The unforgettable Galapagos Islands
If you are looking for a truly unique Latin America adventure take a trip to the Galapagos Islands. The diverse terrain and array of wildlife will make for a truly unforgettable experience.
The Galapagos Islands sit 650 miles west of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean. The islands are an archipelago of volcanic isles span across over 28,000 square miles of South Pacific. In the Galapagos whether on land or sea, there is always a surprise of nature lurking around with giant tortoises, prehistoric marine iguanas, pink flamingos, flightless cormorants and tiny penguins all inhabiting these popular islands.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic isles providing a diverse array of terrain and there are four ecosystems that exist in the Galapagos.
Begin your Galapagos tour by traveling across the central island of Santa Cruz, the most developed and visited of the islands because of its great adventure expeditions. Travelers can explore Los Gemelos (The Twins) which are two gigantic lava chambers where natural lava tunnels once flowed. Santa Cruz is famous for its turtles with Bahia Tortuga one of the most famous beaches in the Galapagos a nesting place for turtles.
After discovering Santa Cruz, head southwards and head to San Cristobal which is home to a wide variety of animals including sea lions, blue and red-footed boobies, giant tortoises and dolphins. The nearby island of Floreana where volcano erosion has created lush landscapes and his home to even more luxuriant wildlife, travelers should take advantage and take a panga ride just off the shore to view some of the stunning seaside views. The island of Floreana is also famous for the Devil’s Crown, a snorkeler’s dream. A volcano submerged under water the Devil’s crown provides a diverse selection of wildlife to explore from tortoise, balloon fish, hammerhead sharks, tiger snake eels, and sea lions can all be found in the Devil’s crown.
Then head to the the largest island of the entire archipelago, Isabela. From the Concha Perla Lagoon, where hikers can make their way to the waters of the lagoon and swim with the sea lions to Puerto Villamil where a tortoise breeding center can be found, wildlife is plentiful on the island of Isabel. Travelers have plenty of options in Isabela but are highly recommended to hike the Sierra Negra Volcano which has a spectacular four-mile crater and then continue on to the Volcano Chico; a more difficult hike as it is mostly across sloping lava fields. Just a few miles away on the west coast is Elizabeth Bay, the perfect location to view penguins as the bay is home 95% of Galapago penguin population.
Finally, travel to the northern island of Genovesa otherwise known as “Bird Island” because of its vast bird population. The island is perfect for bird watching, especially from Peter’s Steps, a bird watching highland that rises 25 miles in elevation. Make sure to have your camera ready because you are sure to see a wide variety of birds including, red-footed boobies, lava gulls, and Darwin finches.