Last Updated on April 27, 2023

The Galapagos archipelago is a bucket-list destination for most travelers. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of unique value and rich biodiversity that inspired Darwin’s evolutionary theory. No wonder it attracts tourists with exploratory instincts from all over the world.

They have sites unspoiled by human interaction, and to preserve the archipelago’s rarity, most tours are filled with itineraries of 1-2 island visits per day or a cruising itinerary overnight.

More than 127 islands on the archipelago represent the beauty of this exotic destination, which is home to endemic species and diverse flora and fauna. Galapagos is a bucket list destination for everyone. It offers a different type of adventure, historical tales, and a chance to immerse in untouched nature.

If you are ready to explore the most famous archipelago in the world, you can check out some great cruise deals at this link. Before you arrange your trip, let’s get familiar with the Galapagos must-visit islands that should be part of your itinerary.  

Floreana Island

You can take a private cruise and dock on the island of Floreana. The human presence has not spoiled this beautiful island, so you can see animals living far from the human touch. 

A famous attraction on the island is Post Office Bay, an old mail drop where whalers used to receive their messages from the rest of the world. It’s the perfect place for a touristy snapshot. The highlands are also attractive for tourists, with the old caves telling stories about pirates.

You will see the endangered seabird, a descendant of the Galapagos petrels colonies, look for the sally lightfoot crabs, and the Devil’s Crown – a volcanic cone filled with coral water. It’s the best snorkeling spot in Floreana, rich in colored fish, sea turtles, tiger snake eels, and hammerhead sharks. 

Daphne Major

Daphne Major is the island where Charles Darwin made his observations about the theory of evolution and the natural selection process, being only 22 years old. However, he kept the observations secret for fear that people would question the existence of God.

Daphne Major Island is located between Bartolome and Santa Cruz, and it’s in the form of a volcanic cone without trees. Most tourists do not visit this island, except for scientific research, but you can see it from your cruise itinerary and find an organized tour that will take you there.

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Cruz is an island located 90 minutes from Ecuador. It’s often called South Seymour, which was the alternate name of the island in the past. You’ll get to see the ruins of the World War II military base and find the largest island settlement, Puerto Ayora.

Puerto Ayora is a conventional harbor town where many cruises embark and dock, and from there on, you can visit Tortuga Bay which is not far from the town, and enjoy the local food, scenic landscapes, endemic wildlife, and stunningly beautiful beaches.

The best time of the year to visit Santa Cruz is in April and May. However, if you happen to visit the island in January or February, you’d get to see the black turtles laying eggs. Tourists also like seeing the giant tortoises at the Charles Darwin Research Station and hiking through the volcanic landscapes of the island.

Isabela Island

Isabela Island is another Galapagos island located on the archipelago. It’s 60 miles long and shaped like a seahorse. The weather conditions on the island are pretty harsh, from dry and volcanic to a hindering hot season. It’s the largest Galapagos island, taking up more than 50% of the land mass. But, it’s not the most visited!

Darwin visited this island as well and noticed a redheaded lava lizard that he described as an orange-yellow, hideous animal with a hinder part of back brick red. You will also see the flightless cormorant – an awkward, yet adorable bird that can’t fly, humpback whales, and endemic birds.

Isabela Island is the home of 6 volcanoes – Wolf, Cerro Azul Darwin, Alcedo, Sierra Negra, and Ecuador. Going on a hike is the perfect way to explore the volcanic, rock-shaped formations, and take perfect selfies!

Sea Turtle.
Sea turtle. Copyright, Kris Mikael Krister on Unsplash. License, CC0 Public Domain

Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island is another one that should be on your bucket list. The volcanic formations are the mark of the island with the lava rocks filled with gas bubbles. The island would qualify as a world landmark in terms of geology and the 365-step staircase is the ultimate experience of the panorama view of the island.

Bartolome is the home of the Galapagos penguin and the green sea turtles that can be seen from January to March. Snorkeling activities can also be included in your cruise trip.

San Cristobal Island

San Cristobal Island is the home of the second-largest town in the Galapagos. It’s also known as Chatham. San Cristobal is the home of the red-footed booby, the magnificent frigatebirds, sea lions, marine iguanas, etc. The island is also known for its water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, and swimming with sea animals.

San Cristobal is considered the main Galapagos island due to the proximity of the main airport and Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the provincial capital. The island population lives mostly in coastal villages, so if you decide to explore this island, you’ll get to witness marvelous panoramic vistas and enjoy the penal colony remains.

If you’re a natural history fanatic, we’d recommend visiting the museum of natural history where you can learn more about the biosystems and the history of the islands.

San Cristobal is also known for its diving and snorkeling spots, so you’ll see plenty of tourists exploring the underwater world and swimming with manta rays, turtles, and sea lions, to name a few…

North Seymour

Galapagos is full of surprises, and wildlife. It’s the home of all sorts of wild animals, from blue-footed boobies to giant tortoises. The blue-footed boobies are the native animals nested on this island, so if you’re a wildlife enthusiast and want to witness their breeding season, the best time to visit the island is from July to August.

However, wildlife is not everything North Seymour has to offer. It’s a magnificent place to snorkel in some of the best areas in the world, hike through the breathtaking treks and dive into the crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Visit as Much As You Can!

If your budget and time allow you, it’s recommended that you visit as many islands as you can. The Galapagos trip is an unforgettable experience, so make sure you see as much as possible. For more information regarding your Galapagos trip, including packing tips to consider before embarking, visit our blog.


  • Rovology is leveraging advice from Vagabonds, Tourists, Digital Nomads, Wayfarers and Travel Writers to give our readers a guide on the best things to do no matter where they go.