1. Unparalleled wildlife viewing – Nature’s own zoo with animals so fearless they sometimes build their nests or nurse their young in the middle of marked trails; sea lions, boobies, gulls, mockingbirds and finches, and of course the giant tortoises that provide the origin of the Galapagos’ name. One of the first notes Darwin entered in his journal of his time in the Galapagos aboard the HMS Beagle noted the animals had no fear of man and that “fear of Man is learned.” Easy to understand when you’re standing two feet from a blue-footed boobie nestled down on a couple of eggs, or snapping close-up photos of iguanas basking in the sun.
2. Life under the water – It is said by many visitors to these islands that unless you get under the water you have not seen the Galapagos! Marine turtles, a colorful variety of rays, countless tropical fish, garden ells, and of course the unique, and seemingly out of place at the equator, Galapagos Penguin. Sea lions and marine iguanas, common on island beaches, become a new highlight when viewed swimming inches from your face mask! Aventouras’ Galapagos by Sea trip uses only small yachts, accommodating 20 or fewer-passengers, to keep snorkeling and swimming activities intimate.
3. Year-round destination – Spring, summer, fall or winter; any time is a great time to visit the Galapagos, and contrary to traveler mythology, most travelers can book a trip on relatively short notice. January-May is considered the dry-hot season and a prime breeding period, while June-December is the wet-mild season. Regardless of the time of year, the weather is comfortable and you will always see Galapagos babies since different animals mate and birth at different times of the year. Aventouras offers options in terms of cruise lengths (4-, 5-, and 8-day experiences) and extensions to the Amazon and other Ecuadorean highlights like the mountain adventure town of Banos.
4. Unique landscape – It’s easy to see why the first visitors to the Galapagos described these islands as “hell on Earth,” but the dome volcanoes, strips of black lava forming rivers among the plant life, blow holes, parasite cones and pinnacle rocks jutting hundreds of feet into the air offer a glimpse into the past as well as a geographic treasure to enjoy now. One traveler commented that Seymour Island reminded her of the “land that time forgot” for those boomers with memories of “B” fantasy movies.
5. Sustainability in practice – Although most informed visitors first think of the strong conservation efforts to preserve and restore wildlife and habitat in the Galapagos Islands, the people and administration of the Galapagos have made a remarkable effort to impress upon visitors and the native population alike of the importance of sustainable travel; the three “R’s” of the Galapagos – reduce, reuse, and recycle. Aventouras works to reduce the impact of tourism in the Galapagos and all the destinations it visits, and it is proud to be one of the few carbon-neutral adventure travel operators.