Galapagos Adventures- What to Expect
If you are thinking about visiting the Galapagos Islands, give this article a look for a basic overview of what to expect say Latin America for Less experts.
The Galapagos Islands are an internationally acclaimed natural attraction that has had much written about its unique wildlife. Rated as one of the top 7 Natural Travel Wonders in the world, these Pacific islands are the perfect vacation getaway for nature lovers and outdoor adventurers alike.
Inducted into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1978 these 19 islands are considered a living museum. The islands along with the surrounding waters are part of a national park and biological marine reserve to protect its unique flora and fauna. Roughly 1,000 kilometers of the shores of Ecuador, these Pacific islands are located where three main ocean currents meet along the equator. Due to this unique position and the islands’ volcanic activity, the Galapagos are a melting pot for marine life and considered a ‘showcase of evolution’.
To visit you don’t need to speak Spanish, but as the principal local language, it always helps to know at least a few basic words. The 23,000 people who live on these volcanic islands are tourist friendly and proud of their province. Home to the Charles Darwin Resarch Center, these islands became very well known after the famous Charles Darwin visited these islands in 1835. During his voyage of the Beagle, he collected samples and observed the flora and fauna. His research here heavily contributed to the inception of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Most of the islands have been renamed to Spanish names, but most ecologists still refer to them by the names Darwin referred to in his writings and research.
While your visiting your guide will point out the unique elements of each island as well as explain the importance of the protection of each species. You will learn that each island totes its own unique habitat. For example Baltra is a small flat island that is arid with vegetation consisting of salt buses, cacti and palo santo trees. This island is where all private planes flying to Galapagos land at night- but most visitors are loaded immediately onto boats for their cruises of the islands. Interestingly it is this island that was the original home to the land iguana, but the population was destroyed during WWII. Luckily, in the early 1940s scientist had transplanted 70 land iguanas to neighboring North Seymour Island as part of an experiment, saving this species from extinction. The Charles Darwin Research Station reintroduced the iguanas to Baltra in the 1990s and therefore you may spot a few.
Darwin Island is home to fur seals, frigates, Nazca boobies, marine turtles, swallow-tailed gulls, sea lions, marine iguanas and has heavy whale traffic. The oldest island, Espańola is the most remote but has a large number of endemic fauna and a unique wildlife including a marine iguana that changes color during breeding season and the waved albatross. You may also snorkel and SCUBA dive off this island to explore the marine life up close and personal.
These are only a few examples of what to expect when you travel to the islands for your Galapagos cruise. It is highly recommended that you spend a few days exploring so that you can fully appreciate the vast array of flora and fauna these islands have to offer. You will no doubt leave overwhelmed by nature’s beauty and a respect for the ecological anomaly you have just experience.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This guide to the Galapagos Islands during Peru vacations was written by a Peru travel expert at Peru For Less, specialists in high value, fully customizable tours and packages.