The Galápagos Islands – the name alone conjures up visions of a remote, exotic, and almost mystical destination. In the Pacific Ocean, west of Ecuador’s mainland, the Galápagos Islands’ wildlife has made them a must see destination for naturalists and intrepid travellers.
This volcanic chain is home to some of the most precious flora and fauna in the world, and is one of the world’s few truly iconic destinations.
There are 18 islands in the group and they have a population of just 25,000 people. An indication of how special the islands are is that almost 98% of the area has been declared a national park.
Also 27,000 square miles of sea around the islands is a protected marine reserve. Furthermore the area is a whale sanctuary, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a biosphere reserve.
The numbers of tourists allowed to visit the islands is controlled to protect their delicate ecosystems. And each tourist group is accompanied by licensed guides.
On my recent, and much-longed for visit I saw the islands’ natural wonders for myself. I just hope my photos here do justice to the importance of this magnificent part of our planet.
The islands’ most famous visitor was naturalist Charles Darwin. His visit had a profound effect on the islands and the history and philosophy of mankind. His findings and observations led to his book The Origins of Species, laid the foundations of theories of evolution, and transformed the way that we think about the natural world.
Photos of the Galápagos Islands wildlife
From blue-footed boobies to red-footed boobies, fluffy baby albatrosses to sun-basking sea lions (snorkelers regularly tell of how sea lions swim, dive and play with them), prehistoric looking iguanas to giant tortoises. I found it hard to choose my favourite Galápagos animals. What are yours?
See the bottom of this photo story for more information on how you can travel to the Galápagos and a great reader offer.
During my time in the Galápagos, I travelled aboard Yacht La Pinta. It was a lovely base from which to explore the islands and the crew were extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
The Galápagos Islands are very special and worth making the extra effort in time and money to see. The experience provided me with memories I will value forever.
Special Reader Offer: Follow in our footsteps on a 10-day Ecuador & Galapagos journey of discovery with Metropolitan Touring at the special rate of US$4,510 per person (saving US$2,462 per couple). Quote #HappyInEcuador. Flights are with LAN, the largest airline group in Latin America, which flies to 135 destinations in 22 countries.