Galapagos Islands – Ecuador

The Galápagos Islands sit just over six hundred miles from the Ecuadorian coast in the Pacific Ocean. Its isolated, but volcanic, terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species across the Galápagos Archipelago, consisting of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands and over 100 rocks

Our trip included a flight into Baltra Island, with visits to Santa Cruz, Floreana and Isabella islands, each very different.

Pelicans await leftovers from the fish market

Our first stop was the beautiful island of Santa Cruz, where we were first exposed to the myriad of wildlife just living right next to you. Pelicans, grey Iguanas (3 foot long) and seals sit on the boat docks, hang by the fish market and traffic stops as an Iguana crosses the road. You are advised to stay at least three metres from the wildlife, but with no predators, the wildlife seems mostly unfazed by us humans.

We visited the Darwin centre on Santa Cruz which houses a giant tortoise breeding centre and some special land Iguana breeds.
Some breeds of giant tortoises are being nurtured to replenish Livestocks depleted on other islands. Giant tortoises used to be ideal long term sources of food for the sailors on boats travelling through the islands.

Some giant tortoises can live for 100 years or more
Different tortoise breeds can have different shape shells
Land Iguana

We also spent two nights on Floreana Island, a far less densely populated island just a two hour fast and sometimes bumpy boat ride from Santa Cruz.

beautiful Floreana’s Coastline
Mother seal and pup on the beach
Snorkelling with turtles, stingrays and seals
Stingrays and seals patrol the beach

From Floreana we headed to Isabela Island, another two hour boat ride. On this island we visited another giant turtle breeding centre and we also got to see some pink flamingos.

We visited the extraordinary Los Tunneles where old lava flows have created bridges and pools just off the coastline. This area is now awash with so much sea life and a hatching area the Blue Footed Boobies birds.

We snorkelled for nearly an hour in these enchanted waters, seeing groups of giant turtles feeding from the coral, sea horses, sea snakes and white tipped reef sharks, a most exhilarating experience.

Blue Footed Booby bird mating dance
Blue Footed Booby Chick

We left the Galapagos richer people, having lived so closely with so many beautiful and exotic animals in an area of such natural beauty, long may it remain.

Turtle Beach

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