Like most other popular tourist destinations, the Galapagos Islands can offer pretty much anything a modern traveler might want to enjoy on their vacation of a lifetime. Elegant and comfortable resorts, beautiful landscapes, unique cuisine, pristine beaches, and anything else your body, heart and soul might desire.
However, none of these are the real reasons why the Galapagos Islands are so popular, or why they have become synonymous with adventure.
In fact, the Galapagos Islands were kind of famous before the tourism industry even existed, as this is the place where, in 1835, Charles Darwin was inspired to write down his observations about the unique and endemic wildlife – forming the basis of the modern theory of evolution.
Within minutes of setting foot on Galapagos’ ground, you’ll notice that this place is indeed different, much different than any other place you have visited before.
Spanning 7,880 square kilometers, and located some 1,000 km. off the coast of South America, the Galapagos Islands consist of 13 main islands, which are known to be some of the most active volcanic “hotspots” in the world. Actually, this is one of the few places on our planet where you can walk on lava and witness the formation of volcanic geological history in the form of lava fields, such as those on Fernandina Island.
The rich volcanic history of this area gave rise to a plethora of unique animal and plant species endemic to these Islands, rightfully earning the privileged place that the Galapagos Islands have in natural history. According to UNESCO: “These 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve are a unique living museum and showcase of evolution.”
If you haven’t booked a flight already, we will provide you with more details on some of the items on the extensive list of pleasures that the Galapagos have to offer.
When the strong currents pulled the Spanish explorers to a previously unknown island in 1535, one of the first things that the awe-struck sailors noticed was the absurdly large tortoises, which is probably why they named the island after the “galapago,” which is Spanish for tortoise.
The Galapagos giant tortoise is the largest type of tortoise, and it can weigh up to a stunning 420 kg. On top of that, it is also one of the longest living vertebrates known to man, as these gentle giants can easily reach well beyond the ripe old age of 100.
Another amazing creature that finds its home in these fiery islands is the Galapagos Island Marine Iguana; the only known type of lizard that can dive in search of its prey. In fact, they dive up to 30 ft. and can even spend 20 minutes underwater. They are also the only animal that actually shrinks in size when they go hungry, as a means of self-preservation.
The Galapagos Islands harbor many other types of unique animals, such as the world’s second smallest penguin, and the only penguin that lives in the northern hemisphere – the Galapagos Penguin or the Galapagos Fur Seals. These gentle sea creatures are actually a type of sea lion and they love hanging out on the beach and being photographed.
Adventurous Galapagos Island Vacations
What better way to explore all the wonders of local geological history or endemic flora and fauna than to have some fun while doing it? The Galapagos Islands can offer many exhilarating activities for those with an adventurous spirit.
If you know a thing or two about diving, or you’re a diving enthusiast, you should make your way to the Galapagos, where you can make friends with various underwater creatures, such as sea lions and dolphins.
For thrill seekers, swimming with schools of hammerhead sharks is also an option. Despite being close to the equator, the water in these areas is not too hot, as the Humboldt Current brings in water as cold as 10 degrees.
Other activities you can enjoy include exploring various hiking trails and beaten pathways, which can take you to amazing viewpoints where you can enjoy some of the most exotic scenic views in the world, such as the Scalesia Forest or Sierra Negra – the world’s second largest volcanic crater.
Another fun thing to do while visiting is to explore the labyrinth of underground lava tubes that run deep underneath the ground, throughout most of the Galapagos Islands. While many of these amazing caves are well lit, a good flashlight and a sturdy pair of shoes can allow you to explore the majority of the subterranean caves without a tour guide.
Whether you are a Science enthusiast, you want to meet some sea lions, or just want to relax on calm white sand beaches while enjoying the most perfect sunset with your loved ones, the Galapagos Islands have everything you could ever want and much more, so be sure to book your holiday here as soon as possible!
Ready to explore this unique place? Contact our travel experts to plan your next Galapagos adventure trip.