A blue-footed booby sits on a high-up rock over looking the ocean. It looks to the left with its peak slightly open. To its right in the foreground is a short, tubular cactus. In the right mid-ground is a taller, tubular cactus.

Scrolling through these Galapagos Islands pictures, it’s easy to see how the archipelago so greatly inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The Galapagos Islands are world-renowned for their biodiversity and unique endemic species. Set against the striking backdrop of the volcanic islands, you’ll be rushing to get there and see them for yourself.

*Cover photo by Edu_Ruiz on Pixabay.

Table of Contents

The Islands
Galapagos Animals

The Islands

The Galapagos archipelago consists of 18 main islands, 3 small islands, and 107 islets. Having evolved over 20 million years, the Galapagos Islands have a great diversity not only of native animals but also of landscapes. There is something remarkable and captivating about each island.

Santa Cruz Island

1. Tortuga Bay
A blue-footed booby stands on a rock and preens in front of the turquoise waters and white sandy beach on an overcast day.
A blue-footed booby preens its feathers in front of one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos, Tortuga Bay. Image: By David Ceballos. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
2. Dragon Hill
The peak of a jagged hill sticks out in the background between bare trees.
Dragon Hill, or Cerro Dragón, stands on the northwestern coast of Santa Cruz. It is home to a large colony of Galapagos land iguanas. Image: By Mikko Koponen. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
3. Puerto Ayora
Several boats are moored at a cement dock with waterfront hotels and other buildings in the background.
Hotels stand right up against the water in Puerto Ayora. Image: By Pete. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Cropped and compressed from original.
4. Galapagos souvenir shop
Two souvenir shops selling hammocks, blue footed booby wall hangings and T-shirts sit at the edge of a cobbled street.
Pick up a hammock or blue-footed booby wall hanging at a souvenir shop in Puerto Ayora. Image: by Paul Krawczuk. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
5. Bachas Beach
A light beige beach at low tide is divided in two by black lava rock. The sky above is light blue and cloudless.
Jet black lava rocks divide a section of Bachas Beach. Photo by Melissa Dreffs of Inca Expert Travel.
6. Fish market
Two women in rain boots attend customers over a table at a fish market while a sea lion stands between them begging for fish.
A Galapagos sea lion begs for fish at a local market. Image: By John Crane. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Isabela Island

7. Los Túneles
Scrub covered lava rock surrounds still water with cactus spread out along the rocks.
Los Túneles, made up of lava rock tunnels and natural bridges, is a perfect snorkeling spot on Isabela. Image: By David Ceballos. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
8. Lava rock coast
A flock of blue footed boobies stand on jagged black lava rocks that lead up to a bright turquoise ocean on a sunny day.
A flock of blue-footed boobies gathers on the rocky shores of Isabela. Image: By Anne and David. Used under Public Domain Mark 1.0 / Compressed from original.
9. Sierra Negra Volcano
Four tourists with backpacks and hats stand at the top of a reddish and black volcano.
Travelers hike up to the top of the Sierra Negra Volcano on Isabela Island. Image: By Michael R Perry. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
10. Wolf Volcano
Over a short stretch of ocean, a volcano stands with its point covered by low hanging, fluffy white clouds.
At 5,600 ft (1,707 m), Wolf Volcano is the highest point in the Galapagos. Image: By ilf_. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Fernandina Island

11. Lava rocks and cacti
Three bunches of fuzzy, cucumber-shaped, dull yellow cacti grow out of lava rock that overlooks the ocean.
It may seem improbable, but these cacti are able to grow on top of Fernandina’s expanses of lava rock. Image: By Dan. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
12. Sunbathing iguanas
Dozens of black marine iguanas fill up an expanse of rock leading to a narrow inlet of sea buffered by another slab of rock.
Marine iguanas sunbathe on Punta Espinosa. Image: By David Stanley. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Santiago Island

13. Sullivan Bay
Seven tourists stand on an undulating expanse of black lava rock that leads up to the ocean with a small island visible.
Travelers explore the undulating lava rock of Sullivan Bay. Image: By Boberger. Used under CC BY-SA 3.0 / Compressed from original.
14. Marine iguanas
Two black, red and tan marine iguanas sit on top of undulating lava rock on an overcast day.
A pair of marine iguanas pose for a photo as they enjoy the warmth emanating from the lava rock. Image: By Jeremy T. Hetzel. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Rábida Island

15. Red Beach
A sea lion poses on its front flippers on a red sand beach with several other sea lions napping behind it.
Iron in the sand turns this beach on Rábida Island a beautiful shade of red. The perfect backdrop for some elegant Galapagos sea lions!
Bartolomé Island

16. Pinnacle Rock
A hammerhead shaped peninsula sticks out into the ocean with an expansive, undulating island across the sea.
The most photographed landscape in the Galapagos archipelago is that surrounding Bartolomé’s Pinnacle Rock. Image: By Natalie Marquis on Unsplash.
South Plaza Island

17. Sesuvium and cacti
Red and orange sea purslanes as well as cacti are scattered over the rocky terrain of South Plaza Island.
During the dry season from June to December the Sesuvium, or sea purslanes, of South Plaza turn vivid hues of red, orange, and violet. Image: By Vince Smith. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Adjusted brightness and compressed from original.
Floreana Island

18. Post Office Bay
Planks of wood and driftwood with worn off paint are piled around a barrel sitting on a post that functions as a mailbox.
Sailors created this makeshift post office in the 18th century and it is still used today! Leave a letter in the barrel for another traveler to pick up and bring to its final destination. Image: By claumoho. Used under CC BY 2.0 / compressed from original.
19. Devil’s Crown
Jagged brown and cream colored rocks jut out of the ocean in a shape vaguely resembling a crown.
Devil’s Crown is the remains of a volcanic crater and is a great snorkeling spot. Image: By David Brossard. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Adjusted brightness and compressed from original.
20. Cormorant Point
The sun’s last rays hit the brownish red hill surrounding a small cove where black lava rocks cut through the waves.
Cormorant Point hosts a large population of pink flamingos, as well as many other bird species. Image: By Dan. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Española Island

21. Suarez Point
A geyser like wave breaks on jagged black lava rock on a sunny, cloudless day.
Suarez Point has an unforgettable landscape. Here you’ll also have the chance to see the rare waved albatross. Image: By Jeremy T.Hetzel. Used under CC BY-2.0 / Compressed from original.
22. Gardner Bay
Several sea lions lounge on a white sandy beach of a turquoise bay with tourists walking in the distance.
These sea lions have the right idea! Lounge in the soft white sand of Gardner Bay. Image: By Dan: Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
San Cristobal Island

23. Kicker Rock
A rock that increases in height from left to right, comes out of the ocean with a pointed vertical rock to its right.
Kicker Rock is one of the most majestic sites in the Galapagos. You can spot sharks and sea lions in the waters surrounding this towering rock formation. Image: By Marc Dove. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Genovesa Island

24. El Barranco
Lava rocks forming rough cuboid structures sit in a gap in the cliffside. Several sea lions nap inside.
On the western point of Darwin Bay is El Barranco, also known as Prince Phillip’s Steps. Hiking up to the cliffside, you’ll likely spot red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, and frigatebirds. Photo by Melissa Dreffs of Inca Expert Travel.
25. Galapagos sunset
A blue-footed booby stands on a pile of rounded black lava rocks as it preen its feathers with Kicker Rock behind.
While cruising through the Galapagos, you’ll undoubtedly catch breathtaking sunsets each night of your trip! Image: By Murray Foubister. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Cropped and compressed from original.

Galapagos Animals

The Galapagos Islands are famous for its endemic wildlife that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. Having been virtually untouched by mankind, the animals of the Galapagos evolved without any fear of humans. Wildlife photographers are thus able to get up close to these intriguing creatures.

Birds

26. Blue-footed booby
A blue-footed booby stands on a pile of rounded black lava rocks as it turns its head to the right to preen its feathers. In the distance over the ocean, barely visible, is Kicker Rock.
A blue-footed booby nonchalantly preens its feathers with the immense Kicker Rock as a backdrop. Image: By VanZonneveld on Pixabay.
27. Blue-foot booby
A blue-footed booby stands on a black lava rock high above the ocean.
Male blue-footed boobies perform mating dances that purposefully show off their enticing blue feet! Image: By Pedro Szekely. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
28. Waved albatross
A waved albatross sits low among an expanse of rocks sparsely covered in green scrub plants.
The waved albatross, also known as the Galapagos albatross, is the only one of its genus to live in the tropics. When it forages, it flies straight for a specific spot on the coast of Peru over 600 miles (1,000 km) away. Image: By Mac Gaither on Unsplash.
29. Flightless cormorant
A flightless cormorant stands on a rock on the edge of the water and spreads its tiny wings.
This silly looking bird has evolved in a way that has left it flightless. However, this cormorant is a most impressive swimmer! Image: By Dan. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
30. Darwin’s finches
A cream and dark brownish gray finch with a short yellow beak sits on a thin tree branch with fern-like green leaves.
The Galapagos Islands are home to many different species of finches. In fact, each island’s unique geography has greatly influenced all these species’ physical evolution. Image: By kuhnmi. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
31. Flamingo
A bright pink Galapagos flamingo stands on one leg while a large flock of small birds fly behind it.
The flamingo’s beak is specially shaped to filter out mud and silt from the bottom of lagoons, leaving only the tasty brine shrimp. These shrimp, of course, give the birds their pink coloration. Image: By Pedro Szekely. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
32. Frigatebird
A male frigatebird inflates his red gular pouch that contrasts against his all black body.
Male frigatebirds inflate their red gular pouches to attract females during the mating season. Image: By Image-NatioN on Pixabay.
33. Galapagos penguin
A Galapagos penguin stands alert, with a tuxedo coloring and a white circle curving from eye to chin.
Galapagos penguins are the only penguin species found north of the equator—although just barely! Image: By Pedro Szekely. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
34. Red-footed booby
A red-footed booby sits on a thin branch among bright green foliage.
Red-footed boobies are found throughout the earth’s tropics. Although they always have red feet, their bodies come in various colors. In the Galapagos there are white-bodied and brown-bodied red-footed boobies. Image: By Florent Figon. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
Reptiles

35. Land iguana on. South Plaza Island
A bright yellow land iguana stands on a rocky gray and brown surface next to a reddish plant.
Land iguanas come in various colors throughout the islands, including earthy browns and bright yellows. There are even pink land iguanas living on Isabela’s Wolf Volcano! Image: By Oliver Dodd. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
36. Marine iguana
A green sea turtle swims underwater past algae covered rocks.
Marine iguanas, endemic to the Galapagos Islands, are the only lizards capable of foraging in the sea. Image: By Roi Dimor on Unsplash.
37. Green sea turtle
A close-up of the front half of a green sea turtle as it swims underwater to the left. It swims past algae covered rocks.
You can spot sea turtles in the warm, shallow water around the islands. Image: By Paul Krawczuk. Used under CC BY 2.0.
38. Galapagos giant tortoise
A Galapagos giant tortoise sits in a shallow pool of water with bits of grass around its mouth.
Perhaps the most famous creature from the Galapagos, the Galapagos giant tortoise! These tortoises can weigh over 900 lbs (400 kg)! Image: By Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay.
Crustaceans

39. Sally lightfoot crabs
Three sally lightfoot crabs perch on a rough lava rock with the sea below.
Thanks to their fine pointed legs, the sally lightfoot crab has an incredible grip of the Galapagos’ lava rocks allowing them to stay put when waves crash over them. Image: By Amy Perez on Unsplash.
40. A sally lightfoot crab stand-off
A sally lightfoot crab faces off against another sally lightfoot crab on a wet and shining rock.
Baby sally lightfoot crabs are almost black in color, helping them to camouflage against the lava rock environment. Adults, on the other hand, have incredibly vibrant colors! Image: By Rod Long on Unsplash.
Sharks

41. Galapagos shark
A Moorish idol swims over dull gray and green coral with a Galapagos reef shark swimming behind it.
The Galapagos reef shark can be found in abundance in clear reef environments. They can grow to be 10 ft (3 m) long! Image: By Lucy Rickards. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
42. Whitetip reef shark
A whitetip reef shark swims in front of a rocky underwater hill with sparse coral with a few other fish above.
Whitetip reef sharks are relatively small at about 5 ft (1.5 m). They are often found napping in caves during the day. Image: By Lucy Rickards. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
43. Hammerhead shark
A hammerhead shark swims in front of a school of small fish above a rocky ocean floor with reddish purple coral.
Hammerhead sharks are one of the few types of sharks known to swim in schools. A popular diving spot for hammerhead sharks is around the northern Darwin and Wolf Islands. Image: By Lucy Rickards. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.
44. Whale shark
A few long fish swim below a whale shark who cruises by the water’s break while a couple more swim by its pectoral fin.
They may be monstrous in size—on average 26 to 30 ft (8 to 9 m) in length—but whale sharks pose no threat to humans. They like to meander through tropical waters feeding on plankton and small fish. Image: By Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash.
Sea lions

45. A most distinguished sea lion
A Galapagos sea lion holds its head up high in front of a rocky beach at the edge of the ocean.
Galapagos sea lions are often spotted sunbathing on shores throughout the islands. Image: By fredfowler on Pixabay.
46. Lounging sea lions
Two sea lions napping on a wooden deck with a wooden lounge chair.
Sea lions make themselves at home anywhere on the Galapagos and take advantage of the humans’ lounge chairs. Image: By Natalie Marquis on Unsplash.
47. Beach bum sea lion
A sea lion naps curled up on a soft sandy beach leading to a turquoise sea where someone is swimming.
Sea lions are incredibly playful creatures, often seen swimming around in the surf. After a good play, they also like to take a good nap! Image: By Amy Perez on Unsplash.
48. Sleepy sea lion pup
A sea lion pup sleeps across a group of rough, black lava rocks with a lava rock cliff extending up behind it.
It’s very tiring being this cute! A sea lion pup takes advantage of the heated black lava rocks for naptime. Image: By Pedro Szekely. Used under CC BY-SA 2.0 / Compressed from original.
49. Sea lion and his blue-footed booby friend
A sleek sea lion props itself up on a light gray rock with a blue-footed booby perched on a rock above it.
On top of external ear flaps, another physiological difference between sea lions and seals is that sea lions can use their back flippers to help them walk. This makes them more agile on land. Image: By peterstuartmill on Pixabay.
50. Sea lion mama with her pup
A mother sea lion sleeps on a group of black rocks with her pup next to her.
Breeding season for Galapagos sea lions is from May to January with pups born a year later. However, because of the extensive care needed, you can see dependent (and adorable) pups all year round. Image: By Michael R Perry. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

These are just a handful of beautiful photographs that have been taken on the archipelago. However, to truly appreciate the Galapagos’ unique charm you need to see and experience the islands for yourself. This way you can collect your own beautiful Galapagos Islands pictures.

Contact our travel experts to help you plan the perfect Galapagos vacation!

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Written by Rachel
Family trips abroad gave Rachel an insatiable taste for foreign languages and cultures. She has spent the past few years living and exploring both touristy and off the beaten path destinations in Peru and Ecuador. Her favorite pastimes are hiking and eating local, veggie-friendly cuisine.