The perfect balance between Galapagos
exploration and modern comfort

The perfect balance between Galapagos
exploration and modern comfort

Galapagos Activities

Each and every activity offered as part of Yacht Isabela II’s Galapagos itineraries easily lend themselves to the unique interests of our guests. An excellent variety of Galapagos National Park-approved activities are offered every day, these of which can range from: hiking, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, panga rides, to glass-bottom excursions. All these Galapagos activities can be experienced at no extra charge!

Galapagos Activities for the Whole Family

  • Activities

    Activities are a great way of exploring and experiencing the Galapagos Islands. There are a number of family-friendly activities approved by the Galapagos National Park. Yacht Isabela II offers nearly all of them. These include snorkeling, kayaking, paddleboarding, hiking, panga and glass-bottom boat rides.

  • Snorkeling

    Find yourself surrounded by colorful fish, playful sea lions, mysterious sharks, curious marine iguanas, gentle sea turtles, and much, much more! Explore breathtaking underwater scenes that will give you a deeper insight into why the Galapagos Islands and Marine Reserve were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Kayaking

    Greet some of the Galapagos Islands’ iconic animals while you navigate its coastal waters by kayak! Paddle along with breathtaking scenery and marvel at the marine life swimming all around you. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to embark on this adventure on your journey in the Galapagos!

  • Paddleboarding

    Make your way along the surface of beautiful turquoise waters on a paddleboard! Via this peaceful activity, you’ll get a front-row spot from which to witness this curious and natural spectacle. Galapagos’ waters are teeming with fascinating and fearless species! So, test your balance and get ready to explore!

  • Glass-bottom boat

    If you want to relax yet still enjoy the richness of the ocean, just lean forward and enjoy the experience of our glass-bottom boat! Say hello to the amazing marine species that greet you from below the surface, while you unwind and enjoy this charming, canopied ride.

  • Island Exploration

    Your journey continues on land as you embark on guided hikes across otherworldly terrain. Along with these mesmerizing adventures, you’ll get to observe wildlife like nowhere else in the world! The Galapagos’ species are not intimidated by the presence of man; therefore, you can observe them from an incredibly short distance!

  • Coastal Exploration

    Hop aboard on one of our pangas (dinghies) and explore the gorgeous coastlines of the Galapagos Islands! Bask in the refreshing sea breeze and let the rays of sun caresses your skin while you enjoy the archipelago’s wonderful views.

Galapagos Wildlife

If you’re looking for highly unique wildlife, the Galapagos Islands is a one-of-a-kind destination. It’s no small wonder they’re often referred to as a living laboratory of evolution! Here, visitors travel back in time as they experience life the way it was before humankind, granting them the ability to walk alongside fearless giant tortoises, ever-curious sea lion pups, and sublime volcanic landscapes. It might feel like a daunting task to know where to start when it comes to experiencing the wildlife, but don’t let it be. With the help of our seasoned guides and Expedition Leaders, we managed to narrow down the most iconic, must-see species that are found in the Galapagos Islands.

The best part? The Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise guarantees that you will see a considerable portion of these iconic species on any one of its three different itineraries. We call them the BIG15 Group of Iconic Species in the Galapagos.

Must-see Galapagos Iconic Species

Galapagos Albatross

The Galapagos (or waved) albatross is the largest bird species in the archipelago with a wingspan of 8.2 ft (2.5 m). These migratory birds are primarily seen nesting and breeding on Española Island (in the southeastern region of the archipelago) between March and December.

Galapagos Albatross

The Galapagos (or waved) albatross is the largest bird species in the archipelago with a wingspan of 8.2 ft (2.5 m). These migratory birds are primarily seen nesting and breeding on Española Island (in the southeastern region of the archipelago) between March and December.

Blue-footed Booby

Measuring up to 36 in (89 cm) in length, the blue-footed booby is one of three subspecies of boobies that inhabit the Galapagos Islands. Their light blue beaks and turquoise feet (a result of their diet) fascinate many visitors. They are terrific divers and can often be seen plunging after fish throughout the archipelago.

Blue-footed Booby

Measuring up to 36 in (89 cm) in length, the blue-footed booby is one of three subspecies of boobies that inhabit the Galapagos Islands. Their light blue beaks and turquoise feet (a result of their diet) fascinate many visitors. They are terrific divers and can often be seen plunging after fish throughout the archipelago.

Nazca Booby

The Nazca booby is perhaps the most competitive of iconic Galapagos species. This bird distinguishes itself from the masked booby thanks to its black feet and flatter, more¬-orange-than-yellow beak. They can be seen nesting along the shores of Genovesa, Española, and Floreana Islands, up to 325 ft (100 m) inland.

Nazca Booby

The Nazca booby is perhaps the most competitive of iconic Galapagos species. This bird distinguishes itself from the masked booby thanks to its black feet and flatter, more¬-orange-than-yellow beak. They can be seen nesting along the shores of Genovesa, Española, and Floreana Islands, up to 325 ft (100 m) inland.

Red-footed Booby

The red-footed booby tends to nest in the branches of low level trees and bushes. They are primarily seen on Genovesa Island and at Punta Pitt, along the eastern tip of San Cristobal. These white- and brown- feathered creatures can reach up to 30 in (77 cm) in length. Females lay only one egg and, if it is lost, they may lay another within 10 to 40 days.

Red-footed Booby

The red-footed booby tends to nest in the branches of low level trees and bushes. They are primarily seen on Genovesa Island and at Punta Pitt, along the eastern tip of San Cristobal. These white- and brown- feathered creatures can reach up to 30 in (77 cm) in length. Females lay only one egg and, if it is lost, they may lay another within 10 to 40 days.

Flightless Cormorant

The flightless cormorant is the rarest, largest, and most unique type of cormorant. Like the penguin, this species has lost its ability to fly. Nonetheless, its larger body provides more lung capacity, thus making it a very agile diver. This is ideal for feeding on octopus, eels, and small fish generally found along the ocean floor. Males typically rear offspring on their own.

Flightless Cormorant

The flightless cormorant is the rarest, largest, and most unique type of cormorant. Like the penguin, this species has lost its ability to fly. Nonetheless, its larger body provides more lung capacity, thus making it a very agile diver. This is ideal for feeding on octopus, eels, and small fish generally found along the ocean floor. Males typically rear offspring on their own.

American Flamingo

The American flamingo’s signature pink plumage is a result of their diet, which is rich in carotenoids. With their small, mandibular lamellae plates, they are able to filter large amounts of miniscule food in decent quantities. Adults participate in a rather curious mating ritual; they cock their necks upwards and flash the deep pink and black tips of their wings in a show of elegance, hoping to attract their mate.

American Flamingo

The American flamingo’s signature pink plumage is a result of their diet, which is rich in carotenoids. With their small, mandibular lamellae plates, they are able to filter large amounts of miniscule food in decent quantities. Adults participate in a rather curious mating ritual; they cock their necks upwards and flash the deep pink and black tips of their wings in a show of elegance, hoping to attract their mate.

Frigatebirds: Great and Magnificent

Great and magnificent frigatebirds coexist closely in the Galapagos. Magnificent frigates are the largest species of frigatebird and do much of their foraging for fish out at sea, further away from the coastline. Great frigates, on the other hand, stick close to the coastline. Magnificent frigate males inflate their guller sacks to a larger degree than their great counterparts. In comparison with their great frigate counterparts magnificent females present with a similar white plumage, in the shape of an “M”.

Frigatebirds: Great and Magnificent

Great and magnificent frigatebirds coexist closely in the Galapagos. Magnificent frigates are the largest species of frigatebird and do much of their foraging for fish out at sea, further away from the coastline. Great frigates, on the other hand, stick close to the coastline. Magnificent frigate males inflate their guller sacks to a larger degree than their great counterparts. In comparison with their great frigate counterparts magnificent females present with a similar white plumage, in the shape of an “M”.

Galapagos Hawk

The Galapagos Hawk is one of the youngest species in the Galapagos, having only arrived in the archipelago about 300,000 years ago. There are approximately 150 breeding pairs in the region, and though they are small in number, they are rather large in stature, with a wingspan ranging from 46 to 55 in (116 to 140 cm), depending on the island. They sit atop the food chain as the only native apex predator of the islands.

Galapagos Hawk

The Galapagos Hawk is one of the youngest species in the Galapagos, having only arrived in the archipelago about 300,000 years ago. There are approximately 150 breeding pairs in the region, and though they are small in number, they are rather large in stature, with a wingspan ranging from 46 to 55 in (116 to 140 cm), depending on the island. They sit atop the food chain as the only native apex predator of the islands.

Land Iguana

The land iguana is the most widely distributed of all iguanas in the Galapagos. They have a life expectancy of around 50 to 60 years and can weigh as much as 30 lbs (13 kg). For many years, their population was endangered by invasive mammals, such as rats, feral dogs, and feral cats. The Galapagos National Park’s efforts to eradicate introduced species have resulted in the recovery of the land iguana, which has been reintroduced to certain islands like Baltra, from where they had all but disappeared.

Land Iguana

The land iguana is the most widely distributed of all iguanas in the Galapagos. They have a life expectancy of around 50 to 60 years and can weigh as much as 30 lbs (13 kg). For many years, their population was endangered by invasive mammals, such as rats, feral dogs, and feral cats. The Galapagos National Park’s efforts to eradicate introduced species have resulted in the recovery of the land iguana, which has been reintroduced to certain islands like Baltra, from where they had all but disappeared.

Marine Iguana

The marine iguana is perhaps the most straightforward example of evolutionary biology in the Galapagos. These creatures started out as land iguanas and adapted to their marine habitats with time. The average lifespan of a marine iguana is around 40 years. Though these iguanas are found throughout the archipelago, they vary in size and color from island to island.

Marine Iguana

The marine iguana is perhaps the most straightforward example of evolutionary biology in the Galapagos. These creatures started out as land iguanas and adapted to their marine habitats with time. The average lifespan of a marine iguana is around 40 years. Though these iguanas are found throughout the archipelago, they vary in size and color from island to island.

Santa Fe Iguana

The Santa Fe land iguana is a distinct golden yellow and brown color. This species of iguana features a smaller dorsal spine and exists only on its namesake island. They mostly feed on the prickly pear cactus. This species can weigh upwards of 26 lbs (11 kg). Females lay 3 to 11 eggs, which take about 50 days to hatch.

Santa Fe Iguana

The Santa Fe land iguana is a distinct golden yellow and brown color. This species of iguana features a smaller dorsal spine and exists only on its namesake island. They mostly feed on the prickly pear cactus. This species can weigh upwards of 26 lbs (11 kg). Females lay 3 to 11 eggs, which take about 50 days to hatch.

Galapagos Penguin

The Galapagos penguin is only penguin to be found in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the second smallest of its kind, weighing only about 4.4 lbs (2 kg). Females can lay eggs up to three times a year, and, when food is abundant, they can rear up to two chicks. The Galapagos penguin has no sweat gland. So, when it is rather hot, they are obligated to seek shade or spend more time in the water. Their population has been cut in half since the early 1970s due in part to the region experiencing several intense occurrences of El Niño in the 1980s and 1990s.

Galapagos Penguin

The Galapagos penguin is only penguin to be found in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the second smallest of its kind, weighing only about 4.4 lbs (2 kg). Females can lay eggs up to three times a year, and, when food is abundant, they can rear up to two chicks. The Galapagos penguin has no sweat gland. So, when it is rather hot, they are obligated to seek shade or spend more time in the water. Their population has been cut in half since the early 1970s due in part to the region experiencing several intense occurrences of El Niño in the 1980s and 1990s.

Galapagos Sea Lion

The Galapagos sea lion can be readily seen throughout the archipelago. Their breeding season generally stretches from July to April. Males can weigh upwards of 440 lbs (200 kg), while females average around 165 lbs (75 kg). Males also tend to be territorial, actively defending their harems during long stretches of time. Mother sea lions tend to rear their young for anywhere from one to three years, varying from island to island. Galapagos sea lions are excellent divers, occasionally descending to depths of up to 1,900 ft (580 m).

Galapagos Sea Lion

The Galapagos sea lion can be readily seen throughout the archipelago. Their breeding season generally stretches from July to April. Males can weigh upwards of 440 lbs (200 kg), while females average around 165 lbs (75 kg). Males also tend to be territorial, actively defending their harems during long stretches of time. Mother sea lions tend to rear their young for anywhere from one to three years, varying from island to island. Galapagos sea lions are excellent divers, occasionally descending to depths of up to 1,900 ft (580 m).

Galapagos Fur Seal

The Galapagos fur seal is the smallest of all seals. Their population is estimated to be about 15,000 individuals. Males tend to weigh around 176 lbs (80 kg), while females hover around 66 lbs (30 kg). During breeding season, from September to December, males defend their territories for about two weeks to a month at a time, living off their fat reserves. Pups generally remain with their mothers for two to three years. Galapagos fur seals tend to hunt for food (squid and fish) at depths of around 200 to 330 ft (60 to 100 m).

Galapagos Fur Seal

The Galapagos fur seal is the smallest of all seals. Their population is estimated to be about 15,000 individuals. Males tend to weigh around 176 lbs (80 kg), while females hover around 66 lbs (30 kg). During breeding season, from September to December, males defend their territories for about two weeks to a month at a time, living off their fat reserves. Pups generally remain with their mothers for two to three years. Galapagos fur seals tend to hunt for food (squid and fish) at depths of around 200 to 330 ft (60 to 100 m).

Galapagos Giant Tortoise

Galapagos giant tortoises are believed to have numbered as many as 200,000 before whalers and hunters decimated their existence and eradicated a handful of subspecies. These gentle plant-eaters inhabit 12 of the islands in the archipelago. There are a handful of breeding centers on Isabela, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz Islands that have worked hard to help the Galapagos giant tortoise population recover. Today they number around 20,000. The distinctive shells of these amazing creatures vary from island to island.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise

Galapagos giant tortoises are believed to have numbered as many as 200,000 before whalers and hunters decimated their existence and eradicated a handful of subspecies. These gentle plant-eaters inhabit 12 of the islands in the archipelago. There are a handful of breeding centers on Isabela, San Cristóbal, and Santa Cruz Islands that have worked hard to help the Galapagos giant tortoise population recover. Today they number around 20,000. The distinctive shells of these amazing creatures vary from island to island.