5 Reasons You Should Visit the Galapagos Islands

Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Galapagos Islands are not like any other places on Earth. It offers the incredible opportunity to walk beside giant tortoises and swim with playful sea lions. As the inspiration behind Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution, it has long been luring wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking active exploration while discovering fascinating wildlife up close. 

Here are five reasons you should visit the Galapagos Islands.

1. To See the First UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Galapagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and that's reason enough to visit this fascinating archipelago. UNESCO World Heritage Sites refer to cultural and natural sites with "outstanding universal value." As a marine reserve known for its numerous endemic species, the Galapagos inspired Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

The Galapagos Islands are an emblem of a pristine ecosystem thriving with unique flora and fauna and countless exquisite creatures - many of which are not found anywhere else in the world. It serves as a living laboratory of evolution, highlighting the importance of environmental preservation that has protected this unique location for many years.

On your visit to the Galapagos Islands, you will learn more about this natural site, which consists of 21 islands. The archipelago is UNESCO-protected to preserve the high level of endemic species that dwell on the islands. You will visit the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, where Darwin performed the observations and studies that led to the development of the theory of evolution.

2. To Experience One of the Most Unique Environments

The uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands is what lures many visitors to visit the archipelago. Their unique ecosystem and endemic animal species have piqued the interest of wildlife lovers worldwide, which are the same things that interest Charles Darwin.

Uniquely located on both sides of the equator, the Galapagos Islands offer a one-of-a-kind adventure. They sit at an area in the Pacific Ocean where three ocean currents meet, resulting in the crystal-clear turquoise water that fosters the archipelago's rich marine ecosystems. In addition, the Galapagos Islands are far enough from each other, making it difficult for plants and animal species to migrate. Over time, they adapted to their environment, becoming endemic to the islands. 

Located over 900 kilometres from the mainland, the Galapagos Islands are among the remotest islands on Earth. The lack of water has also discouraged people from living on the islands, which adds to their isolation.

Trekking is one of the best ways to experience the unique environments of the Galapagos Islands. During your trek, you'll witness spectacular volcanic landscapes featuring black and red sand beaches and distinct lava formations. You will join a local guide who will share insights about the archipelago and the uniqueness of its environments.

3. To Witness the Unique Wildlife

A journey to the Galapagos Islands has never been simpler to plan. As more people become interested in seeing this unique area, several businesses offer excellent Galapagos touring alternatives, and taking a Galapagos luxury cruise is a fantastic way to get up close and personal with the animals while also experiencing the utmost convenience and ease.

The remoteness and geographic isolation of the Galapagos Islands allowed the flora and fauna to develop uniquely, enabling unique animals to exist, from giant tortoises to marine iguanas and numerous bird species. What's even more incredible is that they are not scared of humans, allowing you to get close to them. 

Among the most popular animals you can stumble upon on your tour of the Galapagos Islands are the giant tortoises, believed to be the Earth's oldest animals since they can live for hundreds of years! Considered the largest in the world, these tortoises are about four feet tall and weigh 500 pounds!

While not native to the Galapagos, blue-footed boobies are popular among visitors due to their large size and incredible blue feet. You'll also see other avian species, such as the Nazca booby with grey feet and the red-footed booby, which add to the region's unique and interesting biodiversity.

A chance to interact with the Galapagos penguins is one of the highlights of your tour. These cute animals thrive in the archipelago due to the cold Humboldt Current, which flows from Antarctica. You will enjoy seeing the black and white penguins that are clumsy and cute and are fun to watch.

4. To Learn about the Origins of Evolution

One of the places you will likely visit on your tour of the Galapagos Islands is the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island, where you can learn about the origins of evolution. Established in 1959, the research centre aims to preserve and conserve the archipelago and the animals that live there. 

You will find laboratories that scientists use, but these are off-limits to visitors. However, you can visit educational exhibits and informative displays to learn about the origins of evolution. There are also displays, including shells of different tortoise species that live on the islands. Some days, the research centre hosts conferences and symposiums to spread awareness of the problems affecting the Galapagos Islands.

5. To Snorkel with the Marine Life

One of the most satisfying activities in the Galapagos is snorkelling. While snorkelling can be done anywhere on the globe, there's something special about doing it in the Galapagos Islands. Not only will you be able to swim alongside fascinating marine animals such as penguins, sea lions, manta rays, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and a variety of other fascinating marine animals, but you will also be submerged in an underwater world unlike any other on Earth. Surprisingly, over 20% of these marine species are unique to this amazing archipelago.

Sea lions are among the marine mammals you can encounter on your snorkelling adventure. You will find several of them frolicking along the shore, and you may even have the opportunity to swim with them.

Marine iguanas are another incredible animal you will find while snorkelling on the Galapagos Islands. These reptiles are the only iguanas capable of hunting on land and in water. You will be in awe of seeing these colourful creatures swimming and feeding only a few metres from you!

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