An excellent balance of modern comfort
and Galapagos exploration

An excellent balance of modern comfort
and Galapagos exploration

Galapagos Activities

Each of the Galapagos National Park-approved activities is available on every one of our itineraries. Guests can choose between hiking, biking, kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkeling, panga rides, and even glass-bottom boat excursions – at no extra charge!

Because we have multiple certified guides aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise, guests have the opportunity to choose from a variety of activities offered at each site. This is because the Galapagos National Park rules require guests to be accompanied by a naturalist guide at all times when exploring the Park. So, having more guides means having more activity options.

Activities for your Galapagos Family Vacation

  • Activities

    The Santa Cruz II Galapagos Cruise offers a fantastic array of fun and exciting activities for a unique experience in the archipelago. These are all very safe and family-friendly activities that have been approved by the Galapagos National Park and include: kayaking, snorkeling, paddleboarding, hiking, and panga and glass-bottom boat rides.

  • Snorkeling

    Dip into the breathtaking waters of the Galapagos Islands and gain even deeper insight into why this fantastic destination, including the Galapagos Marine Reserve, enjoys the designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Snorkeling in the Galapagos is an unforgettable experience with all the vivid fish, curious sea lions, mesmerizing sharks, placid sea turtles, fascinating marine iguanas, gliding rays, and more that surround you!

  • Kayaking

    Paddle across the beautiful Galapagos waters in a kayak and admire everything that lies above and below the surface of the water! Gorgeous scenery and curious creatures – from playful sea lions all the way to soaring frigatebirds – await, making this a favorite activity for many.

  • Paddleboarding

    Paddleboarding in the Galapagos allows our guests to enjoy the mesmerizing, turquoise waters of the Galapagos from an even more unique vantage point. With this enjoyable and soothing activity, you’ll get to look directly into the ocean from a standing position and admire all of the life that circles around you, above and below.

  • Glass-bottom boat

    Curious about the underwater life but on the fence about getting wet? Our glass-bottom boat is available to all guests that wish to resolve that conundrum! All you need to do is take a seat, lean a little bit forward, and watch as all of the underwater creatures swim right underneath your feet. It’s like gazing into an open aquarium!

  • Island Exploration

    Prepare to become an astronaut (sans space suit) and venture across otherworldly terrain in the Galapagos. Throughout our hiking excursions on the islands, you’ll get to encounter the Galapagos’ iconic species that don’t exist anywhere else in the world! And the best part? They’re completely fearless, meaning you can admire them from just six feet away!

  • Coastal Exploration

    Get ready to ride along the coastlines of the Galapagos aboard our pangas (dinghies)! These small yet convenient vessels allow our guests to get that much closer to parts of the islands that are home to unique topography and wildlife.

Galapagos Wildlife

If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind wildlife, the Galapagos Islands is a unique travel 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 fret! 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 selection of these iconic species on any one of three exciting itineraries. We call this list the BIG15 Group of Iconic Species in the Galapagos.

Galapagos Iconic Species

Galapagos Albatross

The Galapagos Albatross – a seabird endemic to Ecuador – can be observed migrating back to the archipelago each year. Their impressive wingspan measures approximately 13 feet (4 meters) and their famous courtship dance are a sight to behold. Watch as they engage on an elaborate dance that includes sword fighting with their beaks. You will find them on Española Island.

Galapagos Albatross

The Galapagos Albatross – a seabird endemic to Ecuador – can be observed migrating back to the archipelago each year. Their impressive wingspan measures approximately 13 feet (4 meters) and their famous courtship dance are a sight to behold. Watch as they engage on an elaborate dance that includes sword fighting with their beaks. You will find them on Española Island.

Blue-footed Booby

Even though they move clumsily on land and are famous for their odd and charming courtship dance, these seabirds are unmeasurably agile flyers and divers when it comes to catching their prey. They can be seen throughout the Galapagos archipelago on each of our itineraries and are a favorite of many visitors because of the beautiful turquoise hue of their feet.

Blue-footed Booby

Even though they move clumsily on land and are famous for their odd and charming courtship dance, these seabirds are unmeasurably agile flyers and divers when it comes to catching their prey. They can be seen throughout the Galapagos archipelago on each of our itineraries and are a favorite of many visitors because of the beautiful turquoise hue of their feet.

Nazca Booby

The biggest one of the booby species, the Nazca booby, is easily recognized for its white plumage and black mask. They can be found nesting on the islands of Genovesa and Española, were they demonstrate their competitive spirit from a very early age. The strongest hatchling will push its weaker sibling out of the nest where it will be no longer be protected and fed by its parents.

Nazca Booby

The biggest one of the booby species, the Nazca booby, is easily recognized for its white plumage and black mask. They can be found nesting on the islands of Genovesa and Española, were they demonstrate their competitive spirit from a very early age. The strongest hatchling will push its weaker sibling out of the nest where it will be no longer be protected and fed by its parents.

Red-footed Booby

This seabird is the smallest one in the booby family. Their special abilities on air and sea make them keen hunters and divers. Red-footed boobies nest atop branches of small bushes that grow by the coastlines of Genovesa Island, Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island, and North Seymour. It’s the booby species with the most sizeable population but not the easiest to spot.

Red-footed Booby

This seabird is the smallest one in the booby family. Their special abilities on air and sea make them keen hunters and divers. Red-footed boobies nest atop branches of small bushes that grow by the coastlines of Genovesa Island, Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island, and North Seymour. It’s the booby species with the most sizeable population but not the easiest to spot.

Flightless Cormorant

Found only on Fernandina Island and the western coast of Isabela Island, this species is a clear example of evolution. The only seabird in the world that has lost its ability to fly – except for penguins – in order to adapt to the requirements of life at sea. Its solid bones and plumage that feels more like fur than feathers, allow it to spend more time in the water looking for food.

Flightless Cormorant

Found only on Fernandina Island and the western coast of Isabela Island, this species is a clear example of evolution. The only seabird in the world that has lost its ability to fly – except for penguins – in order to adapt to the requirements of life at sea. Its solid bones and plumage that feels more like fur than feathers, allow it to spend more time in the water looking for food.

American Flamingo

Also known as the Galapagos flamingo, this impressive bird nests and forages on saline lagoons located on the islands of Isabela, Floreana, and Santiago. They owe their beautiful pink hue to their diet, which consists mainly of shrimp, a crustacean containing carotenoids – a red pigment. They are found in small numbers and its population on the islands is considered highly vulnerable.

American Flamingo

Also known as the Galapagos flamingo, this impressive bird nests and forages on saline lagoons located on the islands of Isabela, Floreana, and Santiago. They owe their beautiful pink hue to their diet, which consists mainly of shrimp, a crustacean containing carotenoids – a red pigment. They are found in small numbers and its population on the islands is considered highly vulnerable.

Frigatebirds: Great and Magnificent

In no other place on Earth but the Galapagos Islands do both great and magnificent frigatebirds coexist. They are easily recognized for their black plumage (with subtle differences between species and genders) and their impressive crimson gular sac. Both species look for fish in the sea while flying, but they are also known to steal food from other seabirds.

Frigatebirds: Great and Magnificent

In no other place on Earth but the Galapagos Islands do both great and magnificent frigatebirds coexist. They are easily recognized for their black plumage (with subtle differences between species and genders) and their impressive crimson gular sac. Both species look for fish in the sea while flying, but they are also known to steal food from other seabirds.

Galapagos Hawk

Don’t be mistaken by its size, the Galapagos hawk is the only predator in the Islands and the top animal of the food chain in the Enchanted Isles. This endemic bird is present in most of the Islands in the Galapagos and are generally unafraid of humans. They prey on young land and marine iguanas, hatchlings of tortoises, sea turtles as well as insects like locusts and centipedes.

Galapagos Hawk

Don’t be mistaken by its size, the Galapagos hawk is the only predator in the Islands and the top animal of the food chain in the Enchanted Isles. This endemic bird is present in most of the Islands in the Galapagos and are generally unafraid of humans. They prey on young land and marine iguanas, hatchlings of tortoises, sea turtles as well as insects like locusts and centipedes.

Land Iguana

These are the most distributed of the three species of iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. Land iguanas have an important role as the endemic resident herbivores of the Archipelago. Their nesting periods differ from island to island. Rare hybrids of land and marine iguanas have been spotted in South Plaza Island and both species can be seen there, side by side.

Land Iguana

These are the most distributed of the three species of iguanas in the Galapagos Islands. Land iguanas have an important role as the endemic resident herbivores of the Archipelago. Their nesting periods differ from island to island. Rare hybrids of land and marine iguanas have been spotted in South Plaza Island and both species can be seen there, side by side.

Marine Iguana

One of the most amazing of the endemic Galapagos species! Marine iguanas were referred as “imps of darkness” by Charles Darwin but their marine adaptations show a unique case of evolutionary biology. Marine iguanas can be found only in the Galapagos Islands. There are three species of marine iguanas and can be seen in Fernandina, Northern Isabela, Floreana and Española Island.

Marine Iguana

One of the most amazing of the endemic Galapagos species! Marine iguanas were referred as “imps of darkness” by Charles Darwin but their marine adaptations show a unique case of evolutionary biology. Marine iguanas can be found only in the Galapagos Islands. There are three species of marine iguanas and can be seen in Fernandina, Northern Isabela, Floreana and Española Island.

Santa Fe Iguana

As its name says, this iguana is only found in Santa Fe Island, a small island only 9.3 square miles (24 square kilometers) located off the eastern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Santa Fe iguanas have perfectly adapted to blend in with the colors of their surroundings, which may make it more difficult to observe than other types of land iguanas. Their plant base diet is mostly made of the island’s prickly-pear cactus.

Santa Fe Iguana

As its name says, this iguana is only found in Santa Fe Island, a small island only 9.3 square miles (24 square kilometers) located off the eastern coast of Santa Cruz Island. Santa Fe iguanas have perfectly adapted to blend in with the colors of their surroundings, which may make it more difficult to observe than other types of land iguanas. Their plant base diet is mostly made of the island’s prickly-pear cactus.

Galapagos Penguin

The only penguins that live along the equator are Galapagos penguins. They're also the second smallest species of penguins in the world. Though they have no set breeding season, they can only lay eggs up to three times in a year and when food is abundant, they can raise two chicks in three months. Galapagos penguins have adapted to survive in the nutrient-rich waters of the Galapagos archipelago.

Galapagos Penguin

The only penguins that live along the equator are Galapagos penguins. They're also the second smallest species of penguins in the world. Though they have no set breeding season, they can only lay eggs up to three times in a year and when food is abundant, they can raise two chicks in three months. Galapagos penguins have adapted to survive in the nutrient-rich waters of the Galapagos archipelago.

Galapagos Sea Lion

This is the smallest of the sea lion species. The Galapagos sea lion is exposed to warmer temperatures and less food than other species found in colder-climates. These animals can be found all around the Galapagos Islands and they are also endemic to the archipelago. Visitors are likely to see sea lion pups at any time of the year thanks to its sporadic breeding season.

Galapagos Sea Lion

This is the smallest of the sea lion species. The Galapagos sea lion is exposed to warmer temperatures and less food than other species found in colder-climates. These animals can be found all around the Galapagos Islands and they are also endemic to the archipelago. Visitors are likely to see sea lion pups at any time of the year thanks to its sporadic breeding season.

Galapagos Fur Seal

The Galapagos fur seal is often found on Fernandina and the western side of Isabela, though solitary males can be seen around the archipelago. Galapagos fur seals are the smallest of the seals, but excellent predators. They hunt at night as most fish and squid tend to rise from the depths. From September to December males defend their territories for weeks or even a month, living off their fat reserves.

Galapagos Fur Seal

The Galapagos fur seal is often found on Fernandina and the western side of Isabela, though solitary males can be seen around the archipelago. Galapagos fur seals are the smallest of the seals, but excellent predators. They hunt at night as most fish and squid tend to rise from the depths. From September to December males defend their territories for weeks or even a month, living off their fat reserves.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise

This is the largest living tortoise species in the world. Because of their unique size, early Spanish explorers used the word “Galapago” when referring to these gentle and giant creatures. Perhaps, this was because of the shape of their shells, which resembles a saddle? Galapagos giant tortoises are endemic to the islands of the Galapagos and often live beyond 100 years.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise

This is the largest living tortoise species in the world. Because of their unique size, early Spanish explorers used the word “Galapago” when referring to these gentle and giant creatures. Perhaps, this was because of the shape of their shells, which resembles a saddle? Galapagos giant tortoises are endemic to the islands of the Galapagos and often live beyond 100 years.

Galapagos albatross
Blue-footed booby
Nazca booby
Red-footed booby
Flightless cormorant
American flamingo
Frigatebird
Galapagos hawk
Galapagos land iguana
Marine iguana
Santa Fe iguana
Galapagos penguin
Galapagos sea lion
Galapagos fur seal
Galapagos giant tortoise