Located approximately 600 miles west of the Ecuadorian mainland, the Galapagos Islands not only are home to many of the world’s endangered species, but they are also a tropical escape away from your boring, everyday life. With an average temperature between 69°-84°F all year round and an abundant mix of marine life due to the convergence of three oceanic currents makes the Galapagos Islands (which are between 3 and 10 million years old) an exotic and once-in-a-lifetime vacation.
First off, I want to provide a little history about the islands. The species on the Galapagos were studied by Charles Darwin during his voyage of the beagle. His observations and collections contributed to his theory of evolution by natural selection. In 1959, the Ecuadorian government declared 97.5% of the archipelago’s land area a national park, except the already colonized English and Spanish areas. In 1986, the 27,000 square miles surrounding the islands were declared a marine reserve (second in size only to the Great Barrier Reef). It was also recognized as a marine sanctuary in 1990, protecting animal life from illegal fishing activities.
Now, out of the all the places in the world that I could travel to, why would I choose the Galapagos islands? First off, if I want to get away from reality, I want to be at a beautiful place in the middle of nowhere. With the next possible human civilization being 600 miles away, the islands fit that description. Not to mention, the islands are located in a tropical area, I am all for warm weather.
Second, the islands are the only place in the world where you can get up close and personal to some of the world’s rarest animals:
The Marine Iguana
The blue-footed booby
I would love to see these species in their natural habitat, especially if they are going to die out in the next few years or so. It’s not every day where you get to see multiple endangered species that are not behind cages or bars. I would also love to observe and swim with the Galapagos tortoises, which on an average have a lifespan of 150 years or more (did I mention that Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies of all time!?).
Finally, even if visitors see all of the wildlife that the Galapagos has to offer, they can explore other types of nature. Whether it’s snorkeling at Devil’s Crown or climbing the Alcedo Volcano, vacationers will never be bored. Don’t get me wrong, I love R&R, but only in small doses. I love being active and get antsy after sitting on a beach for more than three hours at a time. For those who want to do more than just sit in the sand for days at a time, the Galapagos is the perfect place for you.
In my lifetime, I hope to visit the Galapagos Islands some day and hang out with all of the endangered species in nature’s ultimate playground. This once-in-a-lifetime experience is too difficult to pass up!