Galalapagos Islands Landscapes - Quasar Expeditions Cruise

Sea view of one of the islands of the Galapagos

RenHo / Getty Images

The Galapagos Islands are famous for their unique and diverse wildlife and vegetation, but the landscape is spectacular, too. These photos were taken on a week-long cruise of the Galapagos.

Most of the Galapagos Islands have both an English name and a Spanish name. In addition, some of the islands have an official name given to it by the Ecuadorian government in 1892. Printed and online material and maps may use any of these names. Here is a list of the islands we visited with their various English/Spanish/Official names:

  • Baltra
  • Mosquera
  • Chinese Hat=Sombrero Chino
  • James=Santiago=San Salvador
  • Tower=Genovesa
  • North Seymour=Seymour Norte
  • Barrington=Sante Fe
  • Floreana=Santa Maria=Charles
  • Indefatigable=Santa Cruz=Chavez

More Photos and Information from Quasar Expedition Cruise to the Galapagos Islands

01 of 36

Early Morning

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Early Morning
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The light is always wonderful in the morning, and this island seems to almost glow in the early part of the day.

Continue to 2 of 36 below.
02 of 36

Cacti on James Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Cacti on James Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Our first morning on the Evolution, we used the pangas to motor along James Island and Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island. The island was full of these striking cacti.

Continue to 3 of 36 below.
03 of 36

Santiago Island (also called James Island) Lava Flows

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Santiago Island Lava Flows
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The snorkeling in this area was terrific, and we saw lots of fish, penguins swimming under water, and white-tipped reef sharks.

Continue to 4 of 36 below.
04 of 36

Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 5 of 36 below.
05 of 36

Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 6 of 36 below.
06 of 36

Lava Beach Covered with Sally Lightfoot Crabs on Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat)

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Lava Beach Covered with Sally Lightfoot Crabs on Sombrero Chino Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

These bright orange Sally Lightfoot crabs are a dramatic contrast to the black lava beach of Sombrero Chino.

Continue to 7 of 36 below.
07 of 36

White Sandy Beach on Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - White Sandy Beach on Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 8 of 36 below.
08 of 36

Orange Sally Lightfoot Crabs on Chinese Hat Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Orange Sally Lightfoot Crabs on Chinese Hat Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 9 of 36 below.
09 of 36

Marine Iguana on Chinese Hat Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Sandy Beach and Marine Iguana on Chinese Hat Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 Can you see the small marine iguana on the white sandy beach? You have to have sharp eyes in the Galapagos to see some of the wildlife.

Continue to 10 of 36 below.
10 of 36

Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 This pointed lava cone gives Chinese Hat (Sombrero Chino) Island its name.

Continue to 11 of 36 below.
11 of 36

View of James Island from Chinese Hat Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - View of James Island from Chinese Hat Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 12 of 36 below.
12 of 36

Rock Formations on Chinese Hat Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Rock Formations on Chinese Hat Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 13 of 36 below.
13 of 36

Sombrero Chino

Galapagos Islands - Sombrero Chino
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Sombrero Chino is a small islet off the southeast corner of James Island. 

Continue to 14 of 36 below.
14 of 36

James Island

Galapagos Islands - James Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 15 of 36 below.
15 of 36

Black Sand Beach on James Island

Galapagos Islands - Black Sand Beach on James Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 16 of 36 below.
16 of 36

James Island

Galapagos Islands - James Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 17 of 36 below.
17 of 36

James Island Grotto

Galapagos Islands - James Island Grotto
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 This rocky grotto on James Island in the Galapagos is home to some Galapagos fur seals.

Continue to 18 of 36 below.
18 of 36

James Island Rock Formation

Galapagos Islands - James Island Rock Formation
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 19 of 36 below.
19 of 36

James Island Sunset

Galapagos Islands Cruise - James Island Sunset
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 20 of 36 below.
20 of 36

Boats at Anchor in Darwin Bay of Genovesa (Tower) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Boats at Anchor in Darwin Bay of Genovesa (Tower) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Many places in the Galapagos seem almost deserted; Darwin Bay on Genovesa (also called Tower) Island was not one of them.

Continue to 21 of 36 below.
21 of 36

Grotto in Darwin Bay of Genovesa (Tower) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Grotto in Darwin Bay of Genovesa (Tower) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 22 of 36 below.
22 of 36

Darwin Bay Cliffs on Isla Genovesa (Tower)

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Darwin Bay Cliffs on Isla Genovesa (Tower)
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 23 of 36 below.
23 of 36

Prince Philip's Steps on Isla Genovesa (Tower)

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Prince Philip's Steps on Isla Genovesa (Tower)
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

These steep steps are used to climb to the top of the cliffs overlooking Darwin Bay. Once on top, visitors can hike along a trail and see many seabirds, vegetation, and lava formations.

Continue to 24 of 36 below.
24 of 36

Top of the Cliff on Genovesa (Tower) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Top of the Cliff on Genovesa (Tower) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 After climbing Prince Philip's Steps and walking across the cliff, visitors are treated to this view of the Pacific Ocean, along with many seabirds and interesting vegetation.

Continue to 25 of 36 below.
25 of 36

Cacti on the Top of the Cliff on Genovesa (Tower) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Cacti on the Top of the Cliff on Genovesa (Tower) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 26 of 36 below.
26 of 36

Sunset Over Genovesa (Tower) Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Sunset Over Genovesa (Tower) Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 27 of 36 below.
27 of 36

Beach on Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Beach on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 28 of 36 below.
28 of 36

Beach on Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Beach on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Two small ships were on this Floreana Island beach on the same morning. Rare occurrence for us!

Continue to 29 of 36 below.
29 of 36

Post Office on Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Post Office on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Our guide Sam explains that this "post office" doesn't require stamps. Visitors write a post card or letter, and put it in the box. Then, they sort through all the other items to see if an addressee lives near them back home. If so, they take the card/letter and hand deliver it. Tradition started with the old sailing ships. I received a card I "mailed" 8 weeks after dropping it in the box. It wasn't hand-delivered, but was still fun to see it again and re-live the memories.

Continue to 30 of 36 below.
30 of 36

Devil's Crown - Rocky Islet near Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Devil's Crown, which is right off Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

 Devil's Crown is a small craggy islet, which is right off Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island. This spot has great snorkeling.

Continue to 31 of 36 below.
31 of 36

Using a Panga to Go Ashore at Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Using a Panga to Go Ashore at Punta Cormorant on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison
Continue to 32 of 36 below.
32 of 36

Flamingo Lagoon on Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Flamingo Lagoon on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Flamingos and other wading birds frequent this hyper-saline lagoon. Unfortunately, we had to use binoculars to get a good look at the only flamingos we saw. None were close to the trail.

Continue to 33 of 36 below.
33 of 36

Beach on Floreana Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Beach on Floreana Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

This pristine beach looks perfect for swimming, but the waters were filled with dozens of sting rays and sharks. Turtles also lay their eggs in the dunes, so many birds were flying overhead.

Continue to 34 of 36 below.
34 of 36

Isla Santa Fe Prickly Pear (Opuntia) Cacti

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Isla Santa Fe Prickly Pear (Opuntia) Cacti
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The tall vegetation on Santa Fe Island aren't palm trees, they are giant prickly pear (opuntia) cacti, many of which are over 30 feet high.

Continue to 35 of 36 below.
35 of 36

Sunset

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Sunset
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

We saw some amazing sunsets from the Quasar Evolution on our expedition cruise of the Galapagos Islands.

Continue to 36 of 36 below.
36 of 36

Mangroves near Baltra Island

Galapagos Islands Cruise - Mangroves near Baltra Island
Galapagos Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Our last morning on the Evolution, several of us boarded a panga before dawn to explore this mangrove forest. Seeing the area come alive as the sky lightened was a memorable ending to our cruise.

Was this page helpful?