Our grading system explained
- Expedition Grade
Lying directly on the equator, about 1,000km off the coast of Ecuador, is an extremely remote archipelago of islands and islets called the Galapagos. Celebrated not only for the abundance and diversity of its wildlife, the Galapagos also has a remarkable amount of endemic species that can be found nowhere else on earth. In fact, 95% of the species discovered by Charles Darwin on his historic visit in 1835, still remain present on the islands today.
Their remote location, unusual natural history and geographical position, at the confluence of three major oceanic currents, are the reasons why the Galapagos Islands have emerged as such a unique wildlife destination. Giant tortoises, Marine iguana, Blue-footed boobies and Sally lightfoot crabs are among the most well-known of the islands’ fearless creatures, but there are thousands of other birds, animals and plants that can only be seen on a visit to the Galapagos. And, it is the opportunity to see so many of these rare creatures in such close proximity, that makes a visit to the Galapagos Islands a truly unforgettable experience.
The archipelago consists of six main islands: Isabela, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Floreana, Santiago and Fernandina – the latter two of which remain uninhabited. In addition, there are 12 smaller islands and around 40 tiny islets that can only be visited by boat. Of the 128 named islands in the archipelago Isabela is the largest at 4,588 km2 and Darwin the smallest at only 1.1 km2. Most of the islands are actually summits of volcanoes submerged below the ocean, and due to its volcanic nature and relative youth (in geological terms) the archipelago is continuously changing.
To discover the natural wonders of the islands you can either take to the water on a cruise boat or base yourself on land and explore on foot. We offer both options. Our seven night Galapagos Cruise in Style sails between many of the islands with daily shore landings in the company of expert naturalists. There is also the opportunity to snorkel or kayak for up-close encounters with the amazing marine life of the Galapagos such as sea lions, penguins and rays.
For a very different perspective, our Gentle Walking Ecuador and Galapagos Safari stays in scenic accommodation on three different islands giving you the opportunity not only to discover the amazing wildlife and landscapes of the islands on foot, but also to gain an understanding of the culture and history of the communities that have made the Galapagos their home. This holiday begins on mainland Ecuador with an excellent variety of walks to reveal the beautiful scenery and absorbing culture of Quito and the Otavalo region. This is undoubtedly a holiday that gives you the best of all worlds.View our holidays here