The Exotic Animals only Found in the Galápagos

Written By sophie

On August 28, 2020

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Which Animals are only found in the Galápagos?

The Galapagos Islands are on many bucket lists and is a must-see addition to your Ecuador tour. Of course, this is for good reason!

You don’t see islands like this anywhere else in the world. It is so remote that it has been able to develop in its natural way. Charles Darwin found the islands in the middle of the 19th century and it hasn’t changed since. Darwin wrote his most famous book “The origin of species” during his boat trip to the archipelago. The islands are said to have once been connected to mainland Ecuador, to which the Galápagos Islands officially belong. Now it is 1,000 kilometers off the coast! You can really only get there by plane.

When you land on the islands, you can already see the hundreds of marine iguanas sunbathing on the black lava rocks. When you drive from the airport to your hotel or to your ship, you will already see the first animals such as land iguanas and turtles on the side of the road or even on the road surface. And even if you’re not into birds, the gannets with their striking blue legs will still charm you.

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The oldest animal: the Giant Tortoise

Don’t miss it: a giant tortoise will always cross your path during your visit to this natural paradise. The animal is rightly called “giant”: they can weigh more than 250 kilos. The unwieldy animals can also live to be more than 150 years old. You have a chance to encounter both land turtles and sea turtles during your tour of the Galagpagos Islands. The oldest tortoise to have ever live was a proud resident of the Galápagos. An amazing animal only to be found on the Galápagos!


The impressive: Albatross

One animal that many travelers like to see during their visit to the Galapagos Islands is the waved albatross. It is the largest bird of this archipelago and the only one of its kind living in the tropics. As a tourist, you can walk through nesting areas without causing any disturbances. They simply don’t care that you’re there. You will see the albatross on the island of Espanola. Watching them soar in the air from the rocky cliffs is spectacular!

albatross galapagos islands ecuador animals

The odd animal out: Penguins?

Yes, believe it or not, you can find penguins in the Galápagos islands. Not to be seen on all islands, but if you go to Fernandina or Isabela, there is a good chance that you will see the Galapagos penguin. It is small, barely 50 centimeters and the black and white animal waddles clumsily over the irregularly shaped rocks. If you come across it underwater, it is a lot more elegant and it shoots slender and fast through the waves.

Penguins animal found on galapagos

You won’t miss them: sea lions

Which animal do you see the most during your trip over and around the Galápagos Islands? Those are without a doubt the playful sea lions. If you go swimming or snorkeling, they are happy to hang out with you for a bit. They live together in large groups. On beaches, on decking and piers and underwater: you will find them everywhere.

Sea lions found on galapagos

Scary: swimming with sharks!

Reef sharks are small and harmless. One of the best places to spot them in the Galápagos Islands is around Kicker Rock. Boats often moor here and you can go snorkeling. An exciting experience! The water is fairly cold and you swim into a narrow, shallow channel. The sharks swim close to the bottom. Usually there are more tourists, so turning around is not an option. You have to swim through the trench above the sharks. And they say that this species is harmless, but if you stub your toe on a piece of lava rock and blood comes out, you wonder if that shark feels the same way!

In addition to a reef shark, you can also encounter a hammerhead shark during a dive! Want to try it yourself? Check out our Galápagos cruises!

snorkeling with sharks galapagos islands ecuador

So many colors and sizes: Iguanas

In the Galapagos, iguanas live both on land and in the sea. Land iguanas range from yellow to pink and from red to black. Some are a few centimeters long, others grow into prehistoric-looking monsters over a meter. Seven different species live in the sea in the archipelago. For a layman, difficult to distinguish from iguanas, but there are also lizards. These often have brighter and more striking colors.

galapagos iguana ecuador

Most famous residents: The Blue Footed Boobie

Another famous species of the Galapagos is the blue-footed booby. It is a seabird and is recognizable by its blue feet. Chances are you will spot this iconic bird on Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Isabela, Genovesa and Floreana!

blue footed boobie galapagos animal

Animals on the Galapagos Islands

Now you know which animals can only be found on the Galápagos Islands! Now we all love reading, but experience is a lot better of course! Are you thinking about visiting the Galápagos Islands? And Ecuador too? 

Check our Journeys to Ecuador for the best tours and cruises to the Galápagos Islands!

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