“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” – William James –

About Galápagos

How long have you been dreaming about your Galápagos adventure? Was it since your read the history of Darwin, who began to develop his theory of evolution on board the Beagle? Are you inspired by beautiful nature documentaries? Have you listened to exciting stories from friends or family who can’t stop talking about their Galápagos experiences?

“The Galápagos are as our planet once was: untouched, pure and magnificent.”

The deep emotions of actually being there cannot be translated into images nor words. A visit to this unique place is an experience beyond imagination. Rare birds are within close reach, you will stand face to face with prehistoric iguanas or walk besides a penguin. Snorkelling among turtles gliding gracefully through the water and the indescribable joy of watching sea lions or dolphins play. Experience what it means to genuinely be at one with nature.

 

The Archipelago

The Islands

Many destinations in the world claim to be “unique”, only a few such as the Galápagos Islands can rightly bear this label. Unlike almost all other islands on our planet, the Galápagos Islands have never been attached to a continent. They have emerged fairly recently, relative to the planet’s evolution, due to volcanic activity. In addition, human influence has been limited in history due to a lack of fresh water.

The Waters

Even more important than the volcanic landscape are the waters that surround the Archipelago. The islands are located in a very special place. Three major oceanic currents influence marine life. the Humboldt (cold and rich in nutrients), the Panama (warm water that allows for coral to grow) and the Cromwell (a cold current, especially around the central islands). The geological base of the islands is around 900 meters below sea level, while the ocean around the archipelago is almost 3,500 meters in depth. This unique combination of currents, nutrients and shallow ocean water is the perfect habitat for marine life. Both on land and in the water, you will be mesmerised by the wealth of (endemic) wildlife.

Wildlife

The Galápagos Islands are the ultimate dream destination for every nature lover. Although the islands can easily be reached by plane from Ecuador in just two hours, the Archipelago is still very remote. It is located around 1,000 km off the coast of Ecuador. In the course of time various animals from the mainland have miraculously arrived on these islands, for example on pieces of driftwood due to a storm. Only the very strongest could survive such a harsh passage.

A total of 80% of the birds and 97% of the reptiles found in the archipelago are endemic to this area!”

The Evolution

Once arrived at the archipelago, these animals adapted to their new environment. Due to the great distance from the mainland and between the islands themselves, they were able to evolve independently of their peers. This is how the many endemic species developed that make the Galápagos such a unique destination.

The marine iguana is a wonderful example of a species endemic to the Galápagos. Their peers in Latin America live in trees, eat plants and rarely swim. Once they arrived on the islands they learned how to swim and stay under water for long periods of time to feed on algae.

The Galápagos Cormorant has also undergone a fascinating development. In its new environment there was more than enough food available and there were no natural enemies. The bird no longer needed to stretch its wings in order to survive and hence lost its ability to fly.

Mankind

The Galápagos Islands were discovered by coincidence by the bishop of Panama, Tomas de Berlanga, in 1535 when his ship accidentally went off course on its way to Peru.

The first map of the archipelago appeared a few years later in 1570, made by Abraham Ortelius and Gerardus Mercator. They called the islands: Insulae de los Galopegos, translated to “islands of the tortoises”. After the arrival of Tomas de Berlanga, pirates and whalers left their mark on history over the next three centuries.

From pirates to Darwin

The islands proved to be a perfect retreat and resting place after months on the high seas, with very negative consequences for animal life. Whales were caught in large numbers for their precious whale oil, which in the 19th century was seen as an excellent source of fuel. The giant tortoises were stored by thousands on the ships below deck. Tortoises can survive up to a year without fresh food nor water and were therefore a nutritious ingredient for a fresh meal during the voyage.

The 19th century also brought the Galápagos its most famous visitor, Charles Darwin. Darwin arrived aboard the HMS Beagle in September 1835 as he sailed through South America to discover unknown territories. Unfortunately, he didn’t have much time to explore the Islas Encantadas. He spent about five weeks studying the geology and biology of four islands: Floreana, Santiago, San Cristóbal and Isabela. Partly as a result of his findings during this visit, Darwin developed his ideas when he returned home, which laid the foundation for the theory of evolution.

Since 1959, the islands have been a national park. The Charles Darwin Foundation was founded that same year to safeguard the conservation of the flora and fauna of Galápagos. The oceans surrounding the archipelago have also been declared as a protected marine reserve. The islands have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1978 and this was expanded with the marine reserve in 1981. Today, the Galápagos Islands have around 25,000 inhabitants; only 3% of the Galápagos Archipelago is inhabited, with the largest population living in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cuz (around 10,000).

Beste Time to Visit

The islands are a great destination year-round. Although there are small differences in the weather, every time of year is pleasant.

Due to its location at the equator, the climate is mostly dry and warm and is considered “tropical”. The archipelago lies in the transition zone of two sea currents, the cold Humboldt from Antarctica and the relatively warm sea current from the Gulf of Panama, driven by El Niño.

The islands are a great destination year-round.”

Climate

From December to May the influence of the warm current from the north is dominant creating for what is known as the wet season. This however mostly means occasional short showers at the end of the day or at night; mostly the sun will out. The average temperature is 20˚C to 32˚C, the water temperature is very pleasant from 21˚C to 26˚C.

The period June to November is influenced by the cold current from the south, it is less hot and sometimes cloudy and somewhat foggy, especially in the morning and in the highlands. In the Galápagos this period is known as “garúa” which means” fog “. You can expect an average temperature of 15˚C to 25˚C and the water temperature varies between 18˚C and 24˚C.

Cruise Expeditions

The Galápagos Islands are as our planet once was: untouched, pure and magnificent. You will genuinely eexperience what it means to be at one with nature.

If you truly want to feel the soul of the Galápagos, a cruise expedition is by far the best way to explore this awe-inspiring world. Choose a journey of 8 to 15 days and allow yourself to be taken from civilization to places that would otherwise not be accessible. Allow yourself to be immersed in this fairy-tale world.

Hotels

If you would like to experience the Galápagos but prefer not to spend the night on a ship, then Island Hopping is the way to go. You can then “hop” from island to island and spend a few nights on each or choose one island as a fixed base. The islands of Santa Cruz, San Cristóbal, Floreana and Isabela offer very nice accommodations. From there you can make excursions on land or day trips by boat to nearby visitor sites. In order to experience detachment from civilization as much as possible during island hopping, Aves Travels offers the most beautiful accommodations, wherever possible surrounded by nature. We are happy to put together the ultimate journey for you.

Diving

Who hasn’t seen the nature documentaries where hundreds of sharks come together in the Galápagos Archipelago? The islands simply offer the best diving expeditions in the world. Experienced divers often consider the legendary sites of Darwin and Wolf as one of the highlights in their diving career. The Archipelago is also an iconic destination for less experienced divers. Where else in the world could you find so much diversity: sea lions, turtles, dolphins, sea iguanas, penguins, sea horses, sunfish, bullhead-, whale- and hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, giant manta rays… it is an experience like no other!

“Imagine what your journey of a lifetime would look like”

Voorbeeldreizen

The itineraries on our website are here to inspire. Read the stories, enjoy the photos and start dreaming at the thought of what your ideal trip would look like. We are happy to help you to properly chart your ideas and wishes. By listening to your wants and needs, we will create the journey of your dreams. We curate tailor-made, truly individual travel experiences to your heart’s desire.

Touch the Soul 8-day Cruise Expedition

This voyage combines one of the best possible itineraries with by far the most elegant ship in the Galápagos Islands. You visit spectacular locations aboard a historic yacht; a journey that touches the soul.

Touch the Heart 8-day Cruise Expedition

Go back in time aboard an iconic barquentine and visit the ages of pirates and whalers. Discover the Galápagos in all its facets: animal life, fauna, volcanic landscapes and human history. This 360° perspective of the Galápagos Archipelago will make your stay impressive and comprehensive.

Touch Adventure 5-day Cruise Expedition

A somewhat smaller ship, a somewhat shorter itinerary. Adventurous with great visitor sites! During this trip you will visit some of the best snorkelling areas in the Archipelago.

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