The Galapagos – The Islands Where Time Stands Still
The Galapagos Islands may inspire you to think about the world – and yourself – differently. Many of the animals and birds that live here – many found nowhere else in the world – act as if humans are only a minor annoyance. Because they have no natural predators, these creatures allow you to get up close and personal. You can sunbathe with sea lions, walk with gigantic sea tortoises and snorkel with gentle sharks.
The Galapagos are a chain of 19 islands roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. A province of the Republic of Ecuador – they are fervently protected by the government. The islands existed mostly untouched for millions of years as exotic animals and plants found their way there. Humans didn’t arrive until the early 1800s – the most famous of which was Charles Darwin. He spent 19 days studying the Galapagos and it was there he formulated his theory of evolution.
WHEN TO GO
The busiest months tend to be June, July and August as well as mid-December to mid-January. Because these times are so popular, this is when you’ll find the highest prices as well. The cooler, dryer season is June through November when temperatures can be in the 70s. The seas are somewhat rougher, but the cooler waters attracts even more fantastic marine life like hammerhead sharks and whale sharks.
HOW TO TRAVEL
While there are many hotels and resort properties located on the larger islands, the logistics of getting from island to island in order to experience all the Galapagos has to offer, can be time-consuming and frustrating. Your best bet is to book a cruise. These cruises are restricted to 100 passengers to minimize the impact on the Islands. The ship will navigate from place to place during the night, so you’ll wake up in a new locale ready for a full day of exploration. These cruises can also include more distant islands in the chain, so you’ll see as many distinct areas of the Galapagos as possible.
MUST SEE WILDLIFE
Giant Tortoise. See these pre-historic creatures at Breeding Centers on the islands of Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. There is also a smaller breeding center on Isabela where you can hold a baby tortoise egg and learn about the different types of tortoises that call these islands home.
Penguins. The biggest population of Galapagos penguins – as well as a large percentage of giant tortoises – can be found around Tagus Cove on Isabela.
Marine Iguanas. Fernandina – the youngest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos – has the largest colony of marine iguanas and also a large sea lion colony near Punta Suarez. You can also spot flightless cormorants on this island.
Albatross. Punta Espinosa in Espanola is the place to see this large seabird with a wingspan of up to 8 feet! Almost the entire Albatross population nests on Espanola from April through November.
Blue Footed Boobies. These large seabirds are the most common and frequently seen across the Galapagos. They are known for their vivid blue feet which the males use to attract a mate.
Check out this great itinerary to the Galapagos, then give us a call at 800-463-8646 or visit a local AAA Travel office. We can help you plan that unforgettable trip to the Galapagos or anywhere else in the world.