Galapagos Fauna - What You Can Expect To See Above and Underwater

The Galapagos Islands, a land of unimaginable biodiversity, are about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. Imagine standing on the edge of a rocky island, watching the wild Pacific Ocean. Around you is a large number of endemic species waiting to be discovered by you, both above and below the water. Some of these animals have become the epitome of diving holidays in the Galapagos. We present below the 9 most unique animals of the Galapagos Islands.

11 Irreplaceable Animals to See In the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

1.) Giant tortoise

The legendary giant turtle attracts many visitors to the islands! As the largest species of turtle, these giants can weigh up to 417 kg and live in the wild for more than 100 years. This magnificent and huge creature is found on most of the Galapagos Islands, including Isabela, Floreana, Pinta and Santa Cruz. You can see these gentle giants up close and personal right from the Rancho Primicias.

2.) Sally Lightfoot Crab

The Grapsus is a beautiful crab species that has a bright red, orange and yellow color with light gray shades on its paws and facial area. This yummy crab (again, I think most crabs are funny - I think it has something to do with sideways walking) is found on many islands, including San Cristobal, and they are usually found near water on rocky outcrops.

3.) Marine iguana

This species of iguana is found only in the Galapagos Islands and actually feeds on underwater food, which is unique for any type of iguana. The marine iguana can dive into the water to a depth of 9 m and can be found in virtually all the rocky shores of the islands. There are different colors of the iguana - some are bright green and orange, others have a nice red hue, while most are a simple shade of brown patterned.

4.) Galapagos sea lion

This sea lion breeds only on the Galapagos Islands and is widely distributed in different parts of the archipelago. Sea lions, by their nature, are extremely curious and it is not uncommon to see these animals sitting on benches in Puerto Ayora. In the water, these mammals are simply beautiful to watch and it's a real pleasure to snorkel with these beautiful creatures.

5.) Galapagos Penguin

It is the only penguin that lives in the wild north of the equator and is endemic to the islands. Standing at an average height of 49 cm, this penguin breed is quite small compared to the big Antarctic varieties, but it is just as beautiful and interesting. This species is found mainly on Fernandina and Isabela Islands, but you can see them in the waters surrounding the archipelago.

Random Penguin: There are never penguins and polar bears in one place. There are polar bears in the Arctic (north) and penguins in Antarctica (in the south). I blame years of advertising on television (especially Christmas) and childhood drawings to make me believe (at least for a while). ), that polar bears and penguins coexisted and cohabited in the same place on the planet.

6.) Lava Lizard

This type of lizard is native to the Galapagos and is a beautiful little reptile with bright colors. Microlophus Albemariensis is the native species of the Galapagos Islands and can reach a length of 100 mm. You can find this wonderful little creature on the islands Isabela, Santa Cruz, Santiago, and Santa Fe.

7.) Blue footed booby

This amazing bird is native to the Pacific Ocean but regularly lands on the Galapagos Islands.  

As you might expect, this species of madman has wonderful bright blue feet, brown wing feathers, and a white head - the contrast is quite dramatic. They also have crazy dance skills - which you can catch during the mating season. If your visit is correct, you can see the nest of crazy blue feet (so easier to photograph) or dive into the water to catch food.

8.) Galapagos Albatross

This type of Albatross comes to Galapagos only during the breeding season - for the rest of the year, it lives mainly on the coast of Ecuador. This fantastic bird nest builds on lava areas with rocks and thick brush. If you are extremely lucky, you will even be able to see the rare mating ritual that has only been observed by a handful of people.

9.) Lava seagull

As the largest gull in the world, this species is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and is considered the rarest gull in the world. The lava gull has a beautiful black head and a light gray plumage and measures up to 55 cm. This bird has been reported for the first time on the island of Santiago, but it is also found in Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Genovesa.

10.) Green sea turtle

Swimming with sea turtles is another unique opportunity in life that you can live during your stay at the Galapagos. The green sea turtle is found in the waters surrounding these islands and has a beautiful patterned head and fins. When snorkeling around the different Galapagos Islands, you should be able to easily spot these wonderful animals and watch them do their daily work in their natural habitat.

11.) Flightless Cormorant

The only seabird unable to fly on the planet, with the exception of penguins, the cormorant that does not fly with its shattering blue eyes is endemic to the Galapagos, where there are about 1,000 pairs on the Fernandina and Isabela Islands. Suitable for dipping in a diet of eels and octopuses, the cormorant that does not fly is extremely vulnerable to climate change.

The remaining terrestrial animals, such as goats, donkeys, pigs, horses, cows, dogs, cats, and rats, were introduced from the mainland by pirates, whalers, and settlers over the last centuries.