Galapagos Map & Visitor Sites
Check out our Galapagos map and learn about visitor sites in the Galapagos Islands.
Climbing to the top of the wooden boardwalk is a must to take the quintessential Galapagos Islands photograph with Pinnacle rock in the background. The whole island resembles a lunar landscape. Bartholomew island also offers a fantastic snorkeling experience where you can spot sea lions, white-tipped reef sharks, and Galapagos penguins.
Española Island: (Gardner Bay)
Gardner Bay is one of the most spectacular beaches in the Galapagos Islands. You will spot a colony of sea lions in the white sandy beach and turquoise waters. You will find plenty of birds such as Darwin finches and mockingbirds at the beach and you can snorkel in the shallows of the bay.
Española Island: (Punta Suarez)
This will be one of the highlights of your Galapagos vacation. Punta Suarez is a naturalist´s dream destination – it has everything. When you land on the island you will be greeted by a sea lion nursery, as you continue your trek on the island you will encounter endemic lizards, boobies, snakes, marine iguanas, and a magnificent blowhole. If you visit between April and December you have the opportunity to mingle with the waved albatross, watch their mating ritual and see it take flight.
Fernandina Island: (Punta Espinosa)
Fernandina is one of the most pristine islands in the world and the youngest of the Galapagos Islands. The island is heavily populated with marine iguanas who share the shoreline with penguins and flightless cormorants. The snorkeling activity on Punta Espinosa is amazing and you can see iguanas feeding, penguins torpedoing, and sea turtles diving.
Floreana Island: Champion Islet
Champion Islet is a magical place for snorkeling. Underwater you can expect to spot white-tipped reef sharks, a plethora of tropical fish, playful sea lions, and green turtles.
Floreana Island: Cormorant Point
I recall a wet landing at Floreana island. While walking in the ocean towards the beach I was able to spot a few Galapagos penguins zooming next to me underwater. Once on land, you trek through Scalesia plants and arrive at a lagoon home to incredibly pink greater flamingoes. The trek continues through a palo santo tree forest and you arrive at a beautiful pristine white sand beach. When I visited Floreana I was able to watch sea turtles hatching and making their run to the ocean. An out of this world experience.
Floreana Island: Devil’s Crown
Devil´s Crown is hands down the best snorkeling experience in the Galapagos Islands. It’s an eroded volcanic cone, home to an abundance of sea life. You will have a chance to snorkel with parrotfish, creole fish, eagle rays, turtles, and even hammerhead sharks. When I snorkeled at the Devil´s Crown along with my father, we spotted a Galapagos shark and were blown away by the sheer number of tropical fish which at times covered the entire ocean floor as far as your eye could see.
Floreana Island: Post Office Bay
After a short trek from the beach, you reach the renowned Post Office Barrel. Legend says that the barrel was set up back in 1793 by Captain James Colnett. It is considered to be the oldest ¨funtioning¨ post office in the Pacific Ocean. Whalers and fur sealers of yesteryear would drop off addressed letters in the barrel that could be picked up by colleagues returning home. To keep this special tradition going, present-day visitors take letters with them to their home countries which they can hand deliver. I recall taking a letter with a New York address and when my family visited New York the following month we hand-delivered the letter. Needless to say, the recipients were thrilled and we got to meet new people and maintained this Galapagos tradition.
Genovesa Island: Darwin Bay
Genovesa Island is also known as ¨bird island¨for its abundance of birdlife. Once you arrive onto a sandy beach at Genovesa Island, you will be able to spot swallow-tailed gulls, considered the most beautiful in the world. On your island trek, you will make your way through saltbush and mangroves where you can observe nesting frigatebirds and red-footed boobies. Finally, you can spot the endemic lava gull which is the rarest full on Earth.
Genovesa Island: El Barranco, Prince Phillip´s Steps
As you make your arrival onboard a dinghy, you will be able to see fur seals on the shoreline and tropicbirds overhead. As you climb Prince Phillip´s steps, you will be met by Nazca or masked boobies, finches, mockingbirds, and red-footed boobies. A palo santo forest follows until you arrive at an open lava field. At the lava field you can spot short-eared owls and storm petrels. Genovesa is a birdwatcher´s dream come true.
Isabela Island: Tagus Cove
Tagus Cove was a deep-water anchorage site and hideout for yesteryear pirates. This was one of the few sites Darwin visited on board the HMS Beagle in 1835. After a glorious trek, you get to see an overview of Darwin Lake and make your way to a spectacular volcanic landscape. To cool off you can go snorkeling along a submerged wall, where you can spot turtles and flightless cormorants. Tagus Cove is also a great place to go kayaking.
Isabela Island: Urbina Bay
After a long easy hike, you arrive at the Western base of Alcedo Volcano. Here you can run into land iguanas and possibly Giant Tortoises in the wild. You can also check out how a geologic uplift back in 1954, exposed a large block of coral.
Isabela Island: Punta Vicente Roca
At this amazing visitor site, you can spot sea birds such as Nazca boobies and brown noddles resting on immense cliffs off the eroded volcano. The snorkeling here is awesome, you can spot certain species of fish only found on the western islands. Swimming with penguins and turtles is quite possible at Punta Vicente Roca.
Mosquera Islet is a tiny low lying islet covered in coral sand. You will run into a group of sea lions lounging on the white sand beach. It’s a great place to observe shorebirds such as lava gulls, boobies, and herons. Its also a great snorkeling site where you can spot sharks, barracudas, and rays.
North Seymour Island:
North Seymour is a great place to spot both magnificent and great frigatebirds. You can observe their intricate mating ritual. Watching the males inflate their bright-red gular pouch is mesmerizing. Another Galapagos bird, the blue-footed boobie will also be immersed in his mating rituals which involve gift-giving and a cute dance number.
Rabida Island is famous for its fascinating red sand beach. It’s home to finches, Galapagos doves, mockingbirds, sea lions, and vermillion flycatchers. After a walk through a forest of palo santo and cacti, you reach a lookout point to get an overview of the bay. Excellent snorkeling follows, where you might see sea lions, schools of salemas, and turtles.
San Cristobal Island: Witch Hill
Cerro Brujo is a great visit which includes; a great dinghy ride where you can observe the immense cliffs of Witch Hill, a time to mingle with sea lions on the beach, snorkeling on the shore, or trekking to a hidden lagoon to find unique birdlife.
San Cristobal: Cerro Colorado Tortoise Reserve
In the wet highlands of San Cristobal, you will get up close and personal with the iconic Giant Galapagos Tortoises at the Galapaguera tortoise breeding center. The breeding center is home to various tortoises in different life stages. The center resembles their natural habitat well and you can take great pictures of them.
San Cristobal: Interpretation Center and Frigatebird Hill
At the interpretation center, you will learn how the islands were formed, their history, their importance in the World, and their threats and conservation efforts. This visit is followed by a trek to Frigatebird Hill (Tijeretas) where you get an overview of the bay and will get to observe both species of frigatebirds.
San Cristobal: Pitt Point
You will be greeted by sea lions upon arrival to Pitt Point. A trek up a hill follows where you will be able to spot all three types of boobies. As you walk up the hill you will see blue-footed boobies nesting, Nazca boobies flying around and red-footed boobies a bit far off but still visible on the cliffs. At the top of the eroded cone, you will have some of the best views of the islands.
Santa Cruz Island: Bachas Beach
This visitor site was named Bachas because locals could not pronounce ¨barges¨ correctly. At this site, you can still see wrecked World War II barges in the sand from when the USA had a military post in the Galapagos Islands. The site offers a lovely walk along the beach, great swimming, and a lagoon where you can find marine iguanas and flamingoes. A nesting site for green turtles can be found at Bachas beach.
Santa Cruz Island: Eden Islet and Ballena Bay
This is the perfect spot for water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding. You can expect to see tons of tropical fish, rays, and sharks. In the mangrove areas on land, you will bump into sea lions and sunbathing marine iguanas.
Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove
Onboard your dinghy, you will make your way through a mangrove labyrinth in the lagoon system that goes about 1 mile inland. On this excursion, you will spot many turtles, herons, rays, and sharks. It’s an amazing experience that takes you back in time.
Santa Cruz Island: Charles Darwin Research Station
The breeding center that was previously home to Lonesome George is now renamed in honor of its long-time guardian Fausto Llerena. The center houses many interpretive buildings where you can learn about the Galapagos Islands and what makes them so unique. You will run into seldom spotted Darwin finches such as the vegetarian finch, cactus finch, and woodpecker finch.
Santa Cruz Island: Dragon Hill
You arrive at a lava dock and will first encounter marine iguanas camouflaged on the dark rock. After a short trek through a cacti forest, you arrive at the edge of the beach from where you can see Dragon Hill in the distance. On the way back you will pass by a lake where flamingoes go to feed. Land iguanas can be spotted inland.
Santa Cruz Island: Highlands
Your best opportunity to mingle and get close and personal to Galapagos giant tortoises in the wild is in the Highlands of Santa Cruz. These 600 lb reptiles are a sight to behold. Don’t miss out on this opportunity. After your visit, you might stick around one of the Highland ranches for lunch. These highland ranches also have access to Lava tunnels, a fun activity to take part in.
Santa Cruz Island: Twin Craters
Inside a stunning Scalesia forest, you will find the collapsed twin sinkholes (Gemelos). You can take in breathtaking views of the surroundings and archipelago and run into a diversity of bird species.
Santa Cruz Island: Punta Carrion
Punta Carrion is a rocky cliff where you can explore the marine biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands. You will snorkel along with white-tipped sharks, stingrays, and tons of colorful fish.
Santa Fe Island:
Snorkeling at Santa Fe is top-notch. You will snorkel in turquoise waters along with turtles, sea lions, reef sharks, and spotted eagle rays. Once you land on the island you will arrive at a sandy beach filled with sea lions. As you walk through a forest of endemic giant Opuntia cacti, keep your eyes peeled for the Santa Fe land iguana endemic to the island. You might spot a Galapagos hawk overhead and the endemic rice rat scurrying around on land.
Santiago Island: Buccaneer Cove
A truly amazing visitor site, where you will find seabirds, fur seals, and sea lions in the remains of an eroded shoreline. Back in the day, buccaneers and pirates would arrive to this cove to stock up on freshwater and food for their travels.
Santiago Island: Egas Port
When you land on Egas Port you will immediately notice the black volcanic sand that sets this site apart from the rest. You will run into a colony of fur seals, American oystercatchers, sea lions, herons, lava lizards, and even the Galapagos hawk. If time permits you might visit the abandoned salt mine which provided salt to mainland Ecuador.
Santiago Island: Espumilla Beach
Espumilla beach is a white-sand beach found in James Bay. Here you will find a small palo santo forest and mangroves that lead to salt-water lagoons home to flamingoes. You will also find a turtle nesting site and you can go snorkeling too.
Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay
Although this site does not appear as much, it has one of the most interesting terrains in the archipelago. You will walk on beds of Pahoehoe lava made from the recent flow on the island. It has amazing Galapagos landscapes and after your trek, you can go for a refreshing snorkeling activity.
South Plaza Island
You will find sea lions, land iguanas, and swallow-tailed gulls at this landing site. South Plaza is a small island covered with a carpet if red succulents and Opuntia cacti. Once you reach the cliff´s edge, you can birdwatch and spot frigatebirds, Galapagos shearwaters, and red-billed tropicbirds. On the way back you might see land iguanas that are evolving into there marine cousins.
Connoisseur Galapagos Tip:
Each Galapagos visitor site is unique. Our Galapagos Map & Visitor Sites guide will help you decide which itinerary you should choose when cruising the amazing Galapagos Islands.