Galápagos Iguanas

When Darwin camped in Galápagos back in 1835, the young British traveler found it difficult to pitch a tent given the incredible number of iguanas and their burrows.

Nowadays, there are fewer lizards crawling around the islands, but there are still colonies where the lava rock is literally blanketed in iguanas. Climbing so closely to these scaly creatures feels like a small portal into ancient times. I found the land iguanas on Isabela resembled yellow dinosaurs with glowing red eyes, while the marine iguanas bear an uncanny resemblance to Godzilla. (In fact, like a marine iguana, Godzilla was said to be amphibious).

The joy of photographing Galápagos iguanas is that much of the time they are absolutely fearless and rather slow-moving, so that I was able to get quite close to the animals. In some cases (as seen in the gallery), I was even able to use my micro lens to highlight their jewel-like eyes. The following images are just a few of my favorites from my past few days sailing among the islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour.


  1. Jeff Coulter
    Washington, DC
    February 15, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Amazing photographs Andrew. We always hear about the amazing diversity of the Galapagos, but seeing it is completely different. I really appreciate learning more about these reptiles.

  2. […] . . but not too close. There’s a six-foot (two meter) rule in Galápagos National Park, though the iguanas rarely follow this guideline. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to get up close to snap […]

  3. Darla Smith
    November 29, 2014, 6:24 pm

    Loved your pictures. I am looking for information on the green iguana.

    It would be nice if you would label the photos so people can know what they are looking at.

    Thank you,