Ecuador's famous volcanic islands where the wildlife has no fear of mankind. A wildlife lover's paradise.
We went swimming with sea lions, sea turtles and hammerhead sharks, wow! We also loved kayaking in beautiful surroundings and being up close to a female albatross and her (almost flying) chick.
The Galapagos Islands give you an unmissable opportunity to spend time with animals and birds that have not learnt to fear man, enabling close encounters and some very special experiences. Guided walks, kayaking and snorkelling enable you to enjoy wildlife in different habitats and the experience of your guide is invaluable in distinguishing between species and learning about the entire ecosystem. You’re sure to succumb to the charms of the enchanted islands.
- A world of natural wonder: Highlight follows highlight as you marvel at a marine iguana atop a rock, albatrosses and frigatebirds circling overhead and brightly coloured Sally Lightfoot crabs in the rock pools. Walking trails take you lagoons and viewpoints and up in the highlands you come across giant tortoises.
Tall prickly pear cacti whose nutritious fruits attract land iguanas to the colour-changing sesuvuim that carpets the ground. The ocean teems with life, fish, rays, turtles and reef sharks to mention just a few.
- A choice of activities: You can pack a lot into your Galapagos holiday. Guided walks, hikes to hilltop vantage points or crater rims or even through lava tunnels, and mountain bike rides take you through varied terrain by the coast and down from the highlands. Explore the marine world on panga rides along the shore and into mangroves, kayaking, SUP and snorkelling. Diving can be arranged, too.
- Volcanic legacy: The islands are volcanic in origin, created by eruptions. You can see evidence of this as you explore. Watch as you walk, you may be treading on a lava flow, some ancient and some as recent as 100 years ago. Look for the tell-tale swirls and jagged surfaces. Other features such as lava tuffs and cones were formed as molten lava rapidly cooled. Some lava tunnels are large enough for you to walk through.
- Boat or hotel? Sailing around the archipelago on a yacht, catamaran or larger ship is a popular way to explore different islands and relax in comfort between activities looked after by the crew. There’s a wide choice of vessels from budget to top-end accommodating from 12 to 100 passengers so you can find your ideal match. There is an increasing number of hotels and lodges providing a range of land and water-based activities and varying in style from a rustic beachfront lodge to a luxury hotel. You can ring the changes by staying at two or three properties in different locations or on different islands to allow you to experience more facets of the Galapagos.
- Families are welcome: This is a superb destination for children and families. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a better introduction to the natural world than a Galapagos holiday, guaranteed to kick start an interest that may last a lifetime. Children are welcomed on many boats and some have dedicated family cruises with specialist guides and activities. Equally many hotels and lodges cater for families and can arrange excursions with youngsters in mind and have plenty of space where all the family can relax between times.