To make the most of a trip to the Galápagos, research and planning should be a priority. With that in mind we’ve put together a list of the top 17 Galapagos books.
17 Best Galápagos Islands Books
Here, in no particular order, is a list of our top 17 popular Galápagos Islands books. In this list, you will find a good selection of guide and natural history books. You’ll also find books that will give you some background on the intriguing human history of these remarkable islands.
At the end of this post, you’ll find a list of the books we purchased before our trip, and some popular Galapagos islands books for kids that look pretty awesome.
These books will help you identify the animals and plants of the Galapagos Islands, they will also help you relive what it was like to be among the first to settle the islands, and teach you about amazing places to visit (like Las Grietas).
Interested in all of Ecuador? Check out the top books about Ecuador.
Best Galapagos Books List
1. Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World
This book gives an excellent overview of the islands, including their human history, their biology and geology. It is also beautifully illustrated.
- Written by Paul D. Stewart
- Pages: 240
2. Galápagos Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide To Familiar Animals
(Pocket Naturalist Guide Series) We used this handy guide many times while exploring the islands.
With this pocket guide, you will be able to quickly identify many of the familiar birds, reptiles, insects, and marine mammals. It’s super practical because it’s laminated for durability, and it easily folds to fit in your bag or backpack.
- Pages: 1 (folding pamphlet)
- Buy it on Amazon
3. Wildlife of the Galápagos Princeton Pocket Guides
This book is packed with great photos! They are big enough to easily identify the plants and animals, but not so big as to take up too much space. It easily fits in a purse or backpack.
From the back cover:
- Over 200 commonly seen species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates, plants, and coastal and marine life
- More than 400 color photographs, maps and drawings, including maps of visitors’ sites
- Written by wildlife experts with extensive knowledge of the area
- Information on the history, clomate, geology, and conservation of the islands
- The most complete identification guide to the wildlife of the Galápagos
- Pages: 256
- Buy it on Amazon
4. My Fathers Island: A Galápagos Quest
I really enjoyed this book. Johanna Angermeyer is a wonderful writer! As we toured the islands her experiences and the places she described came to mind making the trip even more interesting.
From Library Journal:
“Angermeyer offers an unusual look at the Galapagos Islands from the perspective of its settlers, especially her German family who fled Hitler in the 1930s. She heard of these relatives as a child in the United States and dreamed about joining them in “paradise.” (Her father had hoped to settle there, too, but succumbed to illness.) Later she learned that paradise consisted mainly of rocks, fire ants, and iguanas. Life on these isolated islands was mostly a matter of survival, even in the 1960s, when she went there, but she fell in love with their beauty and eccentric people. Recommended for collections concerning this part of the world.” – Beth Clewis, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll., Richmond, Va.
- Pages: 303
5. Moon Galápagos Islands (Moon Handbooks)
In this book, Ben Westwood tells you everything you need to know to make your trip possible. He talks about how to get there, how long it will take, and where to stop along the way, including information on Quito and Guayaquil.
You’ll read about how to choose the best means of transportation, including cruises, diving tips, and land tours. He also provides background information on the diverse wildlife of the Galápagos, including how and where to see each animal.
- Pages: 160
6. Galápagos: A Natural History, Revised And Expanded
This book details the natural history of the plants and animals found in the Galápagos Islands. It also covers various tourist sites, management and conservation of the Galápagos National Park, and visitor information.
An index and checklist of plants and animals with page references and a glossary of technical terms are provided.
- Pages: 336
7. Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galápagos Islands
This book easily fits in a bag or backpack and I really like how it tells you exactly where (which islands) each animal is located.
If there are specific animals you want to see, this book can help you plan trip.
From the back cover:
- A comprehensive photographic guide to the Galápagos Islands, comering all recorded species in 53 color plates with distribution maps for each resident species
- The layout and text are designed to assist visitors to identify any bird, mammal or reptile they may encounter.
- Updated with new photographs and the latest distribution and taxonomic information.
- Pages: 168
8. Galápagos Wildlife (Bradt Travel Guide)
The enchanting Galápagos Islands lie off the west coast of Ecuador. With no links to the mainland, the flora and fauna evolved in isolation, remaining undocumented until Charles Darwin’s first visit on HMS Beagle in 1835.
Galápagos Wildlife: A Visitor’s Guide explores this World Heritage site to bring you a detailed guide to the islands’ unique fauna and its varied habitats, both terrestrial and marine. Biologists, wildlife enthusiasts and adventurous travelers alike will find this an engaging and invaluable companion.
- Over 120 color photographs
- Written by licensed Galápagos naturalist guides
- Conservation and ecology
- Visitor sites with full-color trail plans
- Pages: 152
9. Floreana: A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galápagos
I enjoyed this story. It was intriguing to read about this family and what they went through trying to make a life for themselves on this remote island.
A review: “In 1932, Margaret Wittmer leaves Germany with her husband and step-son and travels to Floreana, a small, almost unpopulated island in the Galápagos chain, where they settle, clear land, and, after five months of living in old pirates’ caves, move into the house they finish just in time for Margaret to have a baby. Over time, the Wittmers acquire a number of remarkable neighbors, including convicts, military personnel and a mysterious baroness who aspires to build a hotel for millionaires. They receive visits from people as diverse as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Thor Heyerdahl, who comes to investigate a reported “head” much like the ones on Easter Island, only to find it was carved by Margaret’s husband. There are wild bulls and boars, a dog named Lump that serves as a babysitter, a distant war, a daughter who would rather have a machete or a hoe than a doll, years of settled life, and finally grandchildren. At times the entire situation borders on the unbelievable, but Margaret Wittmer provides equal measures of intrigue, fantasy and common sense as she writes in her down-to-earth and often very humorous fashion about her years on Floreana.” – Erica Bauermeister
- Pages: 240
10. Galápagos Dreams: A Photo Journey
“Galápagos Dreams: A Photo Journey’ is just that; a dream journey through images that take your breath away. Susanna Ivy doesn’t just show you what it looks like, she puts you there. Her beautiful images give you the feeling that you are there with her experiencing the sights, sounds and smells that she did.” – PATRICK KELLEY, professional photographer at Patrick Kelley Worldwide Photography, National Geographic
- Pages: 39
11. Galápagos: Islands Born Of Fire
The author of this book, Tui De Roy, is an acclaimed wildlife photographer. In Galapagos: Islands Born Of Fire you will be captivated by her stunning photography and learn from her knowledge of the islands she has spent a lifetime exploring.
Features of the book:
- 245 stunning full-color photographs
- Includes De Roy’s insightful commentary
- Showcases some of the award-winning photographer’s finest work
- The natural wonders of the Galápagos are brought to life
- Pages: 168
12. Galapagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy
From the back cover: “Galápagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy is an evocative and authoritative anthology of natural science essays to nurture the curious mind and to stretch the imagination. Illustrated with hundreds of vivid photographs, it is a glorious celebration of what has been learnt about Darwin’s famed “natural laboratory of evolution,” and what it will take to preserve it.”
- Pages: 208
13. Galapagos A Natural History Guide
This guide talks about the interesting human history, the origin and geology of the islands, the amazing natural history, and visitors’ sites, the “El Nino” phenomenon, and provides insights into the amazing animals.
You will learn about the breathtaking underwater world, playful sea lions, sea birds, reptiles, and land birds. It has 180 color photos and 70 maps
- Pages: 316
Galapagos Travel Map
International Travel Maps: Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
More reading: Travelers Guide to Galapagos Islands Animals
We also picked up a copy of Creative Force Galapagos. This book is by Daniel Fitter Angermeyer who grew up on the islands. It’s a book full of gorgeous photos of both the animals and landscapes of the islands.
Learn more with these 25 Galapagos Islands Facts.
Galapagos Islands Books for Children
Perhaps you’ll be traveling to the Galapagos with your children, or you would just like to open their eyes to this amazing place.
4 Popular Galapagos Islands Books For Kids
Here are some books you may want to consider.
1. Island: A Story Of The Galápagos
This book is full of beautiful paintings and is written by Jason Chin, an award-winning author.
It tells the story of how the islands came to be, and how they have changed.
2. Galápagos George
Lonesome George is the star of this book. He was a famous Galapagos tortoise who was the last of his kind.
3. A Blue-Footed Booby Named Solly McBoo
This book tells the story of Solly McBoo, a Blue-Footed Booby on the Galápagos Islands.
4. Galápagos Islands Coloring Book
Accurately detailed, colorable images of flora and fauna from these exotic islands.
Carefully researched illustrations spotlight 32 unusual animals from these isolated islands off the west coast of South America. Depicted amid the vegetation in their native habitats are:
- Giant tortoise
- Leaf-toed gecko
- Flightless cormorant
- Rice rats
- Sulfur butterfly
- Blue-footed booby
- Spotless ladybug
- Giant longhorn beetle
- Great frigatebird
- Squeak bug
- Vermilion flycatcher
- Sally Lightfoot crabs
- . . . and 20 other forms of wildlife.
A fascinating, descriptive caption accompanies the illustration of each unique creature and plant.
What Books Will You Get?
So there you have it, our list of 17 best Galapagos Islands books, plus a few extras.
We really enjoyed our time on the Galápagos, and the books made it even more interesting. Our pile of books also makes a great souvenir!
And now it’s your turn. What books would be on your popular Galapagos islands book list? Please let us know by commenting on this post.
- About the Author
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Hi, I’m Dena Haines. And I’m co-founder of Storyteller Travel. I love to cover food, animals, and destinations around the world.
I also blog about photography at Storyteller Tech.
How to explore the Galápagos Islands independently and affordably | Minimalist Journeys
Sunday 20th of December 2020
[…] to visit. Great sources in terms of what wildlife to see where are travel guidebooks. Check out this article for some ideas. You can then determine which boats have an itinerary that covers those islands and […]