With an abundance of flora and fauna to explore and a diverse terrain to traverse, the Galápagos Islands offers hikers, of all levels, a myriad of outdoor adventures good for the heart and soul. Breathe deeply, taking in the fresh, salty sea air, as you navigate the rugged landscape, climbing over rocky shorelines, and meandering across pristine beaches.
Located approximately 1,000 km (621 mi) off mainland Ecuador into the Pacific Ocean, the Galápagos Islands consists of 13 major islands – ranging in area from 14 to 4,588 skm2 (5.4 to 1,771 mi2), plus a handful of islets and rocks. A designated wildlife sanctuary, in 1959 the sanctuary became known as the Galápagos National Park while in 1978 the islands were titled a UNESCO World Heritage site with the Marine Resources Reserve created in 1986 to protect the surrounding waters. Galápagos National Park comprises 97% of the entirety of the islands, while the remaining land area is reserved for inhabitants.
A volcanic archipelago, the Galápagos Islands are considered one of the world’s foremost destinations for wildlife- and marine-viewing where its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else in the world.
Hiking opportunities vary, depending on your appetite. For the intrepid travellers, the islands have a few challenging mountains to conquer, including Alcedo Volcano and Sierra Negra, while there are a selection of more modest and comfortable hikes ideal for those looking for an easy stroll. No matter your choice, remarkable views and pristine landscapes abound.
Combining a hike with snorkelling and other water activities allows you to admire the island’s incredible wildlife found on the surface and below.