Five of the islands are inhabited and, beyond the urban centres, some land is used for agriculture and is accessible by residents or visitors.
Urban and Agricultural Areas
You are free to visit the towns and areas that historically have been used by the local population for agriculture. These are mostly in the highlands and feature many attractions that you can access by bicycle, taxi or bus.
In the highlands of San Cristobal
Reduced Impact Areas
These areas of inhabited islands, accessed by taxi or bus, are off-limits to non-residents unless accompanied by a Galapagos National Park guide (guia).
Los Gemelos, Santa Cruz
These areas of the inhabited and uninhabited islands can only be visited while in the company of a Park guide. Access to the uninhabited areas can only be provided by specially licensed boats that do day-trips or cruises - See below....
Rules for Visiting Protected Areas of the Galapagos National Park
For the sake of the Islands and the continued health of its many unique inhabitants, it is essential for visitors to use common sense and consideration at all times and particularly when visiting the Protected Areas of the Galapagos Islands.. To this end, the Galapagos National Park has issued a set of “Rules for Visitors of the Galapagos Protected Areas”.
Visiting the Protected Areas - By Boat
Daily-Tour Boats make day-trips to “visit-sites” like Punta Pitt, Isla Lobos and Cerro Brujo (from San Cristobal) or Bartolomé, Santa Fé, Seymour and others (from Santa Cruz). These boats take 10 to 20 passengers.
The Daily-tour boats let you see see some of the most popular visit-sites, without the expense of a cruise. Most boats offer snorkelling opportunities on these visits and some are licensed for diving.
Day-trips cost about $90 to $500 each depending on the destination, boat and activities.
Ask us how best to fit a day-trip or two into your itinerary.
Santa Fe III
Cruise Boats - Conduct 3 to 15 day cruises around the islands. They vary in size from 16 passenger yachts and catamarans to 100 passenger ships.
While we have placed clients on larger boats, we recommend the intimacy and reduced environmental impact of the smaller boats which cater to no more than 16 or 20 passengers.
The cost of a cruise can vary anywhere from $1,400 (budget 4 day cruise) to $6,000 (luxury 8 day cruise). And there is a bewildering assortment of boats and itineraries to choose from.