What's so great about the Galapagos Islands?
Stepping ashore in the Galapagos Islands is like stepping into a whole new world. A world where wildlife are curious and unafraid, where creatures you’ve never seen before roam and the ocean teem with literally hundreds of species of fish and marine-life. It’s easy to see why Charles Darwin was inspired to form one of his most famous and thought-changing theories on evolution here.
Visitors to the Galapagos Islands can expect it to be one of their travelling highlights. This is a destination quite unlike anything else you will ever encounter. Nothing seems “normal” in the Galapagos – everything is bigger, more or simply different! Here are some (and just some!) of the reasons why a visit to the Galapagos Islands should definitely be on your list:
Penguins in the tropics? Yes, you can see penguins in the Galapagos Islands! This is the only place in the northern hemisphere where penguins can be found in their natural habitat. They are the second smallest species of penguin and usually found around Isabela and Fernandina Islands, although there are other colonies within the central islands.
- Penguins in the tropics and lizards in the sea! Marine iguanas are the only lizards in the world who, not only have learned to swim, but also feed almost entirely on algae.
- Ancient turtles. The green sea turtle is an ancient species. Researchers believe these turtles were around in the time of the dinosaurs.
- No fear! Unlike most wild animals, the creatures of the Galapagos Islands have very little fear of humans. It’s not unusual for them to wander up and sit close to you. Because of this, there are strict rules in place to protect them and their habitats.
- Fish, fish and more fish. The Galapagos Islands are home to more than 400 species of fish alone, and 800 species of mollusks.
- 97% of the islands are a national park with just 25,000 people living outside of the national park area.
- Half of the land species and one fifth of the marine species are endemic to the Galapagos.
- The Galapagos Islands’ most famous resident was the world’s sole remaining Giant Pinta tortoise, Lonesome George. When George passed away in 2012, it was estimated he was approximately 100 years old.
- Unfortunately, some entire tortoise species were lost in the 18th and 19th centuries when they were captured and killed by whale and fur-seal traders. Because they can survive for months without food or water, tortoises could be kept on-board, providing fresh protein for the crew.
- Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos Islands in 1835. His findings and observations on mockingbirds, Darwin finches and tortoises contributed to his theory of evolution by natural selection.
There are a number of cruises visiting the Galapagos Islands, offering a range of services, experiences and itineraries - here's just one. To discuss which cruise line and itinerary would suit you best, call the team at Ultimate Cruising on (1300) 4 ULTIMATE (1300 485 846).