Charles Darwin claimed he was in the Galapagos to study evolution. We think he was soaking up the sun, swimming with seal cubs and giggling at blue-footed boobies.
The Galapagos Islands are one of the most hypnotizing places on Earth. It’s nature at its wildest, free-est and brightest.
There aren’t too many destinations where it feels like humans are the visitors and the animals rule the roost. This is their turf and we’re just along for the ride.
It’s the kind of place where you can swim with sea lions one day and take a walk with iguanas the next. You can see blue-footed boobies shake their tail feathers and imagine that Charles Darwin is just around the corner.
The sheer number of creatures – big, small, weird and wild – will Blow. Your. Mind. It’s nature’s playground and it’s spectacular.
Galapagos Islands travel highlights
Isabela Island will have you saying ‘aww!’ everywhere you look – from sea lions sunbathing on black lava to penguins waddling through mangrove forests.
Isla Santa Cruz
Spot marine iguanas, coloured crabs and maybe a flamingo or two as you lounge on the white sand beach of Las Bachas.
Isla San Cristobal
Snorkel with sea turtles and the friendliest sharks you’ll ever meet at Kicker Rock.
Charles Darwin Research Station
Learn how the Charles Darwin Foundation successfully regrew populations of endangered land iguanas and giant tortoises.
Our Galapagos Islands trips
7 Days From R11,806
9 Days From R21,632
10 Days From R40,889
6 Days From R22,160
10 Days From R40,889
7 Days From R26,681
8 Days From R33,527
17 Days From R68,015
Galapagos Islands tour reviews
Our Galapagos Islands trips score an average of 4.74 out of 5 based on 47 reviews in the last year.
Taste of Galapagos, May 2018
The Galápagos trip with Gekos was fast paced and exciting. It was so easy as we did not have to organise anything, it was all done for us. There wasn’t however enough time on San Cristobal Island and it would have been nice to spend more time there and less on Santa Cruz.
Review submitted 21 May 2018
Taste of Galapagos, May 2018
Take the time to learn basic Spanish as many people do not speak english. Definitely research the optional tours before you commit and lean on your leaders, they know more about what is happening and can help alot.
Review submitted 17 May 2018
Daphne is our boat of choice when it comes to cruising the Galapagos. Your home away from home – get some sun on the spacious sundeck, take advantage of the bar and library or chill in your cabin (complete with a private bathroom and air conditioning).
Galapagos Islands holiday information
Galapagos Islands facts
History and Culture of Galapagos Islands
Food and Drink in Galapagos Islands
Festivals and Wildlife Events
Geography and Environment
Galapagos Islands travel FAQs
Australia: No – not required
Belgium: No – not required
Canada: No – not required
Germany: No – not required
Ireland: No – not required
Netherlands: No – not required
New Zealand: No – not required
South Africa: No – not required
Switzerland: No – not required
United Kingdom: No – not required
USA: No – not required
Since the Galapagos Islands form part of Ecuador, visitors may need to obtain a visa from the Ecuadorian consulate to enter the country and visit the islands. Visitors from most nations do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days. It’s generally a good idea to make sure your passport is valid for a minimum period of six months after your arrival date and that you have a few blank pages. Keep in mind that visa requirements can change at any time. Please contact your local embassy or consulate for the most up-to-date information.
Unlike Geckos' other group trips, which are exclusively for travellers aged 18-29, all of our Galapagos Island sailing trips are open age. You may also be travelling with passengers from our sibling companies, Intrepid Travel and Peregrine Adventures.
While tipping isn’t mandatory, tips are very much appreciated by service workers and guides. Leaving a 10% tip is customary in restaurants. Some automatically add a 10% service charge to your bill, in which case an extra tip isn’t required.
There are reliable internet cafes in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) and Puerto Baquerizo (San Cristobal Island). Some hotels and restaurants on other islands will have a Wi-Fi connection, but it is best not to rely on it.
There is good mobile phone reception on the larger islands, but don’t expect it when at sea. The best local telephone companies are Porta and Movistar. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone.
Most towns have Western-style flushable toilets, though you will likely encounter squat toilets as well. Regardless, it’s a good idea to carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as they are not always provided.
Juice = USD 1
Street food snack = USD 1.50
Simple lunch at a local restaurant = USD 3-5
Sit-down dinner at a cafe or restaurant = USD 10
Tap water isn’t considered safe to drink in the Galapagos Islands. Avoid drinks with ice and make sure to peel fruit before eating it. Help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle with filtered water. Your leader or hotel can tell you where to find filtered water.
No, credit cards are not widely accepted. There are a handful of shops on Santa Cruz that may accept major credit cards, but it’s preferable to pay in cash.
The banks in Puerto Ayora and Puerto Baquerizo have ATMs. The Banco del Pacifico in both towns is open from 8 am to 3:30 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 12.30 pm on Saturdays. It's best to withdraw your money on the mainland, however, in case these are out of order. Check each bank’s website for up to date opening hours.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Geckos are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Jan 1: New Year’s Day
Apr 14: Good Friday
May 1: Labour Day
May 24: Battle of Pichincha
Aug 10: Independence Day
Oct 9: Guayaquil Independence Day
Nov 2: All Soul’s Day
Nov 3: Cuenca Independence Day
Dec 25: Christmas
For a current list of public holidays in the Galapagos Islands and Ecuador go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/south-america/ecuador/public-holidays/
The Galapagos Islands are a relatively hassle-free destination for LGBTQI-travellers. Same-sex marriage was legalised in Ecuador in 2008 and the country hosts several fiestas where it’s acceptable for men to cross-dress as women. That being said, homophobic attitudes do exist and travellers are advised to avoid public displays of affection.
Top Galapagos Islands travel deals
|Departing||Trip name||Days||From ZAR|
|Galapagos Discovery (Daphne)||7||
|Best of Galapagos (Daphne)||10||
|Galapagos Express (Daphne)||6||
|Galapagos Highlights (Daphne)||10||
|Galapagos on the cheap||9||
|Taste of Galapagos||7||