Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands have a uniqueness all their own. This archipelago of 19 islands was formed exclusively from volcanic and seismic activity and sits where three ocean currents converge. Combined with its isolation from other land masses has led to the unique development of both land animals and marine life. It’s no wonder that Darwin’s theory of evolution was inspired by his trip to the Galapagos Islands in 1835!
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is certainly one that will be filled with wonders you have never seen before – and will want to see over and over again. Make sure you include these highlights on your trip:
Tortuga Bay. Tortuga Bay is one of the top attractions in the Galapagos for good reason: white sandy beaches, great snorkeling, and you’ll see your fair share of Galapagos’ wildlife. Playa Mansa is perfect for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling. You’ll share the beach with some interesting animals, including a large marine iguana colony which are the only iguanas in the world that have learned to swim. Take the self-guided trail through the cactus forest, where you will learn more about the flora and fauna of the islands through informative signs along the way. In the water, keep an eye out for the sea turtles and whitetip reef sharks!
Rancho Primicias. Rancho Primicias is the place to see giant tortoises in the Galapagos. Located on Santa Cruz Island, Rancho Primicias is a privately-owned animal sanctuary where you’ll be able to see the giant tortoises up close and personal (just don’t feed or touch them). Explore the lava tunnels or climb into an empty tortoise shell!
Charles Darwin Research Station. To get a better understanding of the uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands, make sure you visit the Charles Darwin Research Station. Part of the Charles Darwin Foundation, its goal is to preserve and study the Galapagos habitats. The Fausto Llerena Breeding Center allows you to catch a glimpse of the differences in the various species of giant tortoises. The baby tortoise house is especially interesting as you will see them before they are resettled in their natural environments – over 7,000 have been successfully released into the wild. You’ll also see several types of iguanas and Darwin’s famous finches, as well as great examples of the islands’ vegetation.
Concha Perla. Located on Isabela Island, Concha Perla is a calm bay with crystal clear waters that is perfect for snorkeling. The marine life is amazing, and you’ll see penguins diving for food, swim with a variety of tropical fish, and play with the sea lions.
Los Tuneles. Also on Isabela Island, Los Tuneles is a microcosm of the Galapagos Islands. Formed by lava flow, its unique arches and tunnels above and below the water is home to many of animals we associate with the Galapagos Islands – penguins, sea lions, tortoises, black and white reef sharks, pelicans and even blue footed boobies. A must-see stop, even if you don’t snorkel as the waters are so clear you can see most of it from the comfort of a boat.
Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The province capital of the Galapagos Islands, there is a lot to see in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. Make sure you take a tour to Kicker Rock for the snorkeling and view. Or visit Frigatebird Hill if you are up for hiking and bird watching. If you want to lounge with the sea lions, head on out to La Lobería, where you’ll also spot wild iguanas, lava lizards, yellow warblers and frigates and more.
The Galapagos Islands is clearly a nature-lovers paradise. Let Luxury Destinations Concierge plan your trip to this wonder-filled destination. Give us a call at 805-236-4437.
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