1. SOME OF THE WORLD’S RAREST AND MOST UNUSUAL WILDLIFE LIVE HERE. The iconic Galapagos wild tortoise is a subspecies found only here. Other wildlife found only in the Galapagos include marine iguanas, which snort salt water out of its nostrils and can swim underwater; the flightless cormorant, the heaviest of its kind and the only cormorant which has lost its ability to fly; 13 different species of Galapagos finches, each one displaying a different beak size and shape, helping Darwin craft his theory of evolution; and the Galapagos penguin, the only penguin found north of the Equator. Then of course, there are the boobies which display the most vibrant of colors. Though found elsewhere, rarely are all the different species found together. There’s the blue-footed booby with its teal feet, the red-footed booby with its blue face, and the Nazca booby, once called the masked booby for its distinctive facial markings.
2. FANTASTIC PHOTOGRAPHY OPPORTUNITIES. Due to the lack of natural predators and relative low exposure to humans, the wildlife in the Galapagos don’t display a typical fear of man. In fact, most of them will ignore you. For avid photographers with DSL cameras, you’ll find that 200 mm lenses will capture fabulous portraits of the wildlife.
3. SNORKELING, KAYAKING, AND HIKING. Active travelers will spend an average of 6 hours on the islands as they explore by foot and by water. Most ships have itineraries that have at least two stops a day where you may hike on trails and also spend some time on the beaches either snorkeling or kayaking on approved visitor sites. Most hiking trails are considered easy to moderate. While most landings are “dry” (meaning you’ll step onto a dock or ramp, others are “wet” landings which means getting dropped off at a beach. Ship crew are on hand to help every passenger disembark safely.