The greatest animals of the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands has all the allure of awe inspiring nature combined with the adventure of extreme remoteness. Seeing the greatest animals of the Galapagos Islands is a must do. It’s the go to destination for any nature lover, drawn by the strange animals of the Galapagos Islands. Darwin and Attenborough are just a couple of explorers that have had life changing expeditions to this small island off of the coast of Ecuador. Why are the animals of the Galapagos Islands unique? Tales of the theory of evolution and lonesome George have made the Galapagos Islands infamous around the world. It’s one of the few places in the world where the animals aren’t scared of people. And the encounters, both land and sea, are all the more extraordinary for it. Read this complete guide to the perfect Galapagos Itinerary.


Swim with sealions


Sealions are one of the biggest surprises of all the animals in the Galapagos. Everyone wants to snorkel with a turtle or swim with a wild dolphin but have you ever thought about swimming with sea lions in the wild in the Galapagos? Go to any major zoo/aquarium and you can see how intelligent and agile they are. But swimming with one in the wild is an out of this world experience. Be warned though not to get too close or chase the sea lions as they have been known to be aggressive. Fair enough, particularly if they have young to look after.


In the video I’d split away from our group of snorkelers, probably stalking a small fish of some sort, when these two inquisitive Galapagos sea lions came over. Heeding the advice I slowly swam away but they followed along playfully spinning around underneath me. They appeared again later and the whole group got to experience this magical moment.



Totter around with giant tortoises


Tortoises, the greatest animals of the Galapagos Islands


If you haven’t heard of lonesome George look him up right now. I’ll wait. He is synonymous with the Galapagos Islands and conservation in general. George was one of the first animals to put the threat of modern extinction at the front of peoples minds the world over. Although his Pinta Island species died with him in 2012 giant Galapagos tortoises still exist on Santa Cruz and the surrounding islands. Where once they were hunted for their meat and shells, they are now protected and cared for in places such as the Charles Darwin research station
and the Giant Tortoise reserve. 


 “Whatever happens to this single animal, let him always remind us that the fate of all living things on Earth is in human hands.”

Inscription outside the enclosure of Lonesome George


Snorkel with hammerhead sharks


the greatest animals of the galapagos islands 2021


Topping the bucket list for what to do in the Galapagos for divers, Kicker rock. Off of the Island of San Cristobal in the Galapagos, Kicker Rock requires an advance level of diving skill due to strong currents. The good news is you can snorkel here and still have a great chance of seeing green turtles, reef sharks and hammerheads. It’s one of the best places to snorkel in the Galapagos without doubt.



Be baffled by blue footed boobies


the greatest animals of the galapagos islands 2021


Boobies come in all shapes and sizes. Red footed, Nazca and the most famous of all Blue Foted Boobies. They are an absolute delight to watch, making sparse nests on the ground or in small bushes. No predators means no fear, hence the oddly situated nests often in the middle of the path. If you’re lucky enough to encounter a courtship you can watch these bizarre little birds doing their strange dance from just a few feet away.


Speculate about the origin of species with Darwins finches


So we all know Darwin is a bit of a big deal. He revolutionised the world when he published the origin of species in 1859 creating the foundation for evolutionary biology. An important moment in his work was realising that finches had evolved differently on the islands according to food source. Darwins 15 finches had different shaped beaks depending on the flora and fauna they survived off of on each particular island on the archipelago. Therefore proving evolution had occurred here. The museum is one of the top things to do on the Galapagos Islands and a must for any nature nerd.



Imitate an iguana


Iggy the Marine Iguana unique animals of the Galapagos


Iguanas of the Galapagos have a very special talent. Walking around the rocky shores of the Galapagos Islands you can’t help but bump into them and notice a weird sneeze like action no normal iguana exhibits. This is because Galapagos Iguanas have evolved to be marine reptiles, diving into the ocean to feed on nutrient rich seaweed. When they return to land they shoot out the salty water from their nostrils. It’s not the most attractive trait of all the animals in the Galapagos Islands, but they do sit still for a long time, so you can get great photos!



The Galapagos Archipelago is a treasure trove of natural wonders. As well as the greatest animals of the Galapagos you can also find penguins, albatross, eagle rays and many other rare species of the Galapagos. It has been called a “true laboratory of evolution” giving up close insights into unique endemic animals and remains at the forefront of continual studies on conservation. The chance to see these unique animals of the Galapagos really is a once in a lifetime trip not to be missed.


Sea lion Galapagos
Sea Lion on a remote pristine beach.
Pelican at the fish market Santa Cruz
A pelican gets scraps at the local fish market
Frigate birds following boat in Galapagos
Frigate Birds following our boat

I travelled with G Adventures check them out for amazing bucket list trips to the Galapagos islands.

How to travel better for less

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G Adventures – A sustainable, fun, responsible travel company. I’ve travelled with them many times and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of their amazing trips.

Contiki – The day job. Group travel for 18/35 year olds and memories to last a lifetime.

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Jo Williams

A Brit that got fed up of the 9 to 5 corporate life, I sold everything to become a full time wanderer. Having travelled to over 70 countries so far, I share my money-saving tips and secrets from inside the travel industry. Hoping to inspire you to work less and travel more.

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