5-Must See Animals of the Galapagos Islands

Take your loved ones on an adventure to the Galapagos Islands and find 5 of the most beloved and famous animals that call this island paradise home!

From snorkeling in the warm waters alongside seat turtles and penguins, kayaking with sea lions beside you, or hiking across dried lava beds to observe famous inhabitants like blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas at close range – The Galapagos Islands are the perfect destination for eco-adventure. Synonymous with Charles Darwin’s work on the theory of evolution, this isolated yet biodiverse archipelago of volcanic islands gives travelers the opportunity to observe some of the rarest species on earth.

Perfect for families, the Galapagos provides striking scenery coupled with exotic species. Consisting of 18 main islands – each with their own unique variations of animals and all relatively isolated from one another – let the Galapagos be the backdrop for your family’s next adventure as you hop from island-to-island, discovering new species at every step of the way.

Originally named the “Islands of the Tortoises” because of the giant tortoises found throughout the islands, the Galapogos’ flora and fauna is unique from island to island. Because of this, the Galapagos is one of the most biodiverse locations in the world and as such, 97.5% of the archipelago is a national park.

Take your family on a journey through the Galapagos to find these unique and storied animals:

  1. The Galapagos Giant Tortoise: The largest living species of tortoise in the world – weighing up to 900lbs! Because these tortoises are relatively poor swimmers, the isolation between islands has resulted in the independent evolution of many subspecies of the Galapagos Giant Tortoise.
  2. Galapagos Marine Iguana: The only iguana or modern lizard species to forage in the sea, Darwin himself commented that these iguanas were “imps of darkness” – black in color and clumsily climbing on the rocks near the sea shore. Although their appearance may be somewhat revolting, marine iguanas are generally kind to the other species of lizards, birds, and fish that call the Galapagos their home.
  3. Great Frigatebird: While not unique to the Galapagos, these large seabirds have a large nesting population on the Galapagos islands. What makes these birds so distinctive is the bright red gular sac (a large patch of skin at the throat, right beneath their beak) that male frigatebirds can show off during breeding season. Male frigatebirds come together and compete for a mate by dancing side to side with their bright red chests, while the female frigatebirds watch from afar before choosing their mate.
  4. Blue-Footed Booby: These adorable and silly looking booby birds are easily recognizable by their bright blue feet, which do more than make them distinguishable by ornithologists. In fact, male blue-footed boobies display their feet in a mating ritual by lifting their feet high off the ground and strutting around for the female’s amusement. While not unique to the Galapagos, approximately one half of all breeding boobies make their nest on the islands.
  5. Galapagos Penguin: Native and restricted to the Galapagos, the Galapagos Penguin is the only penguin found north of the equator. These penguins can survive in such a warm climate due to the cool waters of the nearby Humboldt and Cromwell Currents. Unfortunately, the Galapagos Penguin is endangered and likely the rarest species of penguin in the world – so be kind and considerate to our penguin friends!
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