The Galapagos Islands…a marvel of Mother Nature. Largely untouched by human activity over the centuries, this isolated archipelago is home to a fascinating array of land and marine species found nowhere else. Blue-footed Boobies and crimson red Sally Lightfoot Crabs contrast dark lava rocks and camouflaged Marine Iguanas. Basking Sea Lions line powder-white beaches while Pelicans and Frigate birds ply the skies. Plunge into the turquoise waters to join playful Sea Lions and Sea Turtles. On land, the Giant Galapagos Tortoises have a magical presence all their own and can weigh up to 500 pounds!
Each day is as varied as the islands are different–from birdwatching and hiking to the world’s second largest caldera, to kayaking through mangroves and diving with sharks. This UNESCO World Heritage site is explored and loved by travelers of all ages, activity levels and interests.
RECOGNIZED FOR OUR TRAVEL INNOVATION AND EXPERTISE
A Complex Destination
Planning a trip to the Galapagos involves a myriad of options to consider: Cruise or land-based, length of stay, islands to visit, time of year, lodging, activities and more. Whether for a family vacation, romantic holiday, or small group adventure, the Galapagos offer something for everyone–but only careful, personalized planning can ensure that your travel experience reflects your style and interests.
Galapagos Travel Choreographers
At Latin Excursions, travel design is our passion. We have over 15 years crafting extraordinary journeys to the Galapagos, and our itineraries have been recognized by Travel+Leisure and Condé Nast. With offices in Ecuador, we know these Islands intimately and consider them our second home! We select only the best ships and lodging that offer quality, immersive experiences with excellent guides and high safety and environmental standards.
Work with a Travel Designer
Speaking with a Galapagos Travel Designer saves a great deal of time, hassle and often money! Replace hours of online research with expert advice and up-to-date information. We’ve designed hundreds trips to the Galapagos Islands and mainland Ecuador and will make planning your Galapagos trip a breeze–and at no additional cost to you.
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A BIT ABOUT
GEOGRAPHY OF THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
The Galapagos Archipelago is an infinitely intriguing collection of over 60 islands and islets, most of which remain uninhabited; aside from the hundreds of endemic animal species, of course. A unique, mini ecosystem in itself, roughly 600 miles off Ecuador’s Pacific coast, in the Galapagos biodiversity is evident not just in its wildlife populations, but also across many different plants, landscapes and environments. Here, you can find ancient lava fields and depleted volcanoes, picture-perfect white sand bays and some of the best snorkeling anywhere in the world, all within a day. There are grassy highlands, mangroves and forests of giant cacti to be seen, as well as rocky outcrops and barren tundra, depending on exactly which islands are included in your tour.
The main and most popular Galapagos Islands are Isabela (the largest of the group), Espanola, Fernandina, Floreana, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz and Santiago, with lesser-known Genovesa, Marchena, Santa Fe, Baltra, Pinta and Pinzon making up the 13 recognized volcanic land masses. Certain species such as Sea Lions, Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs can be seen throughout the Galapagos. However, if visiting the northern islands including Santiago and Genovesa, look out for nesting seabirds, Turtles and Stingrays, native plant species and forest-covered islets. The western isles are known for their populations of Giant Tortoises, Flightless Cormorants and Dolphins found in and around the lava fields of Isabela and Fernandina, while the east is awash with Red-footed Boobies, Gulls and Waved Albatrosses. Finally, you could cruise south to the sandy beaches, White-tipped Reef Sharks and Frigate Birds of Espanola and Floreana, among many, many others.
IS THE GALAPAGOS RIGHT FOR ME?
The Galapagos Islands are a perfect travel destination for all types of luxury and experiential traveler: families with young children, small groups, retired couples and honeymooners alike. This is thanks to the versatility of trips, range of activities and choice of routes, all sewn together with predictable weather, endless wildlife and stunning landscapes to admire.
Active holiday makers will love the open-water sea kayaking, volcano hikes and some of the best scuba diving in the world. Meanwhile, anyone looking for a more relaxing Latin American vacation can sit back and enjoy the view, aboard a luxury Galapagos cruise yacht in between gentle wildlife walks or afternoons spent strolling pristine beaches.
The Galapagos Archipelago, and each unique travel experience to be had here, has made this region a popular bucket-list destination. For wildlife enthusiasts, tracing the footsteps of Charles Darwin is a must, witnessing the same species and scenery that he did back in 1835, prompting the now famous Theory of Evolution. That said, you don’t need an encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world to make your Galapagos adventure the trip of a lifetime, as with its former pirate hangouts, deserted beaches, luxury cruise vessels and eco-lodges, there really is something for everyone here.
HOW TO EXPLORE THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
Most flights into the Galapagos will travel via Quito (the capital of Ecuador), or Guayaquil on the Pacific Coast, to airports on the islands of Baltra or San Cristobal. Beforehand, if possible, we recommend a day or two in Quito or Guayaquil (depending on your flight route) to feel refreshed after your international flight, as well as giving yourself chance to explore this beautiful, historic Latin American city.
On arrival, you can either enjoy a pre-set cruise, taking in a handful of islands while aboard one of the many luxury vessels which operate throughout the archipelago, opt for a land-based itinerary staying at boutique Galapagos hotels and eco-lodges, or combine both. Visitors can see plenty of wildlife and certain Galapagos highlights even with a shorter three or four-day tour. Longer trips, however, whether land or sea-based, will allow for a greater immersion into the variety of landscapes that exist here, and give easier access to a wider range of species. Each island has its own habitats, animals and marine life, so we suggest five to seven days to see it all, if possible.
The beauty of a Galapagos cruise is that you get to experience unforgettable sunsets at sea, and can visit more islands with little effort during regular excursions and day trips. Land-based explorations of the Galapagos on the other hand allow you to plan it at your own pace, picking and choosing which days will be spent relaxing at your eco-lodge, and which will be chosen for wildlife walks or boat tours; the choice is yours.
Whichever option you go for, the expert Latin Excursions team will help tailor your vacation perfectly, advising on what to pack depending on your route, though good walking shoes, sunblock and a camera are a must.
WHEN TO VISIT THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
The Galapagos is a year-round holiday destination, with the seasons broadly split into two. It’s either dry and cool between June and November, or warmer and often wetter between December and June, with August and September seeing slightly choppier seas, which could affect your cruise itinerary.
The real question then, is which species can be seen during those two seasons. January and February are good if hoping to witness both Giant Tortoise hatchlings, and Green Sea Turtles laying their eggs, as well as penguin migrations to Isabela and Fernandina Islands.
March and April see a lot of activity for Frigate Birds and Waved Albatrosses, while May and June marks the arrival of Humpback Whales and Whale Sharks, making for the most exciting boat tours. July is traditionally the mating season for Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies, coastal birds and Sea Lions, so expect a lot of fascinating rituals during this time, particularly if visiting Espanola or Fernandina.
Air temperatures are usually at their lowest during August and September, though wildlife-watching opportunities do not stop as both highland and lowland species are still active. October through to December is then a great time of year to spot newly born chicks, pups and calves, while throughout it all, the foliage changes and flowers blossom to create an ever-changing backdrop to this most beautiful of places.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM
Personal Travel Concierge
We take the stress out of travel planning. We know the Galapagos intimately and will help you plan the trip that suits you best.
We’ve very familiar with the small ships, land-based tours, boutique hotels or eco-lodges, as we’ve tried and tested them.
As independent Travel Designers, we have no obligation to any particular Galapagos operators. We represent and promote the experiences we feel are the best.
No Consultation Fee
Work with a dedicated Latin Excursions Travel Designer from start to end at no additional cost to you.
Take advantage of special promotions available only through Latin Excursions.
In-country Operations & Support
We maintain a regional office is located in Guayaquil, Ecuador, our staff is bilingual and we are available 24/7 during your travels.
“What a fabulous adventure!! The beauty and otherworldliness of Galapagos left me in another state of being that I am still enjoying. Thank you for all your kind and expert advice. You took what felt overwhelming and pulled it all together for us. Everything was exactly what I was hoping for.”