Things to see on the Galapagos Islands
Galapagos Islands Tours
People coming to do a Galapagos Islands Tours will be looking for a unique experience and will be rewarded for their interest. Doing one of the Galapagos Islands Tours is an experience few will forget. Most people visiting the islands do this with a cruise. The cruises on the Galapagos Islands give you the chance to spend a lot of time on the sea, enjoying the islands from the sea and on land. During a cruise you will have several daily excursions, going from visiting the islands and their sites to seeing and experiencing wildlife through actually scuba diving among it.
There are several different Galapagos Cruise boats most of them quite luxurious. There are some catamarans and actual sailing boats as well. Most cruises go for 4, 5 or 8 days. Only the 8 day cruise does visit more or less the whole Galapagos Islands territory. Most cruises leave once a week on a fixed day from Baltra Island as this is the Galapagos Islands biggest airport. On the fourth or fifth day they pass by Baltra Island again and drive the other five or four day loop. The more luxurious sailing boats have a somewhat different route and do not pass by Baltra again.
In general the bigger boats and the catamarans are the most stabile boats. The sea is in general quite calm but can have some rougher weather, especially in the months of June till August.
The other Galapagos Islands Tours on offer are Island Hopping programs. These are land based programs that will allow you to stay on some of the four principal islands and do the excursions between them. In general these Galapagos Islands tours are offered starting with weeklong programs.
Galapagos Islands Attractions;
The main Galapagos Islands attractions are of course the large numbers of fauna and flora that mysteriously lives on these islands. Following is a short overview of the most important sights and fauna and flora that you can discover on the islands during the Galapagos Islands tours.
Baltra Island; The Island is very arid, and vegetation consists of salt bushes, prickly pear cacti and palo santo trees After being extend on the island due to an experiment, land iguanas were reintroduced to Baltra. As of 1997, scientists counted 97 iguanas living on Baltra; 13 of which were born on the islands.
Bartolomé Island; This Island is one of the few that is home to the Galapagos penguin which is the only wild penguin species to live on the equator. The green turtle is another animal that resides on the island.
Española Island; This Island is known for its large number of endemic species. It has its own species of lava lizard, mockingbird, and tortoise. Española's marine iguanas exhibit a distinctive red coloration change during the breeding season. Española is the only place where the waved albatross nests. Some of the birds have attempted to breed on Genovesa Island, but unsuccessfully. Española's steep cliffs serve as the perfect runways for these birds, which take off for their ocean feeding grounds near the mainland of Ecuador and Peru.
Fernandina Island; One of the main points of interest to visitors is the Punta Espinosa; a narrow stretch of land where hundreds of marine iguanas gather, largely on black lava rocks. The famous flightless cormorants inhabit this island, as do Galápagos penguins, pelicans, Galápagos sea lions and Galápagos fur seals. Different types of lava flows can be compared, and the mangrove forests can be observed.
Floreana Island; This Island known for its Flamingos and green sea turtles nest (December to May) on this island. One of the most famous Galapagos Islands attractions can also be found here; Post Office Bay, since the 18th century whalers kept a wooden barrel that served as post office so that mail could be picked up and delivered to their destinations, mainly Europe and the United States, by ships on their way home. At the “Devil's Crown”, an underwater volcanic cone and coral formations are found.
Isabela Island; Some of the most famous inhabitants of this island are Galápagos penguins, flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, pelicans and Sally Lightfoot crabs. At the skirts and calderas of the volcanos of Isabela, one can also see land iguanas and Galápagos tortoises.The third-largest human settlement of the archipelago, Puerto Villamil, is located at the southeastern tip of the island. It is the only island to have the equator run across it. It is also the only place in the world where a penguin can be in its natural habitat in the Northern Hemisphere.
North Seymour; This Island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. It hosts one of the largest populations of frigate birds.
San Cristóbal Island; This islands hosts frigate birds, sea lions, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, tropicbirds, marine iguanas, dolphins and swallow-tailed gulls. The largest freshwater lake in the archipelago, Laguna El Junco, is located in the highlands of San Cristóbal. The capital of the province of Galápagos, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, lies at the southern tip of the island.
Santa Cruz Island; This Island hosts the largest human population in the archipelago, the town of Puerto Ayora. The Charles Darwin Research Station and the headquarters of the Galápagos National Park Service are located here. The Highlands of Santa Cruz offer exuberant flora, and are famous for the lava tunnels. Large tortoise populations are found here. Black Turtle Cove is a site surrounded by mangroves, which sea turtles, rays and small sharks sometimes use as a mating area. Cerro Dragón, known for its flamingo lagoon, is also located here, and along the trail one may see land iguanas foraging.
Of course this is by far a complete list and many other animals and sea life can be seen on Galapagos Islands tours throughout the different seasons.