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Attention intrepid travellers…
The Galápagos Islands might be a household name, but what do you really know about them (other than the Charles Darwin story)? The islands are home to one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, which means there are some spectacular things to see and experience, you just have to know what to look out for. Not sure? Don’t worry, we can help…
1. Swim with a giant sea turtle
Think you’ve already experienced snorkeling with turtles? Forget everything you know. The turtles you see on the Galápagos Islands are enormous. At Los Túnneles on Isla Isabela you’ll get to meet the kings of turtle civilization, and to swim with them side by side is a priceless experience.
2. Taste Galápagos lobster
You can eat delicious fish to your heart’s content on the Galápagos Islands but if you’re out to try something truly special, the Galápagos lobster is not to be missed. The best place for lobster is Charles Binford Street in Puerto Ayora on Isla Santa Cruz. Every evening the street turns into a food corner where you can take your pick of restaurants offering the best seafood at a reasonable price.
3. Take a nap on a quiet beach
The Galápagos Islands have amazing beaches and more often than not, you only have to share with one or two other people. One of the most fulfilling things you can do on Galápagos is to find a private spot, settle down, and observe the wildlife around you. Spend a moment taking in where you are, it will be spectacular.
4. Snorkel with Galápagos sharks at Kicker Rock
Kicker Rock (or ‘Leon Dormido’ if you’re a local) on Isla San Cristóbal is by far the most interesting snorkel and dive spots in the Galápagos. The underwater life is absolutely stunning; you’re guaranteed to spot sting-rays, tropical fish, colourful coral and best of all, sharks. Kicker Rock will make you feel as though you’ve been transported to another world; the water is also tame enough for less experienced divers.
5. Take a selfie with a marine iguana
The marine iguana is endemic to the Galápagos region; you won’t find it anywhere else in the world, so the chance to snap a pic with one is a rare opportunity. You’ll find them mostly on Isla Isabela, usually sunbathing and relaxing on rocks and beaches. Marine iguanas are very chilled out creatures, they’re not keen on sudden movement and they don’t like to be touched, so keep clam and relaxed when you go in for a selfie.
6. Stand on top of the second biggest caldera in the world
97% of the Galápagos Islands are National Park. When you hike up the caldera of the Sierra Negra volcano on Isla Isabela you’ll see a vast expanse of untouched nature spanning miles in every direction. The Island has no farms, houses or roads, so it won’t be a view that you forget in a hurry.
7. Share a bench with a sea lion…
…if you’re brave enough. EVERYWHERE on the Galápagos Islands you will find the funny and cute sea lions. And you will love them. They move like clowns and make noises like they just emptied a liter of coke. The best thing about sea lions on Galápagos is that they won’t run away from you and they are not behind a fence. You can swim with them in the ocean or sit with them in various places throughout the island. The best place for a snorkel tour with sea lions is the beach of La Loberia on Isla San Cristóbal. And when you walk along the waterfront of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno you will see them hanging out on benches.
8. Race a sea turtle (and probably lose)
Take a taxi to the farm Las Primicias on Isla Santa Cruz and stroll around in the backyard. Here you’ll get to meet some gigantic turtles up close. Their size is impressively deceiving, they move incredibly fast and often without warning.
9. Watch a sunset with some Pelicans
There are some goreous spots for a beautiful sunset, and you’ll never have to experience one alone. Find a spot close to some sea lions, turtles, iguanas or pelicans and you’ll have the chance to witness some priceless moments.
10. Take a picture of some boobies
No, we’re not recommending that you do anything naughty.
The blue footed booby is one of the most beautiful birds in the Galápagos region (and no, not because of its name). With strange blue feet and an adorable face, an afternoon spent observing the booby will be unforgettable. The courtship dance is particularly inspiring…
Have you been to the Galápagos Islands? Let us know what we missed in the comments…
Thanks to pantxorama for the image from Flickr. Please note, all Flickr images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting.
rick baldwin said