Galapagos Islands.

Galápagos Islands

Compare East & West Galapagos Islands

What are the Differences, and Which Islands are Best to Visit?

We’ve designed our Galápagos itineraries to highlight the best islands of the archipelago, with in-depth explorations of the Eastern and Western islands. No matter which journey you choose, you’ll enjoy fascinating excursions on land, daily swimming and snorkeling, optional sea kayaking, and awe-inspiring wildlife encounters—sea lions, iguanas, boobies, frigatebirds, flamingos, finches, penguins, sharks, rays, majestic sea turtles, and of course, giant land tortoises!

A map of the Galapagos Islands.
A tourist alongside a giant tortoise.

Western Islands

The western islands, famed for their dramatic volcanic landscapes, giant uplifted coral beds, and spectacular beaches, are younger, larger, and completely off-limits to day-trippers. Thanks to the upwelling of cool nutrient-rich waters from the open ocean, these islands are home to a vast array of marine diversity, from iguanas, sea lions, and fur seals, to Sally Lightfoot crabs—watching for large pods of dolphins and whales is a true highlight of this trip. On land, we’ll meet giant tortoises in the wild, explore historic Post Office Bay and pirate hideaways on Floreana, and hike across Isabela’s stunning lava fields to a mangrove lagoon frequented by pink flamingos. On Fernandina, one of the most pristine places on the planet, expect sea turtles, countless marine iguanas, and a colony of endemic flightless cormorants.

A sea turtle underwater.

Eastern Islands

The eastern islands are more mature and protected from the open-ocean currents, creating a safe haven for a wide variety of birdlife as well as endemic flora. These islands tend to be smaller than their western counterparts, with lots of flora to create a lush habitat for birds, including waved albatross, great frigatebirds, and elegant swallow-tailed gulls. We visit Isla Genovesa, where one of the only colonies of red-footed boobies exist, walk on red-sand beaches on Rábida, and see the iconic Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé. The eastern islands’ warm waters attract colorful reef fish, tiny Galápagos penguins, and green sea turtles, and you’re likely to see young sea lions and fur seals sunbathing on white sandy beaches.

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Talk to an Expert

Our Galápagos Specialists know every detail about our Galápagos Islands trips. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you choose the journey that’s right for you. Contact us to learn more or book your trip today!