Things to do in Galapagos, South America

The Galapagos Islands are a haven for lovers of the great outdoors and wildlife fans as well as being an once-in-a-lifetime experience, and some travellers come for a few weeks while other only stay for a few days. There’s so much to see that time is always going to be tight, so here’s our lowdown on the very best things to see and do whilst you’re on a luxury holiday to Galapagos.

Charles Darwin Research Station

The father of the theory of evolution first began thinking about his world-changing ideas whilst stopping by the islands from his ship, The Beagle, and he’ll forever be associated with this place. Most travellers to the Galapagos stop by the Charles Darwin Research Station where hundreds of scientists continue his work and help with conservation efforts. The visitor centre is really interesting and it’s from here that visitors can see the incubation tanks for the baby giant tortoises before watching the grown-ups roam around outside.


For experienced divers, the Galapagos are heavenly. While conditions such as strong currents mean that this isn’t a great place to learn, or a good spot for beginners to attempt, those who’ve taken the plunge a good few times before will experience the best diving of their lives here. The best time to dive is from July to October when the water is a little cooler but with better visibility. Besides a gamut of tropical fish, you’ll see sharks, whale sharks, rays and barracudas. There are quite a few dive shops around the islands and there are plenty of sites to try.

Lava tubes

These strange underground tunnels over a kilometre in length were formed when the volcanoes of the islands last exploded. When the lava stopped flowing, a solid skin was formed, creating these tunnels. You can walk through them with a flashlight and they’re reached from the village of Bellavista, 7 kilometres north of Puerto Ayora.

Swimming with sea lions

You can go swimming with sea lions here, or more accurately, the sea lions will swim with you. These friendly and curious animals won’t need any encouragement to get involved. Armed with a snorkel and mask, you’ll be able to watch them swirl around you under the water and maybe even blow bubbles in your direction! Isla Lobos off the coast of San Cristobal is the place to do this. You’ll also see lots of frigate bird and blue-footed booby colonies here.

Tortuga Bay

This beach on Santa Cruz Island is one of the most beautiful in the Galapagos. It’s a great spot for swimming and relaxing. Beneath the waves, you might spot sea turtles, who love this part of the island. It’s also a place where you’ll be able to walk amongst marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and, frigate birds, pelicans, sea lions and the famous finches.

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