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Best Islands to Visit in Galapagos: Make Your Trip Unforgettable

User Avatar Written by: Christopher Klassen
Santa Cruz II at Fernandina Island.

With a grand total of 14 islands that are open to visitors, guests traveling to the enchanted isles often find it somewhat difficult to decide on the best islands to visit in Galapagos. Hand-in-hand with that dilemma, of course, is figuring out which one of the Galapagos itineraries available is the best one to go on. That’s why we would like to present you our list of the top 3 best islands to visit in Galapagos, in no particular order, as voted by our own, professional Naturalist Guides aboard the Santa Cruz II Galapagos cruise. Note: All of these islands are home to a substantial number of our Galapagos BIG15 group of iconic species!

Genovesa Island: Just One of the Best Islands to Visit in Galapagos

Discover it on our Northern Islands Galapagos itinerary

As isolated as it is enchanted, Genovesa Island has its appeal due to the remarkable experience it offers guests via the plethora of birds that are present and its surrounding scenery. This is one of the few islands that are located in the north of the archipelago and keep in mind that not all boats in Galapagos have this island included in their itineraries. Adding to the magnificence of said exclusivity is the fact that Genovesa is the only crater throughout the whole archipelago that ships can venture into. This is also why it’s regarded as one of the best islands in Galapagos – the beautiful bay that ships are able to anchor in making for a great excuse in its own right.

Family exploring Genovesa Island aboard Santa Cruz II Cruise

A happy family enjoying the wonders of Genovesa Island.

Best Islands in Galapagos Decisive Factor: Reputation as “Bird Island” (featuring the rare, red-footed booby!). Geological beauty.

Fernandina Island

Discover it on our Western Islands Galapagos itinerary

Both spectacular and mesmerizing at the same time, Fernandina Island is a beautiful collection of nascent Earth that’s peppered with a beautiful collection of equally mesmerizing creatures. From Galapagos penguins to the enigmatic flightless cormorants that hang around the black, lava rock coast (which is covered by a crowd of equally black marine iguanas), Fernandina rightfully earns its place among the best islands to visit in Galapagos.

Santa Cruz II's guest interacting with a flightless cormorant on Fernandina Island.

Our guests interacting with a flightless cormorant during their visit to Fernandina Island.

Best Islands in Galapagos Decisive Factor: Penguins & Flightless Cormorants. “Youngest island,” geologically speaking.

Española Island

Discover it on our Eastern Islands Galapagos itinerary

Regarded by many to be the “Grand Central” of wildlife throughout the enchanted isles, it’s no wonder that Española makes it to the list of best islands to visit in Galapagos. Located to the far south of the archipelago, this island gains recognition by virtue of the massive amount of wildlife it is home to. Fun Fact: It was the first island to be observed (but not walked on!) by Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle in 1835.

A Santa Cruz II's guest interacting with a Nazca booby on Española Island.

One of our guests admiring a Nazca bobby while exploring Española Island.

Best Island in Galapagos Decisive Factor: Sheer quantity of wildlife, including the waved albatrosses, Nazca and blue-footed boobies. Famous geological “blow hole” phenomenon.