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The Galápagos Islands

In the two-hour flight across the thousand kilometers of Pacific Ocean from the Ecuadorian mainland to the Galápagos archipelago, visitors can expect to be transported to an environment reminiscent of prehistoric times.

Elegant folds and fans of solidified lava, imposing towers of solid rock, and vast expanses of white, red, and green sand create a Spartan, hauntingly beautiful landscape. Slate black marine iguanas crawl up the rocky substrate from their marine play place, announcing their presence with a primordial release of salt from their nostrils. Land tortoises — or galápagos, the Spanish word for the domed saddle resembling the tortoise’s shell — slowly lumber from slimy bog to grassy clearing.


The Galápagos Islands, made famous for inspiring biologist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, provide travelers the opportunity to observe — without the aid of binoculars — the unique and often unusual characteristics and behavior of island bird, reptile, mammal and fish species not found anywhere else in the world. Nearly one in four species is endemic, or found only in the Galápagos. And because many of the animals in the Galápagos have no natural predators, both land and sea animals remain “ecologically naïve,” virtually fearless and unaffected by visitors.

In part due to the dynamic collision of three ocean currents at the Galápagos, there is an unbelievable abundance of sea life. As a result, visitors can observe large marine fauna — like dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and the occasional whale shark or sperm whale — as well as colorful reef fish and echinoderms (sea stars, brittle stars and sea cucumbers) found only in the waters surrounding the archipelago. Another highlight is snorkeling mask-to-whiskers with playful sea lion pups.

Galapagos is one of the world's premier SCUBA diving sites.

If you are a passive traveler envisioning long naps on the beach and spacious accommodations, you best not spend the money on Galápagos. Instead, expect to be visually and intellectually stimulated (if not physically challenged) by the unique beauty, natural history and evolutionary processes witnessed on each island.

Most travelers take a cruise in the Galapagos and take 1-2 trips to land per day exploring visitor spots on various islands. Should you choose to spend more time on land rather than sea, however, there are a number of Galapagos hotels to choose from and a growing number of Galapagos land based tours.

Land-Based Galápagos Tours , Choosing a Galápagos Cruise,







16 Oct 2013

Top Rated Galapagos Cruises

Guantanamera

102231The Guantanamera has capacity for 16 passengers, distributed among two below-deck matrimonial suites—with double lower and twin upper berths, two below-deck double cabins, and four upper-deck ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Floreana

102230The Floreana is a motor yacht that accommodates 16 passengers in eight double cabins containing private facilities and hot water. Amenities include comfortable bar and lounge areas, equipped with ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Fragata

102229The Fragata, a 16-passenger motor yacht with eight fully-equipped double cabins, is outfitted to provide comfortable cruising, fine dining, and attentive service. Recently rebuilt, the Fragata ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Encantada

102227The Encantada is a charming, candy-apple red, 10-passenger sailing boat, which offers style and adventure to their mostly scuba-diving clientele. It has five fully-equipped double bunk cabins, a ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Angelito I

102226The Angelito I is a comfortable, 16-passenger motor yacht with eight double bunk cabins, each with private bath, hot water, air conditioning, and outside access. Frill-less yet efficient, the ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Darwin

102225The 16-passenger motor yacht, Darwin, has eight spacious double cabins, each with private bath, hot water, and air conditioning. It also has plenty of comfortable social areas: a plush dining room, ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Amigo I

102223The Amigo I is a 16-passenger motor yacht with eight double cabins, each equipped with private bath and hot water. A small external sun-deck provides extra comfort during weeklong excursions ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Amazonia

102222The Amazonia, also known as the Nemo II, is a large catamaran specially designed to take up to 14 passengers in seven double cabins. The ingeniously designed salon, cockpit, and unique interior make ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Aida Maria

102221The 16-passenger Aida Maria was designed to combine style, comfort, and efficiency. Eight double bunk cabins—each with outside access—are minimalist yet classy and equipped with private bath, ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Tip Top III

102218The Tip Top III is the slightly more spacious equivalent of her sister ship, the Tip Top II. It too has capacity for sixteen passengers, but in ten double cabins with two lower twin beds, private ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Tip Top II

102216The Tip Top II is a modern steel-hulled motor yacht with a capacity for 16 passengers in eight double cabins—four below and four above deck—and one single cabin. Each double cabin has two twin ...
Cruise
Ecuador

Top Restaurants in Galapagos

Café del Mar

110607 The aroma of grilled meats and the sizzle of the fire greet you as you walk into this brightly lit cavernous space with bamboo walls and large, wood slab tables. On one wall, a tv screen usually ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

La Playa

One of the best restaurants in Galápagos, La Playa is located in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, San Cristóbal. A casual, laid-back place with an ocean view, nothing about the restaurant's plain exterior ...
Restaurant
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador

Angermeyer Point

110612One of Puerto Ayora’s finest restaurants was founded by the Angermeyers, one of the earliest colonist families of the town. Set in the original cabin of Karl Angermeyer, it is decorated with ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Restaurante Rincon del Alma

The Rincon del Alma has all of the typical Galápagos food choices-seafood, meats, and some Italian choices-in a central location across from the park. The Rincon del Alma has a local, familial feel ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Restaurante El Descanso del Guia

The eclectic Restaurante El Descanso del Guia is a local staple. It is popular for breakfasts: try the bolon de verde, a giant ball of cooked plantain: it's about as 'typical' as it gets. Also good ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Casa del Lago Café Cultural

The Casa del Lago Cafe Cultural was opened in 2004 by former guide and Imbabura resident Elena Albarado to provide a space for local artists, performers, movie screenings and festivals, special ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Bar/Restaurant Iguana Café

An enormous bamboo bar, tree-trunk tables, and bright sarong wall treatments give the Bar/Restaurant Iguana Cafe an eclectic, bohemian, and ultimately welcoming feeling to tourists and locals alike. ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Tintorera

Tintorera is a popular restaurant with a fresh, eco-friendly spin. Produce is organic and locally-grown; cheeses are made locally; jams are produced by the Orgnization of Artisan Women in Isabela; ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Red Sushi

Red Sushi, in the Red Mangrove Adventure Inn, is a bar/restaurant specializing in Japanese delights. The sashimi and maki rolls are perfectly delectable, and popping them in your mouth in the ...
Restaurant
Puerto Ayora, Ecuador

Cormoran

141740 One of the classier budget eating options, Cormorán is located near the little creek that runs through town to empty into the ocean. It’s an airy, family-run place with a good variety of ...
Restaurant
San Cristobal, Ecuador

Rosita

141739 Restaurant Rosita is a friendly place, open and breezy a couple blocks from the beach. It has a definite beach-place vibe to it, from the photos of fish on the walls to the ship’s wheel hung near ...
Restaurant
San Cristobal, Ecuador
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