Vacations to the Galapagos Islands
Vacations to the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands also known as the “Enchanted Isles” are a small archipelago which is world renowned for its unique wildlife. This mysterious and enchanting group of islands which lie quite remote and isolated is the home to a large species of marine, bird and wildlife – sea-lions, giant tortoises, and albatrosses – can all be seen at close quarters. So it is only natural that it is a favorite destination for nature lovers and natural historians. It is a mystery that the island, which is volcanic in origin, has such a treasure trove of animal and plant species especially since it is in such a remote location. Galapagos takes pride of its mysterious and turbulent history, its nightlife and its many resorts and hotels. With its long stretches of coastline, protected lagoons and coves, etc it is a dream destination for any tourist of holiday-maker.
The Galapagos Islands (official name Archipelago de Colón) was listed as a World Heritage Site in 1978. It belongs to Ecuador in the eastern Pacific Ocean and consists of 13 main islands and 6 smaller isles which together cover an area of about 50,000 sq.km of ocean. The landscape of Galapagos Islands is relatively barren and volcanic, but very beautiful nonetheless. The 13 main islands are Baltra, Espanola, Genovesa, Isabela, Marchena, Pinta, Fernandina, Floreana, Pinzon, Santa Fe and Santiago, San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, are all blessed with stunning sceneries and pleasant weather and there is no ‘best’ time to visit any of these precious islands though Strict controls on tourist access are maintained so as to protect the natural habitats and it is compulsory for all visitors to be accompanied by a national park-certified naturalist tour guide.
Of the four islands that are populated, The Santa Cruz Island takes first place and is ideal for day trips where one can see and watch the famous Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos at close quarters. It has a very popular tourist spot and has a good choice of hotels and other accommodation. Isabela which is the largest island (4,588 sq km) boasts of many interesting site like Punta Tortuga, a Galapagos Beach at the base of Darwin volcano, Punta Moreno Urbina Bay, and Sierra Negra, which is the second largest volcanic crater in the world.
Blessed with natural scenic beauty and charm is another inhabited island San Cristobal which is made up of two volcanoes. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is its capital and the capital of the islands. Places of interest here are Kicker Rock Ochoa Beach, El Progreso, Isla Lobos and more. Tourits love to go surfing, bird watching, biking, hiking, snorkeling and scuba diving and other adventurous activities.
The Floreana Island which is also known as the Charles or the Santa Maria Island, is in the southeastern most part of the island in the archipelago and has a colorful history, is rich in flora and wildlife and has many interesting sites that are worth visiting. The La Corona Del Diablo (Devil’s Crown), which lies just off the coast of Punta Cormorant, is an underwater crater formation and offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling experiences to look forward to. The Post Office Bay is another wonderful spot to follow the tradition of the whalers and pirates which take us into the past.
Things to do in Galapagos Islands
Diving in the islands of Galapagos is an adventure of a lifetime. With the unique opportunity of watching sea lions, golden rays, garden eels, reef fish, hammerheads marine iguanas, and turtles are just a few of the tropical marine habitats which makes Galapagos a diver’s paradise. Diving in the Galapagos Islands is ideal not only for those experienced in the sport, but also for beginners and for divers of all skill levels.
Galapagos offers world-class surfing experience for the surfing enthusiasts and is perfect particularly for the advanced surfers. The main surfing spots on the islands are located in Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. When holidays in Galapagos, bring enough lashes, wax, etc and at least a spare board as there are chances of breaking your board!
Shopping is fun in Galapagos so is other activities like whale watching – you can see species like the orcas or killer whales, sperm whale, baleen whale, etc. The more adventurous ones can go sport fishing, kayaking, canoeing or hiking and trekking as well.
Hotels in Galapagos
Galapagos offers a range of options accommodation from the most basic and modest youth hostels to the more lavish and elegant ones, which will ideally suit for both the up market and budget travelers. Most of the hotels in the Galapagos Islands hotels are in Santa Cruz, with the bigger ones offering sports activities like snorkeling, kayaking, along with other types of tours, excursions and cruises. For couples who plan to go to Galapagos for their honeymoon will find exclusive hotels like Ecuador, Quito and others which caters to this group and assuring you of romance and unforgettable memories here!
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Nestled in the lush highlands of Santa Cruz, is the Royal Palm Hotel, which is constructed in such a way that it takes you as close to nature as possible. This aesthetically designed hotel has suites villas and veranda studios with top-notch amenities and facilities, with fax, telephone, satellite TV, DVD players, and other internet services. There is a lounge and dining area with a fire place and a private garden and even features an outdoor Jacuzzi. Other recreation facilities include a fully-equipped gymnasium, health spa, museum, observatory, tennis courts and more. As it is the only five-star hotel in Galapagos Islands, the Royal Palm recently was referred to as the “most excellent hotel in South America 2011′.
The Finch Bay Eco Hotel which again is located in the Santa Cruz Island at Punta Estrada, is the only full-service eco-hotel situated directly on a beach. The luxurious hotel boasts of 21 garden view rooms and 6 brand-new rooms with a view of the ocean view – all with private bathrooms, air conditioning, and telephone as well as internet access. Other facilities include a Jacuzzi and a private outdoor swimming pool, a bar/lounge, and an excellent restaurant offering both international and Galapagos the state-of-the-art cuisines. It boasts of on-site desalinization and purification and you will have the freedom to choose activities of your choice from exploring lava fields, observing nature and wildlife at their best, or experience world-class diving and to relax on the beach and mountain biking and hiking to Tortuga Bay which is a real adventure.
Another newly opened and excellent boutique hotel located in the charming Isabella Island is the Iguana Crossing with the National Park beyond it. It is a very tastefully designed with incredible a view of the spectacular long, white sandy beaches and sea and the active volcano beyond the wetlands. The hotel boasts of excellent amenities and facilities, which includes a small spa with steam, massage rooms, a very elegantly designed oceanfront swimming pool, indoor and outdoor bars, a restaurant, conference rooms, with concierge services for both activities and transfers. You can take advantage of several guided tours, sightseeing, sea kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, mountain biking and several other land and water experiences.
Once you decide to head to the enchanted Galapagos Islands you can be assured that you’ll have the hoki8day of your life in these enchanting and exotic Islands with just natural beauty and peace all around you!!