Galapagos Islands, known as Archipelago de Colon, are made up of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. They are situated west of Ecuador. These islands have become a biological marine reserve area. They were first discovered and charted by Ambrose Cowley in 1684.
What are the main attractions at the Galapagos Islands? They are the large turtles on the highlands and the marine iguanas on the black lava rocks. There is an abundance of penguins and cormorants. Usually, there is a naturalist guide onboard the luxury Galapagos cruises. You can explore the eco-systems on the islands and look at sea lions and whales offshore along with the pink flamingos in the lagoons. These rough and volcanic rocky islands are home to vast wildlife. There are certain adapted unique marine life creatures here that are not found anywhere else.
There are many cruise operators to the Galapagos like the Responsible Travel, Celebrity Expedition Cruises, Nature Galapagos & Ecuador, Ecoventura, National Geographic Expeditions, Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Boundless Journeys, Haugan Cruises, IGTOA (International Galapagos Tour Operators’ Association) and Llama Travel.
The location of the Galapagos archipelago has given it an unusual ecosystem. The set of currents and winds brings a unique variety of plants to the islands. About one-fifth of the marine species and terrestrial life that is found in the Galapagos Islands cannot be found anywhere else in the world. You can find over four hundred species of fish, one hundred and fifty species of birds and several marine mammal species in the Galapagos Islands.
The Galapagos Marine Reserve is the third largest marine reserve in the world. It was set up in 1998 with an area of over one hundred and thirty thousand square kilometers. The Marine Reserve service has a fleet of more than ten oceanic and semi-oceanic vessels and an aircraft to patrol the entire region and deter poachers. The Satellite Vessel Monitoring System was started over three years ago and it requires all cargo and fishing vessels to use satellite tracking mechanisms in the Marine Reserve. Many cruise operators bring tourists to the Galapagos Islands on live-aboard boats. Each boat tour requires an anchor to be dropped and this often causes damage to the coral reefs and the sea floor. Mooring buoys have been set up to reduce the impact on the marine systems under water.
When you take a cruise to the Galapagos Islands in the Ecuador, you will come across unique wildlife. You can have a gala time there when you swim side-by-side with the sea lions and float with the penguins. The wildlife there is diverse with biological richness which cannot be found anywhere else on earth. The sky there is mostly sunny. The breeze from the sea creates an ideal air temperature to relax your body. The ocean is of turquoise blue color. The beaches are long and sandy. There are mangrove lagoons and coves. The islands are full of exotic sea creatures which are not afraid of you and allow you to mingle with them.
People taking these cruises are in for a great time when they are introduced to many natural wonders like the blue-footed long-winged seabirds, iguanas, sea lions, giant tortoises and families of penguins. The cruise operators allow you to snorkel with the sea lions and take you on treks on the volcanic islands. You can also paddle your kayaks through the mangrove lagoons.
The days that you spend on these islands will be the most memorable in your life as you cruise here. Charles Darwin visited many places here about one hundred and fifty years ago. Each day will bring in a new experience when you discover the natural wonders on these islands with a naturalist guide. These islands have been voted by many people and travel organizations as the best in the world. They are one of the most popular tourist destinations.
The catamaran Athala II has been designed exclusively to cruise the Galapagos Islands. Its cabins are stylish with good ocean view through the large portrait windows instead of the portholes. The cabins on the main deck allow the extra luxury of a secluded balcony. It is better to cruise on a larger and more stable boat in order not to get sea sick. This catamaran is run by Ocean Adventures from Quito in Ecuador.
You can also enjoy the Scuba Iguana Padi Resort. It offers good quality and affordable scuba diving tours and cruises in the Galapagos Islands. It is among the world’s most interesting diving sites. It is based in Puerto Ayora on the Santa Cruz Island. This region is among the seven underwater wonders of the world.