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Galapagos Islands Vacation

Posted on AdventureTravel AdventureTravel, by Giovanna in Destinations, Seasonal Trips. Comments Off on Galapagos Islands Vacation

Galapagos Islands Vacation

Click on the image for G Adventures

A Galapagos Islands vacation is one of the most exciting trips you can make. Here’s where you’ll find some wonderful trips and cruises. Adventure travel at its best.

Galapagos Islands Vacation

The remote and tiny Galapagos Islands located more than 500 nautical miles west of Ecuador were made famous after the British naturalist Charles Darwin visited them in 1835, and years later published his masterwork, ‘On the Origin of the Species.’ The amazing array of animals and birds, land creatures, amphibians and marine species — teaming among the islands represent an incredible cross-section or microcosm selection of all animals on the planet.

Today, Galapagos Islands travel is a popular eco-tourist destination because it remains a natural haven for hundreds of unique species living in an environment long isolated from the rest of the world by the vast ocean.

Click on the images to find wonderful cruises with G Adventures and Intrepid Travel – the Banner on the side has trips to the Galapagos Islands too.

Galapagos Islands Vacation

Click on this amazing image for Intrepid Travel

The Galapagos are a territory belonging to Ecuador, and that country declared them a natural park in 1959 to help preserve their natural beauty, as well as the unique animals and eco-system that exist there. Also, 27,000 square miles of ocean surrounding the islands have been named a marine reserve.

Declaring the entire Galapagos Island system a natural park was necessary to repair years of environmental damage caused by human visitors, who brought “invasive species” animals like goats, pigs, donkeys, cattle, rats, cats and dogs — against which native plants and animals had no natural defense.

The result was a degrading of the landscape and the native species. Many of these alien species were dumped off by pirates over the years. Agricultural practices also caused wide-scale damage to the natural landscape.

But since being protected, the Galapagos environment has been making an amazing comeback, with native flora and fauna rebounding to a natural state.

Galapagos Islands VacationOne of the most iconic creatures of the Galapagos is the iguana. There are two primary species: the land iguana and the marine iguana. There are an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 land iguanas in the Galapagos today. The marine iguana is an incredible creature because it is among the few species of lizard in the world that can live, forage and feed in salt water.

Another amazing creature of the Galapagos is the giant tortoise, the largest living species of turtle on the planet, reaching weights of almost 900 pounds and lengths of almost 6 feet! These monster turtles are known to live for possibly hundreds of years. One famous Galapagos tortoise lived for 170 years in captivity.

The giant tortoise also barely survived the pressures of human contact. Many were killed for food, and others by invasive species. They were in danger of extinction until wildlife biologists stepped in and bred them in captivity and successfully released them back into the Galapagos environment.

The giant tortoise is still listed as ‘vulnerable’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Galapagos Islands Vacation

Among the most popular animal is the Galapagos sea lion, which is exclusive to the Galapagos Islands and will often be seen sunbathing on sandy shores or rock formations. With their playful barks and agile, acrobatic swimming, they are sometimes called the ‘welcoming committee’ for the islands.

The Galapagos Islands can easily be considered a bird enthusiast’s paradise. Here you will find such exotic species as the blue-footed booby, the flightless cormorant, the waved albatross, the Galapagos penguin, the Galapagos hawk, finches of many varieties and more.

The woodpecker finch gained world fame after Darwin himself discovered that this bird could use tools. The woodpecker finch commonly grasps a twig or a cactus spine to probe for insects, much like a regular woodpecker. The woodpecker finch needs to use a tool because it does not have a long, needle-like beak to probe for insects like other woodpeckers do.

Galapagos Islands Vacation

For thousands of years the Galapagos supported no human population, but since the advent of modern shipping people began to settle there, and today some 25,000 people live on the islands. The average temperature year-round is in the mid-70s (F), although the islands have quite frequent days of rain and considerable fog.

A Galapagos Islands vacation will make your travel dreams come true!

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