Explore Galapagos Islands with Elegant Resorts
The Galapagos Islands comprise thirteen main islands, six small islands and scores of rocky islets. Following a series of volcanic eruptions, the islands’ barren landscapes and rugged volcanic terrain became a safe haven for a number of animal species. Here, you’ll find a bizarre mix of oddly integrated wildlife; from giant tortoises, to sea lions, penguins and hefty iguanas. Charles Darwin once famously (albeit, rather unfairly) described Galapagos’ iguanas as "hideous and stupid". He did, however, go on to learn a lot from these blighted creatures. The Galapagos look their most stunning in the early morning, when an enchanting fog engulfs the islands, often merging completely into a misty, majestic illusion. Once on land, the animals of the Galapagos appear incredibly tame; a result of the island’s isolation and centuries of survival devoid of predators, most notably, the threat of humans. This tameness was also noted by Charles Darwin after he somewhat boisterously manhandled the creatures – it’s believed he would frequently ride on the back of a tortoise, pull the tails of iguanas and catch birds in his hat.
These days, the animals retain their nonchalance, although their habitat is fiercely protected. Excursions are always guided, there are strict rules and only a limited number of visitors are granted access at any one time. Nevertheless, there are also numerous opportunities for enjoyment - nowhere else in the world could you snorkel through schools of tropical fish in pursuit of a penguin, or wander the beach with an iguana on your heels, or allow a sea lion to lick your face. A truly remarkable piece on planet Earth, the Galapagos Islands showcase nature exactly as it should be.
Traverse the barren islands on a seven-night luxury expedition cruise on Silver Galapagos or La Pinta yacht, discovering the north central islands or western, southern and eastern islands. Learn about the fascinating indigenous birds and wildlife that live on the islands, such as Blue Footed Boobies, Giant Tortoises, Sea Turtles, Flightless Cormorants, sea lions and iguanas, plus the failed attempts at human colonisation over the years, and enjoy nature treks, snorkelling, bird-watching and walks across lava fields. You can even visit Floreana island to see the oldest post office in the world (reputedly, as the oldest post office is known to be in Scotland!), where you can drop off postcards that can be collected and delivered for you by later visitors to the world-famous postbox, who might live in the same area as the postcard's address! In fact, the 'post office' is little more than a graffittied, barrel-shaped birdbox-type construction, but visitors to the islands come to this tiny attraction in their droves to leave their holiday musings - some postcards have even been known to reach their destination. You can also take trips to visit the famous Pinnacle Rock, while no trip to these incredible islands would be complete without visiting the Charles Darwin Research Centre.