The Galapagos is the inspiration behind Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, so it comes as no surprise that you will encounter unique animals at every turn! Our Travel Expert Laura Bartlett shares five of the different animals you’ll encounter when visiting the Galapagos, and the best way to experience them.
98% of the Galapagos Islands is designated as park-land and nature reserve, so the best way to see all the highlights is with a naturalist guide. Tours, like ‘Galapagos Island Hopping’ with G Adventures, will be led by a local guide trained by the Galapagos National Park who know all the secrets behind the best wildlife trip of your life!
It’s actually a challenge to narrow it down to just five, but here are the most iconic critters you can expect to see on your trip to the Galapagos:
1. Giant Tortoises
‘Galapego’ is Spanish for Tortoise so how could I not start this list with the island’s most iconic reptile? There are currently 11 species of this gentle giant spread across the islands. They can be differentiated by the shape and size of their shells. A lot of research has gone into preserving the different species as, historically, humans have had the biggest negative impact on the tortoise population.
2. Sea Lions
It’s impossible to visit the Galapagos Islands without running into these marine mammals. Often found lounging in the sun, you’ll find them always close to the water. As friendly and sleepy as they appear, remember to keep some distance as they are still wild animals. If you’re lucky, these playful creatures may even come to swim with you.
3. Marine Iguanas
Not to be outdone by the sea lions, these guys often stake out the sunniest of spots to laze the day away. These are the only species of amphibious iguana, they eat algae and have specially designed anatomy to get rid of excess salt in their diet by sneezing it out!
4. Sallyfoot Crab
Bright and colourful adults are easier to spy then juveniles who are a dark spotted brown and black to blend in with the volcanic rocks. These shy crustaceans will keep their distance if you get too close.
How can you pick just one? There are flamingos, albatrosses, frigate birds, pelicans, seagulls and petrels, one species of penguin, and about 14 types Darwin’s finches! One of the most striking? The Blue Footed Booby.
Wildlife is the biggest draw to the Galapagos so make sure you bring a camera with a lot of memory cards! An underwater camera will capture the action under the waves and a telephoto lens comes in handy when on the look-out for birds. However, you will notice most of the animals are delightfully unafraid of humans, making it easy to get close and grab a great picture.
But remember, give them their space, they’re still wild animals! This is a delicate balance, in the Galapagos humans and animals have a mutual respect. These animals are not tame and they are not pets. Do not feed or touch them. Give them the space and respect they deserve so that everyone can enjoy this special wildlife experience for many years to come.
For more information on travelling to the Galapagos, or with G Adventures, contact Laura by connecting with her online, in-store, or calling 1-866-662-6530