Things To Do When Visiting The Galapagos Islands
A visit to the Galapagos Islands is one of those once in a lifetime things. It’s on many of our bucket lists for good reason and is one of the most special parts of the globe to take a trip to.
We wanted to know what to see with Voyagers Travel Company and they happily helped us with the content below, showcasing some the must see things on a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Get Up Close and Personal With Galapagos’ Giant Tortoise
Mesmerizing and lazy by nature, these humble, ambling and gigantic creatures fascinate everyone who sees them for the first time with their size and ability to passively allow onlookers to observe them up close. The exciting thing about them is that they usually mind their own business, and by ‘business’ we mean slowly munching on the variety of green leaves around them. It is an open buffer for the gargantuan creatures, and people who have the opportunity to travel around the highlands of Santa Cruz Island (which are available on our Western and Eastern Itineraries all around the archipelago) get to interact with them in the open, in their home pasture grounds. Alternatively, visitors can also interact with these gentle giants at Charles Darwin Research Center, home to several captivity-bred tortoises. Either way, you will find yourself absolutely mesmerized by these friendly and gentle giants with long accordion-like necks that stretch in and out of their shells quite dramatically.
One activity that’s a favorite around Isabela Island is Concha de Perla, which means pearl oyster shell. One of the reasons why this is an activity you should consider trying out when on the Island is the quality of snorkeling you get to enjoy here. Concha de Perla is a uniquely calm bay boasting crystal clear waters which offer snorkelers and swimmers excellent views of everything that’s going on underwater. One great thing about this is activity is that there’s a lot to see. You could watch penguins dive underwater to search for food, snorkel with turtles or swim amongst all types and varieties of differently-colored tropical fish. Another great highlight at the bay is the sea lions, which love playing with swimming tourists. Sea lions will often tease their human swimming companions by charging at them like they are going to crash into them before quickly darting the other way at the very last second.
People visiting the Galapagos Islands go with the expectation that they’ll see amazing creatures flying, crawling or basking on the beaches. However, what surprises most people is how vibrant the underwater world is just off the shoreline. It is a world that is teeming with gliding manta rays, schools of angelfish, feeding marine iguanas, and docile white-tipped reef sharks. With only a mask, fins and a snorkel, you have the chance to explore the underwater world and closely observe marine life in its natural habitat. That includes magenta octopus, oysters, squids, cuttlefish, paddling penguins, and graceful sea turtles. It is worth noting that there are 800+ mollusk species around the islands.
Just like snorkeling, you don’t need any previous experience to try a hand at kayaking. Paddle along Galapagos’ rugged shorelines and explore mangrove estuaries, stunning beaches, and secret coves. When visiting, make sure you wade through the Pacific to see a variety of creatures that swim the ocean, including Galapagos sea lions and penguins. Please note that you are tourists are required to have the right permissions to sea kayak in Galapagos. You can get your permission from the Galapagos National Park, and remember to follow their guidelines before heading to the water.
Lagoon El Junco
Lagoon El Junco is a unique crater lake situated 19 kilometers from Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The freshwater lake has a volume of about 9 million gallons.
The crater was formed in a volcano caldera, and researchers claim that it was created towards the end of the ice age period.
As a freshwater lake on a small ocean island, the lake gets its water from the heavy rains that fall on the highlands in the year.
As you trek to the lake, you’ll see many white-cheeked pintails, common gallinules and frigate birds. Remember to carry a rain jacket with you as the weather around the highlands is often rainy and misty.
The Charles Darwin Research Station
Get to experience the Galapagos islands through the eyes of one of the most legendary explores, Charles Darwin. Learn the islands’ history and see native and endemic fauna and flora, including the ever-popular Giant Tortoise and Land Iguanas. The station, located in Santa Cruz Island, is the hub of conservation research around the Galapagos islands and has tons of information about the unique and fragile ecosystems that you should consider visiting around the island chain. You could conclude your trip to the station with a stop at the unique lava rock beach which overlooks the Island of Santa Fe and Academy Bay.
Wander Around Puerto Baquerizo Moreno
It is until you walk around this quiet and peaceful town that you will get to experience how calm island life can be. Residents of the town are friendly people and will greet you with a hello and a smile.
The sea lions have, quite literally, taken over the beaches and the jetty, and marine iguanas can be seen all over the rocks that don the shores. Once you hop off the ferry to San Cristobal, be ready to be greeted by one or two lazy sea lions basking on beach chairs.
Apart from it being a home for these unique animals, Puerto Baquerizo Moreno also offers many options when it comes to drink and food, and has dozens of little gift shops that offer unique products to carry home.
The best way to travel and experience the town is renting a bike or strolling around. From 2 pm to about 4 pm, the town is usually very sleepy, and most shops are often closed during these times. The good thing though is that restaurants stay open.
This is the best time to go for a stroll along Charles Darwin Avenue, which is usually empty around that time, or to visit the sea lions at Playa Mann and Playa de Oro.
La Galapaguera Tortoise Habitat
This habitat was commissioned back in 2003 and is one of the best places to visit when in San Cristobal.
La Galapaguera Tortoise Habitat is a human-made, scientifically-backed breeding program for the giant tortoise of Galapagos and provides a wealth of information about the unique species.
The tortoises aren’t caged but roam freely in a beautiful and lush semi-natural habitat. Here, you get the opportunity to interact with the tortoises and is one of the best ways to see how they live and behave in their natural habitat.
If a visit to La Galapaguera Tortoise Habitat is not part of your itinerary, there are guides who are happy to take you through the center and to give you information about how this unique species has evolved and the environmental threats it is currently facing.
A trip to the La Galapaguera Tortoise Habitat was the very first thing we did when we got to San Cristobal, and it was a great introduction to the Islands of Galapagos. The giant tortoises of Galapagos are amongst the main species that visitors want to see when visiting the archipelago, and this tortoise habitat provides a great and unique opportunity to do so.
To keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
Loading up next...