10 Reasons to Visit the Galapagos Islands
Are you thinking to visit the Galapagos Islands? Here are ten reasons why to travel to the Ecuadorian archipelago, one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The Galapagos Islands have an aura of a place which is for many out of reach. We are not afraid to say that the well-famous archipelago in the Pacific Ocean is a long-desired and dreamed destination for every traveler all around the world.
Although the Galapagos isn't (and probably will never be) the cheapest and the easiest accessible place in the world, it still attracts an unbelievable number of visitors (although there is a strict limit how many people can arrive in the Galapagos). The Galapagos Islands are for sure not a budget-friendly travel destination, but there are many ways how to arrange your best week (or more) in the paradise - from cruising the archipelago and living on board to making day trips from one of the inhabited islands.
You have most likely already heard or read all superlatives the Galapagos Islands can offer to its visitors. But if you still hesitate if the money and time will be worth it, we've put together a list of ten reasons why you should visit the Galapagos Islands. After reading it, we believe that there won't be any more hesitation.
Simply put, Galapagos Islands should be on every travelers itinerary, while visiting Ecuador.
#1 Pristine Beaches
You might come to the Galapagos Islands to see the wildlife, but we must mention the beaches first. The long stretches of white fine sand are on almost every island and although you probably won't have that much time to lay down and relax here (because there is so much to do; we are looking at you cute sea lions), only walking on those beaches from one end to another is an unforgettable experience. Do not expect bars, deck chairs or umbrellas - beaches on the Galapagos have nothing in common with those crowded and touristy places from travel catalogs - it is different, calm world.
When we were going to the Galapagos Islands, we suspected that the wildlife would be something unique and marvelous. What we could not know was that these superlatives would get a new dimension on the Galapagos.
All animal species from birds, iguanas, sea lions, tortoises, crabs to fish are almost incredible, and nothing can prepare you on their natural behavior which is so dissimilar from the behavior of animals we can know from our home countries. The Galapagos animals don't fear human at all so you can get incredibly close to them (or them to you) and take pictures of a lifetime.
#3 Snorkeling and Diving
Not only wildlife on the mainland is super-interesting, but it is also worth it to have a look under water. The Galapagos Islands are also known as a perfect snorkeling and diving destination. We did not try diving but can only confirm that snorkeling is something you shouldn't miss. There are two seasons on the Galapagos - approximately a half year when the water is warm and the other half when the sea is colder and rougher. Although we visited the islands in the colder season, wearing a wetsuit was sufficient enough to enjoy snorkeling comfortably.
You can see many specious of fish, sharks, manta rays, swim with playful sea lions but the highlights for us were huge turtles we could see in the waters of the Galapagos.
#4 Island Hikes
There are several designated paths on islands of Galapagos which will walk you through a unique landscape and will help you understand better the process of evolution not only of the islands but also of the fauna and flora which live here in unbelievable symbiosis.
The most of hikes are short, and visitors are not allowed to walk on the islands on own, so you will need a certified guide to show you around. Hikes were one of our favorite activities we did on the Galapagos as it usually combined the exploration of almost barren volcanic islands and also watching of wildlife.
Love hiking? Read our guide of most popular trek in Ecuador - Quilotoa Loop.
#5 Views and Landscape
One of the most photographed and must-see views on the Galapagos Islands is the one on Bartolome Island. The volcanic island with harsh conditions offers the well-worth view of black lava covered with vegetation which slowly descends into the water with the Pinnacle Rock in the background. But not only Bartolome is what you should be looking forward to seeing. Islands of the Galapagos Islands are unique and also unlike each other that you will remember every one forever.
#6 All Year Round Destination
Believe it or not, the Galapagos Islands are all year round destination, and in this case, it is not only the marketing trick. Although nowadays every destination would like to have the privilege to say that you can arrive anytime and have the similar experience, unfortunately not everywhere it is true.
The Galapagos Islands have two seasons - wet and dry. The wet season is usually warm and sunny except for a short afternoon shower while the dry season is colder (understand that the temperatures are mild, still around 24 degrees), the sea is rougher, but it does not rain apart from an occasional mist (garua) above the mainland.
When it comes to a season, you should only take into account in what stage you would like to see the animals if this is important for you.
#7 It Is Once In a Lifetime Experience
No matter how dramatic this can sound, visiting the Galapagos Islands is once in a lifetime experience. And this reason is probably the main one why so many people are so driven to see this destination. We won't tell you it is not expensive, because it is (although there are ways you can make your trip cheaper). But this should not keep you away. The fauna and flora on the islands are unlike anywhere else, and if you want to see it, you simply need to visit the Galapagos.
#8 You Will Gain Knowledge
The visit to the Galapagos Islands is not only about relaxing, enjoying excellent beaches or photographing wildlife. It is also about learning and gaining knowledge about the unique habitat. Exploring the Galapagos Islands goes hand in hand with education, and we found it great to get all the information from our guides about the special place on the planet Earth we had a chance to visit.
The Galapagos Islands is a place which inspired Charles Darwin to lay the foundations for his revolutionary evolution theory and the theory of natural selection, and now travelers get the opportunity not only to see the islands but also be educated about the interesting processes happening all around the Galapagos, and it would be a shame not to take this advantage.
#9 Sustainability and Responsible Traveling
Lately, we could read quite a lot of sad news about places (especially in Southeast Asia) which had to be closed for the public because the irresponsible tourism has destroyed those destinations.
The Galapagos Islands National Park management realizes how fragile the environment on the islands is and takes all precautions to save and restore this place. If you are looking for a destination where sustainability and responsible traveling are not only plain words, come to the Galapagos. The number of visitors along with places which can be visited are strictly monitored and the main focus on quality over quantity.
#10 It Is Awesome
If you need any other reason why to visit the Galapagos Islands, we'll give it to you. It is simply awesome and for us, cruising the archipelago for a week, was one of the best travel experiences we've ever had.
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