The Galapagos Islands: where wildlife abounds

wildlife in the Galapagos Islands Ecuador

The term ‘trip of a lifetime’ gets bandied about a lot these days, possibly too freely, but for Lee Bethune travelling to the Galapagos Islands lived up to the expectations that comes with such an assured claim…

“Over 1000km west of the mainland of Ecuador, I thought there would have to be something special and there was… it was the Galapagos Islands.

A maximum of 16 passengers boarded our motorised yacht and we were soon wildlife spotting. Sea lions were the first friendly creatures we encountered and we saw an abundance of them every day afterwards.

sailing adventure in the Galapagos Island Ecuador

A sailing adventure unlike any other – photo by Derek Rogers

Each day we had a chance to get up close and personal to the animals. We would go swimming and snorkeling and see hundreds of fish swimming around and below us on a reef. Watching a huge sea turtle feeding on seaweed, having eagle rays gliding underneath us and seeing an occasional Galapagos shark all added to the excitement. On a few lucky days we had sea lions swimming around and underneath us, wanting the chance to interact and play.

blue footed boobie Galapagos Islands Ecaudor

Who needs blue suede shoes?

Of the numerous bird species, the blue footed boobies were one of the highlights. They really do have brilliant blue feet and were as curious of us, as we were of them.

frigate bird in the Galapagos Islands Ecuador

Now that’s just showing off – photo by Keryn Roberts

The display by the magnificent frigate bird with its scarlet pouch ballooning out to successfully attract a female was a special experience. These lads really know how to get a girl’s attention.

Giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands Ecuador

Seeing these giant creatures up close – photo by Alison Young

It was fantastic to have our level 3 naturalist guide, Roberto, on hand to answer questions. He was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and passionate about sharing his country and knowledge with his new friends. His favourite animal was the giant land tortoise; we went walking in a national park and saw them lazing in mud pools in the sun. It was fantastic to see them in their natural environment.

iguanas in the Galapagos Islands Ecuador

A lazy day in the sun – photo by Paul Fountain

The marine and land iguanas looked truly prehistoric with their colours and frills and we were able to get within a few metres of these amazing animals.

The prolific wildlife on the land, in the air and under the sea was spectacular and it’s their survival on these remote volcanic islands that is truly amazing. The Galapagos is a photographer’s paradise, an eye-opener to the wonders of our world and for many the trip of a lifetime. I’d count myself amongst those who see visiting the Galapagos as a life-changing experience, because this is certainly an adventure that will be hard to top!”

Visit Intrepid’s website for more information on cruising the Galapagos, touring the islands and the latest travel deals.

* Photo in Galapagos Islands by Sheree Thompson, for the Intrepid Photography Competition.

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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