Island Hopping in the Galapagos
August 11, 2018
When you think of the Galapagos you probably think of giant tortoises and the evolution of species, a good place to start. Darwin developed his ideas on evolution in the Galapagos and they definitely have very big tortoises.
The Galapagos is a series of small islands set in the Pacific Ocean. Territorially they are Ecuadorian and the route to the islands for most is to fly from Guayaquil or Quito on the mainland.
The island of Isabella which is the biggest sits on the equator. Most of the other islands sit to the south of it, and the Humboldt current passes by creating the climate which varies between islands and created the circumstances where species differ.
Although there are beautiful beaches and you will undoubtedly spend some time on one at some point, the main aim of going to the islands is to see the unspoiled nature.
The natural heritage of the islands is protected and guarded carefully by the Ecuadorian government. Only 3% of the entire land is open to tourists and even that is closely controlled. You must travel on an authorized excursion with qualified team leaders.
Once on a tour, you will find there are rules. Your shoes are collected to minimize the possibility of taking something from one island to another one. Ecologically everything is important. Buy you get the hang of things very quickly, and the moment you realize just how different each island is from its neighbor you understand why it is necessary.
Probably the first thing you will notice are the iguanas, mostly because they are everywhere and they are not frightened of you, or anything else so it seems. They swim, they bask in the sun, and they love hibiscus flowers. If you want to get close to one this is the place to be.
You won’t miss these either, they are big and fast. They live on seafood, for which they must dive, but they don’t like getting seawater in their feathers which adds a twist to the constant search for food.
The Sea Life
The Galapagos is one of the places other than the Antarctic where you can see penguins. They tend to be smaller ones but taking a swim with them is an amazing experience.
Incidentally, the Humboldt keeps the waters quite cool. If you’re swimming off a boat rather than off a beach, you are advised to have a wetsuit. A shorty will do, but it can get quite chilly.
Yes, there are sharks of all sorts. Hammerheads are a favorite and their shadow certainly sends a thrill down the spine, even though you know it is not the slightest bit interested in you.
And the Blue-Footed Boobies
You can see a mangrove swamp, you can be in tropical wetlands, and you can step on a volcanic island where only the hardiest to plants have just begun to colonize. But what you will remember are the birds with blue feet and the daft name to go with them.