Nature enthusiasts and adventure lovers continue to be amazed every time they visit this exclusive Pacific paradise on a luxury trip to the Galapagos Islands. The islands are one of Ecuador’s most unique destinations, a biological anomaly worth intense exploration. Here, Charles Darwin solidified his theory of evolution after studying unusual animal species that adapted to the island’s ecosystem. Travelers come from near and far to experience the mystical wonders of the Galapagos, from giant tortoises to tropical penguins. Plus, the stunning coastline offers a relaxing spot for travelers interested in a secluded, private destination to unwind in. Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime and don’t miss any of these experiences when on a luxury trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Thinking about visiting? We’ll take care of the rest. Enjoy a personalized, tailor-made itinerary, personal guide, and luxury experience to the Galapagos Islands when you book with Kuoda – get in touch with us today to learn more.
1. Get a Bird’s-Eye-View on Genovesa Island
The Galapagos Islands is a world-renowned haven for bird lovers because it boasts around 56 native species, 45 of which are endemic and 29 migratory species. Genovesa was “Bird Island,” for its remarkable bird-watching opportunities, with many species that can only be found on the island. The island spans five square miles and includes a great hiking trail at Prince Philip’s Steps. Visitors will be fascinated by the diversity of birds – it’s entirely possible to see Darwin’s finches, a Galapagos hawk, Galapagos mockingbirds, magnificent frigates, Nazca and red-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, and more, just on one trip to the island.
2. Sail alongside killer whales
Over 20 different species of Galapagos whales have been recorded in the ocean of the archipelago. They are attracted by rich feeding grounds and afforded proper protection by the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Possible sightings for Galapagos whale watchers include blue whales, sperm whales, humpbacks, orcas, and Bryde’s whales – some are just temporary visitors, and others stay all year round. So during Galapagos whale watching season keep your camera handy and your eyes peeled while sailing – lucky visitors might just catch a moment of rare beauty.
The best region of the marine reserve for whale activity is in the channel between Isabela & Fernandina islands, and the best time to spot Galapagos whales is usually from June to November. As ocean nomads, whales can migrate to wherever the best feeding grounds are to be found throughout the year and at Galapagos that means the cold water months. Some whale species can even be found year-round in Galapagos waters, such as Orcas, Bryde’s, and sperm whales, but nothing is set in stone with Galapagos whale watching.
3. Get up close with giant tortoises
Giant tortoises are only found in two places on Earth: Seychelles and the Galapagos Islands. You know you’ve been in the Galapagos for a while when you start regarding a field of these prehistoric animals much as you would a herd of cows at home.
In the Galapagos Islands, you have the opportunity to get up close in person with these giant creatures, but not too close – as only about 15,000 remain in the wild today, and the government of Ecuador has careful laws about the conservation of these species. Many of the tortoise’s subspecies are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered or critically endangered. Seeing them in person is an absolutely incredible testament to the resilience of the animals in the Galapagos, who have withstood years of human invasion.
4. Relax in San Cristobal harbor
Some downtime is exactly what is required to get with the local rhythm and soak up the vibe of the sleepy Galapagos Islands. San Cristobal harbor has many little pastel-colored cafés where you can sit out on the veranda sipping a strong Ecuadorian coffee.
5. Swim with hammerhead sharks
Hundreds of sharks live in the waters surrounding the Galapagos Islands, but fear not: due to the healthy fish population, there has never been an attack on a human. That’s why the dive sites around the islands are the perfect places to dive amongst the placid reef sharks and hammerheads that patrol this marine reserve.
6. Salsa dance at Bongo Bar and Limón y Café
Though the islands can get a bit sleepy past sunset, there are a few bars perfect for mingling with locals, learning a few salsa steps, and experiencing the culture of the islands with a population of just 25,000. A few of the places to experience salsa dancing are Bongo Bar and Limón y Café. Take a wander down Avenida Charles Darwin in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz where you will find these popular bars, among others – making for a bustling night out after a day of exploring the islands.
7. Find the blue-footed boobies
The blue-footed booby is one of the Galapagos Islands’ most iconic species, identified by their – you guessed it – bright blue feet. A male’s feet are highly lusted after and they use them to attract females by strutting around and taking exaggerated high steps; the bluer the booby’s feet, the more attractive the male. Get your cameras ready! Getting a snap of one of these creatures on your luxury trip to the Galapagos Islands is a special souvenir from the Galapagos Islands that is unique to this part of the world only.
8. Climb the top of Sierra Negra Volcano
A basaltic caldera is when the summit of a shield volcano (like those in the Galapagos Islands) collapses and leaves a bowl-shaped crater. The Sierra Negra volcano has the largest basaltic caldera in the Galapagos. Of all the things to do in the Galapagos Islands, taking in these vistas is surely at the top of everyone’s list! Get awesome panoramic views and the chance to observe seven species of finch. Sierra Negra last erupted for more than a month between June 27th-August 23rd 2018. Be on the lookout for evidence of this recent activity.
9. Scuba dive around the Galapagos
You don’t need to dive to witness the wealth of wildlife that resides under the surface of the sea around the islands. Strap on a snorkel, jump in, and swim with languid green sea turtles and cruising rays. Paired with the splendid array of marine life, the excellent visibility makes diving in the Galapagos Islands exceptional. There are dives on many of the islands, though several islands stand out as particularly excellent places to take the plunge. Darwin Island is by far the most popular.
At Darwin Island, prepare to see many unique creatures native to the Galapagos Islands, as well as some whimsical geologic formations. A popular diving spot, El Arco is renowned as one of the best dives in the world and is a must-see for diving enthusiasts. In Roca Redonda, sharks congregate around an underwater volcano and Santa Cruz Island boasts an astounding flamingo lagoon and mangrove forest, as well as the Charles Darwin Research Station.
10. Visit the spa at Finch Bay Galapagos
True luxury is being able to deeply connect with a new place and experience incredible activities and destinations – and returning back to your hotel to relax in the spa, afterward. While in the Galapagos Islands, seize the opportunity to recharge your energy, prepare your body for the adventure of a lifetime, and experience a one-of-a-kind, custom spa experience in the archipelago, including an array of satisfying massages, facials, and other signature treatments, along with private yoga lessons.
One of the most luxurious hotels in the islands, Finch Bay Galapagos, allows visitors to do just that, providing a holistic encounter with the archipelago, using advanced treatment techniques combined with natural elements from the Islands such as volcanic stones, sea salt, and Palo Santo tree oils.
The Galapagos Islands are a once in a lifetime adventure, offering luxury experiences that allow visitors to experience wellness, adventure, nature and history in one destination. Our travel planners are ready to help you plan your bucket list adventure on a tailor-made luxury trip to the Galapagos Islands. Get in touch with Kuoda today to get started planning.
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