Expedition & Adventure | Galapagos Islands | 09.02.24

The Galapagos | Your Questions Answered

Burning questions about the Galapagos Islands?

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Galapagos Islands

When is the best time to visit the Galapagos?

You can visit the Galapagos Islands year-round. In terms of weather and wildlife, there isn’t a particular “best” time to go. Located right on the Equator, temperatures in the Galapagos don’t vary much throughout the year. In regards to wildlife, the vast majority of species live here year-round and don’t migrate. The waved albatross is one of the few migratory exceptions, which you can see only between April and December.

How do I get there?

The Galapagos Islands are located approximately 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and there are direct flights from both Quito (3.5 hours) and Guayaquil (2 hours).

You will fly into one of two airports in the Galapagos: Seymour Airport, which serves the island of Baltra, or San Cristobal Airport. Which airport you fly into depends on where you are staying or which boat you are on.

What kind of wildlife will I see?

The sheer diversity of wildlife is what makes these islands so unique. The Galapagos has more endemic species than any other place on Earth.

There are hammerhead, blacktip, whitetip reef, and whale sharks. The Islands are also a birder’s paradise. You’re likely to see blue-footed boobies, frigate birds, flightless cormorants, flamingos, and Galapagos hawks, to name a few.

There are both land and marine iguanas; the marine iguana being the only lizard in the world with the ability to live at sea. Giant tortoises are a highlight of any trip to the Galapagos. We highly recommend any opportunity to swim with penguins, sea lions, and turtles – it is the most thrilling experience!

When is the best time to see whales?

The best time to see whales and dolphins in the Galapagos is in July. You’ll spot them most easily off the west coast of Isabela. There are over 20 species of dolphin and whale, including the blue whale, the orca, and the bottlenose dolphin.

Where’s the best place to see Galapagos penguins?

You’ll find Galapagos penguins on most of the islands, but most notably on Bartolomé Island. September is the best month to see them.

When is the flamingo nesting season?

February marks the beginning of flamingo nesting season on Floreana Island. Flamingos gather in groups to perform an elaborate dance and show off their pink plumage, as part of their mating ritual.

When do the sea turtles hatch?

In April, the first green sea turtles begin to hatch. By night, the beaches are populated by hundreds of tiny turtles. You’ll find Pacific green sea turtles on Isabela and Fernandina islands.

When is giant tortoise hatching season in the Galapagos?

Weighing up to 550 lbs, the Galapagos giant tortoise is the largest living tortoise species in the world. They grow incredibly slowly and often live well over 100 years. Amazingly, their shells are shaped according to which island they inhabit. Giant tortoise hatching season occurs between December and April in the Galapagos.

 

What will I do on a typical day?

The best way to explore the Galapagos is by yacht. We prefer smaller boats, which benefit from more personalised service and more experienced guides.

You’re likely to disembark the boat twice a day; once for snorkeling, kayaking, or paddle boarding, and once for a hike.

You will swim with Galapagos penguins; get up close to hundreds of marine iguanas sunbathing on black lava rock; explore volcanic remnants and rare plant life; hike into the rugged highlands where giant tortoises roam free; admire beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, and large colonies of playful sea lions.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will usually be taken on the boat.

 

 

Which are the best boats?

We love Origin & Theory, two identical boats that both sleep 20 passengers and have been custom-built for sustainability and comfort. The design of the cabins and social areas is second to none and the large windows provide expansive ocean views and mean that wildlife sightings are rarely missed. Origin & Theory both offer seven-night itineraries.

Camila is another of our favourite boats. She is a luxury trimaran that offers three, five and eight-night stays onboard. Sleeping only 16 passengers in eight cabins, she is very small for the region, making for a more intimate adventure.

For private charters, we tend to recommend the 8-suite Grace, which is the most elegant and traditional boat in the Galapagos.

What combines well with the Galapagos?

Mainland Ecuador is often overlooked by the Galapagos, but there is so much to see and do there. The country encompasses the Amazon, volcanoes and cloud forests, a stunning colonial capital, rare biodiversity, indigenous markets, and rich Andean culture.

Due to proximity and flight connections, the Galapagos combines especially well with Peru and Colombia.

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