November 22, 2019 — By Alexis Prego

The Galapagos Islands: Discover wildlife in privacy

Blue-footed Boobies, Galapagos Tortoises, Darwin’s famous finches and Sally Lightfoot Crabs… the Galapagos Islands boast an impressive number of endemic species. Throughout the year you can admire unique courting rituals, witness newborns taking their first steps and learn more about their feeding habits.

If the wildlife on the Galapagos Islands has piqued your interest, it might be time to visit this illustrious archipelago. From land-based journeys to sea-based adventures, luxury tours of the Galapagos Islands give you the opportunity to observe the most magnificent animals all while enjoying complete privacy.

Here, we share our recommendations on how to best experience the wildlife in the Galapagos Islands…


The Galapagos Islands are nestled in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Ecuador. This captivating archipelago has fascinating biodiversity and pristine natural landscapes. Its vast wildlife has given the islands a reputation as being a “living museum and showcase of evolution,” and is said to have inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection.

The Galapagos Islands are home to almost 9,000 species, many of which are endemic including around 80% of the land birds, 97% of the reptiles and land mammals, and more than 30% of the plants and 20% of the marine species. The wildlife you see will depend on the time of year you visit the Galapagos Islands (read our month by month guide to wildlife in the Galapagos for more information).


Exploring the Galapagos Islands by sea is a popular option. There are many ships to choose from, and they can vary in size from 50 passenger shared vessels to 16 passenger privately chartered yachts.

While exploring the islands by sea, you’ll benefit from an excellent staff to guest ratio (often 1:1), gourmet cuisine, and jacuzzis with ocean views. You’ll also have plenty of space to utilize during the day, as well as air-conditioned cabins with private bathrooms.

Some vessels are best suited for family trips to the Galapagos Islands, while other travelers may prefer the privacy and flexibility of a private charter.

Here at Blue Parallel, we specialize in privately chartered yachts and our team of luxury travel experts visit the Galapagos regularly to vet all of the private yachts we recommend.

The private vessels in our portfolio have the added advantage of a personal private chef and the option to add other specialized crew members. You can also further customize your activities around the islands based on your interests.

Whether you are interested in a shared or private ship, Blue Parallel’s luxury travel experts are ready to help select the optimal ship for your group.

Recommendations For Your Sea-Based Tour

As you cruise between the islands on your hand-selected luxury ship, make stops and explore both the islands and sea.

A naturalist guide will accompany you throughout your trip to ensure you visit the best locations to observe the extraordinary wildlife of the Galapagos. You’ll have the chance to hike through varied landscapes including uplifted coral reefs, hardened lava, and palo santo forests while your guide points out animals like Blue-footed Boobies, Land Iguanas, Lava Lizards and more!

Closeup of sea lion diving in the water in the Galapagos Islands during private diving experience

Of course, you’ll also have opportunities to swim, snorkel, or scuba dive to see the marine life of the Galapagos. Go swimming with sharks and rays by South Plazas Island or even sea lions nearby Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal Island.


If you’re not keen on spending your entire trip on the water, a land-based exploration of the Galapagos is an equally fantastic option.

On Santa Cruz Island, the most populated island in the Galapagos, accommodation options range from the sleek, modern, and carbon-neutral Pikaia Lodge for the eco-conscious, yet sophisticated traveler to the luxurious glamping tents at Galapagos Safari Camp.

For travelers who desire extra privacy while still being conveniently located near the main town, there is an option to rent an entire private villa that includes both an executive chef, in-house concierge, housekeeping staff, a pool, and more!

While on Santa Cruz, explore the stunning highlands, wetlands, lava tunnels, and beaches where you’ll run into more than a few of the famous Galapagos Tortoises.

If you prefer to stay somewhere more “off the beaten path,” travel by private plane to the minimalist Iguana Crossing on Isabel Island. This is the largest of the inhabited islands in the archipelago but has the smallest (human) population.

Visit Tagus Cove on the island to see the unique namesakes of Iguana Crossing: Marine Iguanas. These endemic iguanas are the only living lizards that have adapted to sea life. They venture into the sea to feed on various species of algae and can stay submerged for up to an hour!

Recommendations For Your Land-Based Tour

Whether you stay on Santa Cruz or Isabela Island, you are, of course, not restricted to activities on either island. Take day trips by boat or, in some cases, even by private plane to other islands to see the extraordinary sites like Los Tuneles, lava tunnels created by flowing lava crashing into the sea. This unusual geologic formation has shallow, clear water and attracts a wide variety of marine life such as White-tip Reef Sharks, rays, Parrotfish, Yellowtail Surgeonfish, and Green Sea Turtles.

When journeying to the Galapagos Islands, the choice is yours as to whether your discover the incredible wildlife by land or by sea. Our travel experts will help you decide based on your travel preferences and unique interests, providing the very best options available to you in the archipelago. For more information, contact one of our travel experts today.

Tailor-Made Itineraries to The Galapagos Islands

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