The best activities in the Galapagos Islands

Last year when I was visiting Ecuador, I spent a week in the Galapagos Islands. Known for being an archipelago full of exotic animals such as sea lions, giant turtles, marine and land iguanas, blue footed boobies, penguins, frigate birds, and hammerhead sharks, just to name a few, the Galapagos can’t bore anyone at any age. The islands also offer many amazing activities that you can do in incredible surroundings.

Plazas Island, Galapagos

Here are some of my favorite activities that should convince you to visit the Galapagos if you’re still hesitating!

Simply wait for the sea lions to greet you in Puerto Ayora

Puerto Ayora might seem not like a top destination as it’s usually just a jump-off point for cruises. However, this doesn’t mean that the town doesn’t offer any interesting attractions. It’s actually quite the opposite; I found it incredible. The moment I arrived in Puerto Ayora and walked around the city, I was greeted by sea lions chilling on the streets and even sitting on benches.

Galapagos

Swim with water tortoises off the coast of Isabela Island

I would have never imagined that this activity could actually be done in a real life and not only in the movies. I was taken on a small boat and thrown into the water with my snorkeling gear. Once in the water, I was instructed by my guide to grab a water tortoise and dive with him. It was like being pulled by a small motor! I highly recommend this amazing experience.

Take a tour to one of the smaller islands to spot Blue Footed Boobies

Blue Footed Boobies are one of the most famous inhabitants of the Galapagos. Where else in the world can you can see a bird with blue feet? The birds aren’t easy to spot, but I managed to see a couple when visiting a tiny island of Plazas. Plazas Island is actually worth visiting not only to see Blue Footed Boobies, but also because of its incredible land with red sand and cacti. It looks very similar to Socotra Island off the coast of Yemen.

Blue-footed booby

Jump from the waterfall in Las Grietas

Las Grietas is a canyon surrounded by rocks, famous for cliff jumping and snorkeling. It’s a must see spot located on Santa Cruz Island. It’s not easy to find on your own, but if your Spanish is good enough, you can easily ask some locals how to find the place. The way to get there isn’t easy; one should expect jumping from one lava rock to the other.

Chill on the beach with iguanas

Many visitors describe the Galapagos as a kind of real life Jurassic Park. Everywhere you go you can find iguanas relaxing on the streets and beaches. I had a chance to sit on the beach among at least twenty iguanas trying to play with me. You have to be careful though because you’re not supposed to touch them. However, one actually managed to touch me. While sitting with the land iguanas, you can observe the unique Galapagos marine iguanas swimming or napping on the volcanic rocks. If you want to hang out with iguanas, my personal recommendation would be to go to Las Tortugas Beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s quite a hike to get there, but it’s definitely worth it!

Iguanas in the Galapagos

Snorkel with sea lions on Isabela Island

Sea lions are one of the most common species on the Galapagos and as I mentioned before, they are quite easy to spot. There are even a few places where you can snorkel with them. The best spot, in my opinion, is on Isabela Island. Sea lions are extremely playful and love interacting with humans as long as there aren’t any young pups in their community.

Sea lion

Buy your dinner at local fish market

While walking through Puerto Ayora, the first thing that catches your attention is the fish market located right next to the pier. When local fishermen begin to unload the fish, groups of pelicans and sea lions come around to wait for fish to steal. If you’re lucky you can also spot crabs in their catch. While attending this amazing spectacle, you can also purchase fresh fish to eat for dinner.

Visit the Charles Darwin Centre

The Charles Darwin Centre cannot be missed, especially because it’s free! The Galapagos tortoise located there is the largest of the living tortoise species and there aren’t that many of them left. Although all of the animals are kept in cages, you can see them from quite close up and hear them grunting.

Galapagos tortoise

 

About the author

Anna Lysakowska is a blogger at Anna Everywhere and editor at Flipit. She has visited more than 45 countries and lived in 7 cities, including Mexico City, Boston, London, Cape Town, Florence and Leiden. She studied journalism at Harvard, international law at Oxford Brookes, and obtained her Masters in Latin American Studies from Leiden University. Since 2013, she has been residing in the Netherlands where she works at a marketing company, but this doesn’t stop her from traveling. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

 

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15 Responses to “The best activities in the Galapagos Islands” Subscribe

  1. Claire @ ZigZag On Earth April 29, 2014 at 1:34 pm #

    OK. So I think the Universe is telling me that my next trip should be the Galapagos. This evening I start my tour of my favorite travel blogs. You are the second one I am visiting and this is my second article to read about the Galapagos!!!
    Love the shot with the iguana Amanda!

    • Anna April 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

      Claire, you should definitely go to the Galapagos! You won’t regret it! ;)

  2. Lisa - Wee Wanders April 30, 2014 at 4:22 am #

    I really need to get to this part of the world as soon as possible! Maybe after my trip to Southeast Asia this summer I should consider it…

  3. Ben Leigh April 30, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    Article will edify on me to “Go See Write” almost on my regular travelling experience.. Chill of on your way of texting as a part of each experience has been torn apart here.. It make everyone will do Go See Write their individual experience via post..

  4. Jen Seligmann May 1, 2014 at 2:06 am #

    What isn’t awesome about the Galapagos! It all looks so wonderful. Can’t wait to visit someday.

  5. Sally May 1, 2014 at 5:21 am #

    Wow! these are very nice moments! Sea lion is looking very nice. cant wait to go this place. Really like the taken with the iguana Amanda! Thanks for sharing these photographs.

  6. Michael May 1, 2014 at 8:08 pm #

    Galapagos Islands has always been on our list. Would love to see The Galapagos Tortoise in it’s natural habitat.

  7. Lauren Meshkin May 2, 2014 at 11:41 pm #

    GREAT photos! I loved reading this. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels :)

  8. Renuka May 4, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    Galapagos Islands have got so much to offer! I like the bird’s blue feet. :)

  9. Freya May 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

    This article for sure brought back some great memories, I visited the Galapagos Islands last May and it was absolutely amazing. Great photos.

  10. Ryan May 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    Stellar wildlife abound! I know that is what its famous for, that diversity, but still Just so prominent. Very cool, thanks for the photos. Love the turtles =)

  11. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy May 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    I don’t think I could ever get tired of reading about the Galapagos. I want to play with iguanas myself.

  12. Meghan May 12, 2014 at 12:10 am #

    I knew that the Galapagos was a special place, but I didn’t know that there was so much to do … makes me want to check it out even more now!

  13. Ally May 23, 2014 at 4:00 pm #

    I’m nearly in Ecuador so hopefully I will be able to visit the Galapagos next month. I really want to swim with the sea lions, I did it when I was little and loved it.

  14. Red Hunt June 13, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    Nice list! The Galapagos is one of my favourite places, and I spend 1-2 months there every year now…never get tired of sea lions, iguanas and boobies ;)

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