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The Galápagos Islands lie 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. This archipelago is otherworldly, born millions of years ago out of a volcanic hotspot in the Pacific. Visiting the Galápagos Islands today is taking a leap back in time to a prehistoric world.
Crystalline waters, volcanoes rugged and austere, soils rich in nutrients devoured by green. The 13 main islands are scattered amongst hundreds of smaller islands with scores of islets. Each island on the Archipiélago de Colón has its own character.
In the west lies the youngest of the islands - Fernandina. This is a land of molten and fire, the closest to the volcanic hotspots that is uninhabited. Yet, this is the best place to see the fascinating flightless cormorant and it is home to the largest and darkest coloured marine iguanas who bask in the heat of the volcanic slopes.
Neighbouring Fernandina, Isabela Island is the largest in Galapagos. The shape of this land resembles a seahorse with a backbone of volcanoes stretching for almost 100 miles. The volcanic regions are home to five different volcanoes and five different tortoise subspecies. Where in the south, the highlands are covered in dense and verdant vegetation.
Due to tectonic movement, the islands gradually move east during their lifespan. Born from the Pacific hotspot of volcanic activity, slowly the bubbling crevices become ancient ruins worn in the passage of time. The volcanoes of Santa Cruz are now swallowed by forests.
The oldest island, Española is near the end of its lifespan. The saturated colour of this land, inundated with sea lion colonies, is accentuated by endless shades of black. This is the best place to see the waved albatross.
United by water, the converging paths of four major ocean currents has brought together animals from opposite ends of the pacific. The interplay of warm and cold has generated the world’s most diverse marine life, a sanctuary of the sea.
Get up close and personal with endemic species who aren’t afraid to make themselves known and voyage into territories that are entirely claimed by the wild.
95% of the prehuman biodiversity in Galapagos remains intact, so it is important when visiting the Galapagos that we respect and help preserve this. Experience waters erupting with wildlife, dive off your eco-cruise into waters frequented by sea-lions, scalloped hammerheads and marine iguanas dancing in the current.
Get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the most unique eco-system on the planet.
The animals in Galapagos can be seen year round as unlike other safari destinations there are only a few migratory species, and no need to go in search of watering holes. However, depending on the time of year you visit you will get a different experience of the wildlife. Check out our in-depth calendar of wildlife viewing in the Galapagos here.
In general, from June to November the weather in the Galapagos is cool and dry. This means that the ocean is colder for diving and marine wildlife are feeding on vital plankton in the currents. From December to May the warm and wet weather brings calmer and more pleasant seas. Visiting Galapagos is preferable during the wet season as showers usually pass quickly, and the visibility in the water is better.