Galapagos Island Vacation Spots!
An archipelago with volcanic islands? Is that possible? Well, be ready to pack your bags, get your ticket and experience a one-of-a-kind vacation experience to the Galapagos Islands.Credit: Wikipedia
The islands were geographically young and famed for their vast numbers of endemic species. The islands are located in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the west coast of South America. The closest land mass is the mainland of Ecuador to the east, to the north is Cocos Island and to the south is Easter Island and San Felix Island. They were, of course, the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. It is consists of 15 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets. The other islands are uninhabited, but are visited by adventure travelers who eagerly photograph the many species living in their natural island habitat. Visitors can expect to be transported to an environment reminiscent of prehistoric times. Elegant folds and fans of solidified lava, imposing towers of solid rock, and vast expanses of white, red, and green sand create a Spartan, hauntingly beautiful landscape. Slate black marine iguanas crawl up the rocky substrate from their marine play place, broadcasting their existence with an elemental release of salt from their nostrils. Can you see yourself there? Transport yourself from the modern world of technical advancements back into pre-historic times with just a plane ticket? Listed here are some of the activities that you wouldn’t want to miss and some of the that are just a must-see if you plan to visit Galapagos.
Scuba Diving in San CristÃ³bal
Scuba diving is a very widespread activity on the islands. Galapagos is considered as one of the top diving destinations in the world. Great deep sea diving can be had in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno the perfect place for your San Cristóbal diving experience. The pacific sea is home to the bountiful wonders of colorful, diverse coral reefs and marine life. All of the scuba diving courses and certifications are PADI certified – the most recognized dive training organization in the world.
Main Street San Cristobal
photo credit: Wikipedia
Next is the Tortuga Bay, this is truly a beautiful beach and a major attraction for Santa Cruz tourists and locals alike. A quick diversion here: Remember Pirates of The Carribbean, the Island of Tortuga and the great sea turtles? Well, of course being a pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow could not refuse going to an enchanted place like Tortuga Bay.
You can get there with a very quick cab ride from town, a small entrance fee and a fairly long walk to the actual beach-uhm-you may want to take water with you! The sand is like powder and not hot at all in the scorching Tortuga Bay heat. If you walk to the right and all the way to the end of the beach there is a short trail to another 'lagoon' which is great for swimming, lots of shade available under the small trees and shrubs.
Even though it takes long to get to the lagoon, once you get there it's like swimming in a beautiful crystal blue swimming pool since there are no waves. Be aware that they expect you to start clearing the beach and heading back at 5pm as the park closes at 6pm. You can negotiate a boat ride back to the harbor from the lagoon, as a couple of tour operators had small boats sitting in the bay as they had brought tourists for a day trip and heading back. There asking rate was $10 per person and be aware that this is for a 40-45 minute ride back to town. You may even get to see large sharks and other marine life on the way back to the dock. This is indeed a great way to spend half a day when you’re in Santa Cruz.
If you make it to Galapagos you have to visit Las Grietas. At Las Grietas, you can Hike through the enormous cacti and over the lava rock formations to one of the most unique swimming holes on the planet. Las Grietas, which translates literally to mean "the cracks," is a geologic formation unique to volcanic islands. This deep brackish canal forms between the steep lava rock cliffs on either side. Float blissfully in the cool water -- or get your adrenaline pumping by jumping from the rock ledges. This place requires half-day of your schedule to enjoy it at its fullest.
Wall of Tears or Muro de Lagrimas
The next place to visit is the wall of tears or Muro de lagrimas in Spanish; the name is quite intriguing right? This place is an historic site in Isabela. In an earlier time in history, 1946 to 1959 Isabela was a well known penal colony, where detainees were made build a wall with huge blocks of lava as punishment for different things. The wall is 100 meters long and 7 meters high. Due to the arduous labor and harsh conditions in which the prisoners lived, this site is known as the wall of tears. A set of stairs provides a bird's eye view of the wall and the surrounding landscape. You can still see the cement foundations America's military base dating back to the Second World War.
Giant Tortoises-Oh My!!
And of course, no journey to the Galapagos Islands would be complete without an "up-close-and-personal" visit with the gentle giants of the islands - the Giant Tortoises. Part of what makes Galapagos famous, this nearly extinct species still loves to live "in the wild." If you want to get a gander at "Lonesome George," and other giant turtles, the best place to observe the huge reptiles is at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the central island of Santa Cruz.
So What Are You Waiting For?
The Galapagos Islands deliver a travel experience that you will absolutely enjoy like nothing else. The wildlife, tame and unruffled by your presence, confronts you as soon as you set foot ashore. Tiny mockingbirds, brazen and cheeky, will sit on your arm in the hope you will share your bottled water with. Salacious male boobies patrol the nesting grounds in search of corruptible females while the unmistakable frigate birds engage in an unashamedly exhibitionist mating ritual. It is so natural and yet a truly breath-taking scene.
Planning a vacation is always an exciting experience, how to choose the right place to spend that long time desire get away is not always easy, many factors come into the scene, like the travelers budget, the preferences, and many others that at the end will play an important role on the final decision. But in the end you will just realize that all of the hardships were worth it. Through it all, you have planned the best vacation that you and your family and friends could enjoy. Happy trip and enjoy your vacation!