About 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador lies the famous Galapagos Archipelago. It is well known for the rich marine biodiversity and the historic research conducted there by Charles Darwin in 1835. Darwin researched the unique animals that inhabited the Galapagos observing the similarities from island to island, but noting how they were able to adapt to the different environments. His work was consolidated into the famous book 'On the Origin of Species' and ever since, his name has been closely tied to the island chain. This remains one of the exceptional places in the world where it is still possible to have personal encounters with giant tortoises, marine iguanas, hammerheads, penguins, and a vast array of maritime creatures.
The Galapagos Islands are widely recognized for their conservation efforts and dedicated support for ecotourism. Here is what not to miss when you visit these incredible islands:
El Chato Tortoise Reserve
The Galapagos Islands are celebrated for being a living laboratory for evolution where changes and natural selection can be observed through adaptive physical characteristics of species over time. The resident variety of giant tortoises who live well over 150 years have been closely observed over the last several decades and key distinctions have emerged between the creatures based on their access to food on each island. These incredible species have also made a remarkable comeback in population size due to conservation and protection efforts over the last 30 years. Meet these extraordinary tortoises at several reserves around the island!
World Class Diving
From the Great Barrier Reef to the Red Sea, locations around the world compete for prominence within the diving community. The Galapagos absolutely belongs near the top of the list as one of the diving Mecca's of the world! Whether divers are searching for schools of hammerhead sharks, massive eagle mantra rays, or the unique marine iguanas that are exclusive to the Galapagos, this is a dream destination. Some of the conditions at the various locations may be challenging for new divers with the cold waters and strong currents, but the unparalleled aquatic life makes it worth it!
Snorkel with penguins and sea lions
Even if diving is not for you, there is plenty of incredible access to getting up close and personal with the marine wildlife while snorkeling at the local bays and surrounding islands. Pinzon island remains one of the most popular destinations to hang out with giant sea turtles, swim over bays filled with white-tipped sharks, catch glimpses of the elusive marine iguanas feeding on algae underwater, and see the warm-weather penguins taking a dip. The absol