Written by Claire Hassler
When you embark on your adventure to the Galapagos, you’ll enter a world of “only.” It’s the only island chain that falls exactly on the equator, the only place in the northern hemisphere where penguins live naturally, and the only home to lizards that can swim. Not to mention it’s a haven to hundreds of endemic species. The Galapagos Islands offer some of the best biodiversity this world has to offer, and they’re waiting for you.
Three tectonic plates collide under this chain of islands in the Pacific Ocean, giving the Galapagos Islands extremely unique water and weather patterns that allow it to host an infamously high number of species. You’ll meet all sorts of creatures there, from the deft and slender marine iguana to the gigantic tortoise. You’ll snorkel next to sharks and hike next to blue-footed boobies.
Your journey will start in Guayaquil, a port city in Ecuador where you will meet your travel companions and take in stunning vistas. From there, you’ll leave the mainland and travel to Santa Cruz. The Charles Darwin Research Station is a highlight of this island. Local conservationists offer insight into Charles Darwin’s famous discoveries and share the islands’ conservation history.
Your next stop will be the largest island of the archipelago – Isabela. Here, you’ll see how volcanoes have shaped the land by hiking and swimming through lava tunnels. After that, you’ll venture into the underwater realm of the Galapagos. As you submerge yourself into the electric blue water, you’ll be surrounded by a new world. Underneath the surface is a highway system of colorful coral and darting fish of all shapes and sizes. Chaos rules the day here, and you’ll be able to witness it firsthand.
When you go to North Seymour Island, you’ll shift your eyes from the water to the skies, as this island is known for its bird colonies. You might see large black frigate birds gliding gracefully above you. If it’s mating season, you’ll be able to tell the males apart by the bright red pouches protruding from their chests. Or perhaps you’ll spy blue-footed boobies. Though clumsy on land, these birds have unmatched agility when diving into the water for prey. It’s a sight you won’t want to miss.
Towards the end of your journey – perhaps saving the best for last – you’ll venture to Bartolome Island. You’ll hike to the summit of the island for views of an extinct volcano and Pinnacle Rock, an iconic spearhead that juts from the water at the edge of the island. There’s no better way to cool off after a hike than by swimming and snorkeling. The quiet beaches of Bartolome are safe havens for all kinds of wildlife, so you might have sea turtles and Galapagos penguins to keep you company.
A journey to the Galapagos Islands is truly a journey unlike any other. See and experience things that can’t be found anywhere else on our planet. Your next adventure is waiting – dive in! Join Wilderness Inquiry in the Galapagos this Spring. Call us to reserve your spot: (612) 676-9400.