It’s coming, and there’s no stopping it: winter. All of us remember this frigid season last year, and rumors say it’s only going to be worse this time around. Is there no escape of the impending snowpocalypse? Actually, there is.
Instead of hunkering down and hoping for better weather, why not go somewhere where the weather is already better? Introducing the Galapagos Islands. As the winter months begin to lower the temperature, the Galapagos is already reveling in its hot season.
With its unique variety of fauna and rich history, you’ll never be lacking in things to do. Still need more convincing? Here’s why you should make your great winter escape in the Galapagos.
Take a Walk on the Wild Side
Animal lovers definitely won’t want to miss this, and even if you’re not, the fauna experience at the Galapagos Islands is like no other. It’s like taking a trip in time to the prehistoric ages where creatures you thought were long gone still prowl the earth. Iguanas, giant tortoises, birds, and friendly sea lions all wait to be seen and discovered.
Many of these species are unique to the islands, so viewing them in their natural habitat elsewhere would prove to be difficult. Although you may be able to visit these one-of-a-kind creatures at the zoo, being in the wild and seeing an animal in its element is quite a different experience.
However, there is one very unique aspect of the animals in this archipelago that can rarely be found anywhere else: you can walk right up to them. The inhabitants of the islands have learned to live in harmony with the local creatures, so they are not easily frightened away when a human approaches.
In fact, you can get so close you can practically touch them. Although that sea lion may be begging to be petted, you must refrain from actually touching the animals. By keeping your hands to yourself, you will prevent the transmission of possibly fatal viruses and bacteria to these irreplaceable creatures.
When visiting the Galapagos, you become part of an archipelago-wide conservation effort to protect and preserve their unique wildlife. Rules are set in place so that the balance the islanders have carefully crafted does not become disrupted.
The Rest Is History
Nowhere will you find a history as diverse and exciting as the Galapagos. As you explore the islands, you won’t be able to unsee how this province came to be. Due to flooding many, many years ago, vegetation harboring different animals drifted on the ocean from Central and South America to the Galapagos Islands.
These creatures were the ancestors of the unique fauna you can see today. These were the animals that inspired Charles Darwin’s theories on evolution which led to the writing of his famous book, “On The Origin Of Species.”
Before Darwin, the Spanish bishop Tomás de Berlanga was the first to set foot on the island and note the oddity of the animals. In a letter he wrote to the King of Spain, Berlanga speculated, “Birds are so silly, they know not how to flee.”
The Galapagos was also a favorite hangout for pirates. It was a safe place for them to hide and make repairs to their ships, not to mention plan for their next raid. Maybe you can find some buried treasure on your visit if you’re lucky!
There are plenty of things to do on the islands to chase those winter blues away. Have no idea where to start? Here are few ideas to get you started:
- Meet the giant tortoises that gave the island its name. There are plenty of reserves that give you the experience of meeting one up close and personal.
- Go bird watching. There are numerous species of birds that call the Galapagos their home. This activity will be much easier (and more fun) since the birds will not fly away if they see you.
- Get your snorkel and scuba diving on! With penguins and sea lions as diving buddies, there’s no other underwater experience that can match it. To get in the water quicker, bring a wetsuit and learn how to scuba dive before taking your Galapagos vacation.
- Spend a day at the beach. This archipelago sports some of the most beautiful beaches known to man, with their turquoise waters and white sandy shores. However, don’t forget your sunblock and sunglasses. Due to the Galapagos Islands’ proximity to the equator, the sun’s harmful effects are greatly amplified.
- Hike a volcano (hopefully one that’s not currently erupting). Volcanoes boast many unique features that you won’t find on your average mountain.
The reports are in: winter is coming and there’s nothing we can do about it. However, we do have the choice of experiencing winter in a different (and warmer) locale. The Galapagos Islands are the perfect escape, with plenty of things to do and history and wildlife to keep you entertained for days. Before you know it, you’ll be ditching your sweaters and scarves in no time!