Travel

The Galapagos Islands

Galapagos

As the giant Galapagos tortoises meander distant highlands and the prehistoric marine iguanas sun themselves on black lava rocks along the shore, the flightless cormorants and tiny penguins dart through the waters while graceful red-billed tropicbirds screech across the sky. If this experience sounds good to you, a journey to the Galapagos Islands may well be in your future. Explore remarkable island ecosystems as you step quietly past lounging sea lions, scout for breaching whales offshore and spy on pink flamingos in hidden lagoons.

The Galapagos Islands are located on one of the most active volcanic regions on earth: the Nazca Plate. This plate moves eastward towards South America because of the spreading of the sea floor and over a stationary area of intense heat or “hot spot” that “builds” the islands. Part of the nation of Ecuador, these volcanic islands sit in the Pacific Ocean, about 972 kilometres west of mainland Ecuador. At first, they appear to be desolate. Yet, these rough and rocky islands are home to wonderfully strange and abundant wildlife.

The climate of the Galapagos Islands is always conducive to boat tours, though there are slight climatic variations throughout the year. From June to December the southern trade winds bring the colder Humbolt current north to the Galapagos. This means that the water is cooler and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies. In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level islands and shorelines have little precipitation. The months of June to December are known as the dry season, which simply brings bright blue skies and mid-day showers.

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