Galapagos Penguin

Galapagos Penguin - the tiny survivor

The Galapagos Penguin is endemic to the Galapagos Islands and is only found in the northern area of the equator. You can find penguins in the following islands:  

  • Isabela Island – from South of Puerto Villamil, along with the entire western coast
  • Fernandina Island –  West
  • Bartolomé Island – Central
  • Santiago Island – Central
  • Floreana Island – South

The Galapagos Penguin is half as big as the Empire Penguin in the Antartic. They can grow up to 53 cm and weigh up to 2.5 Kilo. Currently, there are around 1,500 penguins living in the entire archipelago. The greatest enemy for the penguins is actually the El Niño which warms up the sea, depleting the penguin’s source of food which results in having little or no offsprings for that period.

The feathers on the back of the Galapagos Penguins are dark and white at the front, often with dark streaks. Like the African Penguin, the Galapagos Penguin also has a white border running from behind the eye, around the black ear-coverts and chin, to join on the throat.

A Galapagos penguin stands on a rock

Habitat and Diet

Penguins are not excellent divers and they can only remain underwater for 90 seconds and dive up to 15 metres. They feed mainly on small fishes which are hunted by a group of penguins.

Penguins do not have a fixed breeding season, and it appears to depend on water temperature. The penguins can breed up to 3 times per year. They lay around two eggs within 3 to 5 days and they incubate it for 40 days before the eggs hatch. Both penguin parents take turns to look after their babies for 11 weeks until they can fly.  

Species Protection

The Galapagos penguin has several enemies, including the Galapagos Hawk, dogs, cats and rats that are brought onshore by humans. They are also at risk due to global warming which results in warmer waters. However, with strict regulations on domestic cats and dogs in place, the Galapagos penguin population has recovered over time.

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Advice for visitors:

You will get to meet the Galapagos Penguin while snorkelling in the north of Floreana Island (reachable only by cruise), Bartolomé Island, Santiago Island and Isabela Island. Depending on weather conditions and water temperature, you may even get a chance to see the penguins at the Puerto Villamil harbour and at Los Tuneles. You can however surely get to see the penguins when you travel on the west route along the north of Isabela island and on the coast of Fernandina island.

The island can also be visited twice a week, on Thursday and Saturday, with boats from San Cristóbal island as part of an island hopping itinerary. To plan your trip better, check out our Galapagos Island monthly animal activities poster.

✪ Our Galapagos Islands Tours ✪

Animal Encounters

Galapagos Island Hopping with Children

Duration: 7 - 9 days
Highlights: Penguins, Sea Lions, Giant Tortoises in the Highlands, Land Iguanas on Seymour, Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Birds, White Sand Beaches

Child-friendly accommodation and exciting excursions for the whole family including animal encounters on Isabela Island

From 1360,- USD
Price per pax
Isabela Island beach

Galapagos Island Hopping: Santa Cruz - Isabela

Duration: 7 - 8 days
Highlights: Floreana, Seymour, Las Tintoreras, Giant Tortoises in the Highlands, Land Iguanas on Seymour, Blue Footed Boobies and Frigatebirds, White Sand Beaches, Penguins at the Equator

Galapagos Pro invites you to explore the gorgeous Galapagos Islands, where nature dominates the landscape

From 1820,- USD
Price per pax
Friendly Locals on Isabela Island

Galapagos Island Hopping - Mission Paradise on a budget

Duration: 12 - 14 days
Highlights: San Cristóbal, Santa Cruz, Isabela - 7 days, Santa Cruz, English Speaking Guides, Charming Hotels , English Speaking Hosts, Including Domestic Flights, Including Inter-Island Flights, Including Speedboat Tickets, Including Transfers, Excluding Day Excursions, Prebook Your Day Excursions Now

Galapagos Pro offers 15 days in paradise - best routes, customised excursions and hotels, gorgeous beaches

From 2100,- USD
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Flightless Cormorants

Galapagos Cruise: Western Cormorant Route

Duration: 8 - 12 days
Highlights: Flightless Cormorants, Volcano, Urbina Bay, Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island

Discover the endemic flightless cormorant on the island of Fernandina

From 3110,- USD
Price per pax