Galapagos Islands – My top 5 animal experiences

When booking a trip to the Galapagos Islands there is a lot to consider.  I knew that I wanted to spend as much time as possible on the islands and also have a guide who could tell me about the different species of flora and fauna on the islands.  That’s why I went with Galakiwi on a land based tour of the major islands – Santa Cruz, Isabela, and San Cristobal.  When I was planning my trip around South America this was the trip I was most looking forward to.

Check out my post on the 12 Safest Countries in South America to see where Ecuador ranks!

When I booked my trip to the Galapagos Islands I had a ‘shopping list’ of animals I wanted to see. Below are my top 5 experiences with animals in the Galapagos Islands.

Swimming with Sea Lions

On San Cristobal island we went to La Loberia to go snorkelling and swimming with sea lions.  This was such an amazing experience.  When you first arrive on the beach you can see the sea lions sunning themselves on the beach.  So I took a few photos of them and then got into the water to snorkel and see the fish.  As I was coming back in there were two sea lions playing in the water in the shallows.  I came up behind them and took a few pictures with them.  Then they decided to go for a swim so I decided to join them!  It was such a cool experience.

You can also see a lot of sharks in the Galapagos.  This list is the best places to dive with sharks and includes the Galapagos such as Kicker Rock.


On my first day on Santa Cruz we went to Tortuga Bay.  Its about a 45 minute walk from town and it is a stunning walk with lots of birdlife.  Once we arrived at the beach we walked a bit further down to see the iguanas.  There were so many of them and again they were sunning themselves.  We watched them for awhile and we even saw them ‘sneeze’.

Giant Tortoises

We went to a ranch in Santa Cruz that had a ton of giant tortoises .  I think they are attracted by all of the guava trees.  As you walk around looking for the tortoises it smells so fragrant because they are eating the guava and it is all around you.


Isabela Island was my favourite island in the Galapagos Islands.  It is just stunning with white sand beaches, palm trees and beautiful turquoise water.  The best part is the lagoon which is full of wildlife.  We took a boat ride around the lagoon and were able to see penguins.

The Galapagos penguin is the only penguin in the world north of the equator.  They are so cute!  We even saw one in the water when we were snorkelling.  We were so lucky to see them.

Blue footed Boobies

Look boobies!  The most infamous of all the Galapagos wildlife would be the blue footed booby.  Their feet are bright blue to attract a mate and you can tell the males and females apart because the male blue footed boobies have brighter coloured feet.

My week in the Galapagos just flew by with each day topping the day before.   The thing that surprised me the most is just how beautiful the islands are and then you add on top of that the wildlife and its just a must see for all nature lovers.  Galapagos is one of those national parks you must see to believe.  Do you agree? There are so many animals to see in the Galapagos.

Want to know what else to do in Ecuador? Check out Mitad del Mundo.

Special thanks to Galakiwi for hosting me.  As always, all opinions are my own.  Watch out for further posts on the Galapagos Islands because I have a lot more to share with you about this incredible experience.


Nicole LaBarge is a travel expert who has been traveling internationally for over 25 years and she has visited over 115 countries all while working a 9-5. She has lived in England, Scotland, Japan and New Zealand. Check out her detailed destination guides and travel product guides.

17 thoughts on “Galapagos Islands – My top 5 animal experiences

  1. Ah the Galapagos. It has been on my list ever since I saw that amazing documentary made by David Attenborough. I love all the amazing animals on those fab islands. I don’t know why but always had a think for Fernandina. 🙂

  2. Some amazing wildlife, the Iguanas are amazing but there’s something about them that gives me the creeps. Didn’t know they had penguins there.

  3. The Ecuador and the Galápagos have been on my bucket list for such a long time !! I always hear that the Galápagos Islands are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see lots of wildlife (on land and in the sea) as well as unspoiled beautiful islands 🙂 After reading your post, I could already feel that they are incredibly beautiful, totally unique, and filled with such a diversity of life !

  4. I love to see wild animals when I travel. The penguins are adorable. I have always wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands and look forward to seeing these cute animals when I visit.

  5. Really fun Nicole. I would be a huge fan of swimming with sea lions. I imagine they’d smell kinda fishy but that is OK by me. Would have to see those penguins too. And tortoises. Oh the heck with it; I’d have to do everything on this list and see all of these animals LOL.

  6. Galapagos was one of my favourite places to visit. Every time I looked around, there was something new to love and explore. Glad you had a great time!

  7. So glad you had these experiences in the Galapagos! It’s probably one of my favorite destinations of all time – really authentic, wild and untouched and the wildlife aren’t afraid of humans. My favorite experience was finding a secluded beach on San Cristobal and impromtu snorkeling with sea lions and turtles at the same time – they were so playful and just as curious about us as we were of them!

  8. My top choice is penguins. There is something special about those formally dressed creatures that makes them irresistible. Sea lions are hilarious. I can imagine how much fun it is to accidentally stumble upon them playing in the water.

  9. The Galapagos had always been on my radar, but I want to go even more after visiting the Seychelles. The Seychelles is the only other place on earth to find giant tortoises and I absolutely loved seeing them every day. They can have such a personality!

    I also would love to go diving in Galapagos. Did you have the opportunity to do that at all?

  10. I’m so jealous!! When I went to the Galapagos I didn’t see any boobies. I did see plenty of sea lions though (they were my favorite). Isn’t it such an amazing place? I’d love to go back one day.

Leave a Reply to Marcus Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts