Wildlife of the Galapagos Islands

A Galapagos wildlife holiday provides a wildlife utopia quite apart from the rest of mainland Ecuador. So overwhelming was the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands that when Charles Darwin opened the world’s eyes to them in 1835 they are said to have inspired his seminal book "On the Origin of Species by Natural Selection". Such is the extent of the rigorous protection and respect for these islands that visitation numbers are tightly regulated, and the inimitably photogenic wildlife is fearless of man; a place where nature and man enjoy a rare equilibrium.

Nowhere on earth is it possible to observe so many of the planet’s species at unfeasibly close range as the Galapagos Islands, which justifies its unwavering popularity as the pinnacle destination of any wildlife holiday.


Endemic wildlife

As the islands emerged from the sea from volcanic activity and were never connected to the mainland, some of the wildlife found in the Galapagos is endemic to that area, and has remained unchanged for centuries. Perhaps the most famous of these is the Giant-Tortoise, of which there are only 10 subspecies left in existence, following the recent sad departure of Lonesome George of the Pinta species. These fascinating creatures can live up to a staggering 170 years! However, these magnificent animals shouldn’t take the spotlight from the vast variety of other reptilian and marine fauna you’ll have the chance to experience on the Islands. These other reptiles include marine iguanas, which can descend up to 20 metres underwater, and marine turtles. Kids (and adults too!) will love the cute sea lions basking and the playful seals. Here you can also enjoy the unique and unforgettable experience of swimming with the world’s only equatorial penguins. 

Bottle-nosed dolphins riding the Pacific waves, hammerhead sharks and manta rays can also all be seen in and around the islands’ waters.

Birdlife

Ornithologists will not be disappointed either, with a staggering 28 of the 58 species of bird found on the Islands being endemic! Examples include three endemic species of booby (including the funny and popular blue-footed booby), albatross, frigate birds, cormorants and, of course, the aforementioned amiable penguin, found on Isabela and Fernandina Islands.

Your exploration of the islands and its incredible fauna will be by small luxury ship or yacht, with expert guides taking you on a variety of adventures including snorkelling, hiking and walking safaris into the best areas to view the wildlife.

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