Steep yourself in history on Darwin’s playground, the Galapagos Islands. Over 600 miles off the coast of South America, Ecuador’s treasured archipelago consists of 19 islands, just waiting for visitors, naturalists and scientists alike to come explore this unique ecosystem teeming with biological diversity.
As every season provides ample wildlife viewing opportunities, there is no perfect time to visit. The rainy season, where temperatures are consistently in the 80s, is interspersed with warm, equatorial sunshine. The remaining months of the year consist of cooler, cloudy, drizzly days, but still mild, with temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
With so many diverse islands, one of the best ways to tour the Galapagos is via boat. There are many cruise companies to choose from, with varying itineraries that are set by the National Park, both to match your interests but also keeping in mind the needs of the wildlife.
The Charles Darwin Foundation operates many research stations throughout the islands, and as this is essentially a living, breathing museum of ongoing scientific observation, guided tours are a must. Personal exploration, for the most part, is not allowed.
Travel companies must work within the guidelines set by the Galapagos National Park, and guests must always be accompanied by a certified guide when in the park. This does not equate to a shortage of things to do, however. Scuba diving and snorkeling the azure waters, rich with marine life, is one of the most popular attractions offered by tours. Special arrangements can also be made for fishing for personal use. Guided hikes give an overall sense to the ecosystem and can be done on horseback.
A trip to the Galapagos isn't inexpensive, but it is a trip of a lifetime, and with the expert guidance of any number of qualified tour companies, visitors will not be disappointed.
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