It’s 6:30 am and a sea lion is playfully swimming in circles in front of me. A few strokes towards the peer and I almost run into a marine iguana making its way to the ocean before getting back to dry land in time to catch the first rays of sunlight. Why visit the Galapagos Islands? For moments like this… and 10 other reasons. Keep reading at your own risk, you might just feel the urge to book a flight to the Enchanted Islands ASAP!
What distinguishes the Galapagos Islands from other tropical paradises is without a doubt its wildlife. No matter where you are in the islands, you are bound to see endemic species roaming around. The islands’ isolation and lack of predators created a unique environment for nature to thrive, and that’s the number one reason to plan a visit to Galapagos. After all, it is your only chance to encounter endemic species such as the Galapagos tortoises, marine iguanas, fur seals, finches, and penguins, between others (and that’s a pretty good excuse in my book).
Ever fantasized about living your own Robinson Crusoé-style adventure? The Galapagos’ pristine beaches will give you the impression to be lost in the middle of nowhere (which technically, you are). Left to hang out with sea lions, crabs and sea turtles with nothing else to do but snorkeling… Sounds dreamy, right?! This is all possible because visits to most islands are strictly controlled, only allowing a few boats to be present at a time at one location.
If you think that the Galapagos Islands look beautiful on the surface, wait until you jump in the water and discover a whole new world. The islands are one of the best places to snorkel or scuba dive, depending on your technique and desires. Fear not if you’re not a professional scuba diver, most of sea life comes near the surface to feed so there’s no need to go deep to make beautiful encounters underwater.
The Galapagos Islands are also a unique opportunity to learn more about our world and Darwin’s theory of evolution from the place that inspired it. To this day, researches are still conducted on the islands and truth be told, roaming through its volcanic landscapes, you do feel like you are somehow witnessing history.
Sure, white sand beaches are nice. But have you ever heard of lava beaches? From old lava flows, volcanic rocks to lava tunnels, in the Galapagos, everything around you reminds you of the islands’ volcanic origin. Heck, the rocks even gave their name to some endemic species like the lava lizard or lava gull!
Hiking opportunities are everywhere in the Galapagos, and at times even required to reach its remote gems like Las Grietas or Tortuga Bay. Whether you fancy a volcano adventure, hanging out in the highlands among giant tortoises or relaxing on a pristine white sand beach, get ready to work for it (it will make the destination even sweeter!).
The desert-like landscapes in Galapagos aren’t what you would expect from tropical islands located in the pacific ocean. Yet those sceneries have a beauty of their own. Formed by volcanic activity between 3 million and 5 million years ago, the islands are still relatively young geologically speaking and provide another opportunity to learn more about how our planet works.
There is no best time to visit the Galapagos Islands. Although there are two seasons: the wet season (from January to June) and the dry season (from July to December), there is no significant change in temperature. Therefore, what will determine when you visit the islands isn’t so much the weather but rather what kind of species (eg. humpback whales) or phenomenons (mating, nesting), you want to witness.
Wherever you are in the islands, you will always be reminded that nature comes first here. Have it be the sea lions resting on the port’s benches or the marine iguanas catching sunlight in the middle of the sidewalk. Human beings are guests in this ecosystem, which is precisely what makes the Galapagos Islands such a unique travel destination.
Once in a Lifetime
Finally, there is just simply nowhere else like the Galapagos Islands. Darwin was one of the first to notice their singularity, and now it is up to you to enjoy their charms responsibly. If Galapagos wasn’t on your bucket list yet, I’m sure you’ve already added it to the top by now!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, and that it gave you major wanderlust. If you have any questions about visiting the islands, let me know in the comments and I will answer as best I can! I truly loved my time in the islands and hope that you will too.
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