Activities in the Galapagos Islands
Designated a World Heritage site, the Galapagos Islands or as it is officially known the Archipelago de Colon, is both a province of Ecuador as well as a national park and marine reserve. Lying some 500 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, these tiny volcanic islands are around just 4 to 5 million years old, making them fairly young in comparison to the earth. Sitting just below the equator, the significance of the Galapagos is in the fact that the wildlife found on these islands is completely unique and unlike any other in the world.
All of the Galapagos reptilian species, nearly half of the bird species and roughly 25% of the fish found here are all endemic. What this means is that most of the wildlife seen here cannot be found anywhere else on earth, making the Galapagos a true wildlife paradise. And while there is not much in the way of touristy attractions, there are still plenty of activities that one can enjoy, when visiting here.
If you enjoy snorkeling, fishing, kayaking or scuba diving, then the Galapagos is definitely the place for you. With a stunning array of marine life, these islands offer some world class scuba diving and snorkeling for novices as well as experts. Swim underwater with Hammerhead sharks, Garden eels, penguins, sea lions, manta rays, whales and a host of brightly colored fish among some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world. Some of the best dive spots of the Galapagos are around Isla Darwin and Isla Wolf. However, fishing in the Galapagos has been temporarily halted by local authorities, due to the problem of over fishing by local fishermen.
For land lovers, much of the Galapagos is open to explore. Hike or trek your way along the many islands here, but be sure to get permission, especially if you would like to trek across any of the smaller uninhabited islands. Though some of the best hiking trails are on Isla San Cristobal and Isla Santa Cruz, it is good to take a guide so that he can point out many of the fascinating details of these islands that often go unnoticed.
Bird watching is also very popular in the Galapagos. With a plethora of migrant and endemic birds to spot, coming here is a birdwatcher dream. Spot the 13 endemic species of Darwin’s finches, or try to catch a glimpse of the beautiful Waved albatross, the aerobic Firgatebird, the flightless Cormorant, or the comical booby.
While surfing and swimming opportunities on the Galapagos are rare, there are certain places where one can enjoy these activities. Turtle Bay on Isla Santa Cruz with its beautiful white sand beach is the ideal place to go. Another activity that one can definitely take up in the Galapagos is photography. With so many excellent chances for the perfect shot, these islands are a photographer’s dream destination.