Tour galapagos - places to visit

by Kshaunish Jaini

The Galapagos Islands are a bucket-list worthy tourist location ideal for anybody. Volcanic eruptions, flightless birds, and swimming iguanas are just some of the unique sights to see. Wildlife, flora, and unique landscapes attract tourists from around the world. Many of the islands have a rich history. Located in Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands offer a warm environment perfect for exploring. There are several different islands available for tourists, each offering its own experience.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz is one of the most important islands in the Galapagos Islands. It features some of most popular tourist destinations for all different types of travelers. The tourist destinations in Santa Cruz are some of the most distinctive in the Galapagos islands. Some of the most popular destination on Santa Cruz Island are:

Charles Darwin Research Station

The Charles Darwin Research Station is a biological research station and active breeding center operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. Tourists here can witness incredible animals, including the famous Galapagos Tortoise. Tourists can see tortoises of all sizes, from eggs that haven’t hatched yet to full grown 500 pound tortoises. Other wildlife creatures that can be found at the Charles Darwin Research Station include the Galapagos Land Iguana. These animals are a once in a lifetime experience to see, which is why every tourist in Santa Cruz will want to stop here.

Tortuga Bay Beach on Santa Cruz, Galapagos.

Tortuga Bay Beach on Santa Cruz, Galapagos. Photo by Steven

Tortuga Bay Beach

Tortuga Bay Beach is a popular tourist destination located in Santa Cruz. This      

beach is especially popular with snorkelers. Snorkeling here gives views to some of the richest marine life the Galapagos has to offer. This includes reel fish, sea turtles, white-tip sharks, and more. Rare birds such as the Frigate birds and the Blue-Footed Boobies can be found along the shore. This beach is truly a unique experience.

Las Grietas

Las Grietas is a canyon-like crevice in the volcanic rock. A mixture of both saltwater and freshwater enters the crevice, creating a beautiful turquoise, crystal clear pool that both swimmers and snorkelers will love. Unfortunately, there is little wildlife in the waters due to the mix of fresh and saltwater.

Garrapatero Beach

The Garrapatero Beach in Santa Cruz is a beautiful beach popular with both tourists and locals. Flamingos can be found here frequently, offering a majestic sight to see. This beach offers waters perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Kayaking is also common here.

Lava Tunnels

The lava tunnels in Santa Cruz offer an adventurous experience for tourists. These underground tunnels were formed by cooled lava that once flowed the island. They make for interesting hikes. There are tunnels of different sizes and lengths, fitting for all different tourists.

Champion iset is a popular diving spot.

Champion iset is a popular diving spot. Photo by Bill

Champion Islet

The Champion Islet is a small island located offshore of the Floreana Island. It is one of the most beautiful destinations seen on a Galapagos Islands Cruise . Swimmers, snorkelers, and those looking for exotic wildlife will especially love the Champion Islet.

On land, visitors will find flamingos, penguins, blue-tailed boobies, pintail ducks, and more. In the water, even more beautiful wildlife can be found. Sea lions, sea tortoises, Galapagos sharks, hammerheads, whales, starfish, and more. Divers will love having the opportunity to witness these animals up close.

The Champion Islet is also one of the two final habitats of the Floreana Mockingbird. With only 20-40 of these birds existing on Champion Islet, they are a popular sight that visitors wish to see.

South Plaza Island

South Plaza is a small island east of Santa Cruz. It’s size may be small, but it home to incredible flora and a large number of wildlife species. On the steep banks, one could witness a great number of birds such as swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds. Galapagos land iguanas frequent South Plaza. Prickly pear cactus trees can be viewed on the island.

Tourists visiting the Galapagos Islands will not regret stopping at the South Plaza Island. The views here are unbeatable.

Rabida Island

The Rabida Island is a small island located south of the Santiago Island. Due to the small volcanic craters and high levels of iron found in lava, the island has a distinctive red color. The red beaches are a huge attraction. Marine iguanas and sea lions can be found along the caves near the beaches.

There is plenty of other wildlife to see on the Rabida Island as well. Some examples include brown pelicans, flamingos, Nazca boobies, pintail ducks, Galapagos doves, and more. This offers a truly unique sight to see for all tourists. Snorkeling and swimming is very common on the Rabida Island.

Espanola Island

Espanola Island is one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos , estimated to be four million years old. The island is slowly dying, as it is a rocky land with little vegetation. However, Espanola Island has some large bays that attract a large number of Galapagos sea lions.

This island has it’s own species of wildlife. The Espanola mockingbird and the Espanola lava lizard are two unique species to Espanola Island. Tropical birds can also be found on this beautiful island.

red crab on volcanic rock

Fernandina island is a popular place to spot wildlife in the Galapagos

Fernandina Island

Fernandina Island is known for its continuing volcanic eruptions. It is the most volcanically active island in the Galapagos. Due to the volcanic eruptions on Fernandina Island, the landscape of the island has changed dramatically over time. This makes the island an interesting spot for tourism.

Wildlife can also be found on Fernandina Island. There are two species of endemic rats on the island. Endemic rats have mostly went extinct on the other islands due to the introduction of Black Rats. Fernandina is one of the only larger islands that have never introduced mammals, which allows to flora to flourish. The biggest threat to the flora is the potential introduction of mammals.

There is only one tourist spot on the island. This is Punta Espinosa. Marine iguanas and flightless cormorants can be seen here. Snakes, sea lions, penguins, and Galapagos hawks are other popular wildlife attractions that can be seen here.

Lava cactus can also be seen on the Fernandina Island. This unique cactus is one of the first species to grow on young lava, and can survive on very little water. Tourists enjoy seeing this unique sight.

Floreana Island

Floreana Island is a must for all tourists with a passion for history. The Floreana Island was home to the first Galapagos resident. Also, Floreana Island is known for mysterious disappearances. History buffs will love to go and study the incredible history of the island.

The Floreana Island also features impressive marine sites. The Devil’s Crown is one of the most noteable marine sites on the island. It is a volcanic crater that has been eroded by waves. Rocky spikes can be seen above water in a semicircular pattern. This is where the site gets it’s name from, as it looks like a crown. Inside the crown, there is an underwater oasis of coral reefs, and marine species, such as sea lions, Balloon fish, Hammerhead Sharks, and sea turtles. The rocky remains surrounding are home to seabirds such as boobies and pelicans. This creates a beautiful site for tourists.

Plan your trip to the Galapagos islands, there are plenty of books that wax eloquent about these wonderful natural treasures. I’ve written a few articles on when to visit , cruise prices , how to get there etc. Have a great trip!

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