The Galapagos | Paradise for Nature Lovers
There is no place on earth like the Galapagos islands. It is a safe bet that you will fall in love with these volcanic islands and their inhabitants.
Formed by lava erupting from the ocean floor, this unique archipelago lies some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. With 19 islands and 100 islets, the Galapagos are easiest to cover via a cruise, especially if your time is limited. Multiple options abound, from small sailboats to luxury cruise ships that carry 100 passengers.
Any month is a good time to travel to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. A stop at the Charles Darwin Foundation (early in the day to avoid the heat) is a must for any visitor to these islands. You’ll be impressed and enlightened by the many conservation efforts of the foundation and Galapagos National Park. And don’t miss the giant tortoise and land iguana breeding centers.
The Galapagos are a diver’s paradise. Dolphins, sea lions, penguins and sea turtles are just some of the creatures you’ll encounter. And this is one of the only places in the world where you can dive with schools of sharks.
Meanwhile, Ecuador, which annexed the Galapagos in the 1830s, makes the perfect companion destination. Home to the Amazon rainforest, the highland Andes, the Pacific coast and the Galapagos archipelago, this South American nation is rich in diverse ecosystems. Did you know that Ecuador also has more bird species per square mile than any other country? Within easy reach of Ecuador’s natural areas are the colonial cities of Quito and Cuenca. Both World Cultural Sites, they are well worth a visit.