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Galapagos Wildlife

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Wildlife of the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands, named after the shells of saddleback Galapagos tortoises, is a mind-blowing experience. To encounter the Galapagos animals is something you will never forget. Nowhere else in the world can you experience a diverse group of wildlife all in one place: swim and snorkel with sea lions, watch a penguin waddle into the water, scuba dive with hammerhead sharks, stand right next to two male iguanas fighting for a mate, and view a waved albatross, with its 8-foot wingspan, soar along coastal cliffs.

With a lack of predatory mammals, Galapagos wildlife is dominated by reptiles. Some types of the Galapagos animals include the famous 400-pound Galapagos Tortoise. There are also land and marine iguanas, snakes, lava lizards, and sea turtles. Within the Galapagos wildlife, there are 22 species of reptiles, most of which are endemic (species only found in the Galápagos).

The Galapagos archipelago is one of the most important areas for birds in the world. More than half of the bird species are endemic, and many are iconic for both scientists (Charles Darwin first studied them in 1835) and visitors alike. The Galapagos penguin, flightless cormorant, waved albatross, and lava gull are just a few that are not found anywhere else in the world. The shear number and the seemingly tame nature of these birds amaze all who visit.

Whether you choose to do a Galapagos land-based tour or a Galapagos cruise, you are sure to have the wildlife experience of a lifetime.

Galapagos Big 15

When planning your visit to the Galapagos Islands, it helps to structure your experience around the things that you absolutely must do or see. In an otherworldly landscape with a fascinating combination of endemic species, that can be a tall order. For that reason, Andean Discovery has compiled this handy list of the 15 most iconic Galapagos species. From the sea to the shoreline to the sky, these are the true locals of the archipelago — and a well-executed excursion allows you to view each in its natural habitat. Familiarize yourself with the habitats, mating habits, and unique characteristics of these 15 species and you’ll understand just how special the experience is when you see them. Master the details of each and you’ll come closer to comprehending the unique role that each member plays in the special interplay of this fascinatingly untouched ecosystem.

Galapagos Albatross                                           Blue-footed Booby                                             Galapagos Penguin







Sea Lion                                                                 Galapagos Hawk                                                  American Flamingo







Marine Iguana                                                     Nazca Booby                                                        Red-footed Booby







Flightless Cormorant                                          Santa Fe Land Iguana                                       Galapagos Tortoise







Frigatebird                                                            Land Iguana                                                       Fur Seal








Ecuador Mainland & Galapagos Combined

Andean Discovery's Quito and Galapagos Cruises allow you to explore Quito, a jewel in the Andes and World Heritage site, before boarding one of our favorite vessels for the wildlife experience of
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Galapagos Land Tours

Galapagos Land Tours are a great alternative to cruises, allowing you more flexibility to enjoy a variety of activities, such as ocean kayaking, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach.
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Galapagos Cruises

Galapagos cruises are an excellent way to experience all the Galapagos have to offer, including brilliant white-sand beaches, snorkeling, hiking trails and wildlife viewing.
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Galapagos Diving Tours

Discover the magnificent world of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Whether you choose a day trip or a live-a-board diving boat, many of the species you'll see are found nowhere else.
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Tours to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands

Combine two of South America's most amazing highlights in this trip. Explore the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu hop over to the Galapagos Islands to observe wildlife up close.
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Our trip was fantastic and Micaela with Andean Discovery was great! Every detail was taken care of ahead of time. We just showed up and enjoyed the beauty of South America. I would use them again in a heartbeat.
marc abrams
marc abrams
23:33 23 Nov 18
Damon put together the perfect itinerary for our group of 7 - including grandparents. His knowledge of the region is superb, which is why he is able to create the ultimate trip for your family. From whitewater rafting in Peru to zip-lining in Ecuador, we truly had the trip of a lifetime! I wouldn't go with anyone else!
Carolyn Malloy
Carolyn Malloy
12:40 31 Jan 19
Thanks to Andean our vacation was a wonderful experience for our entire family of 15 (8 adults and 7 grand kids aged 16 to 9).. The planning for the trip to the Galapagos was well researched; the hotels, guides and itinerary were spot on. They answered our many questions before we departed and there NO disappointments during the vacation. It was the most memorable trip our family has taken.
Mary Ann Fuller
Mary Ann Fuller
18:00 22 Jan 19
Traveling to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu was a dream vacation for my wife. After much research we booked our trip through Andean Discovery. We are so glad we did. Everything went smoothly and our personal guides in Ecuador and Peru were wonderful. I would highly recommend Andean Discovery to anyone thinking of taking a similar trip.
Arnold Miniman
Arnold Miniman
15:29 14 Dec 18
We traveled with our family of 3 people. Andean did a wonderful job helping us select an itinerary that was able to accommodate our various ages. We had no glitches in a fairly complicated itinerary and everything came off as planned. Our local guide in Quito Johanna was terrific. I can't recommend Sacha Lodge more highly. Our experience in Galapagos on the Coral 1 was magical. While the crew of the Coral 1 could have been more charming and smiled on occasion they were helpful, the food was very good and the rooms were kept clean. I have no reservations in recommending Andean Discovery for your South American Holiday
Victor Elinoff
Victor Elinoff
23:26 07 Jan 19
My family toured the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu in Peru with Andean Discovery guides and reservations. We had a fabulous adventure! I recommend highly that "superior lodging" be chosen as an option for the best possible room accommodations. The marvelous comfort of the fine hotels Andean booked for us made all the difference.
Kathryn Fulhorst
Kathryn Fulhorst
21:36 08 Jan 19