Grading Level - T1 Easy
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Best months to go: December - May
The first map of the Galapagos Islands was made in 1685 by Ambrose Cowley, who also named the individual islands. Despite this map, however, sailors still had difficulty locating the islands due to strong ocean currents. The islands became known as Las Encantadas because sailors were convinced that the islands changed position. William Dampier and Woodes Rogers made the archipelago better known to other European seamen who ventured into the Pacific in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Charles Darwin arrived in 1835. Here he began his research into his Theory of Evolution, which led to the publication of his controversial book ‘The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’. He spent five weeks on the islands in 1835, collecting and documenting species for his studies, but he didn’t publish the book until 1859. For many scientists, a trip to the Galapagos Islands is the vacation of a lifetime; to walk where Darwin walked and see what he saw as he formulated one of the most important scientific theories in history.
The Galapagos Islands are famous all around the world as the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s ‘Theory of Evolution’, which he figured out by observing the islands’ unique wildlife.
For many a Galapagos Islands trip is the highlight of any journey through Ecuador and is a bucket-list destination. It has some of the most unique wildlife in the world, including giant tortoises, marine iguanas, and blue-footed boobies (birds).
The world’s only equatorial penguins can be found on these volcanic islands. The species living here have managed to evolve over millions of years and most of our range of Galapagos tours will allow you to observe these charming animals in their natural environment.
There is much more to see here besides the wildlife; the landscapes in the Galapagos are incredibly diverse, with many incredible sights. From the black lava stone rocks to white- or orange-sanded beaches with crystal clear water, the Galapagos Islands are full of delights and surprises!
There is not much knowledge about the first inhabitants of the Galapagos. It is believed that the first visitors were the Chimu people and the Incas from mainland of South America in the 15th century. The first recorded arrival, however, was on 10 March 1535 when Tomas de Berlanga, a Spanish bishop, traveled from Panama to Peru and landed by accident on the islands. The report he gave to King Charles V is the first description we have of the fearless animals of the islands. It is the animal’s fearlessness for humans that has allowed us to get so close and study them.
Of the 21 islands only 4 are inhabited by people and only eight are considered major islands. Due to the islands’ climate, it is possible to see the many animal species unique to the Galapagos Islands throughout the year.
However, there are still two seasons caused by the currents around the islands. In the cool season (July to December), the weather is fresh due to the southeast winds and the Peru Current. The waters can get quite cold and it can also be quite misty.
The Galapagos Islands are a series of gigantic volcanic peaks, created by the movement of the Nazca plate towards the South American plate at a rate of about seven cm per year. The islands are composed of almost exclusively metaphoric basalt, giving the islands their dark grey colour. They do, however, differ from almost all volcanic regions in the world, as the Galapagos Islands do not lie on the border of two tectonic plates.
The Galapagos Islands contain the most active volcanoes in the world and eruptions have taken place on Fernandina, Isabela, Pinta, Marchena, Santiago, and Floreana. Now the most active volcanoes are found on Fernandina, Isabela, Pinta, and Marchena, and volcanic activity may be seen occasionally on each of these islands.
All nature and animal lovers must go to Galapagos. What visits the islands truly extraordinary is that you can see wildlife very close, since the animals have never learned to fear humans. Galapagos island day trips are a great opportunity to see them.
You will have many opportunities to snorkel with sea lions, follow giant tortoises, and observe iguanas. The islands are a haven for sea birds and you can find cormorants, gulls, penguin species that live in tropical waters, albatross, blue and red-footed boobies, masked boobies, and frigatebirds.
Mammals such as sea lions, seals, dolphins, and whales are common. Over 300 species of fish have already been discovered. There are also at least 1,600 species of insects, 80 spiders, 300 beetles, 150 mites, 80 land snails, 650 sea shells and other mollusks, 200 starfishes and urchins, 120 crabs, and many other smaller animals.
If botany is your thing, then Galapagos is a dream come true, as the plants are as fascinating as the animals. In the highlands, you can find many native species such as the Scalesia (‘tree daisies’), tree ferns, bromeliads, and orchids.
If you wander along the coasts, you won’t be disappointed; there are vivid morning glories, mats of bright red sesuvium, giant prickly pear, and candelabra cacti. You can also find tiny Brachycereus cacti growing on the barren lava flows. To the surprise of many tourists, Galapagos also has its species of cotton, tomato, pepper, guava, and passion flower
Bespoke Adventures of a Lifetime
The Galapagos Islands offer numerous possibilities for a Once in a Lifetime Adventure.
Maybe you want to take it easy and enjoy a relaxing holiday style trip, or if you are seeking more active adventures, let us put together a bespoke package just for you and your group, including kayaking, mountain biking, ride a horsing, or snorkel up-close and personal with the world's most spectacular wildlife. The combination of land-based accommodations and travel between islands by small private planes or speedboats give you more time to enjoy amazing wildlife encounters while participating in your adventure.
For more information regarding private group trips
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