Descriptions and photos of the unique Galapagos Islands archipelago
When thinking about making a Galapagos islands tour, you quickly realise that any traveller to this unique and fascinating archipelago is spoilt for choice. The Galapagos islands themselves come in all shapes and sizes, the product of millions of years of volcanic activity, with new islands being created by lava rising from the sea before cooling and solidifying and being able to hold the amazing diversity of flora and fauna they are famous for. Indeed, over the next few million years, there will be brand new islands appearing in this way, and no doubt some of the existing ones will eventually return beneath the waves from where they came.
With twenty main islands to choose from, the intrepid traveller can spend their time in the archipelago hopping from island to island, exploring each one’s unique attributes and the famed diversity found there. A Galapagos islands tour is an exploration of the very essence of evolution by natural selection, and whether you are an experienced naturalist or an amateur with a deep love of nature, you cannot help but be awed by the way the species found on each island have adapted and changed to fit their environments, or by the epitome of natural beauty found on them.
The Larger Islands of the Galapagos
The largest island found in the Galapagos archipelago is Isabela, the only one to be bisected by the equator. Formed into a beautiful seahorse shape by oceanic erosion and volcanic activity, Isabela is an unmissable stop on your islands tour. Here you can see a wide range of wildlife, from the famous Darwin finches to tortoises, marine iguanas, flightless cormorants and the unique lowland vegetation that allows these species to thrive.
Other large islands include San Cristobal, where Darwin himself first landed on the Beagle, and which is a great spot for watching sea lions, dolphins, and a magnificent range of bird life. There is also Santa Cruz, another large island which attracts the attention of visitors as a result of it holding the Darwin Research Centre, and a tortoise breeding programme. Santa Cruz also holds some of the finest hotels to be found anywhere on the Galapagos. The island of Floreana is the other large island, most attractive to visitors as a result of its human history, being one of the first to be inhabited by whalers and fishermen.
Elsewhere in the Archipelago
Of course, one of the real delights and unique pleasures of taking a Galapagos Islands tour is discovering for yourself all of the smaller islands which make up the archipelago. With dozens to choose from, and each revealing a small world of its own, there is no end to the surprises these islands can reveal. Whether you have a passionate desire to see the Darwin finches for yourself, or watch the iguanas feed, or the frigate birds nesting in the rocks, there is an island waiting for your and your sense of adventure.