Top ChoiceIsland in Isla San Cristóbal (Chatham)

León Dormido

León Dormido

About an hour’s boat ride northeast of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is León Dormido (Kicker Rock), so named because of its resemblance to a sleeping lion. León Dormido is an imposing, vertical, sheer-walled tuff cone...

Top ChoiceWildlife Reserve in Isla Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)

El Chato Tortoise Reserve

El Chato Tortoise Reserve

South of Santa Rosa is El Chato Tortoise Reserve, where you can observe giant tortoises in the wild. When these virtually catatonic, prehistoric-looking beasts extend their accordion-like necks to feed, it’s an...

Top ChoiceMuseum in Puerto Ayora

MAPRAE

The first of its kind in the world, this museum uses augmented reality to showcase a permanent exhibition of 55 pre-Columbian artifacts. The ancient cultures of Ecuador’s Amazon and coastal regions are brought to...

Top ChoiceVolcano in Isla Isabela (Albemarle)

Volcán Alcedo

Volcán Alcedo

The summit of this volcano (1097m) is famous for its 7km-wide caldera and steaming fumaroles. Hundreds of giant tortoises can be seen here, especially from June to December, and juvenile hawks soar on thermal...

Wildlife Reserve in Puerto Ayora

Charles Darwin Research Station

Charles Darwin Research Station

Just northeast of Puerto Ayora is this iconic national-park site, where over 200 scientists and volunteers are involved with research and conservation efforts, the most well known of which involves a captive...

Volcano in Isla Santiago (San Salvador or James)

Puerto Egas

Puerto Egas is one of the most popular sites in the Galápagos – a long, flat, black lava shoreline where eroded shapes form lava pools, caves and inlets that house a great variety of wildlife. It's a great place...

Lake in Isla Isabela (Albemarle)

Darwin Lake

A dry landing deposits you at the beginning of a 2km-long trail that brings you past this postcard-perfect saltwater lagoon. It has twice the salinity of the ocean, and is a tuff cone, like a chimney from the...

Beach in Puerto Ayora

Tortuga Bay

In terms of sheer white-sand beauty, this beach is the rival of any in South America. You’ll find it at the end of a 2.5km paved trail southwest of Puerto Ayora. In addition to swimming (a spit of land provides...

Volcano in Isla Isabela (Albemarle)

Volcán Wolf

Not only is Isla Isabela the largest Galápagos island, but its imposing skyline of grumbling volcanoes makes it the most striking. Volcán Wolf, at the northern tip of the island, is the highest point in the...

Museum in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

Interpretation Center

This modern and easily digestible center explains the history and significance of the Galápagos better than anywhere else in the country. Exhibits deal with the biology, geology and human history of the islands –...

Beach in Isla San Cristóbal (Chatham)

Cerro Brujo

Possibly one of the nicest beaches in the Galápagos, Cerro Brujo is a huge white expanse found on the west side of the island. The sand here feels like powdered sugar. A colony of sea lions and blue-footed...

Wildlife Reserve in Isla Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)

Rancho Primicias

Next to El Chato is this private ranch, where there are dozens of giant tortoises, and you can wander around at will. The entrance is beyond Santa Rosa, off the main road – ask locals for directions. Remember to...

Volcano in Isla Isabela (Albemarle)

Volcán Sierra Negra

Northwest of the tiny settlement of Tomás de Berlanga lies the massive Volcán Sierra Negra (1490m), which last erupted in late 2005. An 8km trail leads around the east side of the volcano. It’s possible to walk...

Wildlife Reserve in Puerto Villamil

Pozo Villamil

Behind and to the west of the village is this lagoon, known for its marine iguanas and migrant birds, especially waders – more than 20 species have been reported here. A trail a little over 1km long begins just...

Historic Site in Isla Floreana (Santa María or Charles)

Post Office Bay

Most groups spend several perfunctory minutes on the north coast at Post Office Bay, where scraps of wood covered in graffiti surround a a few gone-to-seed barrels. Although a functioning mailbox for American and...

Tunnel in Isla Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)

Lava Tunnels

These impressive underground tunnels southwest of the village of Santa Rosa are more than 1km in length and were formed when the outside skin of a molten-lava flow solidified. When the lava flow ceased, the...

Lake in Isla Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)

Las Grietas

For nice swimming and snorkeling, head to this water-filled crevice in the rocks. Talented and fearless locals climb the nearly vertical walls to plunge into the water below. Take a water taxi (per person US$0.80...

Historic Site in Puerto Villamil

Muro de las Lágrimas

Some 7km west of Puerto Villamil is the Muro de las Lágrimas (Wall of Tears), a 100m-long wall of lava rocks built by convicts under harsh and abusive conditions. The penal colony closed in 1959, but the wall...

Beach in Isla Fernandina (Narborough)

Punta Espinoza

Just across Canal Bolívar, Punta Espinoza houses marine iguanas (too many to count), which can be seen sunning themselves on the black lava formations – a dramatic sight that looks like a museum diorama on...

Lagoon in Puerto Ayora

Playa Mansa

If you walk the length of Tortuga Bay, you'll reach this picturesque lagoon lined with mangroves. Here you can spot marine iguanas, brown pelicans and blue herons, among other species. On the nearby dunes, sea...