UNIQUE ADVENTURES IN A UNIQUE WORLD
Contributed By Jascivan Caravalho
The Galapagos Islands, a world heritage site and one of the most famous places on the planet, is a must visit for every adventurous traveler. The story of this exceptional archipelago is intertwined with the history of the human race itself. It’s a tale of violent eruptions and the formation of the volcanic islands that played a major role in Charles Darwin’s ground breaking theory of evolution, one of the most important moments in the human journey.
From barren volcanic outcrops these islands slowly developed into the home of a stunning variety of unique wildlife, and thanks to careful control, that wildlife is still here for you to see today. The islands retain their original untamed nature, offering discriminating travelers the chance to enjoy an exciting and challenging voyage of discovery.
With our Galapagos Ecological Adventures program you can design and follow your own path into this fascinating environment. It’s a unique experience that’s not only more dynamic and adventurous – with spectacular hikes, kayaking, snorkeling and biking – it’s the way to spend quality time with the family, actively exploring the islands on a path less traveled. With this special program you’ll have more time to explore your extraordinary surroundings, and more time to enjoy the enchanted atmosphere.
But Galapagos is more than spectacular wildlife and scenery. It offers you that little bit extra. The human touch. Here you’ll be accompanied by local guides who are knowledgeable about, and devoted to their island home. And they’re passionate about preserving it. They’ll show you life here on the islands as they know it. As no one else can. And with us you’ll have more time to get to know some of the friendly people who will make this a really personal experience. This is a truly special way to experience the enchanted isles, the way to get the most out of your stay.
Your exploration can be as adventure filled as you want. As part of our flexible program you’ll be able to kayak, snorkel and bicycle on the islands, avoiding the throng of visitors and the crowded trails. Here you’ll get a closer, more active view of the place that fascinated Charles Darwin and has played an unequaled role in human history.
Galapagos Ecological Adventures offers experiences that go beyond the limits of the traditional one week boat tour with its problems of being confined amongst strangers, the risk of sea sickness and the rush hour traffic of the tour boats. This is a more independent program, with a wide range of accommodation that will suite everyone’s taste – families, couples or groups of friends – and the flexibility to operate any day of the week, and if you choose, to adapt to extensions to your cruise.
GETTING UP CLOSE TO THE ISLANDS’ UNIQUE WILDLIFE
As part of this program you’ll visit three islands and get a chance to spend time with the unique wildlife that inhabits the islands: the sea lions, the giant tortoises, the marine iguanas and much, much, more.
First stop is the impressive Island of San Cristobal. This is the place to see sea lions. There are thousands on the Island, in colonies and small groups, and you’ll have a chance to see them close up as we walk and bike alongside. The animals are surprisingly tame and will let you approach with no problem. The colonies of Frigate birds that inhabit the island and have occupied a small bay are also something to see, and you’ll have a chance to get up close to these spectacular birds with their red chests, as we kayak and snorkel in the nearby waters. Also on the menu is the impressive Leon Dormido, a rock formation that is a great place to snorkel amongst dolphins and sharks, and to be dazzled by a myriad of brightly colored fishes.
Next is Isabela island, not only the largest, most volcanically active and most interesting of the chain, but also the least visited and the most relaxed. It’s four times the size of the next largest island, yet has only 20% of the Galapagos population. Here you’ll be able to get a close look at the very source of the Galapagos spectacular history; you’ll see five active volcanoes and hike into the second largest volcanic crater in the world, Sierra Negra. It’s an awe inspiring site.
On Isabela you’ll get close up to the archipelago’s famous wildlife. It’s all here: giant tortoises, sharks, marine iguanas, sea lions, manta rays, boobies, penguins and flamingoes (this is the only place in the world you can see both at the same time). And for good measure the island also boasts the most extensive wetlands in the archipelago – recognized as a globally important site – where you can visit the ‘Poza del Diablo’ with its brilliantly colored flamingoes.
And as a fitting end to a memorable trip you’ll visit the island of Santa Cruz. Here you can relax and soak up the atmosphere in the charming port of Puerto Ayora, the major link between the islands and the mainland. You’ll swim in Tortuga Bay, one of the largest fine sand beaches of the entire chain, where you’ll also be able to kayak in the turquoise waters. There are lava tunnels and rock fissures to explore, where you can snorkel amongst the fishes in the crystal clear water.
The highlands also have a lot to offer. You’ll find huge tunnels and strange sunken areas formed by subterranean activity and volcanic activity the islands are famous for. On the surface are the farms where you can see Giant tortoises in their natural habitat. And speaking of Tortoises, a trip to Santa Cruz would not be complete without a visit to the home of ‘Lonesome George’, the most famous tortoise in the world.
PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT
The Spanish bishop Tomás de Berlanga, who discovered the islands in 1535 when his ship was blown off course, was the first to call these the enchanted isles. This is an exceptional place, and one that must be preserved for all humanity.
Here conservation is not a luxury, it is essential, and that’s why this ecological adventure is designed to generate minimum environmental impact. It’s a program planned for those who care about limiting environmental and social impacts on these unique islands, and support the conservation of this fragile world heritage site.
This is the pleasant, unhurried, and responsible way to visit the Galapagos. And what’s more, the friendly islanders will help you enjoy it even more.