12 Reasons to Visit the Galapagos
For lovers of wildlife, there’s no place in the world like Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. If it isn’t already on your bucket list, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best reasons to travel to the Galapagos this year.
1) Bizarre Boobies—The rather awkward looking Blue-footed Booby is one of the most well known Galapagos creatures, but you can also see its Red-footed relatives on the islands. They’re just as strange looking as some of your distant relatives.
2) RIP George—Lonesome George had been fascination for visitors to the islands for years. Sadly, he died in June 2012 at an estimated age of 100-years-old. During his lifetime there were many attempts to breed him with biologically similar females, but none were successful. He was the last example of the Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, and his death is just another reason to see the islands’ wonderful prehistoric creatures before another subspecies dies out.
3) Too big to fly—The Galapagos Cormorant is the only species of the cormorant family which has grown too large to be able to fly. The Flightless Cormorant evolved in an isolated island environment without land predators, and therefore survives just fine with two feet firmly on the ground.
4) Swimming & sneezing lizards—Marine iguanas are the only lizards able swim in the ocean. They sneeze a lot to get rid of the salt they swallow while eating. We challenge you not to be entertained by a swimming, sneezing lizard.
5) On a postcard—Post Office Bay on Floreana Island is home to the tradition of whalers using an old barrel (and the kindness of strangers) as an unofficial post box. It is still used by visitors to this day; search through the cards and take home any that are close to where you live for delivery.
6) Beautiful beaches—Each island is different from the next, but many have gorgeous beaches just waiting for you to join the sea lions and top up your tan. After you’ve explored the island, done some snorkelling, and taken a kayak for a spin, of course.
7) Fun for all the family—The islands make a wonderful family destination, with many vessels and hotels making the effort to ensure children are happy and adequately entertained. The best part is teaching the kids something new while they’re too busy having fun to notice.
8) Snorkel with sea lions—What could be better than making friends with a playful sea lion? Some cheeky penguins, marine iguanas, green sea turtles and colourful fish are also waiting to meet you.
9) Stunning sunsets—With no light pollution and no ugly buildings on the horizon, sunsets in Galapagos are simply sensational. And once the sun has gone to bed for the night, the stars above the Galapagos are outstanding. Enjoy an evening drink while looking above and trying to spot the constellations you learned as a child.
10) Pinnacle Rock—This is one of the Galapagos’ most iconic sites. Protruding from the side of Bartolome Island, the lunar landscape is edged with a white sandy beach and offers a great backdrop for a photo.
11) Delve into Darwin—In 1835 Charles Darwin arrived in the Galapagos and came up with his theory of evolution, leading to the publication of “On the Origin of Species”. On any trip to the islands you’ll see many of the species Darwin saw, and learn all about their fascinating characteristics.
12) Fearless creatures—There aren’t many places in the world you can visit where wildlife passing by acts as if you aren’t even there. Lie down next to a sea lion who has no problem letting you mimic its pose for a photograph. This is one of the results of the lack of natural predators, and it makes a remarkable experience for any visitor.
Alison is our most recent Latin American trip planner just waiting to make your dream of sea lion encounters a reality. Give her a shout if you’ve got Galapagos on the brain.