Galapogas Islands
Cruise boats and sealion on beach in the Galapogas IslandsGalapogas sealion and tourist on Galapogas island beach
Giant Galapogas Tortoise
Small boat with Galapogas sealions snoozing on deck
Galapogas Islands lizardBlack iguanas on black rocks on the Galapogas shoreline

The famous Galapogas Islands are a once-in-a-lifetime holiday best seen on a Galapogas cruise or wildlife tour.

When is best to visit
the Galapogas Islands?

The Galapogas Islands, Ecuador

The Galapogas Islands are a province of Ecuador, around 500 miles away from the coast and roughly on the equator.  You can only get to the Galapogas by air - the goverment controls the flight prices and the cargo boats that supply the islands are not allowed to take in tourists or passengers.
Galapogas wildlife: The volcanic islands are famous for their unique wildlife such as the Galapogas tortoises (the Islands are named after them), penguins and finches.  You will have a guide who will be able to tell you about the wildlife of the islands.  The animals of the Galapogas Islands have no fear of humans so you should be able to get some great wildlife photos.  The Galapogas wildlife calendar shows some highlights of the animal year.
The Galapogas Islands time zone is an hour behind the rest of Equador, and six hours behind GMT.  The Galapogas weather is warm all year round.
A cruise is probably the best way to see the Galapogas Islands and you can find everything from budget boats to luxury cruisers in the islands.  Or if you want a budget option, stay in a Galapogas hotel on one of the islands and do day trips.  A land tour package like this is actually not much cheaper than the cheapest economy Galapogas cruises, but it might be nice to have a couple of days on the islands after your cruise to finish your Galapogas experience.  
Check with your travel agent that your Galapogas cruise itinerary goes to the islands that interest you - some are best for seabirds, others for giant tortoises, others for other types of wildlife such as penguins, sealions, sharks or dolphins.  Have a look at a map of the Galapogas Islands and you will see that the islands are actually a long way apart, so be prepared for quite a lot of sailing, especially at night, if you are going to see as much as possible on your cruise.  
Galapogas cruise boat categories: Economy class is the cheapest Galapogas cruise option, the budget boats are basic and the guide's English skills may not be that great.  Tourist class boats are a more comfortable way to cruise, with some airconditioning, more facilities and the guide will speak better English.  On the First Class cruisers, the guides will really know their stuff and speak good English, you will have much more space than on a tourist class cruise with luxuries such as warm water.  The Luxury Class cruise boats are just that - the most expensive and luxurious Galapogas cruise experience with the best facilities and guides.
Bigger cruise ships are faster and more stable but there are more of you trying to get on and off your cruiser to see the Galapogas wildlife.  Smaller boats rock a bit more but can get into smaller docking areas and you will quickly get to know your fellow passengers - which is fine if you get on well with them.
There's not much to buy on the Galapogas Islands except souvenirs, so take along plenty of sunscreen, camera batteries, etc.  Don't forget a hat, the Galapogas sun can be very fierce at times (you are right on the equator here).
Charles Darwin's experiences in the Galapogas Islands helped him to create his Theory of Evolution which changed the way we see the natural world.  You will probably visit the Charles Darwin Research Station as part of your Galapogas cruise or tour. 
You probably reached this page because you searched for Galapogas Islands or Galapogas cruises.  The locals actually spell it Galapagos but we realise that Galapogas sounds more natural to most English speakers so we have used that spelling here.

Useful Spanish Vocabulary for a holiday in the Galapogas Islands, Ecuador:
Las Islas: The Islands
Galapogas: type of tortoise - the origin of the name of the Galapogas Islands
crucero de lujo: luxury cruise
crucero económico: budget / economy cruise
Galapogas Wildlife Photo Gallery from charity CRACYP
Ecuador Destinations: Galapogas Islands
Tourist information for Galapogas Islands tours, cruises and excursions
Giant Galapogas tortoises, Galapogas penguines, sealions, iguanas and other Galapogas wildlife.
Website www.ecuadortravelsite.org, text and photos by Sarah Clifford.
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