The Galapagos Islands are one of the most biologically diverse regions on earth. Every year thousands of people come to the Galapagos to experience the remarkable wildlife, crystal-clear waters, and volcanic landscape that permeates the region.
With excellent year-round weather, the Galapagos Islands are the perfect getaway destination for any type of visitor.
Even after traveling to Costa Rica, exploring Svalbard, and climbing Kilimanjaro, the Galapagos stands out above all for me. Whether you’re traveling with family, as a couple, or just having a solo adventure, the islands are bursting with fun things to see and do.
To help you get the most out of your visit, regardless if it’s a cruise or land-based trip, I’ve written the best things about going on a Galapagos adventure.
The Friendly Wildlife
If the Galapagos is famous for one thing, it’s the way the wildlife seems unafraid of humans. When you first arrive in the islands, it’s a rather disconcerting feeling having a seal sit right next to you, or watching a large iguana walk by your feet. In fact, you really need to witness it to believe it!
Arriving in the port of Puerto Ayora, I had to make way for a grumpy sea lion that wanted to sit on the bench that I had just occupied. It barked at me until I moved, then casually hopped up onto the bench and went to sleep.
It’s not just the sea lions and the iguanas that seem fearless; it’s also the tortoise, the lizards, and the fabulous birds such as blue-footed boobies and the magnificent frigates!
Swim With Sharks
Okay, I know this may not appeal to everyone, but the Galapagos is probably the best place in the world to swim with sharks. The good news for people that are concerned at the thought, is that most sharks you come across are white-tipped reef sharks. These sharks pose absolutely no threat to humans, making them ideal for first timers!
For people wanting a little more excitement, there are plenty of other shark species on offer here. The last time I was snorkelling near North Seymour we came across a 5 meter tiger shark that swam close to us for some time. Darwin and Wolf Island are also brilliant for sharks, particularly large schools of hammerheads that arrive during the warmer season.
Sit With A Giant
The Galapagos Island’s most famous residents are the giant tortoises. Each major island has its own sub-species that is unique to the landscape it lives in. Lonsome George, the sole surviving Pinta Island giant tortoise subspecies, passed away in 2012 sadly.
However, there are still plenty of highland parks to visit these beautiful creatures. Of all the parks, Reserva El Chato is the most well known. Here you can wander around the highland park, standing next to tortoises and taking pictures. If you want, you can even try on one of the giant shells!
Watch The Booby Dance
The booby dance is famous throughout the islands. Blue-footed boobies are tremendously charismatic and fun to watch, especially during mating season. This is the period when the males attempt to attract females through a special dance.
Each male booby will find a high place from which to be seen. They will then rock from one side to the other and lift each leg as they go. It’s very cute and funny to watch! You’ll also find red-footed boobies and the rare nazca boobies in the Galapagos.
Snorkel With Iguanas
Another disconcerting thing to witness is an iguana swimming past you underwater. The first time you see it you need to do a double-take to make sure you’re not seeing things. Marine iguanas are extremely common throughout the islands and you’ll see plenty above and below water. Don’t panic though, they have no interest whatsoever in humans.
Snorkelling in the Galapagos is probably the best activity on offer. The wealth of marine species is simply breathtaking and each new trip brings something new. On most day trips or cruises, you’ll see sea lions, sea turtles, rays, penguins, and a whole host of reef fish!
Get A Bite To Eat
Obviously you’re going to have to eat out here! But the question is, where? Well, there are loads of great seafood options, but in my opinion, nothing beats K.F William Street! Located in the main town of Puerto Ayora, K.F William Street is a very normal street by day, but comes alive at night!
Tables and chairs are placed all along the street, blocking the way to all vehicles. Wander down the street and choose your favourite fish from the many kiosks lining the street. Every vendor has them lined up front of house so you can pick your exact one! Just choose your sauce, find a table and wait for the large, perfectly cooked fish, to be placed in front of you. Yum!