Off the coast of Ecuador lies the Galápagos Archipelago, a place that is uniquely located on both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. The islands are made from lava and were isolated for thousands of years.
There's no wrong time to visit the Galápagos Islands as it seems like Mother Nature made her own playground here. Each of Galápagos' islands are unique. Some of them are known for their active volcanoes, while others are best for tourists who enjoy idyllic beaches and remote wildlife reserves.
Everywhere you go, there’s a lot of wildlife to be seen and every turn is a wonderful adventure waiting. A quick google search will show you so many activities to do and so many wildlife animals to see but we seem to be coming down with a turtle and tortoise fever!
Aside from being the perfect spot for adventure seekers, there’s one other thing that makes the Galápagos Islands close to our hearts; the Galápagos tortoises. These giant creatures are native to seven of the Galápagos Islands and are one of the two giant tortoises that still survive today. We are so amazed at the existence of this marvelous giant creature that it has become the inspiration for one of our newest pieces.
The Galápagos Islands also have a lot of permanent guests; marine turtles. There are four different species of turtles that grace the waters of the Galápagos Islands namely the Green sea turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Olive ridley sea turtle, and the Leatherback sea turtle.
We came up with a short list of things to do when in the Galápagos Islands for your ultimate Galapagos Turtle and Tortoise Island Adventure!
The Galapagos green sea turtle lives in the subtropical and tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean. You can see how it is different from other green sea turtles by its serrated lower jaw and the single pair of scales covering its eyes.
You can swim with Galapagos sea turtles all over the Galapagos islands all year round but you can’t go wrong with Quinta Playa on Isabela Island. The best time to visit is December to March where the waters are calm and the turtles arrive for the nesting season.
Enjoy the white sand beaches of Tortuga bay in Santa Cruz Island's southern coastline. This is also an amazing spot if you want to spend some time with the Galápagos' marine turtles.
If you want to catch sight of these beautiful sea turtles laying their eggs, visit the island during their egg laying season in January and February. If you’d like to see hatchlings emerge and make their way to the sea then you should visit between April and May.
The best place to see Galapagos Tortoises is in the giant tortoise filled privately-owned animal sanctuary called Rancho Primicias in Santa Cruz.
It is estimated that 20,000–25,000 wild tortoises live on the islands today with at least four of their species now considered extinct. Unfortunately, we humans have wiped out the majority of these giant tortoises worldwide by overexploitation of their meat and oil, clearing their habitat for agriculture and modernization, pollution, and others.
You can see Galapagos tortoises in the islands all year round but the best time to visit the giant tortoises in Santa Cruz is June because this is the start of the nesting season. They migrate from the highlands to the lowlands in search of suitable nesting places which means you can make the most out of your visit.
What are your favorite turtle related activities? Let us know through our exclusive Facebook group!
© Madison Ashley USA (2021)