The Galapagos archipelago is made up of 18 main islands, which includes the largest Isabela and most populated Santa Cruz, 3 small islands and 107 rocks/islets. More information about the various islands can be found below.
Two small crescent-shaped islands (north and south) located off the coast of Santa Cruz and separated by a channel
less than 1km wide. These were formed by uplifted slabs of the sea bed rather than volcanic islands. The North Plaza is
reserved for scientific research and closed to the public. South Plaza is open to visitors and here you can view marine
iguanas, swallow-tailed gulls, common noddies, red-billed tropicbirds, blue-footed and Nazca boobies.
An arid vegetation zone with opuntia cacti forest which are among the tallest in the archipelago. With only one visitor
site, Bahia Barrington and a 1.5km trail, you can identify a variety of species such as green sea turtles, spotted eagle rays,
brown pelicans, boobies (both blue-footed and Nazca), Galapagos sea lions and the endemic Santa Fe rice rat which is
A fairly small, uplifted lava flow island, 1.9km2 in area and located just 40km from Puerto Ayora. Here you will see the
magnificent frigate bird, land iguanas, lava lizard and of course, sea lions.
The island has two barren volcanic cinder cones, connected by green lush vegetation and golden sand beaches. A landing
on Bartolome could be mistaken for that of Mars with its many red craters. Pinnacle rock sits in Bartolome’s northern bay
and here you can find Galapagos penguins living at the foot of the rock. Quite a steep climb takes you up to a spectacular
viewpoint at the summit of a splatter cone. Snorkelling around the island you can swim with penguins.
The official name is San Salvador and it is large enough to hold the endemic subspecies of the giant tortoise and the nocturnal
rice rat. Puerto Egas is the remains of a salt-mining operation and here you will see Galapagos hawks. If you head
to the west of the island, the trail leads to a series of collapsed black lava tubes which have collapsed opening out to sea,
forming fantastic grottos. Here you can watch sea lions and green sea turtles playing in the beautiful turquoise waters.
The most striking feature is a high bluff on the north coast, which glows a startling rust-red when the sun is low in the sky.
Greater flamingos share a brackish lagoon with sea lions, nesting brown pelicans and herons. Galapagos hawks are also
visible on the island.
The youngest and most active volcano in the Galapagos erupts every few years. The flat lava of Punta Espinosa offers a
stark and barren landscape, but here flightless cormorants build their nests on the point, sea lions laze on the beach or
swim in the tide pools and marine iguanas climb over one another.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the official capital of the archipelago situated to the southeast of San Cristobal. The Visitor
Interpretation Centre was opened here by the Galapagos National Park in 1998 and serves as a source of information
about the islands communities and natural history. San Cristobal is the only island with a freshwater lake located in the
crater of the ‘El Junco’ Volcano. The rain-filled crater, almost 300m across and 6m deep, is a vital source to the Island and
majority of tourist ships in the Galapagos.
This island is thought to be an uplifted lava flow and one of the oldest islands. Punta Suarez is renowned as the only location
on earth that is home to the waved albatross which nests here between March and December. Hood mocking birds, red
billed tropic birds, brightly coloured marine iguanas and lava lizards are found here, as are nesting colonies of nazca boobies
and blue-footed boobies.
Officially named Santa Maria, Floreana is an island with a most interesting human history, haunt of the erratic baroness
and her entourage. It also has a main post box, an old casket that has been on the beach since 1763 for sailors to place their
mail in and collect the post on their way home. It still works today! Land on a green beach of olivine sand and see the pink
flamingoes in the lagoon. Over the hill is a coral sand beach known as a nesting area for green turtles, which brings in the
white tipped sharks visible from the shore. Snorkel in a volcanic crater, the Devil’s Crown, one of the best snorkelling sites
in the Galapagos.
Also referred to as ‘Bird Island’ for its profusion of inhabitants, expect to see blue-footed boobies and, more uncommonly
the red-footed boobies, some of the great birding characters on these islands.
Frigate birds fill the skies and at night the only nocturnal gulls in the world, the swallow-tailed gulls, keep the air alive with
sound. The beauty of this island is that it can only be reached on faster vessels and therefore its remoteness adds to its
tranquility and its enjoyment. Snorkelling here is full of surprises with its nutrient rich waters.
A steep eroded tuff cone is surrounded by the Canal San Salvador which is so deep that boats cannot anchor. Daphne
Major is located 50 km north of Puerto Ayora. Wildlife to view here includes the redbilled tropicbirds and Darwin’s finches.