Top 5 Islands to Make Sure Your Galapagos Cruise is Stopping At!

The Galapagos Islands consist of over 15 beautiful Islands that can make any vacation feel like a dream. From amazing snorkeling spots to exotic wildlife, each island has something different to offer that can make choosing where to visit hard. So, how do you choose?

We’ve compiled the top 5 Galapagos islands to make sure you don’t miss out on any of the best spots in the Galapagos!

1.    Genovesa Island

Genovesa Island also known as Bird Island is a tiny island, measuring only 14 square kilometers (5 sq. miles) that is well known for the expansive amount of wildlife and its unique semi-circular shape due to the fact that the majority of the island is the submerged rim of a dead volcano. If you find yourself on Genovesa you HAVE to go to Darwin Bay. Darwin Bay is a beautiful white sand beach that is perfect for snorkeling, kayaking, and appreciating some of the most unique bird species such as the Nazca boobies and red-footed boobies. If you don’t mind the hike, take a walk through the mangroves, you won’t regret it I promise. Through the paths, you will find tidal pools filled with sea lions that take you to the most beautiful view on top of a cliff. 

Genovesa is not known as Bird Island for no reason. If you have some extra time in your day and head on over to El Barranco (Prince Phillip’s Steps). The steps will take to a breathtaking view on top of a cliff where you can find red-footed boobies, short-eared lava owls, and Galapagos Doves. Right at the center of the island lies the saltwater lake, Lake Arcturus. Although this crater lake is less than 6,000 years old it still offers some amazing scenery and experiences.

2.    Santa Cruz Island

If you want to know what life in the Galapagos looks like, Santa Cruz Island is the place for you!. Home to the largest town in the Galapagos, Purto Ayora, Santa Cruz is a must-do on your Galapagos trip. If you are in desperate need of a souvenir from your vacation, Puerto Ayora is the place to find it. Acting as the economic center of the Galapagos, you can find restaurants, shops, bars, and coffee shops all throughout Puerto Ayora. This is also a great place to look over the bay and watch the brown pelicans and frigate birds fly by. 

Santa Cruz Island really has everything that you could want on your vacation. If you want to spend your time in the water, Carrion Point has beautiful turquoise waters making it a great place to snorkel and possibly spot white-tip reef sharks. Excited to see the famous turtles? Head over to Charles Darwin Research Station! The station is home to some of the largest tortoises before they are released into the wild. Do you love to explore? Santa Cruz was formed by molten lava solidifying which left dozens of lava tunnels underneath the island. Many of these tunnels are open to the public for exploring and those lucky enough might have a chance of spotting a few barn owls while they are down there. If you are an experienced scuba diver you might want to check out Gordon’s Rock, this unique diving experience can be found within a volcanic crater and it’s known for its sighting of hammerhead sharks, stingrays, eels, and turtles.

3.    Fernandina Island

Fernandina Island is another unpopulated Galapagos island but, it is extremely unique for being the only island in the world that hasn’t had any introduced species. Fernandina is known to be the land of the dragons due to the large population of Marine Iguanas that have adapted to the living conditions on Punta Espinosa. When you see all those pictures of thousands of Iguanas living in the Galapagos, this is where they are taken! The island also has the largest population of Flightless Cormorant, one of the only birds that lost their ability to fly and look for food underwater. 

Fernandina Island is still the site to an active volcano, “La Cumbre” but don’t worry, the last known eruption happened in 2009 but, you can still see the lava fields that stretch all the way out into the ocean. While on the island, don’t forget to stop by Mangle Point, where you can take in the amazing views and snorkel with the sea lions and penguins.

4.    Espanola Island

On the opposite spectrum of Fernandina island, there is Espanola Island, one of the oldest islands in the Galapagos with a birthdate of 6.5 million years ago. Although it is one of the oldest islands, it is also one of the smallest and most colorful islands depending on the season. This unpopulated beauty is also the home of the first fauna and flora species that decorate the islands to this day. Suarez Point is a beautiful spot to spot the blue-footed boobies and watch the albatrosses use the cliff as a launching pad, it also makes for a great picture spot with the breathtaking blowhole in the background. 

Head on over to Gardner Bay to see the only breeding site for the albatrosses while relaxing on the white sand beach. Gardners Bay is also a great place to snorkel or scuba dive due to the rocky shores. If you want to see tortoises in their natural habitat, this is the island to do it on. The Charles Darwin Research Center has released many of their tortoises on this island thanks to a project started in the 1960s to revive the population and now over 1500 tortoise live throughout the small island.

5.    Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island is the most visited island in the Galapagos due to the breathtaking views at its summit. This island is the true definition of paradise. Pinnacle Rock makes for a great snorkeling spot due to the spectacular underwater rock formations and the amount of marine life that is known to circle the island. Right at the end of Pinnacle Rock, you will find the most beautiful white sand beach covered with dozens of Galapagos Penguins, marine iguanas, sea lions, and lava herons, it really is a sight you cannot miss.

Are You ready to take on the Galapagos? From interacting with exotic wildlife, snorkeling with reef sharks, and experiencing some of the best views in the world, The Galapagos Islands are a dream vacation you do not want to miss out on. Hopefully, our list can help you choose where you want to travel to next!


Plan your Galapagos Vacation with Galapagos Best to experience some of the best day trips and cruises in the Archipelago! 

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