If you have waited all your life for witnessing some spectacular natural landscape and amazing wildlife, then Galapagos and Ecuador would be the ideal holiday destination for you. Being remote as compared to the mainstream habitats on earth, this region is home to some unique species like marine iguanas, giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and the world’s solitary equatorial penguin. What’s most exciting is that the Galapagos animals behave in a genuine manner since they are not accustomed to the presence of human beings, unlike the animals in zoos or wildlife parks. The islands, which also comprise the Galapagos National Park, were recently acclaimed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Galapagos Island tours are conducted only by the certified Naturalist guides and the best way to explore Galapagos is to take a cruise journey.
While planning Galapagos Island holidays, you must be aware of the exclusive features of each of the islands – rare bird species, tortoise nesting grounds, interesting geological formations, winding lava flows and the list goes on. Here is a detailed description on what each of the islands offers to help plan your vacation –
- Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz, which is the second largest island on the Galapagos, is home to approximately 8,000 people. Boat building, fishing, tourism and trades are the most common activities of this place and it is the only place to witness six different vegetation zones, namely, Arid, Coastal, Scalesia, Transition, Miconica and Pampa zones. At Santa Cruz, you will also get to witness the Charles Darwin Station where the visitors get to learn about the tortoise breeding and research programs. The lush greenery of this island offers a contrasting view as compared to the other smaller and lower islands with arid scenery. Make it a point to include a trip to Santa Cruz in your itinerary if you don’t want to miss the chance to witness lava tunnels, enormous pit craters and giant tortoises roaming around freely.
- Bartolome – If you have waited till now to witness the famous Pinnacle Rock, this is the place that you must halt at. Being the representative landmark of the Galapagos, this is extremely famous among the visitors and on climbing this rock, they get to enjoy a panoramic view of a number of volcanic peaks, varied lava formation, different moon-like landscapes and much more. Galapagos animals that you will get to see here include sea lions, blue footed boobies, green turtles and the Galapagos penguins. If you want to experience the nesting of the sea turtles, you need to go to the southern side of the beach during the right season. If you are lucky enough, you can also witness a white-tipped reef shark, rounding close to the shore.
- Isabela – This is the largest island of Galapagos and is home to the 5 active volcanoes as well as the 5 subspecies of the giant tortoise, which live in the cloud forests. The massive volcanoes and the dense forests, against the backdrop of the sky, offer a mesmerizing as well as contrasting view to the lower islands, situated in the Eastern archipelago. Small sharks, stingrays and turtles are what you will mostly find in the mangrove lagoons. Make sure you include this Island in your Galapagos Island tours if you want to witness the humpback whales, breaching out of the water, and the playful dolphins.
- Fernandina – Not being invaded by any foreign species ever, this westernmost island of the Galapagos happens to be the most unspoiled island ecosystem of the world. This is a place where you will find the largest colony of land iguanas, and if luck favors, you might also see them feeding underwater while snorkeling. You will get to see the lazy sea lions and wader birds while walking along the shore. Here, you will witness the most amazing and the most awaited sight of the island – the nesting of flightless cormorants. Since there is nothing to kill for food on the island, these birds have to find their foods in the ocean. Their wings and feet have adapted for swimming and are no longer suitable for flying.
So, include all these in your itinerary and experience an amazing Galapagos Island holidays.