Beginner’s Guide to The Galapagos

By Akshata Mishra on Feb 12, 2016
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Sprinkled across the Pacific, approximately a 1000 kilometers off the coast of South America, Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago is constituted of 18 main islands and more than 100 islets. Don’t go by the proximity of it, these islands may be close but are entirely different, in terms of age, terrain and vegetation. Hence, the species that inhabit it are different too. Some of the islands are devoid of vegetation as well, and look like alien lands. The island is formed of undersea volcanoes, studded in one of the most active volcanic hotspots of the planet.

It’s an unexplored territory, still not a go-to for the hippie traveller. We list down here the exclusivities that you can explore and how:

1. The excepting flora and fauna

The islands are full of beautiful and exquisite beings of all kinds, many of them being indigenous. These animals have established themselves well here, not very welcoming to external inclusion. There’s no predators on the island, which renders a lot of freedom to the birds and animals.

There’s pelican, which seems like an unevolved version of a swan, taking small flights to catch the shiny silver fishes in the sparkling blue and green waters.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

On the flipside, you’d be enthralled at the site of a miniature dragon like creature, marine iguana.

You will come across silver skinned, shiny sea lions, lounging gracefully on rocks and sands alike, with little fur balls for cubs encircling them.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

If close by the sea, you’ll find flying fish burst out of the waters, almost taking a leap of faith in the skies, so as to escape the aquatic life of the waters.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

There’s the stunning blue footed-boobies, with designer feet, quite literally!

Image Source: Chris Huggins/Flickr

And the Galapagos Tortoise, which is poised in its encumbrance and age.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

You’ll be stunned at the sight of the red and black beauty of pirate bird and the sharp twists of the pearly white albatross.

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Interestingly, if you happen to visit this place during the breeding  season, you will have the pleasure to see the pink colored iguana, as it intricately changes its color. If you happen to visit Espanola, do make sure to spot the mockingbird, which is carnivorous here, unlike the other islands. It’s probably this raw and earthly appeal of the island that Charles Darwin was enlightened to the "Theory of Evolution” here.

Do not miss out the scenic beauty of South America!

2.  An array of things to do

There’s quite a few means to soak in the exquisite beauty of this natural wonderland. You could either board a cruise and sail through these exotic islands while watching the aquatic life from under your nose. Or you could have a base on the island, where from you can gaze and soak in the exquisite sites. Once you are done gazing, these are the following activities that would interest you about the diverse Galapagos:

  • La Cueva de Gus

Image Source: Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view/Flickr

It’s a visually charming and open air spot. It serves all sorts of snacks, including pizza, fish fillets, lobsters and other sea-foods. A water taxi will escort you to the spot.

  • Dive and Surf Club

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This club has diving lessons and surfing to offer. It can also arrange camping and horseback tours all around!

  • Cerro Brujo

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s a nice white sand expanse. The sand here has the texture of powdery sugar. Behind the beach is a bubbly expanse of lagoon. You could snorkel freely in the turquoise waters.

  • Interpretation Centre

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This is a modern and comprehensible interpretation centre, which explains the history and origins of the island in the most tourist affable way. The exhibits focus on biology, geology and human history of the islands. It calls for a nice visit even if you have been filled in with facts by the boat guides. There’s an array of marked trails to take tour from the center too. Your trip is just not complete without a visit to the center.

This archipelago is thus the ideal destination for explorers and people keen on natural trails and eco-tourism.  

You can reach the Galapagos by plane to Isla Baltra Airport from Quito and Guayaquil. The airport is about two hours from public transport from Puerto Ayora, which is the principal settlement of the Galapagos.

Enjoy other nearby places too: Guayaquil Travel Guide

The Galapagos are "festive” for travellers and explorers throughout the year. They are all hail and alive throughout the year and don’t really have an "off-season”.

When you are finally done exploring this tropical haven, you’d have seen and experienced much of biodiversity, in its various shades and forms. You’d have reached unknown lands, feeling like a castaway and soaking the sun and fresh crisp air. You’d see, embrace and maybe imbibe the fragility of the ecosystem, evolving you as a human being in the process.

What’s keeping you?

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