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Galapagos reptiles are so abundant that even Charles Darwin himself said that these islands are a paradise for reptiles. The climate in Galapagos is dry and hot all year round and reptiles have developed certain skills and characteristics to adapt to these difficult climatic conditions. Their scaly skin is affective protection against the sun, and they can find shade if they are hot. Reptiles have a slow metabolism and being ‘cold-blooded’, therefore do not need a lot of food.

The most iconic animal of the Galapagos Islands is the Giant Tortoise. These creatures spend all of their time on land, and around volcanoes.They can live for more than 100 years, the oldest recorded tortoise being 152 years old.


Where to See Them:

In the wild at Isabela, Pinzón, La Pinta, Santiago, Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal and Española.
The Lonesome George is an icon of the Galapagos National Park, his death meant the disappearance of the giant species of turtles that live for more than 200 years. The archipelago was the home of this specimen, the last of its kind, until his death in 2012. His embalmed body rests in the exhibition hall ‘Symbol of Hope’ on Santa Cruz Island.

He lived on Pinta Island, the most north of the archipelago and one of the smallest, with about 60 square kilometers of surface.

They are the only species of sea turtle to nest in Galapagos, with some females returning several times to lay their eggs, and are also the most common species sighted. Galapagos green turtles have an ingenious way to clean their bodies of salts; they are able to cry the excess salt in ‘tears’ from special glands underneath their eyes to keep a stable inner environment.

Where to See Them:

Can be found on most islands in the archipelago.
It is an iguana endemic to the Galapagos Islands, with daily habits and lover of the sun. The nights and rainy days pass them in the bottom of their burrow, dug in the sand. It is one of the largest iguanas today, exceeding long by the meter in length, considering the tail, which is as long as the body. It does not need to drink, so it can inhabit islets that do not have fresh water, obtaining the one that it needs of the fruits of which it feeds, mainly of the cactus.

Where to See Them:

On the islands of Fernandina, Isabela, Santa Cruz, North Seymour, Hood and South Plaza.
Scientists have defined the pink iguana as a species, almost two centuries after Charles Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands. Her appearance is of a rare pink terrestrial iguana with black stripes. It is considered endangered, given its low population.

Current data suggests that this new species lives exclusively around Wolf Volcano on Isabela Island.

It lives in the rocky coasts of Galapagos, feeding on seaweed and can stay in the sea for up to 45 minutes. These iguanas have green and red spots. The red pigment comes from an alga that blooms during the hot months, which also coincide with the mating period of iguanas. It is the only one of its kind that enters and feeds on the Sea.

Where is it found:

Can be found on most islands in the archipelago, at the shoreline
It is a species of lizard endemic to the Galapagos known as «lava lizard» because of its beautiful colors, reddish brown and gray. It can measure up to 15 cm. It feeds on insects, but is opportunistic and changes its diet if there is abundant vegetation. One curious fact about these beautiful lizards is that they perform «chest pushups» to mark their territory and court the female.

Where is it found:

Can be found on most islands in the archipelago.
Similar in structure to the terrestrial snakes, but the only species recorded in Galapagos, the Yellow-bellied (or Pelagic) Sea Snake, is entirely marine. It is characterized by its black and yellow pattern and flattened tail, an adaptation for swimming.

Where to see them:

It is mainly seen during our Galapagos cruises

Did You Know...


Lonesome George was discovered in 1972 when it was already believed to be a disappeared subspecies. The joy of such discovery was overshadowed by the realization that there were no other individuals like him on the island, not even a female, so he could not leave descendants. He died in 2012 with an estimated age of 100 years. A taxidermy work was done at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The most striking feature of the pink iguana of Galapagos is the color, which at the time was attributed to a depigmentation. However, their genes have revealed that it is a unique species in the world that lives on Isabela Island.

The marine iguana can submerge to depths of 25 meters and stay in the water for well over 10 minutes, after which it returns to earth to warm up. Did you know that marine iguana sneezes salt through the nose? This uncommon adaptation has evolved to get rid of excess salt ingested in their marine diet.

Galapagos Land Iguana enjoy a symbiotic relationship with birds; they remove parasites and ticks, providing relief to the iguanas and food for the birds.

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