My travel regrets have been few and far between, but not going to the Galapagos on my first foray to South America was a big one. Why didn’t I go!? I’d been dreaming of it for years, I was so close yet I let my frugality win as I was a young backpacker on a $20 per day budget. I could’ve borrowed money, I could’ve used my credit card…but I didn’t. A decision I regretted immediately as I left Quito. Would I ever have the chance to go again? As luck would have it, I did, but not until almost a decade later.
I was leading a group in Ecuador years after my first visit and was determined to go to the Galapagos. Using my power of persuasion in combination with a big smile, I somehow managed to schmooze my way onto the Galapagos portion of the tour. It was a feat no other tour leader had done before. Wahoo! Would the islands live up to my expectations? Would the animals still live without fearing humans? Would I get to see the finches, boobies, and giant tortoises? Yes. Yes. Yes. In fact when I saw my first blue-footed booby from our panga (small motorized boat), I nearly jumped out exclaiming, “Look, it’s a booby! A BOOBY!” Most of my group members happily snapped their photos though few shared my level of excitement or enthusiasm. I was so stoked…I mean come on, when is it socially acceptable to shout that sort of thing but at that particular moment?
The Galapagos Islands certainly did not disappoint and their star performers surpassed my expectations. Sea lions played below as I snorkelled, Galapagos finches flitted, penguins waddled, marine iguanas did push-ups, boobies danced, Sally Lightfoot crabs scuttled, frigates soared, hammerhead sharks lurked, flightless cormorants dove, and the gentle giant tortoises lumbered. The proximity and abundance of wildlife, blew my mind. Though these islands are home to about 30 000 inhabitants and host 200 000+ visitors a year, animals went about their business in a utopian manner seemingly not bothered at all by human paparazzi. Human footprints are kept to a minimum through strict regulations and conservation efforts.
I’ve been fortunate to have heaps of amazing adventures over the years, but my trip to the Galapagos Islands ranks right near the top. Following in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and seeing the finches that were integral to his Theory of Evolution, were highlights for me. I also had the good fortune of meeting Lonesome George; the slow-moving fellow was the face of the Galapagos Island conservation efforts as he was the last of his sub-species and a confirmed bachelor until his dying day. The impact of his passing was felt worldwide as we witnessed another species permanently disappear from our planet.
Do yourself a favour and travel to the Galapagos. You do not need to be an ornithologist nor an evolutionary biologist to be captivated by the significance of the Galapagos. It is the land that time forgot where unparallelled harmony between animals and humans exists. It is an awe-inspiring land surrounded by approachable wildlife, stunning sunsets, and home to friendly locals. What are you waiting for? Visit the Galapagos Islands and find out for yourself.
Explore More Posts
Since my first adventure to South America many moons ago, I have been intrigued by this mysterious herbal beverage that is sipped through a metal straw. Frequently consumed and shared in parks, on buses, trains, and even on horseback by gauchos, Porteño hipsters, bus drivers, families, and groups of friends alike. What is this substance?…
The jewel of South America, Peru will send your camera into overdrive with its jaw-dropping terrain, colourful markets, white-washed cities, forgotten temples entangled in jungle vines, and massive archaeological complexes. The ancient citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the New Seven Wonders of the world…click through the Finisterra Peru Photo Blog below to find…
As a professional gypsy, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to some of the most amazing places on earth. I have been affected by all of the places that I’ve visited but am very aware that not all destinations are created equal and everyone’s personal experiences in those places are…
Dug-out canoe Deep in Ecuador’s Amazon Basin, with sweat rolling down my back, I sat patiently in the dug-out canoe under the equatorial sun’s harsh rays. The surrounding jungle was tranquil in the mid-day heat and not the cacophony of sounds heard the night before. The occasional mosquito buzzing in my ear wasn’t enough to…
Let’s Get Social!
See what adventures the Finisterra team is getting up to.
Bespoke Tours Worldwide 🌎
Designers of unique & transformative travel experiences 🏝
Check our Sustainable Travel faves @worldlygirlies 🌱
JOIN OUR FINISTERRA COMMUNITY
Stay up-to-date with us when you sign up for our newsletter.