Photography Adventure in the Enchanted Islands of the Galapagos

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Exploring Guayaquil, Ecuador

Imagine stepping back in time, away from the hustle and bustle of the vibrant Pacific port of Guayaquil. In the 1980s, historic buildings faced with destruction found new life as they were painstakingly moved, rebuilt, and renovated along the banks of the Daule River. Among these treasures stands the Hotel del Parque, surrounded by tropical medicinal gardens and inhabited by spider monkeys, iguanas, and a diverse array of ecosystems within its three hectares.

Sitting by the waterfront, Casa Julián, the hotel’s restaurant, specializes in the freshest seafood and fish. Here, one can savor local culinary delights, including tapas that skillfully blend the flavors and textures of avocado, banana, and cocoa.

Daphne Major Islet

Our journey took us to circumnavigate the Daphne Major Islet, renowned as the site where Pete and Rosemary Grant established a natural laboratory to study Darwin’s finches. Among diving blue-footed boobies, floating finches, playful dolphins, and a breathtaking sunset, we marveled at nature’s wonders.

Bartholomew and Santa Cruz Islands

As we set foot on the equatorial penguin’s domain, we found ourselves in a realm where nature reigns supreme, outnumbering humans, fostering utmost respect. Our exploration led us to a mile and a half hike to the summit of the Galápagos’ fourth-largest volcanic islet, greeted by a seal at the outset.

After a sumptuous breakfast, we ventured into the 68-degree waters to commune with marine life. Swimming with colorful fish, encountering a sea turtle, dancing among starfish, and glimpsing a blacktip shark and penguins made for a memorable experience.

Next, we explored the arid northwestern coast of Santa Cruz Island, where Cerritos Dragon is home to the famed endemic Galapagos land iguanas and the Palo Santo incense tree.

Post Office Bay, Champion Islet, and Punta Cormorant

From marooned whalers to prisoners and colonists, Floreana Island’s rich history unfolded before us. At Post Office Bay, we participated in the centuries-old mail swap tradition, leaving and taking postcards as a link to the past. Kayaking along the shore, encountering baby sea lions, turtles, and myriad fish species, we reveled in the island’s beauty.

Our journey continued to Champion Islet, a haven for the endangered Floreana Mockingbird. Snorkeling amidst playful young sea lions, encountering a majestic sea turtle, and witnessing a diverse array of marine life underscored the island’s ecological significance.

Gardener Bay and Punta Suarez, Española Island

Española Island greeted us with a spectacle of iguanas basking on rocky shorelines, sea lions frolicking like pups, and birds pecking around with no fear. The island’s significance in shaping evolutionary science became evident as we hiked amid sea lions, marine iguanas, and waved albatrosses.

Punta Pitt and Cerro Brujo, San Cristobal Island

Our exploration of San Cristobal Island brought us to Punta Pitt, a volcanic terrain where all three species of boobies sometimes nest together. A hike to the plateau rewarded us with stunning volcanic landscapes and succulent Sesuvium patches.

At Cerro Brujo, we encountered marine iguanas, sea lions, sea turtles, and shorebirds, further immersing ourselves in the island’s biodiversity.

Santa Cruz and Baltra Island

Santa Cruz Island, the archipelago’s largest, greeted us with its rich human history and diverse ecosystems. Exploring its varied vegetation zones, we encountered the iconic giant tortoises, a testament to the island’s ecological resilience.

Our journey through the Galapagos Islands was a transformative experience, offering glimpses into a world where nature thrives in harmony, and conservation efforts are paramount. As we sailed towards Baltra Island, we reflected on the beauty and fragility of these enchanted islands, vowing to cherish and protect them for generations to come

Conservation Travel Tip

When visiting the Galapagos Islands, it’s crucial to remember the principle of “Leave No Trace.” These pristine ecosystems are home to unique and fragile species found nowhere else on Earth. To minimize your impact, follow designated trails, avoid touching or disturbing wildlife, and refrain from littering. Additionally, opt for eco-friendly tour operators and accommodations that prioritize sustainability and conservation. By treading lightly and respecting the natural environment, you can help preserve the Galapagos’ unparalleled biodiversity for future generations to enjoy.

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*All Photos taken of animals in their natural habitat undisturbed.