Galapagos Islands: Check it off your bucket list

Evolution of Travel > Blog > general > Bucket_List > Galapagos Islands: Check it off your bucket list

Click Play on the “card” above to listen to this week’s article

You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth to find treasure. . . it can be found at the equator, actually. And the treasure? Species of reptile, birds, mammals and other living things that don’t exist anywhere else except for this archipelago at the intersection of four ocean currents: Humboldt, Cromwell, Peruvian or Equatorial, and Panama Currents. Meet the Galapagos Islands National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve.

Galápagos is a rare and magical place. And the most welcoming place to be after the year our species has had.

Topographical map, Courtesy of Pixabay

In the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles west, off the coast of Ecuador, you’ll find 13 major islands, six smaller islands, and many other tiny islands over a 23,000 square miles area—where 20,000 of those square miles is made up of the ocean waters between. It’s an area that is so remote that the wildlife there aren’t afraid of humans, which means great opportunities for close-up photography. You can thank a group of volcanoes sitting along the Nazca tectonic plate, which intersects with the Cocos and Pacific tectonic plates, for this beautiful to behold expedition destination.

North Seymour

Follow coastal trails past playful Galápagos sea lions on this wildlife-rich central island. Continue inland through a silvery forest of endemic palo santo trees, where frigatebirds nest, blue-footed boobies dance, and where we may also encounter prehistoric-looking land iguanas feeding on cactus.


Cross the Equator at Volcán Ecuador, northernmost of Isabela’s six great shield volcanoes. Keep an eye open for whales and dolphins, sea turtles and the elusive ocean sunfish.


One of the most active oceanic volcanoes in the world, Fernandina is the youngest and most pristine island in Galápagos— and home to Galápagos penguins and the largest marine iguanas. Hikes ashore lead across impressive recent lava flows.


See swallow-tailed gulls, Española mockingbirds, Nazca boobies and, seasonally, the world’s only population of waved albatross in this birdy paradise, also home to vividly colored marine iguanas. Watch sea lions on the wide sand beach, and snorkel offshore, at Gardner Bay.


Follow a trail past a rose pink-tinted lagoon frequented by flamingos. Snorkel among sea lions and abundant fish, or cruise along Champion Islet by Zodiac. Visit the famous barrel at Post Office Bay.

Santa Cruz

Visit Puerto Ayora, the largest town and headquarters of both the Galápagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station. See the monument to Lonesome George, and tour the giant tortoise breeding corrals. See the giant tortoises roaming in the wild in the lush, green highlands.


Climb the steps to the summit of this 300-foot volcanic wonderland for stunning views. Explore, swim and snorkel from the beach. You might even see Galápagos penguins, one of world’s rarest.


Explore tide pools and look for fur seals sheltered in quiet grottos of black basalt. Swim, snorkel, kayak, and paddleboard along Santiago’s spectacular coast, and explore an enchanting coastal forest where Charles Darwin once walked.


Sail across the Equator to the remote northern realm of the Galápagos, surrounded by warmer tropical waters.

San Cristobal

Search for red-footed boobies and the endemic mockingbird and lava lizard—found only on this easternmost island, and dig your toes into the powdery white sand at a gorgeous beach fronted by iconic Kicker Rock. Explore Baquerizo Moreno, where sea lions thrive in the middle of town.

What You Need to Know

Even though the area has a temperate year-round climate, you’ll want to make sure you understand which of the two seasons in the Galapagos you’ll encounter: hot season (warmer, more humid, December – May) and dry season (little cooler, June – November). With either season, you’ll want to be sure to pack the best camera that you have—and you might want to make sure it can go underwater.

There are options for both land and sea adventures in the Galápagos, ranging from ultra-luxury to camping under the stars.

I invite you to visit the Galápagos, and experience all its wonder. And to go as far in real life as you have in your imagination this past year. Expect the unexpected in the magical islands of Galápagos. Surrounded by wildlife on land and at sea, you never know what might happen.

Contact me today plan your Galapagos Islands adventure.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll just end with these.

Penguins Galapagos
Penguins Galapagos, Rosa Maria Vidal @ flickr
Yellow Galapagos land iguana
Yellow Galapagos land iguana, Brett Elliott @ flickr
Blue footed boobies
Blue footed boobies, Anne and David @ flickr
Galapogos giant tortoise
Galapogos giant tortoise, sarahharding @ pixabay