here, however, it is also important to know the best time to visit Galapagos during the year in order to make the most out of out of your trip. This unique site Its unique bushy vegetation is home to very large populations of blue footed boobies, magnificent frigate birds, swallow tailed gulls and land iguanas. Lucky visitors will get to observe the blue footed boobies doing their peculiar mating dance, involving wing stretching and plenty of whistling and honking for entertainment too! Fingers crossed, and you will see those large blue feet at work.
Place Six – the Charles Darwin Research Station should be one of the top places to visit in all the Galapagos best itineraries, as Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders and any other reputable provider will tell you. The Charles Darwin Research Station is situated on Santa Cruz Island, not too far from Puerto Ayora. On a visit to the Station you can visit the Interpretation Center, and this will provide you with a wealth of information to help you understand the flora and fauna on the islands. There is a section where land iguanas can be seen, of various shapes and sizes, and it is possible to learn a good deal about research and conservation activities that are ongoing in the Galapagos Islands. One of the highlights of a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station is a look at the breeding program for giant tortoises. You can see baby tortoises at a very early age in the incubation section, and there are several different species here. The visit will supplement the information from your naturalist guide, and helps to fit the pieces together.
Place Seven – last but not least is Bartolome Island, for its spectacular scenery and stunning geological formations. You may recognize Bartolome Island as it was shown in the Russel Crowe film from 2003, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. Pinnacle Rock is well photographed and a good place to grab a few fabulous shots of this scenic landscape. Of course, as with all the other Galapagos Islands, there are plenty of opportunities to observe the local flora and fauna too. Sally Lightfoot crabs and marine iguanas scurry across the rocks, while sea lions laze on the beach and on the pier, in the sunshine. There are also great opportunities for snorkeling off the beach at this location too, and if you are lucky some of the sea lions might join you for a swim in the crystal-clear waters.
These are among the top places that most people rate the most highly in the Galapagos on their visit. For the Galapagos best itineraries contact Ecuador and Galapagos Insiders.