How many Galapagos Islands are there?
There really is nowhere else quite like it.
All this said, 170, 000 tourists visited the Galápagos last year so, not surprisingly, it’s beginning to feel a little crowded. It’s a high-profile place and lots of people want to see it for themselves. The consequence of such an onslaught is that wildlife tourism is more tightly controlled in the archipelago than anywhere else in the world. You’re only allowed to visit tiny pockets of the national park, you can disembark (from small boats) only at designated landing spots, you must walk only on clearly marked trails in strictly disciplined small groups, and you must be accompanied by local certified guides. Regulating tourism with such military efficiency may feel extreme, but it is essential under the circumstances. Ultimately, though, there has to be a limit and in the not-too-distant future, visitor numbers will have to be capped.
Join the broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls on an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime Telegraph Tour to the Galapagos Islands.
Did you know?
The Galápagos were discovered by chance in 1535 by Father Tomás Berlanga, Bishop of Panama
How to book
Because of the long distances involved, the only practical way to explore the Galápagos is by live-aboard boats, which travel between islands, mostly at night, and make different stops each day. More than 80 vessels are licensed to operate in the archipelago and there are countless combinations of stops and routes. Most cruises go ashore twice a day: 10 full days on the boat typically means 20 shore landings, 10-20 snorkels, and several panga rides (pangas are small, open outboard-powered boats) to about 10 different islands.