With the growing popularity of bucket-lists, now there are several wildlife checklists for Galapagos travel.

It can give the impression a trip is valued by the amount of items you can tick off on a checklist. Although it is a good way of keeping score of highlights observed, it should not interfere with your ability to be surprised by the unexpected and less publicized aspects of your trip.

With the purpose to help visitors fill their checklists, we are listing a quick guide to pairing animal sightings with Galapagos cruise itineraries. Please note that these may vary from one boat to another.

Northern Islands route: Santa Cruz Island, North Seymour, Bartholome, Genovesa.

Red Footed Boobies

Average trip length: 4 or 5 days

Unique species not easily spotted in other areas of the archipelago: Red footed boobies (Genovesa/San Cristobal-Punta Pitt), Masked/Nazca boobies (Genovesa Island) Golden eagle rays (black turtle cove), Penguins (Bartholome Island)

Southern Islands route: Santa Cruz, Santa Fe, San Cristobal, Española, Floreana

Waved Albatross

Averagetrip length: 4,5 or 6 days

Unique species not easily spotted in other areas of the archipelago: Waved Albatross (only nests on Española Island), Red Footed Boobies (only found at Punta Pitt, San Cristobal Island), Santa Fe land iguana (Santa Fe Island), Masked/Nazca boobies (Española Island)

 

Central Islands route: Santiago, Rabida, Chinese Hat, Santa Cruz, Bartholome

Galapagos fur seal

Average trip length: 4 or 5 days

Unique species not easily spotted in other areas of the archipelago: Penguins (Bartholome Island),  Galapagos fur seal (Santiago Island)

Western Islands route: Isabela, Fernandina, Santiago

Flightless Cormorant

Average trip length: 5, 6 or 8 days

Unique species not easily spotted in other areas of the archipelago: Flightless Cormorants (Fernandina, Isabela), Penguins (Fernaninda, Isabela)

Animal life found throughout the entire archipelago

Common species easily spotted throughout the entire archipelago: Giant tortoises (Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Floreana and Isabela), Marine iguanas, Sea lions, Blue footed boobies, Frigate birds (Great and Magnificent), Finch’s (species vary from Island to Island),  Flamingos, Galapagos hawk, Land iguanas, Oystercatchers, Tropic birds, Seagulls, Lava lizards, Sea turtles, White tipped reef sharks, Manta rays, Eagle rays, a grand variety of tropical fish, among other animals.

The above is just a very simple guide to cruise routes in the archipelago and is based on the itineraries of the majority of catamarans and yachts that navigate the Islands. At the end of the day, any cruise route in the Galapagos Islands will be packed with wildlife encounters, amazing landscapes and endless possibilities for exploration.

For help with preparing a travel program with specific animal sightings you should contact your tour operator or prefered travel agent.

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