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TRAVEL: Galapagos Islands
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Galapagos Islands
By Chelsea Hunter
BT 201903 travel 01加拉帕戈斯群岛






BT 201903 travel 03A few places on Earth have intrigued and enticed me due to their natural attractions. Indeed, the observations and collection done by Charles Darwin led him to come up with the theory of evolution through natural selection.

Visit to the Galapagos left me with the impression that there is paradise on earth. The Galapagos constitutes a group of islands situated along a volcanic hotspot alongside the equator. The Islands are owned by Ecuador and they are 1423km west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.

Although there are more than 20 islands making up the Galapagos, only five are inhabited and most of the smaller ones are even unnamed.

Preparations and travel
My visit to the Galapagos was just for six days. However, before embarking on the trip, I had to settle several essential preparations. First, I had to orient myself with the region. Since I understood that Spanish is the most common language in South America, I taught myself several words, including how to ask for prices or even borrow water! Since Ecuador uses US Dollars as their currency, I had no trouble with that.

BT 201903 travel 02There are two travel options to get to the Galapagos; by air or sea cruise companies. I chose the former, since it took a relatively shorter amount of time to get there. All international flights to the Galapagos arrive in either the city of Guayaquil, or Quito on the mainland of Ecuador. Both cities also offer daily flights that depart in the morning to the two major airports in the Islands; San Cristobal Airport on the island of San Cristobal, and Seymour Airport on Baltra island.

Although there was some delay at the airport in Guayaquil, I spent almost half a day wandering in the resort style city and it was so much fun. Everywhere people are infectiously gay, and streets are filled with beautiful and bright colours.

What to do at the Galapagos Islands
Although there were options to make day trips to various islands from San Cristobal, I chose to live aboard a boat. Our ship was not a cruise one, but the smaller private eight passenger one. The smaller ship was a great convenience, since we could make instant adjustments to our schedule and movements without inconveniencing anyone.

The main highlight of the Galapagos is the ecological diversity, both on land and in water. Here are some of the things that dominated most of my stay at the Islands:

BT 201903 travel 04Trekking
This was, by far, the most exciting event that we undertook at every Island we visited. Trekking in the Galapagos presented us with numerous opportunities to get up close with the fascinating flora and fauna.

We had the opportunity to see rare animal species, like 100 year old giant tortoises, flightless cormorants, penguins, finches, sea lions, frigate birds, waved albatross, Nazca booby, blue footed boobies and, of course, the famous marine Iguana among others.
Interestingly, I had the opportunity to take pictures with most of these animals. Apparently, lack of natural predators in the Islands means that the animals do not fear even human beings! Think of an Island on Earth.

A trek through the Galapagos National Park was in particular filled with wonderful life and splendid views. Trekking through the largest island called Isla Isabela was so exciting and mind-blowing. We had the opportunity to visit some craters, like Volcano Darwin and Volcano Alcedo.

BT 201903 travel 05Snorkelling
Snorkelling was the most practical and gentle way to experience and enjoy Galapagos marine world. While riding the dinghy, I could already see some penguins and sea lions watching us curiously, or even drawing closer to us.

Snorkelling allowed us to see an overwhelming multitude of marine life in the Islands. Snorkelling in the cool and calm lava formations at the Los Tuneles in Isla Isabela, while we watched manta rays sweep by in the waters, was almost unbelievable experience.

BT 201903 travel 06Scuba-Diving
Besides snorkelling, scuba-diving provided the best way to see and enjoy marine life in the Galapagos. Not only did I manage to get up close with some of the most endemic marine life in the Islands, but I also got to appreciate one of the most rewarding underwater experiences on Earth.

I managed to enjoy a spectacle of underwater life, including sea lions, giant turtles, marine iguanas, whales, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and corals among countless others. No other place in the world can offer such diving experience due to the unique diversity of water life forms.

BT 201903 travel 07Sea food
If one loves eating like I do, including sea food, then the Galapagos Islands are a must visit. The tour cannot be complete if I don’t mention the amount of amazing sea food that I enjoyed during my short visit.

BT 201903 travel 08Scores of restaurants were open every night in street food markets, especially in Santa Cruz. Various rare delicacies, like lobster and squid, including my favourite grilled fish, were on offer at amazing prices.

All in all, my tour of Galapagos was one in a million. Talking about an actual Jurassic Park or Paradise on Earth.

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