The Galapagos Islands are rich with wildlife and have been well preserved for visitors to spend plenty of time outdoors. The islands are located over 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean and are home to a variety of different flora and fauna. The setting boasts unique landscapes and friendly wildlife on each island, making it a must-see destination. Learn the many reasons to visit the Galapagos Islands and why the islands continue to be a popular place to visit for travelers.
What are the reasons to visit the Galapagos Islands?
1. Galapagos Tours
One of the reasons to visit the archipelagos is that many tours are available where you can hop aboard a Galapagos cruise and explore different parts of each island. The staff is often composed of naturalist guides who are knowledgeable about the area and can offer their point of view on each region that is visited during the tour. Delicious cuisine is also served on many of the tours, which can be enjoyed while taking in the beautiful outdoor views. Other amenities include wraparound windows, sun decks and five-star service on a luxury vessel. Very few vessels have more than one guide, and therefore, you can pick amongst more than a single activity. Glass bottom boat or snorkelling? Longer walks or a relaxed dinghy ride along the volcanic coastline? English or spanish guidance?
The Galapagos Islands are known for their white-sand beaches where you can lounge on the shore or take a dip in the warm, turquoise water. The beaches are a great place to stay busy with water activities during the warmer months of the year from December to May. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, kayaking and swimming in the water where it’s possible to have a close encounter with turtles or sea lions.
The beaches are often secluded and remote, making it easy to have a high level of privacy in a quiet setting that makes it easy to unwind. Because the islands are one of the most protected places on earth as a World Heritage Site, it makes it easy to avoid developed areas where the land has been disturbed. One of the important reasons to visit the Galapagos Islands is that the number of visitors on the archipelago is also restricted, making it easy to avoid crowds during each season.
You’re sure to have an encounter with the wildlife during your Galapagos Islands travel. You’ll find giant tortoises on the beach or penguins that are grouped together. Many of the animals are relaxed and not easily disturbed by humans, making for a safe place for all ages to explore. This allows travelers to take pictures with the sea lions on the sand or go for a swim with a Galapagos penguin. If wildlife is your main drive, make sure you select an itinerary that includes all, or the most BIG15 species, the “must see” list of Galapagos wildlife, voted by guides and expedition leaders.
The rich marine life makes it a popular place to snorkel where divers can get a glimpse of over 440 fish species and different types of mammals. Crab, rays, sponges, black corals, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and scallops are all present.
4. Authentic Cuisine
The food available at many of the eateries on the Galapagos Islands is diverse with fresh ingredients that are sourced from the local area. Many of the dishes feature seafood such as lobster, crab, sea cucumber and other fish. The island of Santa Cruz Island offers some of the best food with plenty of meat, grains and vegetables that are locally sourced.
Some of the best dishes to try include ceviche, which is fish marinated in lemon, and encebollado, a popular fish soup. Passion fruit, papaya, tree tomato, blackberry and guanabana are also popular types of fruit that can be purchased at local stands in the towns.
Volcanoes are some of the highlights of visiting the islands. Volcan Wolf, Daphne Major, Sierra Negra, Fernandina Island and Genovesa Island are all common places where volcanoes can be explored as a stop along your tour.
Volcan Wolf is the highest volcano on the Galapagos Islands and has angles of 35 degrees due to its steep incline. Cerro Azul is another popular volcano that is located on Isabela Island and, like most Galapagos volcanoes, shows some degree of activity every year.
6. Many Islands Available
One of the most important reasons to visit the Galapagos Islands is that nineteen different islands are available, which will allow you to enjoy a full Galapagos itinerary and stay busy during your travels. You’ll view different types of wildlife and landscapes, and it’s easy to visit a new island each day due to the islands’ close proximity to one another.
Image Credits: Francisco Dousdebés