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If it’s a wild authentic experience you are looking for, then the paradisiacal Galapagos Islands are the perfect place. They are one of the few places on Earth that have a minimal human presence, and you can discover endangered wildlife behaving as if you are nothing more than annoying paparazzi. You will be sure to spot the famous Galapagos tortoise or enjoy watching amazing marine life while snorkeling or kayaking around the beautiful islands. Not to burst your bubble, but many of the bare, uninhabited islands look more like Mars then Barbados. The beauty of the Galapagos is captured by the wildlife, beautiful reefs and the sense of adventure you will feel when walking a mile or two in Darwin’s shoes
With its abundance of endemic wildlife and a complex environment, the Galapagos Islands are a prime destination you simply cannot afford to miss when in the region. Located around 620 mi west of Ecuador’s coast, it is a relatively affordable and easy expedition from our school in Quito via plane or boat. Explore and discover the wonders of the Galapagos Islands as part of your ASI experience. Our travelling classrooms program offers excursions to the Galapagos Islands, where you can merge travel with learning alongside fellow students.
The Galapagos Islands consist of 19 isles; 13 main islands and 6 smaller isles, which have recently been listed as a World Heritage Site, meaning there are efficient efforts to sustain a minimal human presence and preserve nature. All tourists must be accompanied by certified tour guides, which are included in the cruise tour packages. To see the majority of the islands, we recommend taking one of these cruises, with the option of a yacht or one of the larger Galapagos cruise ships. The yachts offer a more intimate experience, where you can take in the sights in a romantic handmade catamaran, whilst protecting the environment. For a more spacious and sociable option and for those who enjoy a touch of luxury, the Galapagos cruise ships offer a stable and communal feel with high standards of accommodation and service. All ships have a set itinerary for their guests, and all include certified tour guides. Alternatively, you can visit the islands from a hotel base on land. Whatever you choose, be assured that the package guarantees a great way to get up close to the natural habitat of the islands and the diverse life that fills it.
The mostly uninhabited isles offer various activities to marvel at the diverse wildlife they are famously renowned for. Snorkeling and diving are very popular activities to see the unique and beautiful sea life of the Pacific Ocean. Snorkel with sea lions, turtles and schools of rainbow-coloured fish and dive amongst sharks, rays, and more. The Galapagos Islands have become a major diving destination, with the Darwin and Wolf islands recently voted the world’s number one diving spot. For less experienced divers, the cruise ships also offer good beginner-friendly courses.
Surfing is another popular water-based activity, with a number of beaches offering great surf spots, as well as kayaking adventures. The activities on the Galapagos Islands are not limited to the water; various land-based activities enable you to see the wildlife on the ground. Hike or bike around the islands or even take a horse across the terrain to come face to face with iguanas and giant tortoises in their natural habitat. To learn about the breeding program for these giant adult tortoises, take a trip to the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz, which has a visitor’s centre, a museum, and a walk-in adult tortoise enclosure.
To continue your animal excursion, bird watch on the remote islands and discover the unique species of the Galapagos penguins and other rare animals. For a view of all of Galapagos, climb the hill on Bartolomé and marvel at the breathtaking views.
Another must-see is Puerto Egas, one of the most popular sites on Santiago Island. The lengthy lava shoreline is where a huge variety of wildlife including sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs, and hunting herons inhabit the numerous caves, inlets, and even lava pools. You can also hike to the second largest caldera in the world which is the Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island.
After an adventure-packed day, you can choose to finish it off by kicking back and tasting the local cuisine at one of the many restaurants dotted across the seafront. Daily offerings include freshly caught seafood and other scrumptious international dishes.
With the combination of wildlife, beautiful scenery, and a myriad of activities, the Galapagos Islands offer something for everyone. All-in-all, this excursion is guaranteed to be a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Galapagos Islands expedition, available through our travelling classrooms option, is not to be missed in your travels abroad.