Request a free Brochure

Get a FREE Active Adventures Brochure

Includes info on all of our trips.

By submitting this request, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Galapagos Tortoise

The Galapagos Islands are named after the giant tortoises that live on the islands - 'galapago' in Spanish means 'saddle' and refers to the tortoise shell. We've given you some of the fast facts on the Galapagos Tortoise below, but there's nothing like learning first-hand. On our 10-day Galapagos Land and Sea Adventure 'Tortuga' trip, you'll visit a giant tortoise breeding centre and hike in the Santa Cruz highlands, to see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. 

Galapagos Tortoises

The 3 Types

The Galapagos tortoise comes in three versions, which are distinguished by the shape of their shells, sizes, colors and behavior: Galapagos Tortoises1. Saddle-Backed: Mostly found on the lower drier islands. They have raised shells, long necks and limbs.
2. Dome-Shaped: Found on the upper parts of the islands, where plant growth is dense and thick. They have round shaped shells, very short necks and limbs.
3. Intermediate: This third race is a mix between the two described above.

 

Old and wise

The Galapagos Giant Tortoise can keep growing for 30 or 40 years, reaching almost 1 1/2 metres (5 feet) and weighing up to 230 kilograms (500 pounds). These are the largest tortoises in the Galapagos Tortoiseworld and the longest living of all vertebrates (animals with backbones). Because of their life span, it's possible that some of the old-timers in the Galapagos Islands that are around today, hatched about the time of Darwin's visit in 1835! 

The oldest giant tortoise on record lived 152 years, but reliable records of tortoise life spans aren't available yet because people haven't been observing them long enough.

Then and now

In the 19th Century sailors and whale hunters visited the Islands and quickly discovered that these giant tortoises were an excellent food supply, being easy to catch and able to live for months without food or water. In vast numbers the animals were flipped on their backs and stacked in the cargo hold of ships, giving the sailors a ready source of fresh meat when there was no land in sight. Sadly, many thousands of giant tortoise were collected this way and today there are only around 15,000 left, a fraction of what there once was. 


 

 

Galapagos Tortoises

Trip Reviews

  •   4.50 out of 5 (from 1973 reviews)

    Amazing Adventure

    what an amazing adventure we had! we enjoyed every bit of our Jaguar trip and would recommend Active Adventures to anyone who asks! The trip was very well organized and the guides were all informative and amazing. Our main guide, Erick Farfan was the best! he always made sure everything ran smoothly and had to deal with many different personalities on this trip but made it all work. The Inka trail was a tough trail for me due to the altitude but what an amazing feeling once you complete it and arrive at the sun gate! We thoroughly enjoyed the jungle as well as the visit to lake titicaca and our local family that we stayed with. look forward to our next amazing adventure with you! Hoping to do Patagonia soon!
    Brigitte Rosson Review Image
    – Texas, United States
    Jaguar 2017, June 2017
  •   4.23 out of 5 (from 275 reviews)

    Superb Ecuador - don't miss this tropical paradise

    Ecuador is a gem, and should not be missed. The Active Adventures Tapir trip ensures that you experience many of the highlights of this gorgeous country. From the outset you will experience new adventures like cycling down Mt Cotopaxi from 4,500m, walking around beautiful countryside and heading upriver to an EcoLodge. This beautiful, multi-day activities are thoroughly enjoyable, and your guide Mauro Chavez is exceptional, highly professional, capable and engaging, definately one of the best guides I've had the pleasure to meet.
    Varina Nissen Review Image
    – Queensland, Australia
    Tapir, January 2018
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Fantastic trip

    This was my first hiking trip, and I must say it was fantastic!!! Patagonia is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been (and I travel a lot). I want to mention that you have to be in reasonably good physical condition to enjoy this trip. I am glad that I trained for it. Arturo, our tour guide and Catherine (the W Trail guide) were excellent. They also made sure that they accommodated my dietary requirements (gluten, diary, and soy free) on the W Trail, which is not an easy task. I enjoyed every moment of the trip. I will definitely book another trip with Active Adventures, now that I know how much I enjoy hiking and active trips.
    Simona Walsh Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Condor, August 2017
  •   4.50 out of 5 (from 1973 reviews)

    We did it! With style and fun!

    This was a bucket list trip of a lifetime! Active Adventures went above and beyond to make us comfortable, safe and we had a bunch of fun from the Andes to the Amazon!
    Jenna Forstrom Review Image
    – Oregon, United States
    Jaguar 2017, July 2016
  •   4.53 out of 5 (from 938 reviews)

    Worth every penny!

    As someone who mostly travels independently, the thought of signing up for a two week organized group trip was rather intimidating but after reading all the reviews for Active, I thought I would give it a try... and I am so glad I did! Active Adventures made everything flow effortlessly- from the second I signed up until we were dropped of at the airport. The itinerary for the Condor trip is phenomenal, covering lots of different areas of Southern Patagonia and highlighting the most beautiful places. The W trek was one of the highlights of the trip and was even more enjoyable thanks to our guide, Cem, who was a wealth of knowledge about the flora and fauna and brought such a fun energy to the group. Additionally, our tour leader, Zac, had such a positive spirit, strong sense of humor and passion for his work that showed during our two weeks getting to know him. He was so well organized and made sure everything was lined up so we could relax and enjoy our downtime- including nailing a birthday dinner and cake! Would highly recommend this trip and organization to anyone in the future!
    Laura Postles Review Image
    – Pennsylvania, United States
    Condor, December 2017

 previous

next 

Why travel with Active Adventures?

Above all, we aim to be amazing hosts. We're proud of our kiwi roots, and our professional, warm and relaxed style of running trips around the world is unforgettable.

We're VERY picky about who we select to work in our team, and we have people from all over the world lining up to guide our trips. So we get to hire the absolute BEST in the business.

As soon as you get off the plane, we've got all the details of your vacation covered – top notch meals, comfortable transport & accommodation, amazing guides and INCREDIBLE service.

Whether you’re new to adventure travel, or you’ve never travelled in a group before, you’ll find yourself arriving home positively different from when you left.

With our small groups (no more than 14), you'll get to know our team, your fellow travellers, and have the flexibility and freedom to do as much (or as little!) as you like.

It's all about getting there under your own steam – on foot, in a sea kayak, or by bike. What better way is there to experience mind blowing scenery? If it's your first time, no worries – our expert guides have got you covered.

Active Adventures Brochure
no thanks, i don't like free stuff
Get your FREE Brochure Now!
Active Adventures Brochure
close