Just over 1,000 kilometres off Ecuador’s coast, the Galapagos archipelago is one of the most important wildlife destinations in the world.
Named after the Giant Galapagos tortoises by explorers in the 16th-century, the islands were famously visited by Sir Charles Darwin, who was inspired by the islands’ finches to pen his book The Origin of Species. Made up of 19 islands, each with their own eco-system, the islands’ unparalleled beauty and remarkable wildlife means they are like nowhere else on Earth.
Isolated from the mainland over millennia and amid the stark volcanic landscapes, endemic species of flora and fauna have made the islands their home and due to the lack of human contact are completely fearless. Today, visitors to the islands can get up close to some of the world’s unique wildlife, and wander the breath-taking landscapes that make up the archipelago.
Iconic residents include vibrant Blue and Red-footed boobies, the Galapagos sea lion and the Galapagos giant tortoise. Visitors to San Cristobal Island are greeted by herds of seals who laze on the island’s pristine beaches, while a trip to Floreana Island is characterised by flocks of bright pink flamingos. The Galapagos is also famous for its penguins, which can be spotted around Fernandina Island, and its imposing Marine iguanas, which are easily spotted on Santa Cruz Island. The underwater world is just as magical; spot dolphins, sharks, turtles and colourful tropical fish as you snorkel or take a cruise on a glass bottom boat.
The Galapagos are best explored from the comfort of a ship, or for the non-seafaring folk, opt for a land-based stay with daily excursions. As well as endlessly fascinating wildlife, there’s scenic hikes, breath-taking landscapes and excellent watersports to be enjoyed here; from scuba diving and snorkelling to kayaking and biking, there are lots of ways to explore this awe-inspiring place.
A visit to the Galapagos Islands is the perfect addition to a holiday to Ecuador; perhaps explore Quito’s historic Old Town or wander coastal Guayaquil’s colourful streets before heading to the Galapagos Islands for a once in a lifetime wildlife experience.
For more information on holidays to the Galapagos Islands and multi-centre breaks including Ecuador, call our Travel Specialists today.