Disclosure: We earn a commission on qualifying purchases made through backlinks at no extra cost to you. We are also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Please read our privacy policy for how we use your data and GDPR.

Last updated on December 20th, 2021

The enchanted islands are a bucket-list destination. But for many individuals, the Galapagos is a mystery. In fact, many people don’t even know where the Galapagos is located. Furthermore, I feel everyone should visit the Galapagos. In this post of frequently asked questions, I’ll provide some useful Galapagos facts.

Galapagos Islands Facts

What does Galapagos mean?

Galapago means tortoise in Spanish. But many believe the islands were named after the shape of a tortoise shell which resembles and also translates to horse saddle in Spanish. No, you are not allowed to ride the giant tortoises.

Where are the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos Islands are located about 1000 kilometers west of mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The islands span both sides of the equator. The Galapagos is officially a part of Ecuador in South America.

Why are the Galapagos Islands famous?

Charles Darwin derived some of his evolution theory and natural selection due to his time spent on the Galapagos Islands. The islands are also famous for their endemic wildlife such as giant tortoises and marine iguanas. They also have some of the best scuba diving sites in the world to see hammerheads and whale sharks.

What is the Galapagos Park fee?

The Galapagos park fee is $100 for adults and $50 for children which are only payable by cash at the airport in Baltra or San Cristobal. There is also a $20 transit control card that you must purchase at the Quito or Guayaquil airport prior to flying to the Galapagos.

Why are the Galapagos Islands so expensive?

In addition to airfare, the $20 transit control card fee, and the $100 park fee, the Galapagos Islands are 95% national park and the majority of the tourist sites require a permit to enter. These permits are limited and obtained through tour operators. Many islands and sites require a cruise or day tour by boat to gain access. Cruises easily cost in excess of $2000 and day tours typically cost $100 to $200. The price of transporting goods to the Galapagos increases the cost of living. Ecuador and the Galapagos use the US dollar as the national currency which doesn’t correctly represent the true value of the Ecuadorian economy.

Where do Galapagos cruises leave from?

Over 90% of Galapagos cruises leave from Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz. Some cruises may leave from or have pickup locations on San Cristobal, Floreana, or Isabela.

Can you visit the Galapagos Islands without a cruise?

A cruise is not required to see some of the highlights of the Galapagos. Some parts of the islands are accessible by foot, bicycle, or taxi. Day tours are also offered to see parts of the islands by speed boat or catamaran. It’s very possible to visit the Galapagos on the cheap.

However, cruises offer more access to more visitor sites in the Galapagos because some locations require more than a day’s travel. Here’s a list of the best Galapagos cruises.

Where to stay in the Galapagos Islands?

The Galapagos has four inhabitable islands: Floreana, Isabela, Santa Cruz, and San Cristobal. Each of these islands offers accommodation to tourists.