These remarkable volcanic islands are unique in the world for the richness and variety of their wildlife. Hugely influential to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, a visit to the Galapagos is a once-in-a-lifetime experience of nature at work.
Formed by a combination of volcanic activity and uplift in the last 15 million years, the Galapagos were first used by pirates and buccaneers as a hideaway, and have only had permanent inhabitants since the 19th century due to the harsh conditions and lack of easily-obtained water.
Whether you stay on board a comfortable boat or opt for an adventurous safari you’ll see some of the most exciting wildlife on the planet, which due to the relative lack of predators shows no fear and is easily approached by visitors. Several species are unique to the islands, including giant tortoises, fur seals, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins (the only penguins to live on the equator) and vampire finches.
The islands’ marine life is breathtaking. There are some excellent snorkelling sites where you can swim with playful sea lions and see dolphins, penguins, rays, sea turtles, and even whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) in their natural element.
Here are some of our Galapagos highlights
There are some stunning beaches in Galapagos and quite varied from idyllic white sand and coral to black lava. They are often deserted, save a few sealions, unless they are already out in the turquiose-blue water having fun with snorkellers.
With few natural predators, Galapagos wildlife are easily approached by visitors. Some species are unique to the islands, including giant tortoises. Many have heard of (the now late) Lonesome George but there are other species and various breeding programs in place.
Arguably the best way to visit the Galapagos Islands is to take a cruise. There are many different boats sailing around the enchanted islands from yachts to catamarans to cruise ships with guided visits to various islands made by panga boats.
I have travelled fairly extensively in the last few years but I can say that the Galapagos is the most unique place I have ever visited and it was my most memorable holiday ever. Like a lot of people I have seen many TV programmes showing the fabulous wildlife in the islands but always thought that the pictures were the result of special cameras and telephoto lenses recording from a considerable distance.
To find the wildlife so very close and so utterly unafraid of humans was breath-taking and I am still having to pinch myself to make me realise it was not a dream. The courtship display of the waved albatross, frigate birds with their red throat sac, blue and red footed boobies, iguanas so numerous that it is difficult not to step on them, snorkelling with playful seals showing off their aquatic prowess and the sedate lumbering giant tortoises will long remain in my memory.
Your recommendation of the Mary Anne was spot on. As you know I had been looking for sometime for a boat that did not charge a single supplement and it was down to you that I found the Mary Anne which ticked this box. In addition, being a sailing craft, it was completely different to all the other boats sailing around the Islands which made the voyage even more spectacular. Everything on the boat was first class from the cabins, the meals, to the wonderful crew. Above all the route taken on this cruise took us to some of the more remote islands where the best of the wildlife was to be found. Other people I spoke to later in my holiday who had been on other more central cruises had not seen half the wild life that we had come across.
As to the organisational side of the trip I have nothing but praise for the excellent service provided by Last Frontiers, from the initial advice and help you gave me in the planning stage to the actual delivery of the cruise. The choice of the Wyndham hotel in Guayaquil was ideal for the short stay I had, very luxurious accommodation with a good selection of restaurants very close to the hotel. I will certainly recommend your company to my friends. Sorry to have written at such length but that is what happens when one experiences the holiday of a lifetime! Thanks again for all your help. - PC