A Voyage to Darwin’s Land: the Galapagos Islands

I’m off to the Galapagos Islands! Yes, I AM! My friend over at TravelsWTavel was able to find the most amazing last-minute deal and I simply could not pass it up.

the galapagos islands located roughly 525 miles west of Ecuador

The best way to find an affordable trip to the Galapagos is by endless searching and searching, phone calls and e-mails to find last-minute deals. Otherwise, it is nearly impossible to fit in a trip to Darwin’s Land on a budget. It is not hard to find a last-minute deal, because not all the ships fill up each week. However, the tricky part is finding one that gives you the most bang for your buck. When I say my friend and I were lucky, I mean it.  It is nearly unheard of  to get a 5 day – 4 night trip on a luxury catamaran for the price we’re paying. Trust me, we’re reminded that by everyone we talk to about it.

The voyage begins tomorrow and we will be on the luxury-catamaran Nina, which is said to be the best ship sailing the islands right now. Our journey is 5 days – 4 nights and our itinerary includes:

Tuesday: San Cristobal Island /La Galapaguera

pm: La Galapaguera or Interpretation Center:
The Galapaguera allows you to see the Giant Tortoises in their natural environment. Marvel at the tiny babies, or the gentle giants, which, at four-foot, are probably as long as some of your friends are tall. Given the right conditions, the option to visit the Interpretation Center in San Cristobal is available

Wednesday: Española Island

am: Suárez Point:
Often listed as a Galapagos ‘favorite visitor site’, this is a great place to see Blue-Footed Boobies and the Waved Albatross. Like most Galapagos wildlife, the Boobies are so accustomed to life without predators, that they will hardly note your existence. Be prepared for an up-close look at their families, and marvel at the elegance with which they glide through the air. You can also see the famous blowhole, which spurts water sixty-five feet (twenty meters) high. Bring your camera.

pm: Gardner Bay:
Española Island is where nearly all of the world’s twelve-thousand pairs of waved albatrosses nest and breed. Gardner Bay includes a beautiful, white sand beach where you can nap near a sea lion colony. This is a prime spot for snorkeling or relaxing on the picturesque beach as the clouds float by.

Thursday: Floreana Island

am: Champion & Cormorant Point:
Our trail will take us along a beach where the sea lions bask in the sun. We’ll make our way behind white and black mangroves, and come upon a brackish water lagoon where the vivid pink flamingos pose. Then we’ll head up to a remarkable look-out point before taking in the white sand beach where the sea turtles nest. The nearby Champion Islet is widely considered to be one of the best snorkeling and diving sites in the Galapagos.

pm: Post Office Bay:
At Post Office Bay, eighteenth century whalers used a barrel as an unofficial mail drop. In those times ships were often away from home for two or more years at a time. Ships on their outward journeys would leave letters and ships returning home would pick them up and bring them to their homeland. Many Galapagos visitors continue the custom, and you may leave, or retrieve, a letter as well. No postage required.

Friday: Santa Cruz Island

am: Charles Darwin Research Station :
At the Charles Darwin Research Station, you will get to meet what the Guiness Book of World’s Records has dubbed ‘The Rarest Living Creature’, Lonesome George is the last of the Pinta Giant Turtles. In the walk-in enclosure, you can mingle with the adult Giant Tortoises, while the baby tortoise house will allow you to meet little giants, aged four years and younger. Scientists are available to share how they work to keep Galapagos thriving. Afterwards you will have an opportunity to look around Puerto Ayora for souvenirs.

pm: Isla Plaza :
This island is a very special place in the Galapagos; you will find a big colony of Sea Lions, Land Iguanas, and a variety of different bird species. There is a fantastic, cliff-side view of the ocean, and the fascinating Opuntia Cacti forest.

Saturday: North Seymour

am: North Seymour: is a low-lying island with a very large population of Blue-Footed Boobies. It is also home to the largest colony of the magnificent Frigate Birds, whose male representative boasts an amusing red pouch. The first half of our trail is sandy, but as a testament to the diversity of the islands, the second half is rocky (be sure to bring appropriate shoes). As this point, we’ll head back to the airport for your flight to the mainland.

It shall be any interesting voyage to say the least. Exotic animals and locations. Lots of hiking and snorkeling. And loads of learning! My friend believes in evolution whereas I do not. I have asked her if she would like to make a guest-post from her point-of-view and she said she would love to write one. So  you can hopefully look forward to that at some point in the future.

I will be taking notes during our guided hikes and plenty of pictures. Stay tuned for a video as well.

the infamous blue-footed boobie in the galapagos islands

the infamous giant galapagos tortoise

What animals are we looking forward to the most?

Friend : Blue-Footed Boobies!

Me : The Giant Tortoises!

 

More than anything, I am looking forward to visiting a land that I’ve read about only in books. That is my favorite type of travel. To bring the images and words into reality. The Galapagos Island have recently been taken off Unesco’s endangered list for environmental issues and overuse of visitors since the Ecuadorian government made much progress in conserving the land that led to Darwin’s theories of evolution. To be able to visit it is truly a gift and I hope to share it with you once I return. Bon Voyage!

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1 Comment

Filed under Activities, Ecuador, Facts, Galapagos Islands, Global, History, International, Latin America // South America, Nature, Outdoors, Sites, Tour, Travel, Worldwide

One response to “A Voyage to Darwin’s Land: the Galapagos Islands

  1. GE

    Looks like a fantastic trip! Looking forward to your follow-up! One of my favorite spots is Espanola island and its´amazing Albatross! Have a great time.

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