The Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, is a province of Ecuador, lying about 1,000km off its coast, and considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else.
This archipelago of over 90 islands, and its immense marine reserve, is known as the unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Its geographical location at the confluence of three ocean currents makes it one of the richest marine ecosystems in the world home to unusual plant and animal life – such as marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, giant tortoises, huge cacti, endemic trees and the many different subspecies of mockingbirds and finches – all of which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.
Although Charles Darwin was one of history’s great minds, he probably didn’t imagine the day when luxury ships carrying groups – armed with binoculars and enjoying perfectly shaken cocktails – would cruise his favourite archipelago. But it’s because of him and his inspired theories we all desire to visit the Galapagos. Uniquely populated with animals lacking a natural fear of man, makes it possible for you to observe and photograph these fascinating creatures up-close. Giant tortoises still wander the islands and blue-footed boobies perform elaborate courtship dances. Flightless cormorants, swimming iguanas and tropical penguins are all part of the astonishing array of life here. And this unforgettable experience can be enjoyed on hikes, in kayaks and snorkelling.
An intimate way to explore these enchanted islands is to take a small luxury ship, offering a customised experience and in-depth interaction with guides. The ships do not lack for sumptuous amenities, some offer cabins with balconies, common areas with jacuzzis and all offer world-class cuisine. Landlubbers might prefer an eco-friendly hotel or glamping in a tented safari, both of which afford the rare privilege amongst the island wildlife. And the tents are luxurious and fun, with custom-made furnishings, exquisite bedding and fabulous views.
Why we like it
- A living museum
- A showcase of evolution
- Incredible endemic wildlife
- First class boats or camps
- Snorkelling, kayaking & hiking