Galapagos Island Tours

On Galapagos Island Tours you will see amazing animals such as the Giant Galapagos Tortoises, Blue Footed Boobies, Frigate Birds, Finches and more.

The people are kind and gentle and make you feel right at home.

A friend Ron and I stayed at the Hotel Galapagos on Santa Cruz Island (Puerto Ayora) in the Galapagos. We planned many of our Galapagos Island Tours on the islands from there.

Hotel Galapagos is a first class establishment run by top professionals.

Note: To learn about inexpensive vacation ideas for the Galapagos Islands see: Galapagos Trips.

Galapagos Islands Tortoise

Galapagos Islands Tortoise -Galapagos Island Tours

To provide a flavor for what the tours are like on Galapagos Islands vacations here is a trip a friend Ron and I took to see the Giant Galapagos Tortoises.

We asked Jack Nelson (the owner of the Hotel) to rent us a taxi and tour guide to take us to the high country on Santa Cruz Island where many of the Galapagos tortoises live.

Our adventure started early the next morning around seven AM.

Russ, another adventurous soul who has a fascination with tortoises (and owns several small ones) joined us on our trek.

Our Adventure - Galapagos Island Tours
The trip into the high country through muddy bumpy back roads of Santa Cruz Island took a bit less than an hour.

We arrived at a fenced area where we embarked on foot through wooded area with many small streams and steep slippery muddy embankments to cross.

Our shoes soon weighed two to three pounds more from all of the caked on mud.

Within twenty-five minutes we crossed into a swampy area that was green and plush. It bared little resemblance to much of the rest of the rocky terrain of the Galapagos Islands.

Galapagos Wilderness

The Green and Plush Swampy Area we Encountered


Climbing over a high brush pile we disturbed a nest of a hundred or so black wasps. Within a few seconds we were all getting stung. We rapidly departed!

Adventure doesn’t need to be painful—but sometimes it is!

After another ten minutes or so we came upon the first Giant Galapagos Tortoises wallowing in the mud. It had a three-foot diameter shell with skin and face that was course, aged and looked prehistoric.

As we moved closer its protective instincts kicked in and its head and legs retracted as far as they could into the protection of its shell.

Tortoises are able to hide in their shells by releasing air through its nostrils—which makes a loud hissing sound as air escapes.

Galapagos Tortoise in Wild

Galapagos Island Tortoise Retracted into Shell


As we traveled further into the thick brush we saw several more tortoises in their natural habitat. Some eating, others were resting, and some wallowing in the mud paths that had been made for traveling back and forth from the low to high country by hundreds of other tortoises.

Galapagos Islands Tortoises

Galapagos Islands Tortoises on a Mud Path

Although the Galapagos Giant Tortoise is a docile and slow moving creature, it is large and majestic. These creatures are incredible to see in their natural surroundings.

The Galapagos Giant Tortoise is native (endemic) to the Galapagos Islands. They have a long life with a life expectancy estimated at 100-150 years! Adult Tortoises can weigh over 650 lbs and can be up to four feet long.

The Darwin Center - Galapagos Island Tours
We also invested time on our vacation time at the Charles Darwin Research Station with the Giant Galapagos Island Tortoise. It is located within a few hundred yards of the Galapagos Hotel which made it convenient to visit.

Galapagos Tortoise Eating

Galapagos Tortoise at Darwin Center Eating


The research center is operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation. It is a biological research station whose mission is the conservation of the Galapagos terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

It has done significant work to conserve the Giant Galapagos Giant Tortoise. We learned a great deal about these amazing animals and many of the other animals both endemic and introduced.

Galapagos Tortoises

Galapagos Tortoises at the Darwin Center


Ecuadorian and foreign scientists work constantly on conservation projects. For more information see: The Darwin Foundation There are many other Galapagos Island Tours available on a Galapagos Vacation.

For example, we also took one tour to see frigate birds and nesting Boobie birds. On another tour we visited a lava cave. Everyday is an adventure in the Galapagos whether you spend it above the water or going Galapagos Diving.

Return from Galapagos Island Tours to Galapagos Trips

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