Equateur Voyages Passion

Tour Operador in Ecuador, Quito

Home >> Ecuador >> Galapagos

Galapagos ...



Citing "Nature in its purest or rather reading the bestselling book" The Origin of Species "written by famed English naturalist Charles Darwin, we have no doubt that the Galapagos hide a mystery and a paradise still preserved of our present world.
Galapagos Islands are an extraordinary wildlife sanctuary and the nest of a unique endemic life. This volcanic archipelago is full of amazing creatures, very surprising one as the others: sea turtles, land and marine iguanas, cormorants, albatrosses, penguins, blue-footed boobies, sea lions and dozens of birds.
The Galapagos archipelago, of volcanic origin, is located in the Pacific Ocean, a thousand kilometers from the coast of Ecuador, is composed of 13 major islands, 6 smaller islands and 49 rocky islets, with a total area of 7850 km2








The archipelago was declared as Natural Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979
The largest island is Isabela, with an area of 4'590 km2.
The highest peak in the archipelago is the volcano Wolf (1'690 meters), located in Isabela
The entire archipelago is regulated by the Galapagos National Park.
Inhabited areas are as follows
Santa Cruz Island:
Puerto Ayora (is the most touristic city of the archipelago)
San Cristobal Island:
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (the administrative capital of the archipelago)
Isabela Island:
Puerto Villamil City
Floreana Island:
small town
The total population of the islands is 16,109 inhabitants.
Formed last 4 or 5 million years ago by volcanic eruptions on the ocean bottom, the Galapagos Islands are recognized as the most volcanic activity in the world.
Several islands were created by underwater volcanic eruptions.
Baltra and North Seymour Islands were formed by tectonic movements.
The Islands:
Tourism could upset the delicate balance of the Islands and its fragile ecosystem, is why the National Park created over 50 visitor sites with controlled circuits.








 Description of the Islands  



This island has an airport and will be your point of arrival in the Galapagos Islands. There are no hotels; the nearest town is Puerto Ayora at 45 minutes.
Santa Cruz
It is the second largest island, with an area of 986 km2
City: Puerto Ayora
Places to visit on the island:
Charles Darwin Interpretation Center:
Since the vast majority of Galapagos visitors come to know and appreciate the natural wonders of the islands offer, it is also interesting to learn about the programs of protection and conservation of the islands that have been implemented, one of the main attractions is the information center of the National Park.
It is the center of breeding and reproduction of small turtles and other Galapagos tortoises in captivity.
Bachas Beaches:
Located to the west of Turtle Cove, the sand on these two small beaches is made of decomposed coral.  As a result the sand here is very white and soft, making it a favorite nesting site for sea turtles.  Behind one of the beaches there is a small water lagoon, where occasionally it is possible to observe flamingos and other coastal birds, such as black-necked stilts.  
The other beach is longer and has two old barges that were abandoned during the Second World War, when the USA used Baltra Island as a strategic military point in order to protect the Panama Channel.  (The metal is rusty and sharp, so it is not a good place for swimming).
Highlands of Santa Cruz Island:
The trail to the highlands leaves from Bellavista and passes through the agricultural zone, near the National Park boundary, the Miconia Zone and then goes to the fern and Sedge zone.  
With clear weather (unpredictable) this area offers beautiful scenes of hills and extinct volcanic cones covered with grass and lush greenery all year round.
Tortuga Bay:
The path to Tortuga Bay is good for birdwatching as it is easy to spot several species of finches as you walk along the path.  
Many consider the sandy white beach the nicest of the archipelago and the beach’s name derives from the sea turtles that go there to lay their eggs.  
The sunsets here are excellent and although the main beach is used primarily for surfing, the west cove is a nice spot for relaxing, swimming or snorkeling.   Flamingos, marine iguanas and pelicans.
Plazas Island:
These are two small islets that were formed a short distance from the East Coast of Santa Cruz.  
Despite its small size, some of the most interesting and outstanding species of the archipelago occur here.  
The principal attractions of Plazas are the land iguanas, sea lions and swallow–tailed gulls.
It is possible to observe land iguanas relaxing in the shade of cactus plants and swallow-tailed gulls nesting on the rugged southern cliffs.   And that’s not all as the protected rocky seashore is a prime habitat for a large colony of noisy sea lions.  Also you will be able to see, red-billed tropicbirds, frigate birds, and brown pelicans gliding past the cliffs. 
North Seymour Island:
Located slightly to the north of Baltra, North Seymour is a low, flat island, formed as a result of submarine lava formation uplift.  
Covered with low, bushy vegetation, it contains the largest colony of magnificent frigate birds in the Galapagos.
There is also a large population of blue-footed boobies that perform an amusing courtship dance when nesting conditions are right.  
The dance consists of the birds taking big goofy strides, slowly picking-up high their blue feet, wings spread, whilst whistling and honking – it really is one of the highlights of this island.
Bartolome Island
It is a small island located across from Sullivan Bay off James Island; Bartolome has two main visitors’ sites.
The first site offers the possibility to climb to the top of the island, from where visitors can observe a variety of volcanic formations including lava bombs spatter and cinder cones, lava flows and lava tubes.  The moon like landscape provides one of the most scenic panoramas in the archipelago.  
At the second site, visitors have the chance to relax on a beautiful beach, which offers great snorkeling opportunities.  Multi–colored fish and occasionally penguins and sea turtles have been seen at the base of the tall pinnacle rock, which dominates Bartolome’s landscape.  
A short walk across to Bartolome´s second beach and swimming is strictly prohibited.  Here visitors can see White -tipped Reef sharks at a safe distance swimming along the shoreline. 
Santiago Island
Puerto Egas:
The excursion to Puerto Egas with its black sand beaches leads to one of the more rewarding visits of the site of a small salt mining industry in the 1960s, one of several unsuccessful attempts to commercialize the Galapagos. A hike inland to the salt crater is an excellent opportunity to see land birds such as finches, doves, and hawks. A walk along the rugged shoreline, especially at low tide, will let us observe many marine species as Iguanas bask on the rocks and sea lions laze in the tide pools.
At the end of the trail there is a series of grottoes or sea caves where fur seals and night herons are regularly found resting on the shady ledges.  
For many, this is the only opportunity to see the Galapagos fur seal, once thought to be on the verge of extinction. 
Sullivan Bay:
This visitor site provides a unique opportunity to view lava flow that is approximately 100 years old.
This side of Santiago Island is known for its volcanic landscape, dominated by black Pahoehoe lava and solidified ropelike lava.
It is also interesting to see how Mollugo plants begin emerging from volcanic lava fissures.
Chinese Hat Island
Chinese hat is a tiny Island just off the southeastern point of Santiago Island and is less than a 1 km2 in size.
It is a recently formed volcanic cone and its descriptive name for the fact that it appears to take the shape of a downward-facing Chinese hat. (The hat shape is best appreciated from the north side.) Opposite Sombrero Chino, on the rocky shoreline of nearby Santiago Island, Galapagos penguins and eagle rays are often seen.  
A path of 400 m. bypasses the cave and goes through a colony of sea lions and marine iguanas covering the volcanic landscape. There are excellent opportunities for snorkeling and swimming in the creek.
This island is very interesting to observe pelicans nesting at the end of an unusual red sand beach where lies a colony of sea lions.
A short walk will take you to a lagoon where flamingos and ducks find. On this island live nine species of Darwin's finches.
Santa Fe
Santa Fe is one of the most entertaining destinations for tours on the beach in the Galapagos Islands.
You have two choices of trails for visitors one of which will lead to the tallest Opuntia cactus in Galapagos. While the other path leads to the highlands where you can see land iguanas.
After a long walk, swim or snorkel in calm water with playful sea lions, sounds pretty attractive.
Post Office Bay:
It is home to a wooden barrel historically located there in the 18th century by the crew of one of the whaling ships that came to the islands at that time, has been used since that time by mariners and tourists as an office mail, the idea is to take the letters to their destination through the person.
Apart from being a mail room, this was a site for the first settlers arrived.
Cormorant Point:
This site offers one of the largest and best flamingo lagoons in the Galapagos. It is situated between two cones, giving the area its special atmosphere. Aside from the flamingos, various species of shorebirds can be seen the most common being stilts, white-checked pintail ducks and other migratory birds.
This is a unique zone due to the huge amount of endemic plant life. It is also very interesting to observe the two distinct beaches: the “green sand beach (due to high percentage of olivine crystals in the sand) and the “Flour sand beach” made up of coral.
Bahia Gardner:
Located on the north-eastern coast of Hood, Gardner Bay is an excellent beach for relaxing, swimming and observing sea lions. Here you will also have the opportunity to observe sharks in the crystal-clear ocean waters.
Punta Suarez:
This rocky point sustains one of the most impressive and varied colonies of sea birds in the Galápagos. Along its southern shore, high cliffs rise up from the sea allowing the visitor spectacular views of soaring birds and of the blow hole, a lava tube where water can spout up to 75 feet into the air according to the intensity of the surf.
San Cristobal
Interpretation Center:
Built with the cooperation of the Spanish Science Centre, the interpretation centre gives a very good introduction to the Galapagos Islands; its marine and land life and fauna and flora. It is located in the outskirts of the small city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, (the capital of the Galapagos Province).
Cerro Tijeretas (Frigate Bird Hill):
The trip to Tijeretas hill takes approximately 20-40 minutes. Once there, visitors are treated to a spectacular view of the white beaches on one side and the roofs of Puerto Baquerizo on the other.
The hill is named after the Frigate birds who frequent the area. Here you will be able to see both the Magnificent Frigate birds and Great Frigate birds in the same colony so this is the perfect place to compare and learn to distinguish them.
This site offers some safe snorkeling, a great place for beginners as there are no strong currents and a brilliant opportunity to look out for stingrays, barber fish and butterfly fish.  
Lobos Island (Sea Lion Islet):
This small islet, located only an hour by boat from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, is separated from the main Island by a narrow stretch of calm water.
Upon its rocky shores blue-footed boobies nest and sea lions rest. The atmosphere is one of tranquility and primitive beauty and reveals a very typical Galapagos environment.
This is one of the most intact islands against human presence, due maybe to the distance.
Prince Philip's steps is an ideal place for bird lovers, because here you will find a large colony of red foot boobies, masked boobies, frigates, red-billed tropicbirds, storm petrels, swallow-tailed gulls, Galapagos doves, lava gulls, Darwin's finches and short eared owls.
Darwin Bay is the semi submerged crater of what once was the caldera of a volcano; a coral beach with sea lions make it a perfect place for swimming, snorkeling and diving, where you can even get to see hammerhead sharks.
Isabela is the largest island in the archipelago.
This island consists of a chain of five volcanoes, from which Volcano Wolf is the highest.
Puerto Villamil:
Is a small port on Isabela, where not many travelers pass by. The Experimental Station is located very near Puerto Villamil in the south of Isabela.
Here the Galapagos National Park experiments with the reproduction process of the subspecies of geochelone elephantopus gunteri (tortoise).
Volcano Sierra Negra, located at the southern of Isabela, is one of the best and most impressive examples of a volcano in the archipelago. This is the second largest crater in the world after N’gorongoro in Africa.
Tagus Cove :
Among the west side of the island we have Tagus Cove, right in front of Fernandina, where the first sailors frequently anchored, and left their ships names painted in the rocks. A boat excursion around the cliffs will let you see Galapagos penguins, flightless cormorants, pelicans and boobies.
There are also good snorkel possibilities.
Bahia Urbina is formed by an uplift of the bottom of the sea in 1954. You will find here flightless cormorants, pelicans, penguins, blue-footed boobies and marine and land iguanas, as well as Alcedo tortoises, if you get lucky.
At the bay you will find rays and sea turtles.
Urbina Bay:
located on the western coast of Isabela Is land at the foot of Alcedo Volcano, Urbina Bay was uplifted from the sea in 1954.
You can see Flightless cormorants and pelicans along the coast during their nesting seasons, and turtles and rays can be seen in the bay. The highlands are home to the land iguanas, big and colorful.
A tour along the cliffs in a boat will give a good opportunity for visitors to see the Galapagos penguin, the flightless cormorant and other seabirds.
Elizabeth Bay:
As this is a marine visitor site, the excursion is carried out in a zodiac and so there is no landing point. Your zodiac ride starts with a visit to the Marielas islets where there is the largest and most important penguin colony in the Galapagos Islands.
The excursion continues into the cove that is surrounded by red mangroves where you can admire their red roots and green leafs.  
It is here that you are able to observe sea turtles, flightless cormorants, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, brown pelicans and sea lions.  
Frequently visitors have been able to see Galapagos Hawks soaring overhead whilst schools of Pompano and Dorado fish swim below.
Fernandina Island
Fernandina is the third largest, youngest and westernmost island in the Galapagos. Many volcanic eruptions have been recorded since 1813, making this island the most likely to experience a volcanic eruption.
Espinoza Port:
Just across from Tagus Cove, there is a visitor’s site where some of the unique Galapagos species can be seen.
Marine iguanas unite in larger groups than on any other island as they stretch out on the sand, basking in the sun, swimming near the shore and sometimes even blocking the path at the landing dock. Among the unique species found here, is the Flightless Cormorant, a bird that due to a lack of predators had to adjust its way of survival and perfect its skills of finding food in the ocean.
Their wings, tails and feet progressively adapted for swimming. Observing these birds is like witnessing evolution happening right in front of you.