Galapagos

GPS

SMILE. YOU’VE LANDED IN THE GALAPAGOS.

The Galapagos Islands, also known as the “Enchanted Isles”, offer some of the world’s best wildlife viewing. UNESCO declared the islands a World Heritage Site in 1975, and a Biosphere Reserve in 1985.

Why We Love the Galapagos

—— IMAGE GALLERY

Ecuador map
CAPITAL  PUERTO BAQUERIZO MORENO

LANGUAGE  SPANISH

CURRENCY  US DOLLAR

READ  MY FATHER’S ISLAND

TASTE  ENCEBOLLADO

SIP  COLADA MORADA

EXPERIENCE  SNORKEL WITH SEA LIONS

The archipelago and surrounding waters are also a national park, marine reserve, and whale sanctuary. Under the supervision of licensed naturalist guides, visitors can swim with sea lions, witness avian mating rituals, and learn about the unique adaptations of resident species.

Sea Lion

Penguins, blue-footed boobies, land and marine iguanas, tortoises, flamingos, and whale sharks can be observed here in close proximity. The islands are located in the equatorial Eastern Pacific, 604 miles west of the Ecuadorian coast.

Bartolome

The archipelago consists of 13 main islands, six junior islands and over 100 islets and large rocks spread out over 45,000 square miles of ocean. These volcanic islands began to emerge between five and ten million years ago. The youngest islands, Fernandina and Isabela, continue to grow with new volcanic eruptions.

Stella Maris Charter Yacht

The Galapagos Islands are a year-round destination with two distinct seasons. During the warm season (December to May) temperatures hover in the 80’s and 90’s. Rainfall is uncommon but strong, with water temperatures near the surface averaging 75°.

Tortuga Bay Santa Cruz

The Garua, or cool season (June to November) brings fog, drizzles, and cool winds. Air temperatures reach the 70’s and water temperatures fall to the 60’s. These months are the height of the breeding season for many of the island’s avian species.

The Galapagos can be reached by air from Quito (three hours) and Guayaquil (1.5 hours) via daily flights. Airports are located on Baltra and San Cristobal islands.

Galapagos tortoise

Most visitors embark on three, four, or seven-day cruises. Many of these programs visit the major island cluster, offering daily guided wildlife and geology tours. If you’re interested in diving, longer cruises to the outlying islands are available. LANDED offers hotel and lodge options, as well as private yacht charters.

Ecuador Masked Boobies
“The natural history of these islands is eminently curious, and well deserves attention…Considering the small size of the islands, we feel the more astonished at the number of their aboriginal beings, and at their confined range…Both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that great fact—that mystery of mysteries—the first appearance of new beings on this earth.” – Charles Darwin

LANDED plans itineraries and arranges travel throughout the Galapagos and mainland Ecuador. We offer private charter, luxury accommodations and land-based options. Extensions to Machu Picchu in neighboring Peru are available. Contact us at 801.582.2100 for more information.

—— FEATURED POST

Pikaia Lodge Galapagos

PIKAIA LODGE

Pikaia Lodge is the most luxurious property in the Galapagos. Completed in 2014, Pikaia has since earned a reputation for comfort, cuisine, and top-notch excursions.

—— THE ISLANDS

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS AND SPECIES

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS FAMILY TRAVEL ALBUM

GALAPAGOS ISLANDS PACKING LIST

GALAPAGOS YACHT CHARTERS

GALAPAGOS: TRAVEL PIONEER PODCAST 

PRIVATE TOURS IN THE GALAPAGOS

VISITING GALAPAGOS WITH KIDS

WHEN TO VISIT THE GALAPAGOS

THE 10 BEST CRUISES IN THE GALAPAGOS

BEST HOTELS IN THE GALAPAGOS

—— CRUISE OPTIONS

ALYA MOTOR CATAMARAN

CAMILA TRIMARAN

CORAL I AND CORAL II

CORMORANT MOTOR CATAMARAN

EVOLUTION MOTOR YACHT

GALAPAGOS ELITE

GALAPAGOS ENDEMIC

GALAPAGOS SEA STAR JOURNEY

GALAPAGOS SEAMAN JOURNEY

GRACE CHARTER YACHT

GRAND MAJESTIC

INFINITY MOTOR YACHT

INTEGRITY MOTOR YACHT

ISABELA II

LA PINTA YACHT

LEGEND GALAPAGOS

NATURAL PARADISE

OCEAN SPRAY MOTOR CATAMARAN

ORIGIN GALAPAGOS

PASSION MOTOR YACHT

PETREL MOTOR CATAMARAN

SANTA CRUZ II

STELLA MARIS MOTOR YACHT

THEORY

—— LODGES

FINCH BAY HOTEL

GALAPAGOS SAFARI CAMP

GOLDEN BAY HOTEL

IGUANA CROSSING

PIKAIA LODGE

ROYAL PALM HOTEL

SCALESIA LODGE

—— COMBINE WITH

COASTAL ECUADOR

MASHPI LODGE

NORTH OF QUITO

QUITO

FAQs

How many islands are there in the Galapagos ?

The Galapagos Archipelago consists of thirteen main islands, six minor islands, and scores exposed islets and rocks.

Want to visit the Galapagos? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

How do you get to the Galapagos Islands?

Almost all visitors come to the Galapagos Islands by commercial airline. Those flights originate and return to the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Flights from Quito almost always stop in Guayaquil en route to the Galapagos.

While in the Galapagos, you can stay on land and take island day trips, or enjoy a multi-day / multi-island itinerary aboard a cruise vessel.

Most of our clients leave the travel logistics to us. Doesn’t that sound better? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

Where can you stay on the Galapagos Islands?

Most visitors opt for multi-day cruise itineraries. A list of our favorite cruises can be viewed here.

Although we love small-ship cruises in the Galapagos, land-based itineraries are excellent alternative, or pre / post-cruise addition. A list of our favorite hotels and lodges can be found here.

Why stay at a hotel or lodge in the Galapagos Islands?

  • Staying on land offers the potential for additional flexibility and customization. We usually arrange private guides and touring for these clients. These programs can be custom-tailored to your wishes, combining privately guided wildlife tours with explorations of less visited locations. Additional active adventure options include SCUBA and snorkeling day trips, artisanal fishing or sea kayak excursions, volcano hikes, mountain biking, and visits to ecologically-focused cacao and coffee farms.
  • Many of our clients wish to extend their time in the Galapagos beyond their cruise dates, arriving before the cruise or staying several nights after completing their cruise itinerary.
  • For families with very young children, hotels offer a worry-free alternative to multi-day cruises.
  • Some of our clients are visiting Galapagos with special health or mobility considerations.

Whether you’re seeking all the comforts of a full-service hotel, or the rustic solitude of safari tent cabins, we’ll help you find the perfect fit. LANDED’s team of experts knows the Galapagos first hand and by heart.

Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

How can you visit the Galapagos Islands?

Almost all visitors come to the Galapagos Islands by commercial airline. Those flights originate and return to the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

While in the Galapagos, you can stay on land and take island day trips, or enjoy a multi-day / multi-island itinerary aboard a cruise vessel.

Most of our clients leave the travel logistics to us. Doesn’t that sound better? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

How much does it costs to go to the Galapagos Islands?

Of course, costs vary based on your tastes and requirements. In general, we can say that Galapagos is one of the most expensive destinations in the South America region.

Partly, the price is a function of the islands’ environmental protections. These regulations and practices govern everything from food importation to visitor limits. Additionally, each visitor is obliged to contribute to preservation in the form of national park fees and taxes.

It is also generally true that operating costs for hotels, lodges, and cruises are higher in remote island locations.

If you’d like a rough estimate, figure US$1,000 per person per day for food, lodging (or cruise), guided touring, and transportation while in the islands. That figure can be less by half or it can double based on peak season and quality of service.

Want help sifting through the Galapagos travel options? Overwhelmed by the choices? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos Islands?

We’re laid out the month-by-month details about Galapagos weather, water, and species activity in another article, but here’s the short answer: The Galapagos is a year-round destination.

Wet, or Warm Season(December to May) temperatures hover in the mid 80’s and even the 90’s. Rainfall is uncommon but strong, and water temperatures near the surface can average 75°. The island’s lack of shade and the equatorial sun combine to take a toll on visitors. Reflective sand and lava can magnify the effect. Winds and seas are generally calmer.

Garua, Dry, or Cool Season (June to November) brings merciful fog, drizzle, and cool winds. Overnight air temperatures drop into the high 60’s, with similar water temperatures near the surface. These months are the height of the breeding season for many of the island’s avian species. Winds and seas are less calm.

May is often cited as the ideal month in terms of weather, water temperature, and wildlife. Guides will tell you their favorite months are April / May or December / January.

September is traditionally the least visited month; many cruise and land operators shut down in September for annual dry dock or repairs. Still, some visitors prefer to be in Galapagos at times when fewer people are in the islands.

Bottom line, this is a year-round, equatorial destination with very little seasonal or temperature change. Species migration is rarer than elsewhere; most birds are in residence continually. Rainfall is low and welcome. Seas are generally calm. There is no “bad” or “wrong” time to visit.

LANDED’s clients rely on our experienced travel planners to help sort through the options. Doesn’t that sound better? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

How safe is Galapagos for kids?

The Galapagos Islands are safe and can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. Since our first visit there in 2005, we’ve helped countless families discover the magic of these islands. Some of these families have had infants in arms or toddlers.

If you’re asking this questions, you’ll be interested in these two pages:

The expert travel advisors at LANDED will help you choose the best option (cruise or hotel) for your family. Some hotels and cruises have minimum ages (often age 12) but many do not. Private charters (reserving an entire yacht or motor catamaran exclusively for your family) rarely have a minimum age restriction.

The native land and bird species are not dangerous. Guests must maintain a set distance from these animals. Professional naturalist guides are required for visits to most islands.

As anywhere around or in the ocean, lifejackets and alert parents are essential. Some locations have sea turtles, sharks, rays, penguins, and sea lions. These animals are protected, and distances are to be maintained as directed by your guides.

Galapagos is one of our favorite family destinations. With our own children we have surfed, snorkeled with sharks and sea turtles, kayaked, boogie boarded, hiked volcanoes, cruised, and enjoyed up close wildlife. We can help you do the same. Speak with us, parent to parent, at 801.582.2100 today.

How old do kids have to be to go to the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands do not have a minimum age for visitors.

Some hotels and lodges in the Galapagos have a minimum age for guests. This is rare, but it’s usually related to the size of the hotel, the touring plan, and characteristics of the hotel’s construction. Often, LANDED can obtain exceptions to these policies.

Some Galapagos cruises do set a minimum age. For some cruises, that age is 6 years. For others, it can be age 12. (Most land based programs do not have a minimum age.)

These minimums are established based on the characteristics of the vessel. Some yachts and catamarans are better suited for adults, while others have special amenities and programs for children. Discounts for children (usually under age 12) are available.

For most Galapagos yacht and catamaran private charters, children of all ages are welcome. LANDED has also arranged special menus, games, presentations, citizen science programs, meetings with sea lion experts, and educational programs (effectively disguised as fun) for young children and teens.

Want to learn more about traveling in the Galapagos Islands with children? We’ve prepared this article for you. Or, you can speak with one of our expert travel planners today, parent to parent, at 801.582.2100.

Is the Galapagos good for kids?

Without a doubt: The Galapagos Islands are an excellent destination for families.

We’re often asked how to visit the Galapagos Islands with children. Over the years, we’ve helped countless families visit the Galapagos. Often, the request is from a family with two or three members between the ages of 4 and 18. But for multi-generational families (i.e. grandparents, parents, and grandchildren) the family usually includes toddlers and infants in arms.

No matter the age of your kids, visiting the Galapagos as a family is possible, worthwhile, and unforgettable.

Go on a safari in Africa, and most of the wildlife won’t even recognize you distinct from your vehicle–that’s probably for the best with a lion or cape buffalo, isn’t it?

But here, under the guidance of expert naturalists, you can observe nature’s grace, genius, and playfulness as nowhere else.

Want a Galapagos Islands travel expert to help you sort through the options? Overwhelmed by the idea of creating and managing the perfect Galapagos vacation for your family? Speak to one of our expert travel planners today, parent to parent, at 801.582.2100.

What is there to do in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands are special. The wildlife, the landscapes, and the purity of the place are unforgettable.

Most of our clients are drawn by the islands’ flora, fauna, and geology–encountered under the care of expert guides.

At LANDED, we can help you customize your journey. Some of our Galapagos options include:

  • Multi-day and day-trip cruises
  • Wildlife tours
  • SCUBA diving
  • Snorkeling
  • Sea kayaking
  • Paddle-boarding
  • Surfing and surf lessons
  • Boogie boarding
  • Mountain biking
  • Artisanal (small scale, sustainable) fishing
  • Volcano and forest hikes
  • One-on-one discussions with top conservationists and biologists
  • Privately guided visits to tortoise and iguana breeding centers
  • Coffee tastings at sustainable coffee farms
  • Ecologically focused cacao farm tours and chocolate making classes

Want to know which options are right for your Galapagos vacation? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What should you pack for the Galapagos Islands?

Great question. Packing for the Galapagos is not difficult.

LANDED has prepared this packing list for our clients visiting the Galapagos.

Would you like help designing, booking, and managing a vacation in the Galapagos Islands? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What is the weather like in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos are equatorial. They are a year-round destination. You might expect a tropical climate, but most areas of the islands are arid and dry. Sun protection is essential.

Year round, you can expect highs from the upper 70s to upper 80s, with lows between 75F and 65F.

During the cool season (roughly June to November) you may encounter mist, but virtually no rain. The mist is welcome; these islands receive direct overhead sun, and have very little shade. Expect highs in the upper 70s, and water temperatures near 72F.

The nutrient-rich Humboldt Current prevails, and water temperatures approach 72F.

Want to know which options are right for your Galapagos vacation? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What is the climate in the Galapagos Islands?

The equator runs right through the Galapagos Islands. This equatorial location translates into little seasonal variation.

We’ve written a whole article on this topic.

You might expect a tropical climate, but most areas of the islands are arid and dry.

Year round, you can expect highs from the upper 70s to upper 80s, with lows between 75F and 65F.

During the cool season (roughly June to November) you may encounter mist, but virtually no rain. The mist is welcome; these islands receive direct overhead sun, and have very little shade. Expect highs in the upper 70s, and water temperatures near 72F.

The nutrient-rich Humboldt Current prevails, and water temperatures approach 72F.

Want to visit the Galapagos? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

Are there hurricanes in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands do not have a hurricane season. Hurricanes do not occur in the Galapagos Islands. There are no records of a hurricane or typhoon in the Galapagos.

Want to visit the Galapagos? Overwhelmed by the logistics? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What about sea sickness in the Galapagos Islands?

Sea sickness is not a big problem in the Galapagos for most travelers.

We wrote an article about sea sickness in the Galapagos for our clients. You can read it here.

The waters of the Galapagos are generally calm. Most visitors adjust to life aboard a cruise vessel quickly, gaining their sea legs in a day or two. Significant discomfort is relatively uncommon.

Some factors, such as wind, current, and weather can cause choppiness and result in sea sickness in the Galapagos. When you travel, your itinerary, and your choice of vessel can affect how you feel while navigating in the Galapagos. You can also take precautions to avoid or limit uneasiness.

Seasonality and choice of cruise vessel do matter. The details and options can be a little overwhelming.

Would you like to discuss your concerns with a Galapagos Islands travel expert? Since 2006, we’ve helped create perfectly tailored vacations to the Galapagos. We know these islands first hand and by heart.

Speak with one of our expert travel planners today, person to person, at 801.582.2100.

When should I visit the Galapagos?

A fundamental question. We’ve written a long article about this, with month-by-month details about the weather, currents, and species activity.

But, for a short answer:

  • The islands are equatorial and the weather is fairly constant throughout the year.
  • Most of the land animals and birds don’t migrate. You can see them year round.

Are you considering a vacation in the Galapagos? Overwhelmed by choices? How would you like to have all your questions answered by a Galapagos travel expert–someone who knows the Galapagos first hand and by heart?

We’d love to meet you. The expert travel planners at LANDED have been helping clients experience the Galapagos since 2006. We’ve got you. Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What is the best time of year to see the animals of the Galapagos Islands?

Galapagos is a year-round destination. Many of the species (land and avian) are non-migratory—they can be viewed any time of year.

Mating and nesting seasons vary by species. We’ve prepared detailed, month-to-month information for you in this article.

May is often cited as the ideal month in terms of weather, water temperature, and wildlife. Guides will tell you their favorite months are April / May or December / January.

September is traditionally the least visited month; many cruise and land operators shut down in September for annual dry dock or repairs. Still, some visitors prefer to be in Galapagos at times when fewer people are in the islands.

Bottom line, this is a year-round, equatorial destination with very little seasonal or temperature change. Species migration is rarer than elsewhere; most birds are in residence continually. Rainfall is generally rare and welcome. Seas are generally calm. There is no “bad” or “wrong” time to visit.

Want help sifting through the Galapagos travel options? Overwhelmed by the choices? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

Which animals can you find in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands and the surrounding waters are home to approximately 9,000 animal species. Many of the land and bird species are non-migratory. Some can only be found in the Galapagos Islands. Among the most famous are these:

  • Galapagos giant tortoises
  • Marine iguanas
  • Land iguanas
  • Galapagos penguins
  • Blue-footed boobies
  • Red-footed boobies
  • Flightless cormorants
  • Magnificent frigates
  • Galapagos hawks
  • Flamingos
  • Galapagos sea lions
  • Fur sea lions
  • Blue whales
  • Killer whales
  • Hammerhead sharks

Are you considering a vacation in the Galapagos? Overwhelmed by choices? How would you like to have all your questions answered by a Galapagos travel expert–someone who knows the Galapagos first hand and by heart?

We’d love to meet you. The expert travel planners at LANDED have been helping clients experience the Galapagos since 2006. We’ve got you. Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

Where do the Galapagos penguins live?

Galapagos penguins live in several of the islands of the Galapagos Archipelago. These islands include:

  • North Seymour
  • Bartolome
  • Fernandina
  • Isabela
  • Santa Cruz
  • Floreana

 It is estimated that the number of breeding pairs of Galapagos penguins is fewer than 1,000.

Want to know which options are right for your Galapagos vacation? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

How many Galapagos tortoises are left?

Galapagos giant tortoises are protected by law. Galapagos residents (on the four islands with human populations) are devoted to the preservation of these animals and their habitats. Non-native animal species that threaten the tortoises have been eliminated, or are being managed or removed.

Several breeding programs are in place, with thousands of eggs and hatchlings under careful management. These are released into the wild when they reach less vulnerable sizes.

The wild population of Galapagos tortoises is estimated at approximately 15,000.

Want to visit the Galapagos? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What is the rarest animal in the Galapagos?

Another difficult question. Breeding and conservation projects are working to preserve populations and habitats. Some of the Galapagos Islands are off-limits to all visitors, and are rarely visited by scientists; surveys and species counts are intermittent.

Critically endangered species include:

  • Pink land iguanas
  • Rabida geckos
  • Fernandina giant tortoise
  • Mangrove finch
  • Floreana mockingbird

Want to visit the Galapagos? Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

 

What towns or cities do tours or cruises visit in the Galapagos?

Only four of the Galapagos Islands are continuously inhabited by non-scientists. There are no cities in the Galapagos. The largest town is Puerto Ayora on the south side Santa Cruz Island. The island of San Cristobal is anchored by the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which is the administrative capital of the Galapagos. The largest island, Isabela, has its port at Puerto Villamil. Floreana has a very small resident population—around 100.

Although you could visit these places on your cruise or land-based itinerary, that’s more than a little beside the point. The magic of the Galapagos lies in its wildlife and landscapes.

Are you considering a vacation in the Galapagos? Overwhelmed by choices? How would you like to have all your questions answered by a Galapagos travel expert–someone who knows the Galapagos first hand and by heart?

We’d love to meet you. The expert travel planners at LANDED have been helping clients experience the Galapagos since 2006. We’ve got you. Speak with one of our Galapagos experts today, at 801.582.2100.

What are the COVID requirements for visiting Galapagos?

Ecuador is open for travel from all US states, though there are some requirements for entry. Here are the current entry requirements for Ecuador:

  • All passengers over 3 years old must present a negative result of a COVID-19 RT-PCR test performed up to 72 hours prior to boarding the flight OR show a vaccination card or certificate with QR code for COVID-19, with the last dose administered at least 14 days prior to travel. 
  • Passengers entering mailand Ecuador by international air must present the Traveler’s Health Declaration. This form can be downloaded at the following link: https://www.salud.gob.ec/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/formulario_de_salud_del_viajero_.pdf
  • As of December 1st entry is prohibited to people whose points of origin or transit are: South Africa, Botswana, Egypt, Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Eswatini (Swaziland), and Namibia.

 

Galapagos Islands

 

  • All passengers over 3 years old must present a negative result of a COVID-19 RT-PCR test performed up to 72 hours prior to boarding the flight OR show vaccination card or certificate with QR code for COVID-19, with the last dose administered at least 14 days prior to travel.

TRAVEL
GUIDES

Sea Star Yacht Galapagos Penguins | Landed Travel

GALAPAGOS YACHT CHARTERS

Are you looking for a private Galapagos yacht charter?

Galapagos luxury charters of motor yachts, catamarans, trimarans, and masted sailing ships can all be arranged for private multi-day cruises in the Galapagos Islands.