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Galapagos Travel Guide

The Galapagos Islands, a remote and enchanting touring destination, are a cluster of volcanic islands located in the Pacific Ocean. Known for their unique and diverse wildlife, these islands offer an unparalleled experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers. A tour to the Galapagos is not just a trip but an exploration into a world where wildlife roams freely in their natural habitat. Guided tours in the Galapagos provide an up-close encounter with exotic animals like giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and diverse bird species. Each island in this archipelago has its own unique ecosystem, making destination tours here a journey of discovery and wonder. The Galapagos Islands are a testament to the beauty of untouched nature, and guided tours ensure that visitors experience this magical place responsibly and sustainably. Whether you're snorkeling with sea lions or hiking along volcanic craters, the Galapagos offers an unforgettable adventure. With tour operator volume buys plus our low everyday prices you can save up to 40% versus assembling the same itinerary on your own! Book your Galapagos tour today with AffordableTours.com, your discounted tour headquarters. View Galapagos Tour Deals and Discounts

Galapagos Travel Guide
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Itinerary Map10 DaysG AdventuresFirst ClassEscorted3 - Explorer  12+ years old15QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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Itinerary Map08 DaysG AdventuresFirst ClassEscorted3 - Explorer  6+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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09 DaysG AdventuresBudgetEscorted3 - Explorer  12+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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08 DaysG AdventuresBudgetTour & Cruise3 - Explorer  12+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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07 DaysG AdventuresBudgetSmall Ship Cruising2 - Classic  12+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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07 DaysG AdventuresBudgetTour & Cruise3 - Explorer  12+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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07 DaysG AdventuresBudgetSmall Ship Cruising3 - Explorer  12+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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Itinerary Map08 DaysIntrepidBudgetEscorted2 - Classic  5+ years old16QuitoQuitoEcuador, Galapagos
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Itinerary Map08 DaysIntrepidBudgetGuided/Hosted3 - Explorer  15+ years old16San CristobalSanta Cruz IslandEcuador, Galapagos
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Galapagos Travel Guide

Galapagos Tours Highlights

  • Charles Darwin Research Station: A key stop on many guided tours, the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island offers insights into the ongoing conservation efforts in the Galapagos. Visitors can learn about the giant tortoise breeding program and see these magnificent creatures up close.
  • Sierra Negra Volcano: Tours to Isabela Island often include a trek to the Sierra Negra Volcano, one of the world's largest volcanic craters. The hike to the crater rim provides stunning views and is a highlight for nature enthusiasts.
  • Bartolomé Island: Known for its iconic Pinnacle Rock, Bartolomé Island is a favorite destination tour spot. The island offers spectacular volcanic landscapes and snorkeling opportunities, with a chance to see penguins, sea turtles, and other marine life.
  • Tortuga Bay: Located on Santa Cruz Island, Tortuga Bay is famous for its pristine white sand beach and turquoise waters. It's an ideal spot for kayaking, snorkeling, and observing marine iguanas, making it a popular site on beach-related tours.
  • Galapagos National Park: Encompassing most of the archipelago, Galapagos National Park is a focal point of many guided tours. The park is home to unique wildlife, including giant tortoises, and offers numerous trails for hiking and wildlife viewing.

Galapagos Tours Travel Tips

  • Take the time to converse with the locals, even if it's just your waiter at a restaurant. The people in the Galapagos are so lovely and love speaking with visitors, so take advantage of that and learn a little more about the local people and local life!
  • Make sure you pack the essentials, including sunscreen, bug spray, and maybe even a hat. The majority of things to do in the Galapagos are outdoors, and you'll want to be prepared to be exposed to the sun!
  • Be sure to research and learn more about wildlife. Animals play a huge part in the touristic draw to the Galapagos, but it's worth brushing up on the local nature before visiting to be prepared.
  • Pack light and bring casual clothing. A lot of your adventuring, as mentioned earlier, will be outdoors, and you also won't have a whole lot of room generally in your hotels and accommodations. 
  • Bring a great camera, even if it's just on your phone. You'll want to snap pictures almost everywhere you look while you're in the Galapagos to save all the great memories for a lifetime!

Galapagos Tours Things To Do

  • Learn at the Charles Darwin Research Center
    Learn at the Charles Darwin Research Center

    The Charles Darwin Research Station is the best spot to learn more about Darwin and his discoveries while visiting the Galapagos. This research institute is also home to tons of well-preserved plants, showcasing the vastness of the islands. The research center is located on Santa Cruz Island and is best visited by boat. There's a vast photography exhibit in the exhibition hall, tons of presentations, artifacts, and even a skeleton of an old whale. If you get hungry, there's a restaurant right on site!

    You Should Know

    The Charles Darwin Research Center closes for about 2 hours in the middle of the day every day, so plan your trip wisely if you plan on visiting.

  • Go snorkeling
    Go snorkeling

    One of the best ways to learn about the sea life in the Galapagos is to go snorkeling! The great thing about snorkeling is that it's different than diving, and you don't have to have done it before. Anyone can grab some snorkel gear and see what sea life is all about! You can find everything from sea lions to Galapagos sharks when looking underwater here. Be on the lookout for the coral reefs too! If you didn't pack snorkel gear, don't worry. There are many places around the island where you can either rent or purchase some for your adventure!

    You Should Know

    This isn't an activity that's suited for younger children. You should at least know how to swim to participate!

  • Hike the Tortuga Bay Footway
    Hike the Tortuga Bay Footway

    Tortuga Beach also referred to as Tortuga Bay, is a gorgeous area to visit in the Galapagos. It's known for its fantastic beach, sand, and wildlife that you can witness if you take the nearby walk. The Tortuga Bay Footway is an easy 4.6-mile walking trail, so no matter your skill level, you'll be able to go on this hike. It's not a loop trail; virtually, you walk out and return on the very same pathway. This is an excellent hike for young children and dogs as well for your trip to the Galapagos!

    You Should Know

    A lot of the path is paved, so don't wear flip flops for your walk, or you may regret it.

  • Learn from the fisherman at the Fish Market of Puerto Ayora
    Learn from the fisherman at the Fish Market of Puerto Ayora

    The Fish Market of Puerto Ayora is located on Santa Cruz Island and is truly a must-visit when going to the Galapagos Islands. The fish market is located right along the town's waterfront. It may be small, but it's such a fun place to visit. You can find a bunch of local fishermen at the fish market weighing their catches of the day and preparing them to bring to restaurants and other nearby places. There are many benches in the area where you can sit and watch if you'd like. This is also a top spot to bird watch if you're interested in seeing pelicans by the dozens.

    Best Time To Visit

    Visit earlier in the morning because sometimes the market closes right after lunchtime!

  • Visit the Sierra Negra Volcano
    Visit the Sierra Negra Volcano

    Sierra Negra is a shield volcano located in the Galapagos on Isabela Island. It last erupted in 2018 and is, therefore, still an active volcano. It stands at 3,688 feet, so it's quite tall, and you truly can't miss it if you're in the area. There are lots of nearby hikes which will give you a fantastic view of the Sierra Negra Volcano. Be careful, because some of the walks are quite difficult, but others are relatively easy. It's a great way to witness the volcano!

    You Should Know

    It's argued that the best way to visit the Sierra Negra Volcano is to go with a tour guide. So, if you're on a Galapagos tour, you're in luck!

  • See the turtles at Tortuga Bay
    See the turtles at Tortuga Bay

    Tortuga Bay is located right on Santa Cruz Island and is arguably one of the best places to visit in all of the Galapagos. While the walking path is a massive draw for tourists and locals, Tortuga Bay's real highlight is the giant tortoises! That's what the bay itself is even named after. The tortoises can be seen out all day and are breathtaking in person. If you try to take a photo of them, remember that they are animals and don't be intrusive. This is their home, not yours!

    You Should Know

    Make sure that you bring your bathing suit - Tortuga Bay is the perfect spot for swimming too!

  • Relax at Puerto Villamil
    Relax at Puerto Villamil

    Puerto Villamil is a little village located right on Isabela Island in the Galapagos. Though it's relatively tiny, this village is a hot spot to visit because of its breathtaking beaches that are truly magical. Some other top spots in Puerto Villamil include the Pearl Shell for snorkeling and wildlife spotting, the Wall of Tears for History, and the Iglesia Catolica Cristo Salvador for breathtaking architecture that you can't witness on the other islands.

    You Should Know

    Instead of staying at a hotel here, opt to stay at bed and breakfast to mingle more with locals.

  • See wildlife at Black Turtle Cove
    See wildlife at Black Turtle Cove

    Black Turtle Cove is located on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos and is part of the national park. It's one of the most underrated spots to visit in all of the islands and is more often visited by locals, but it's incredibly scenic and beautiful. This area is on protected and undeveloped land, so nature has just completely taken over, which only adds to Black Turtle Cove's allure. Be on the lookout for the wildlife and rare plants that you can find in this area!

    Best Time To Visit

    The Black Turtle Cove is never truly crowded, so that you can visit any time of day. Opt to visit at sunrise or sunset for an unforgettable view!

  • Cliff jump at Las Grietas
    Cliff jump at Las Grietas

    Las Grietas is a beautiful area in the Galapagos surrounded by substantial cliff faces of rocks. In between, three's a tiny little stretch of water that is one of the most scenic places to go swimming (or cliff jumping, if you're feeling adventurous) in all of the Galapagos. This place is a bit harder to get to, but it's worth visiting. If you decide to cliff jump, remember to be careful because there is always the possibility of danger when doing so. Don't forget your sunscreen when you visit either!

    Best Time To Visit

    Unlike many of the other places on this list, the Las Grietas is a popular spot to visit so that it can get quite busy later in the day. Visit as early as possible in the morning to have the whole area just to yourself.

Galapagos Tour Packages

Deciding the best time to tour the Galapagos Islands depends on what you want to see and do. The islands have a unique climate, influenced by the Pacific Ocean, which creates two main seasons, both offering different experiences for tours.

  • December to May

    The warm season, from December to May, is the best time for those looking to enjoy swimming and snorkeling. This period sees warmer, wetter weather with occasional rain showers and warmer sea temperatures, ideal for water-based tours. It's also a great time for birdwatching, as many birds are nesting and breeding.

  • June to November

    The cool season, from June to November, is favored by those interested in marine life. During these months, the Humboldt Current brings cooler waters and nutrient-rich upwellings, attracting a variety of marine wildlife, perfect for guided snorkeling and diving tours. The weather is generally cooler and drier, with occasional mist.

Galapagos Tours Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are Galapagos Tours?

    Galapagos Tours are perfect for travelers who don't like planning out all of the details of trips. With these tours, your itinerary will be thoroughly planned out for you, in addition to a majority of your accommodations, meals, and transportation. What more could you want? You'll also be able to make friends in your tour group, and you'll have a tour director who will be with you throughout the whole trip.

  • What’s included on a Galapagos Tour?

    The true highlight of Galapagos tours is that they include access to a tour director who will be with you for the entirety of your tour. This means that they will be here to make sure your group sticks to the itinerary, makes it to the right places at the right time, and will even field all of your questions.

  • What’s the best Galapagos Tour?

    The best Galapagos tour doesn't exist! Each one is amazing, and it's so hard to compare them. Honestly, the best Galapagos tour depends on what you're looking for. Consider how long you'd like your trip to be, the places you'd like to be on your itinerary, and your budget. Luckily, if you find that you're having issues trying to choose the best tour for you, our tour experts are always readily available awaiting your call.

  • How much do Galapagos Tours cost?

    Each Galapagos tour has its price, so there isn't an average price per day across the board. Some of the tours cost as little as $90 per day, while others might cost closer to $200. It varies depending on the tour operator, the tour's length, the stops along the tour, and more. Luckily, booking through Affordable Tours means that you can save up to 40% off the average brochure price that you'd see for this very same tour elsewhere!

Learn More About Galapagos Tours

Reviews for Galapagos Tours and Vacations

We could not operate the phone from the first hotel where we stayed (the Hilton) and the 2nd hotel in on the island did not have an English speaking clerk at the office counter, the third hotel in which we stayed did not have hot water

Judith B

We were well taken of by Gate1. The trip was hectic but very exciting.

Andrea D

We had an extraordinary guide. He remained calm and enthusiastic at the same time. He was very knowledgeable and always had our best interest in mind. He made the trip fabulous.

Yvonne J

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