Best Galapagos Books & Travel Reading List

The Galapagos Islands are inherently fascinating. Reading books about the Galapagos will inspire you to travel there or increase your understanding when you visit. With decades of experience arranging Galapagos trips and Galapagos cruises we are often asked, “what are the best books about the Galapagos Islands?” Our experts share their favorites in this comprehensive Galapagos reading list.

Click on the images & links below to purchase Galapagos books on our recommended reading list.

IN THIS POST – Galapagos Books:
Best Books About Galapagos – Essential Reading
Galapagos Books – Recommended Reading
Galapagos Field Guides
Galapagos Cruise & Travel Guides
Galapagos Coffee Table Books
Galapagos Maps
Galapagos Resources

A collage of book covers of the top Galapagos books and recommended reading when preparing for an Galapagos cruise.
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Best Books About the Galapagos – Essential Reading

An essential reading list for anyone traveling to the Galapagos or interested in the islands. Our experts recommend their favorite books about Galapagos natural history, human history, animals and wildlife.

Galapagos book cover of Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin

Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin

The wide-eyed tale of a young man on a five-year voyage that changed his life — and our way of thinking about the world. First published in 1839, it is still a marvelous introduction to the wildlife, nature and allure of South America.

Book cover of the Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner

The Beak of the Finch

Jonathan Weiner

On a desert island in the heart of the Galapagos archipelago, where Darwin received his first inklings of the theory of evolution, two scientists, Peter and Rosemary Grant, have spent 20 years proving that Darwin did not know the strength of his own theory. For among the finches of Daphne Major, natural selection is neither rare nor slow: it is taking place by the hour, and we can watch.

Book cover of The Galapagos, A Natural History by Henry Nicholls

The Galapagos, A Natural History

Henry Nicholls

A vivid history of the Galapagos and the role of the islands as a crucible of evolutionary ideas, written by a Pulitzer Prize winner. Larson covers Darwin and the discovery of the islands, the visits of Hancock and Beebe, the influence of the United States during WWII and the establishment of the national park.

Galapagos book cover of Floreana, A Womans Pilgrimage to the Galapagos by Margaret Wittmer

Floreana, A Woman’s Pilgrimage to the Galapagos

Margaret Wittmer

The remarkable first-hand account of Margret Wittmer, who settled on the island of Floreana in the Galapagos in 1932, including her account of the infamous Galapagos Affair. Witter, well-known to many visitors, lived on the island until her death at 96 in 2000. Her daughter Floreana lives and works on the island at the Wittmer Hotel and son Captain Rolf Wittmer operates Galapagos small ship cruises.

Cover of Galapagos, A Novel by Kurt Vonnegut

Galapagos, A Novel

Kurt Vonnegut

In this madcap classic, Vonnegut’s narrator lives in a future where the human race has been wiped out — all except for a small group who boarded the “nature cruise of the century” only to get stranded in the Galapagos.

Take a deeper dive into books about the Galapagos Islands with this list of further recommended reading. These books cover a variety of topics from scientific expeditions to personal memoirs and in depth analysis into natural history. These Galapagos books are the perfect companion to a Galapagos cruise or Galapagos package tour.

Cover of Galapagos, Worlds End book by William Beebe

Galapagos, World’s End

William Beebe

This wry, wonderfully evocative account of a 1924 scientific expedition includes an excellent chapter on the human history of the Galapagos.

Cover of The Voyage of the Beagle: Darwin's Extraordinary Adventure in Fitzroy's Famous Survey Ship by James Taylor

The Voyage of the Beagle: Darwin’s Extraordinary Adventure in Fitzroy’s Famous Survey Ship

James Taylor

The perfect supplement for lovers of Darwin’s classic account, this history mixes antique and new
illustrations, letters, diary entries, official narratives and charts produced by shipboard artists.

Book cover of Darwin and the Science of Evolution by Patrick Tort

Darwin and the Science of Evolution

Patrick Tort

A pocket biography and social history of Darwin in the excellent Discoveries series featuring hundreds of archival photographs and a synopsis of Darwin’s life and ideas.

Cover of the Galapagos Affair book by John Treherne

The Galapagos Affair

John Treherne

Colorful early settlers including Dr. Ritter, Baroness Wagner von Bosquet and her three lovers and sturdy Margaret Wittmer enliven John Trehorne’s riveting, real-life tale of murder in paradise.

Book cover of Satan Came to Eden by Dore Strauch

Satan Came to Eden

Dore Strauch

The original memoir of Dore Strauch, early settler to the Galapagos and participant in the fascinating unsolved mystery known as The Galapagos Affair, the subject of a recent documentary. First published in 1936, it’s back in print after 80 years.

Book cover of Lonesome George, The Life and Loves of the World's Most Famous Tortoise by Henry Nicholls

Lonesome George, The Life and Loves of the World’s Most Famous Tortoise

Henry Nicholls

The lone tortoise from Isla Pinta, corralled at the Charles Darwin Station since 1971 until his death in 2012, stands at the center of Nicholl’s witty, affectionate tale of conservation, biology and hope.

Cover of the book Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World by Paul Stewart

Galápagos: The Islands That Changed the World

Paul D Stewart

The first complete guide to the dramatic environment, the wild inhabitants, and the human history of the enchanting Galápagos. Not since Darwin’s Naturalist’s Voyage has a book combined so much scientific and historic information with firsthand accounts that bring the Galápagos to life.

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Best Galapagos Field Guides

A good field guide to identify unique endemic Galapagos Islands animals, birds and plants is essential to any visit to the Galapagos Islands. Our experts present the best Galapagos field guides and identification guides for your next adventure.

Cover of the Galapagos guidebook called Galapagos Wildlife by David Horwell

Galapagos Wildlife

David Horwell, Pete Oxford

With chapters on visitor sites, history, conservation and habitats, this compact photographic guide introduces birds, reptiles, marine and other life of the archipelago.

Cover of the book Wildlife of the Galapagos

Wildlife of the Galápagos

Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, David Hosking

A compact identification guide to Galapagos nature and wildlife, featuring over 650 color photographs, an overview of the history, climate, evolution and geology of the islands, and helpful full-color visitor site maps.

Cover of the field guide Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands Guide to Wildlife

Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands (Guide to Wildlife)

David Pearson, Les Beletsky

In this easy-to-carry, entertainingly written, and beautifully illustrated book is all the information you need to find, identify, and learn about Ecuador’s magnificent animal life.

Cover of the field guide Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galápagos Islands: An Identification Guide by Andy Swach and Rob Still

Birds, Mammals, and Reptiles of the Galápagos Islands: An Identification Guide

Andy Swach, Rob Still

This is the first comprehensive guide to the unique wildlife of the Galápagos, encompassing the birds, mammals, and reptiles a visitor to these extraordinary islands might encounter. The innovative, simple-to-use format of the pocket-sized volume will help beginners and experts alike to identify with confidence the striking and charismatic Galápagos fauna.

Cover of A Pocket Guide to Birds of Galápagos

A Pocket Guide to Birds of Galápagos

Tui De Roy

A compact, richly illustrated photographic field guide to all of the birds of Galápagos, from renowned photographer and writer Tui De Roy

Cover of the book titled Marine Life of the Galapagos: A Diver's Guide to the Fishes, Whales, Dolphins and Marine Invertebrates

Marine Life of the Galapagos: A Diver’s Guide to the Fishes, Whales, Dolphins and Marine Invertebrates

Pierre Constant

A diver’s guide to the fishes, whales, dolphins and marine invertebrates of the Galapagos. Great for snorkelers too.

Pocket guide cover to Galapagos Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Animals

Galapagos Wildlife: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Animals

James Kavanagh, Raymond Leung

One of the most unique ecosystems in the world, the Galapagos Islands feature a bizarre diversity of wildlife, with many species endemic to the islands. This beautifully illustrated guide highlights over 140 familiar and unique species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes, seashore creatures and butterflies/insects.

Pocket guide cover of Galapagos Birds Life (submersible field-guide)

Galapagos Birds Life (submersible field-guide)

Ceslo Montalvo

Real photographs of birds taken in Galápagos; English & Spanish descriptions; basic information of birds/species; new classifications and species status; descriptions color coded by niche and status; easy access and classification makes for easy comprehension.

Pocket guide cover of Galapagos Marine Life (submersible field-guide)

Galapagos Marine Life (submersible field-guide)

Ceslo Montalvo

Galapagos Marine Life Animals Guide to Common Fishes is an essential pocket guide for the eco-tourist visiting the Galapagos Islands. Vibrant photographs highlight the commonly observed marine life. An excellent tool for straightforward species identification, this ergonomic guide is folded to fit in your pocket for convenience and is printed on durable material.

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Best Galapagos Cruise & Travel Guide Books

Even when you book with an award-winning travel company like AdventureSmith Explorations, a good Galapagos guide book can enhance your experience with background information, historical and scientific anecdotes and travel insights. There are no shortage of guides available. These are the best Galapagos cruise and travel guide books.

Book cover of The Rough Guide to Ecuador & the Galápagos

The Rough Guide to Ecuador & the Galápagos

Rough Guides

Discover Ecuador and the Galapagos with this comprehensive and entertaining travel guide, packed with practical information and honest recommendations by our independent experts.

Book cover of Galápagos (Mostly Underwater Books Travel Guide) by Josef Litt

Galápagos (Mostly Underwater Books Travel Guide)

Josef Litt

The ultimate guide to the Galápagos islands full of captivating information and first-hand stories – with 288 pages filled with more than 300 stunning photographs as well as original illustrations.

Galapagos book cover of The Diving Guide: Galapagos Islands

The Diving Guide: Galapagos Islands

Steve Rosenberg, Ellen I. Sarbone

This book includes all the information you’ll need to visit this remote “ecological research lab” with in-depth descriptions of 43 dive sites with conditions, depths, topography and marine life, as well as detailed descriptions of dozens of land tours, with degree of difficulty, access and terrestrial inhabitants.

Best Galapagos Coffee Table & Photography Books

Travelers to the Galapagos are inspired by its remarkable landscapes, nature and wildlife. A Galapagos photography book is a great way to bring home a reminder of its beauty. Our experts hand picked our favorite Galapagos coffee table books. These large format photo books allow you to enjoy Galapagos from the comfort of your living room.

Coffee table book cover of Galápagos: Islands Born of Fire

Galápagos: Islands Born of Fire

Tui De Roy

Award-winning photographer Tui De Roy’s sumptuous look at the Galapagos.

Photography book cover of Galapagos: Preserving Darwin's Legacy

Galapagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy

Tui De Roy

This sumptuous large-format book was first produced in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Charles Darwin Foundation on Galapagos. The book comprises a series of invited essays under the editorship of world-renowned photographer and long-term Galapagos resident, Tui de Roy, who has also provided most of the photographs.

Coffee table book cover of Galápagos: Life in Motion

Galápagos: Life in Motion

Walter Perez, Michael Weisberg

A lavish photographic celebration that captures the fascinating behaviors of land and sea animals in the Galápagos Islands

Cover of The Galápagos: Exploring Darwin's Tapestry

The Galápagos: Exploring Darwin’s Tapestry

John Hess

For Hess, the Galapagos are more than a tourist attraction, more than a shrine to science – they are a place of breathless awe. His book invites readers to share his affection for the islands and his appreciation of the exquisite beauty of Darwin’s tapestry.

Book cover of A Lifetime in Galápagos

A Lifetime in Galápagos

Tui De Roy

A beautifully illustrated and deeply personal chronicle of De Roy’s lifelong connection with these spectacular islands

Best Galapagos Maps

Seasoned travelers love a paper map to track their travels. These Galapagos maps help you track your route and learn more about the environment, wildlife, history and science of the Galapagos Islands. These Galapagos maps work in the open seas, where there is no wifi.

Map cover of Galapagos National Geographic Adventure Map

Galapagos National Geographic Adventure Map

National Geographic Maps

The front of the map includes an overview of the entire island chain to help with context since the islands are spread over a large swath of ocean. On the back of the map, each major island has a description including the endemic species (animals or plants living only on the Galápagos), facts about the human history of each island, and other facts that are important to travelers. Printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough.

Map cover of Galapagos Islands: Ocean Explorer Maps

Galapagos Islands: Ocean Explorer Maps

Ocean Explorer Maps

Not just handy for keeping track of your Galapagos cruise, this detailed map (1:400,000) of the islands includes illustrated biographies of famous visitors and a wildlife guide.

A male traveler crouching in a green field next to a Galapagos tortoise.


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Have a favorite Galapagos book that is not listed here? Have a question or comment about our Galapagos book recommendations? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

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