Overview of each of the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos is one of the most wonderful ecologic paradise, with a lot of species in fauna and flora.
Santa Cruz Island (also called Indefatigable)
Santa Cruz is home to Charles Darwin Station, where visitors can observe turtle research and breeding programs. Do not forget to greet the Lonesome George turtle memorial – he was the last of its kind (Pinta Tortoise), now on exhibition after being embalmed. A trip to the highlands offers the chance to see huge craters, lava tunnels and giant turtles wandering freely.
San Cristóbal Island (also called Chatham)
San Cristóbal, the geologically oldest island and the oldest settlement of the islands, boasts some of the most spectacular landscapes of the Galapagos. The cloud forests of the highlands are an ideal habitat for giant tortoises and Punta Pitt is one of the only places to see red-footed boobies (Sulidae).
Floreana Island (also called Charles)
At Punta Cormorant, there is a lagoon of pink flamingos behind white and black mangroves. Clearwater and interesting corals make Devil's Crown a perfect place for snorkeling. Floreana is also home to Post Office Bay, where eighteenth-century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop. The tradition continues to this day amid Galapagos visitors!
Island of Isabela
The largest and one of the most volcanically active islands, Isabela provides habitat for five subspecies of giant tortoises - one for each of its five volcanoes. In the west of the island, humpback whales are sometimes seen emerging completely out of the water. Stingrays, small sharks, and turtles are found in the mangrove lagoons on Isabela.
No foreign species have ever invaded this island, making it one of the purest island ecosystems in the world. After crossing a colony of marine iguanas and a group of lazy sea lions, visitors arrive at the highest point of the island, the nesting site of the cormorant without flight.
Española Island (also called Hood)
It is the southernmost island and breeding site for almost all 12,000 pairs of waved albatrosses in the world. Española abounds with mocking birds, blue-footed boobies and Nazca, Darwin finches, Galapagos doves, falcons, red and green marine iguanas, and sea lions.
Santiago Island (also called San Salvador)
Fur seals (formerly known as fur seals) were reported to have disappeared in 1905, but have since returned dramatically. Santiago provides habitat for many of the 30 to 40,000 fur seal lions that inhabit the Galapagos. There are also many lazy sea lions on the black beach of Puerto Egas.
North Seymour Island
This tiny island is home to countless sea lions and is one of the most popular breeding grounds for seabirds. A very large colony of frigate birds nest, and it is almost guaranteed that a few males proudly blowup their red cover to impress their mate.
Rábida Island (also called Jervis)
Rábida is a delight for birdwatchers. Some of the rarer species are abundant, such as nine varieties of finches, large flycatchers, Galapagos hawks and brown pelicans. The dark red sand beaches and a horde of snoring sea lions allow for spectacular snorkeling.
Named because of its volcanic cone shape that also looks like, you guessed it, a Chinese-style hat is a small island near the island of Santiago that has a site of a visit which is excellent for the observation of sea lions, red vesuvium flowers and a lava field.
South Plaza Island
This small island with steep cliffs, made of raised lava, is covered with Opuntia cactus. It is also home to one of the largest colonies of sea lions and colorful land iguanas of yellow and red soil.
Genovesa Island (also called Tower)
Considered a bird watching paradise, volcanic cliffs provide prime breeding grounds for frigates, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, tropical birds and red-legged boobies.
Santa Fe Island (also called Barrington)
The endemic terrestrial iguanas here can grow to over five feet long and, in pure Galapagos style, the Opuntia cactus, a favorite food of the land iguana has responded by growing tall and woody - up to 33 feet from above. The manta rays and sea turtles scroll like dark shadows on the sandy bottom of the magnificent anchorage of Santa Fe.
Barely an island, but rather a small island with 600 meters of beach where one of the largest colonies of sea lions and seabirds of the Galapagos settled.
A small island near the main island of Santa Cruz, which mainly serves as an airport (Galapagos) but also has an interesting human history, including the ruins of a US military base dating from the Second World War.
Daphne Major and Minor are best known for the Darwin finches living on the islands and have been the subject of decades of research on the evolution of these isolated bird species, allowing us to better understand the actual mechanisms of natural selection and evolution.
Wolf and Darwin Islands
Far to the north, these isolated islands are only visited as part of cruising cruises. Divers traveling to the far north of the Galapagos are rewarded with some of the best megafauna’s dives on the planet, with hammerhead sharks and whale sharks being the most famous.
Bartolome Island (also called Sullivan)
House of the famous Pinnacle Rock. The ascent to the summit of this island offers visitors panoramic views of various lava formations, volcanic peaks, and a lunar landscape. Bartolomé also offers the opportunity to swim with the only penguin in Galapagos.