11 Reasons The Galápagos Islands Are The Greatest Place On Earth
It's enough to make David Attenborough jealous...
To many, the Galapagos are like Narnia.
An otherworldly, near-impossible-to-reach wonderland full of entrancing beasts and retina-melting scenery, it’s a Bucket List destination for many a reason.
MTV took the FORTY FIVE hour London-Galapagos journey to explore the nature nirvana. And the craziest thing? It was worth every second of that 45 hour journey (162,000 for the record) – and so, so much more. Here are just some of the reasons why…
Animals are everywhere
We’ll go into this in more detail in a second, but thanks to millions of years of geographical, ecological and biological evolution, the Galapagos islands are STUFFED with animals, including many species you simply can’t find anywhere else on the planet.
From blue-footed boobies to marine iguanas and much more, there are animals at every turn.
Not only are they fascinating and incredibly cute, but they live in almost complete harmony with the people around them. It’s like the world should be.
You can go swimming with sealions
Speaking of which, while there are tours aplenty, simply wandering or swimming around the islands will offer up plenty of animal interactions. Case in point, this picture we took while paddling around in the shallows of Isla de San Cristobal.
Cue half an hour or snorkelling in the wild with two young sealions as they played with me, diving, whirling and splashing to get my attention. Amazing.
No seriously, sealions are absolutely everywhere
Whether they’re hogging all the public benches, snoozing on the beach, torpedo-ing past you in the water or badgering the local fish market for scraps, they’re the islands’ unofficial mascot. You will fall in love.
It has some of the best snorkelling and scuba-ing on the planet
Whether you’re just splashing around in the shallows of the local beaches, or hopped aboard a cruise tour (we heartily recommend G Adventures), then you’ll have ample opportunity to snorkel or scuba in the area’s super-clear waters.
Over four days of cruising around the islands of Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina and Santiago, I saw white-tipped reef sharks, black-tipped reef sharks, Galapagos penguins, manta rays, sting rays, octopi, sealions (shocker), dolphins, hales, star fish, eels, cat shark, crabs, flightless cormoronts, sea turtles and enough colourful fish to make Finding Nemo look like Casablanca (that is, black and white – nor Moroccan).
97% is uninhabited by humans
The human population in the Galpaagos is limited to 3% (100 square miles) of the land area of the islands. In short, there’s no chance you’ll have to fight crowds for the perfect selfie. And the animals have MORE than enough room to go about doing their thing. It’s peaceful, serene and pretty darn relaxing.
Conservation is key
Unsurprisingly, conservation is hugely important in the Galapagos. It’s an eco-friendly message that’s easy to swot up on thanks to the island’s superb educational facilities. The Charles Darwin Research Station is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation, and based on Puerto Ayora. When you’re not splashing around in the nearby beaches (the Playa de la Estacion is one of the island’s best kept beach secrets) is a treasure trove of fascinating animal stories.
Ditto for the Centro de Crianza Tortugas Gigantes, located on Isla Isabela, a breeding centre for Giant Tortoises that tells you all about the super-rare species. It also has BABY GIANT TORTOISES, which are basically the best thing ever.
Speaking of which…
Wild Giant Tortoises Will Blow Your Mind
Sure, there are animals blardy everywhere in the area, but seeing a Giant Tortoise in the wild is still pretty rare. So rare in fact, that when our group stumbled upon one, even our guide - who has grown up in the islands - stopped to audibly ‘oooooh’ and ‘aaaaaaw’. It was so chuffing big, we had to slowly edge our way around, when he refused to shuffle off the only path through.
Even walking around town is like being in Jurassic World
There are only really three main human-inhabited parts of the islands. And while the townships are pretty tiny, that isn’t to say you won’t experience your fair share of wildlife along the way.
Case in point, this enormous, seemingly prehistoric pelican, which flapped above me while I ate an ice cream.
Or this marine iguana, who was sunbathing next to me while I ate another ice cream (I was on holiday, ok?).
Even the landscape looks like animals
The stars are - LOL - out of this world
When you voyage out onto the open waves, you’re hit by many things. Birds, bird poop, splashback… but you’re ALSO blown away by the sight of the stars at night. Pootle out of a city far enough, and you appreciate the benefits of low light pollution.
Head to the frigging Galapagos (actual destination: middle of absolutely nowhere) and just prepare for your eyes to melt amidst a canopy of twinkling, shooting stars.
An actual gif of my actual face every evening sat out on the deck of our boat:
Did we mention the sealions?
MTV Travelled With... G Adventures offers a seven-day Galapagos Land and Sea – Central Islands – trip onboard the Monserrat priced from £1,829pp. Price includes accommodation, most meals (allow £100 for meals not included), activities and excursions, snorkelling gear, chief experience officer (CEO) and naturalist guide throughout. Prices do not include flights. For more information or to book, please call 0344 272 2040 or visit www.gadventures.co.uk.