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Galapagos Islands

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Galapagos Islands Safaris

A sanctuary for monolithic giant tortoises, charismatic sea lions, diving marine iguanas, and a multitude of divergent bird species, the Galapagos Islands are an endless source of wonder. Home to some of the rarest and most diverse species in the world and the inspiration behind Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, roaming this archipelago’s captivating landscapes, or swimming among their teeming waters never fails to inspire. An ancient archipelago like no other place on earth, the Galapagos Islands achieve an almost mythical status as one of the top natural world destinations on the planet. They are home to an unmatched abundance of wildlife; a place where sea lions frolic on honey-coloured beaches, marine iguanas clumsily forage for tasty algae, and a foray into the frothy waters that pound the rocky coastline will see you snorkelling with hammerheads, green turtles, manta rays, and more. Each of the 19 major islands that make up the Galapagos archipelago feature their own natural world highlights.

Why NWS for your Galapagos Islands safari?

At Natural World Safaris we like to do things a little differently, getting off the beaten track for extraordinary wildlife encounters in tune with the natural environment, visiting as true explorers, and keeping our human footprint on this unique environment to a minimum. We work with the best vessels to ensure you have access to superior guiding services and mix up traditional cruises with land-based options to create a different focus to the many run-of-the-mill ship-based itineraries on offer. Our Galapagos safaris offer the opportunity to explore ancient volcanic lava tunnels, wander through Jurassic-style swamps inhabited by ancient tortoises up to 5 foot in length, and visit beaches unmarked by footsteps. Avoiding the tourist trail you'll be able to experience the Galapagos in solitude. We carefully select ships based on the time of year of travel, the islands they visit, and the composition of your party to ensure you get a complete experience and don't miss any of the wildlife highlights this extraordinary destination has to offer.

How much does Galapagos Islands cost?

Typically, expect to budget around £6,275 per person for a 10-day safari in the Galapagos Islands. This will generally include accommodation and meals, airport transfers and National Park entrance fees. If you'd like to also include mainland Ecuador in your trip, we recommend visiting the Andes, cloud forest and the Amazon rainforest before heading over to the Galapagos for some land or sea-based exploration. For a longer 18-day itinerary visiting these spots, you can expect to budget around £11,100 per person.

St Galapagos Bartolome Island Jess Kraft

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The Galapagos Islands Safari Experience

Explore the beauty of the Galapagos Islands by discovering the natural highlights of the archipelago. Snorkel with sea lions and sea turtles, observe the abundant birdlife, and even encounter marine iguanas and other completely unperturbed endemic wildlife. Spend time relaxing in the crystal-clear waters of extinct volcanoes and enjoy sundowners from the deck of your yacht, as you reflect on your adventure with views of the white-sand beaches of the islands that are a showcase of biodiversity.

You may wish to include the following on your Galapagos itinerary:

  • Bird watching - On Isabela, the largest island, is home to vast numbers of bird species including flamingos and penguins
  • Dancing Flamingos - Visiting Cormorant Bay on Floreana in June or July to see vast flocks of flamingos mating and doing synchronised dancing.
  • Island Exploration - explore lava tunnels, coral beaches, lagoons and more
  • Walking Safaris - get up close to the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands, from land iguanas, blue footed boobies and giant tortoise, you can even snorkel with sea lions and sharks
  • Snorkelling - Enjoy snorkelling excursions and swim beside cheeky sea lions as they play in the water beside you
  • Beach Relaxation - Enjoy down-time on beautiful Pacific beaches

Where to stay in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos archipelago not only offers the opportunity to explore aboard a cruise, but also has many options of hotels and lodges. You can explore via chartered yacht, stay in a luxurious eco lodge, or combine the two for the ultimate Galapagos experience. From luxurious sailing vessels to an African-style safari camp, we promise real intimacy, comfort, and authenticity.

When to go to the Galapagos Islands?

The islands of the Galapagos straddle the equator in the Pacific Ocean, and as with most destinations here at 0° latitude, the archipelago does not experience any particularly drastic changes in climate throughout the year. Whilst the best time of year to go is between December and June. That said, there are two distinct seasons here, and although the differences between them are less pronounced than in many other places, it is worth bearing this in mind when planning your Galapagos safari.

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Galapagos Islands Safaris FAQs

Where are the Galapagos islands?

The Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, off the western coast of South America. Specifically, they are situated approximately 620 miles (1,000 kilometres) west of Ecuador, which is the country to which the islands belong. The Galapagos Islands are renowned for their unique and diverse wildlife, and their isolated location has contributed to the evolution of many species found nowhere else on Earth.

What four things do you need to enter the Galapagos Islands?

To enter the Galápagos Islands, you typically need a valid passport with at least six months of validity, a tourist visa if applicable, a Tourist Transit Control Card (TCTC) obtained upon arrival in Ecuador, and proof of a return or onward ticket from Ecuador within the allowed visa duration. Entry requirements may vary, so it's important to verify specific details based on your nationality before travelling to the Galapagos Islands.

What are some fun facts about the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site located off the coast of Ecuador, are renowned for their unparalleled biodiversity and remarkable wildlife, including giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and marine iguanas, which inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. These volcanic islands boast a unique geology, with diverse landscapes ranging from barren lava fields to lush forests. Around 97% of reptiles and land mammals, 80% of land birds, and 30% of plants found here are endemic, underscoring their exceptional ecological significance. The islands are a haven for marine life as well, with marine iguanas and the only penguin species north of the equator. Rigorous conservation efforts are in place to protect this delicate ecosystem, making the Galapagos Islands a haven for nature enthusiasts and a living laboratory of evolution.

What is the climate like?

The Galapagos Islands have a unique equatorial climate with distinct dry (June to December) and wet (January to May) seasons. During the dry season, temperatures range from the mid-60s to mid-70s Fahrenheit (18°C to 24°C), with clear skies and minimal rainfall, while the wet season brings warmer temperatures averaging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (24°C to 29°C), occasional heavy rainfall, and lush vegetation. The islands' climate is shaped by ocean currents, attracting diverse marine life and making it a year-round haven for nature enthusiasts and those seeking to explore the remarkable ecosystems that inspired Charles Darwin.

Are any Immunizations required to enter Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?

No specific immunizations are required for entry into Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands. However, routine vaccinations like MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella, polio, and the flu shot are recommended. Depending on your health, planned activities, and regions visited, vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, typhoid, yellow fever, and rabies might be advisable. Malaria precautions could be necessary in certain mainland areas.