The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador is a destination that should be at the top of every animal-loving, nature-seeking and beach-wandering traveller’s bucket list. Although it’s comparatively more expensive to other destinations in South America, it’s definitely worth it and will leave you daydreaming about your experience for months.
Bartolome Island is a volcanic islet and is considered one of the ‘younger’ islands in the group. The views are simply spectacular and although it takes a 2 hour boat ride to reach there from Santa Cruz Island, it’s definitely worth the visit.
Marine Iguanas are found only on the Galapagos Islands. They swim during the night and by day, they bask in the sun to warm up and recover.
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise is the largest living species in the tortoise family and live in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island. They’re ectothermic (cold-blooded), which means they bask in the sun for 1-2hrs in a day to absorb the heat through their dark shells before actively foraging for up to 9 hours. They can grow up to weigh over 400 kilos and live until they’re 300 years old!
There’s an abundance of Frigatebirds that can be seen flying across the bright blue Galapagos sky. They spend most of their day soaring on wind currents hunting for food (mainly fish and squid), before roosting on the trees and cliffs at night.
Swimming with Golden Rays was an absolutely thrilling experience. Like birds in slow motion, they moved their wings and floated in a group in what seemed like a choreographed dance – one minute they’ll be swimming in a straight line and then they’ll gracefully form a circular formation the next. If you look closely, there’s a baby ray too!
The Galapagos Sea Lion is almost an official mascot for the island destination. When they’re not gliding in the surf, they’re often sun-bathing on the sandy shores, the port walkways and along the rock stacks by the sea.
Visiting Las Grietas is a must if you’re exploring Santa Cruz Island. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, it’s perfect for cliff jumping and if you want a more serene experience, swimming in the cool ocean water where the Earth appears to have cracked open is something to tick off the bucket list.
The Galapagos Penguin is unique to the destination as well. It’s the only penguin species that lives north of the Equator in the wild.
The ocean surrounding the islands is the home to many Green Sea Turtles! You’re bound to see some if you go on a snorkelling tour and can swim remarkably close as they’re used to having company.
Blue-footed Boobies don’t just have a hilarious name, they’re also very eye-catching with their vibrant blue beaks and webbed feet, making them easy to spot from a distance.
The Galapagos Island waters is the natural habitat for plenty of shark species. While spotting Galapagos Sharks and Hammerheads can be difficult, Oceanic Whitetip and Blacktip sharks are almost everywhere (not for the faint-hearted).
Eagle Rays are majestic creatures of the sea. During our scuba diving tour, we saw a group of 12 float past us!
Isabela Island is the largest island of the Galapagos and there are plenty of tunnels and caves formed by volcanic activity and sea erosion. The creatively-named ‘Mickey Mouse Ears’ cactus trees won’t just make you chuckle, they’re also an amazing sight!
The Galapagos Islands are beautiful all year round, thanks to the isolation of the volcanic islands from mainland Ecuador and their equatorial location. Being one of the few places left on the planet where the human footprint is kept to a minimum, it’s truly a getaway to the sublime.
Writer: Arranged Travelers
Photographer: Arranged Travelers