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The Galapagos Islands

The islands that changed the world

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Jon Jared

The Galapagos Islands

A guide to responsible wildlife watching

A visit to the Galapagos Islands is an experience. Sheltered from human intervention for millennia, this group of volcanic islands cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean was instrumental in changing the way humanity viewed itself, once we finally found them. For it was at the Galapagos that Charles Darwin formulated his theory of evolution by natural selection, inspired by the variety and adaptability of the islands’ wildlife.

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For such a tiny smattering of islands flung far into the Pacific Ocean, the Galapagos archipelago has had an outsized impact on humanity and our understanding of ourselves. Cut off from human contact for millennia and under unique geological conditions, the islands became a petri-dish for mother nature; a place where species could mutate and evolve in isolation, leaving clues for what would become Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theory of natural selection. The Galapagos today remain an exemplary natural wonder despite centuries of settling, intensive fishing and, more recently, a booming tourism industry. Done right, tourism to the Galapagos can play a key role in their conservation, so plan your trip carefully, tread lightly, and help preserve the Galapagos for generations to come.

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  • Isla Santa Cruz

    Isla Santa Cruz

    Almost all visitors to the Galapagos Islands will touch down in Isla Santa Cruz at some point...Read more
  • Isla Isabela

    Isla Isabela

    Isabela is the largest of the Galapagos Islands and is made up of five (sometimes) active volcanoes...Read more
  • Isla Genovesa

    Isla Genovesa

    Stay with us – Isla Genovesa is also known as Booby Island due to the sheer number of goofy-looking Nazca and red-footed boobies that live here...Read more
  • Isla Rabida

    Isla Rabida

    Famous for the unique red colour of its beach and cliffs, Isla Rabida is known for the sizeable number of flamingos that feed on shrimp in its lagoon, snorkelling with sea lions and the large number of bird species that live here...Read more
  • Isla Floreana

    Isla Floreana

    To the north of Floreana lies Punta Cormorant, a beautiful white sand beach that runs for 720m and is known as the best flamingo lagoon in the Galapagos...Read more
  • Isla San Cristóbal

    Isla San Cristóbal

    Sea lions are everywhere in San Cristobal, so head down to any accessible waterfront to see noisy sea lions and furry babies frolicking on the sand and occasionally taking to the water...Read more
  • Isla Española

    Isla Española

    Española is one of the more remote Galapagos Islands, at some 90km southeast of Isla Santa Cruz...Read more
  • Isla Bartolomé

    Isla Bartolomé

    Tiny Bartolomé is most famous for its landscapes and scenery...Read more
  • Isla Fernandina

    Isla Fernandina

    The third largest — and youngest — of the Galapagos Islands, Fernandina has a unique environment which makes it a haven for thousands of slowly-moving marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants and sea lions...Read more
  • Isla Santiago

    Isla Santiago

    Once a hideout for smugglers and pirates, Isla Santiago is now best-known for Sullivan Bay, where century-old lava has solidified into bubbles and caves, and Puerto Egas, a wet landing where you can see seals, sea lions and sea birds...Read more

Machu Picchu & Galapagos cruise

An epic land and sea voyage of history and nature
Approx. 13 days
Lima (1 days) → Sacred Valley (2) → Machu Picchu (1) → Cusco (2) → Quito (2) → Isla Santa Cruz (1) → Isla Fernandina (1) → Isla Isabela (1) → Isla Santiago (1) → Quito (1)
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Gems of Ecuador

Explore the highlights of Ecuador
Approx. 10 days
Isla Santa Cruz (1 days) → Isla Santiago (1) → Isla Bartolomé (1) → Isla Genovesa (1) → The Amazon Basin (3) → Quito (3)
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Classic Galapagos cruise

See the best of the Galapagos Islands
Approx. 4 days
Isla Santa Cruz (1 days) → Isla Bartolomé (1) → Isla Genovesa (1) → Isla Santa Cruz (1)
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Galapagos eco-lodge exploration

Luxury ecotravel at its finest
Approx. 5 days
Quito (1 days) → Isla Santa Cruz (1) → Isla Bartolomé (1) → Isla Santiago (1) → Quito (1)
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Galapagos expedition cruise

Luxury-class cruise of the islands
Approx. 8 days
Isla Santa Cruz (1 days) → Isla Fernandina (1) → Isla Isabela (1) → Isla Bartolomé (1) → Isla Rabida (1) → Isla Santa Cruz (1) → Isla Española (1) → Isla San Cristóbal (1)
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Things to do in The Galapagos Islands

Our recommended experiences and activities

Penguins and Pinnacle Rock
The Galapagos Islands

Penguins and Pinnacle Rock

Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé Island is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Galapagos. Climb its 114m summit for views before heading down to the beach to see -- and swim -- with the diminutive Galapagos penguin.

Dive with sharks at Darwin Island
The Galapagos Islands

Dive with sharks at Darwin Island

Tiny Darwin Island, at the remote far north of the archipelago, is one of the world’s premier scuba locations. Rarely visited by short tours, these quiet waters teem with whale, Galapagos and silky sharks, hammerheads and more.

Where to go in The Galapagos Islands

Our recommended places

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Authentic experiences

Authentic experiences

We curate exceptional trips in underrated places, organised by the very best tour operators who live and breathe their destinations and are passionate about authentic, responsible tourism.

Give back to mother nature

Give back to mother nature

We'll plant 50 trees for every trip booked via the Horizon Guides site in partnership with the International Tree Foundation, who carry out sustainable community forestry projects in Africa.