Hello and welcome to the start of another week! As I mentioned on Instagram last night I spent a good portion of the weekend editing photos I can not believe it has been a month since I have shared a post about the Galapagos as I still have SO many unpublished shots! But instead of a massive dump I wanted to tailor today’s post to something many people have asked me – what is there to see in the Galapagos? My number one answer since the day I got back in mid-March is animals!
On the more than a dozen volcanic islands that make up the Galapagos there is a ton of greenery but the real highlight, in my opinion is the amazing creatures! At one point our guide joked that if you did not know the name of the creature put the word “Galápagos” in front of it and that was probably it. We all laughed but after a week I realized just how true that was as we saw Galápagos penguins, Galápagos hawks, Galápagos tortoises, you get the picture. From my 10 days on these Ecuadorian islands here is my take on 12 of the most interesting Galapagos animals you can find:
(1) The Sally Light Foot Crabs: These little red crabs are absolutely everywhere! The first few days I took dozens of a pictures of them but by the end of the trip I have days without a photo of a Sally Light Foot Crab as they are as common as a squirrel in a New York park!
(2) Giant Tortoises: These creatures are MASSIVE and while I already shared more than a dozen photos and quite a few fun facts in my post The Difference Between Turtles and Tortoises I needed to ensure that they made this list!
(3) Marine Iguanas: Believe it or not I have more than 100 photos of these creatures but any way you style, crop, or color correct they are just really, really ugly so this may be the only time they ever appear on the blog. Plus they literally spit salt and while taking photos one deposited salt got on my pants and I’m still a bit irked by it. Oh, and yes, these are the same Marine Iguanas on Fernandina Island that are in Planet Earth II with the razor snakes!
(4) Blue Footed Boobies: This is one of the animals that was hyped up the most before my trip and well, hmm. I was much more interested in swimming with penguins, sea lions, and turtles than I was of watching a bird far away on a cliff wall but I came, I saw, and I photographed.
(5) Sea Lions: These massive animals got two posts last month, both with photos of them on land and photos in the water, as they are quite magnificent and present on nearly every single island in the Galapagos.
(6) Penguins: It may have just been me but I was not expecting to see penguins on the Equator – I thought they only lived in Antartica and occasionally at the Zoo but I was very mistaken. These little guys are so cute and are incredibly fast swimmers – take a look at the minute long video below of our time swimming with a few of them!
(7) Galapagos Land Iguanas: Despite more than a week on the islands I only had one up close and personal encounter with these rainbow creatures, at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Puerto Ayora onSanta Cruz Island. The are far from the most popular site at the station where Lonesome George lived and now Super Diego resides but they were quite pretty as far as reptiles go!
(8) Sea Turtles: Swimming with sea turtles was one of my favorite things we did in the Galapagos and similar to the sea lions and giant tortoises they have also had their own post here, undisputedly in the top twelve!
(9) Lava Lizards: These little guys are are so freaking cute! From tip to tail they are no more than a few inches fully grown and blend in seamlessly with their backgrounds. We rarely spotted them unless they were moving and I was excited I was able to get close enough to this little guy for a photo!
(10) Frigatebirds: These birds are very, very odd and I did not have the chance to see the bird blow up their red throat, something they do in mating season, like this but even watching them flying over our boat was quite interesting!
(11) Flamingos: According to our naturalist guides and a quick Internet check I was correct in remembering that there is only one species of flamingo that exists in the Galapagos, the Greater Flamingo, and the have unusually long necks and legs compared to the rest of their pink friends.
(12) Dolphins: While not quite as exotic, unusual, or endemic as the first 11 animals I have mentioned dolphins were my favorite animal growing up so getting the chance to see them in the wild, regardless of where I am in the world, is always exciting and one afternoon we were able to see an entire pod jumping – so amazing!
There are just twelve Galapagos animals but I saw dozens more including like Flightless Cormorants which, similar to the Marine Iguanas, are really just not attractive creatures, along with Darwin finches, Great blue herons, hammerhead sharks3, and spotted eagle rays to name a few plus at least 50 fish I don’t know the name but twelve felt like a good number to end at! Extra bonus credit if you see an orca, but I have been told this is very rare.
Which of these Galapagos animals would you most like to see?