Our top 10 experiences in the Galápagos Islands
With so many unforgettable and unique experiences to be had in the Galápagos Islands, it's hard to pick a favourite. It was a tough job but we managed to whittle them down to our top 10.
1. Top experience... It’s got to be the wildlife. But not only can you look right into the eyes of a frolicking sea-lion: in a dazzling theatrical display, you can watch boobies dancing, frigate birds flirting, and albatrosses coming in to land right alongside their mate after months at sea.
2. Catch sight of a giant tortoise: - not difficult since each is up to 1.5m long and weighs as much as four average men - while they lumber through a highland meadow looking for a snack between naps totalling 16 hours a day.
3. Swimming under the water: The Galápagos offer some of the best snorkelling in the world, with a living world of kaleidoscopic colour just under the surface. You won’t need any special training to snorkel here: from the beaches or a boat, just pop on your mask and join sea-lions, reef-sharks, green sea turtles and tiny penguins.
4. Gliding on the ocean surface: Enjoy the islands from a different perspective: from the ocean’s surface. Set off in a kayak or glass-bottomed boat, ride along the shore in a panga or try out the popular craze of stand-up paddle boarding. Otherwise inaccessible cliffs and water-filled volcanic craters will be within your reach.
5. Ogling extraordinary geology: This is one of the most active volcanic regions on the globe. It’s like the earth’s skeleton has been stripped bare. Climb an ash-shrouded volcano; scramble across twisted lava or head down into lava tunnels as high as a cathedral; watch a water spout in a fizzy display up to 30m high.
6. Having a sporting chance: In addition to kayaking and snorkelling highlights for you sports junkies include exploring hiking trails, mountain biking over rough and mountainous terrain and testing your paddling skills as you interact with a pod of playful dolphins.
7. Discovering the history: The islands are far from the mainland but plenty has gone on here over the years and intriguing vestiges of human activity here are still to be seen. Check out the mail barrel at Post Office Bay and the Wall of Tears built by convicts on Isabela Island.
8. Sleeping under the stars: Camping is severely limited in the protected environment of the Galápagos, but we do have a couple of options for you where you can stay and enjoy the light-pollution-free night sky from your safari tent, veranda-hammock or tree-house.
9. Becoming a Galápagos expert: All Galápagos guides are highly qualified and keen to share their knowledge with commentaries during excursions and lectures on board yachts. The Galápagos Interpretation Centre and Charles Darwin Research Centre are also great places to find out more about the islands.
10. Coming home: It’s a thrill to be able to share your experiences with your friends when you get home. It’s virtually impossible to take a bad photo or a boring video with so much going on right in front of you. Bring enough memory cards and phone batteries!