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Best Things To Do in Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos' various islands are strikingly different. Some feature imposing active volcanoes while others flaunt idyllic beaches and remote wildlife reserves. If you're planning an extended visit, you'll want to explore them all. But should you have time limitations, you'll need to build a selective itinerary. Wildlife-watchers will want to venture to the small town of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island to tour the Charles Darwin Research Station before continuing southwest to catch a glimpse of critters basking in the sun along Santa Cruz's Turtle Bay. Intrepid hikers will take pleasure in exploring Sierra Negra, Isabela Island's active volcano, while aquatic enthusiasts will enjoy sharing the waters with exuberant tropical fish. Whatever pursuits pique your interest, just be sure to make time for exploring the Galápagos' unspoiled landscapes and interacting with its magnificent creatures.

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How We Rank Things to Do
#1
La Loberia (San Cristóbal Island) Free attraction
Beaches, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Ready to lounge along coral-tinted sands peppered with playful marine mammals? Located northwest of downtown Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San ... read more»

#2
Turtle Bay (Santa Cruz Island) Free attraction
Beaches, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: Outdoorsy types don't flock to this pearly white beach simply to bake in the warm equatorial sun. Travelers visit ... read more»

#3
El Chato Tortoise Reserve (Santa Cruz Island) Free attraction
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.5

Why go: If you came to the Galápagos to stand face-to-face with a giant tortoise, then you can't pass up a ... read more»

#4
Snorkeling & Diving
Natural Wonders, Sightseeing, Swimming/Pools | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: To many, the Galápagos' charm lies with its abundance of land-roaming creatures. But for aquatic enthusiasts more interested in the ... read more»

#5
San Cristóbal Interpretation Center (San Cristóbal Island) Free attraction
Museums, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: If this is your first time visiting the Galápagos, you'll want to pay a visit to this extensive museum ... read more»

#6
Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) Free attraction
Neighborhood/Area | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Set at the center of the Galápagos Archipelago, Santa Cruz Island serves as a central base for exploration. And skirting ... read more»

#7
Sierra Negra Volcano (Isabela Island)
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: Sierra Negra (also known as "Cerro Negro"), stands majestically over Isabela Island, rising nearly 4,500 feet high. Admirers far ... read more»

#8
Charles Darwin Research Station (Santa Cruz Island) Free attraction
Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing | Map It

Overall Rating: Rating: 4.0

Why go: A must-see attraction for budding scientists, this exulted site features an active breeding center and informative displays explaining the archipelago ... read more»

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