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The Galápagos Islands

This Ecuadorian archipelago, where in 1835 Charles Darwin famously conceived of the theory of evolution, is composed of a set of 18 main islands and 3 very small islands, all volcanic in origin. The islands are located 906 km (563 miles) west of the Ecuadorian mainland and are the main tourist attraction of that biologically-diverse country.  As so much has been written about the Galápagos and there are so many published itineraries available for the islands, SouthWild chooses to restrict our recommendation to what we think are the two greatest wildlife attractions of the islands and about the best, lowest-carbon way to enjoy them.
The best-known attractions of the islands are the tame seabirds such as boobies and frigatebirds, the marine iguanas, the huge tortoises, and the sea lions and penguins.  But of all the wildlife attractions, the last two are by far the most fun and most beautiful. Specifically, one should make sure to include snorkeling with the sea lions and penguins in the transparent, tropical waters of the islands.
Only 2 of the 18 main islands have good populations of the penguins, while San Cristóbal Island has the largest population of the sea lions, which also can be found in some numbers on all the main islands.
It is important to talk with us about how to build your itinerary around those two species while staying on land on one of the three islands that offers good lodging. You easily can add many of the other classic Galápagos species to an itinerary that starts by guaranteeing great experiences snorkeling with those two species, which are so exceedingly beautiful to watch swimming underwater.
The most efficient and lowest-carbon way to enjoy the best of the Galápagos is to stay in one of the many good hotels that now exist on three of the islands and take fast boats during the day to visit the best locations on your island and on other islands.  By staying on land, you avoid seasick nights trying to sleep in a cramped cabin while the ship bobs in sea swells.  You probably will not find SouthWild’s simple but important recommendations anywhere else regarding the islands’s two best wildlife attractions and about staying in charming, comfortable, land-based lodging. SouthWild was given these recommendations by our quadrilingual, former top executive in Ecuador, who has lived and worked in tourism on the Galapagos for decades. Since 2019, she has been the top official in the Galapagos of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Tourism.