The Galapagos Islands constitute an archipelago of the Pacific Ocean located to 972 km of the coast of Ecuador in South America, confirmed by thirteen islands of volcanic origin and more than hundred of islets and rocky outcrops. The Islands were declared a World Heritage Site in 1978 by UNESCO.
The archipelago has the largest source of income tourism and receives 200,000 tourists a year. Ecological tourism has also been developed in order to preserve the species. The region was the habitat of the Solitary George, the last specimen of the giant tortoise species of Pinta, who died on June 24, 2012. George passed away without leaving offspring in spite of many attempts and regrettably, the species is definitely extinct.
You will love this place, so prepare your bag and enjoy it (do not forget your camera):
Turtle Bay in Santa Cruz Island: beginning the list of the best places in Galapagos, you will find Turtle Bay, a paradise beach of white sands and turquoise waters, called in this way for being an important nesting site for the black tortoise.
In addition to its scenic beauty, this beach has the appeal of the variety of species that can be observed walking in its sands, being frequent the sighting of colored crabs, marine iguanas and a variety of birds. It has an area of brave water and another of calm waters, the second one is privileged for practice snorkel.
Tunnels on Isabela Island: Accessible only through boats departing from Villamil Port, they correspond to a true labyrinth of lava tunnels, which emerge over and under the water, making home to an impressive biodiversity of species.
The tunnels are considered among the best place of the archipelago for the practice of snorkeling and surface diving, being possible to swim with turtles, sharks, rays and even hippocampus. On the rocks, diversity of birds has built their nests, among them the exotic blue-footed boobies.
Sleeps Leon in San Cristobal Island: also known as Kicker Rock, they correspond to two immense volcanic rocks, which rise from more than 100 meters from the sea, is accessible by sea from Baquerizo Port; its curious name comes from the resemblance to a sleeping lion when looking at them from far away. This place is also ideal for practice snorkeling.
Ranchos of Santa Cruz Island: although there are giant turtle breeding centers on several Galapagos Islands, there is not more fascinating alternative than looking at them of freedom, an experience that allows ranchers in the highlands of Santa Cruz.
There are ecological trails, where you can easily spot these immense animals in their natural habitat. It is important to consider that, during the months of June to August; the turtles usually go down to the lowlands of the island to nest, diminishing the possibility of observing them.
North Seymour Island Trail: the small island of Seymour North is considered to be one of the best tourist sites in the Galapagos for bird watching, housing the largest colony of royal frigates in the archipelago, as well as blue-footed boobies and bifurcated gulls.
La Loberia in San Cristobal Island: one of the most photographed corners of the Galapagos is this beautiful beach of coral sands and turquoise waters, called in this way (Spanish) by a large number of sea lions that can often be observed resting the rocks or dipping in the sea. Is beach is very good for practice snorkeling with them.
Punta Espinoza in Fernandina Island: Punta Espinoza corresponds to a narrow lava and sand ledge, which connects the Fernandina volcano with the sea, known for its enormous colony of marine iguanas, whose large number sometimes makes even difficult to walk between them.
Between iguanas there are penguins, sea lions, crabs and the non-flying cormorant, the latter a species only possible to see in Fernandina and Isabela Island, of particular curiosity, is the only cormorant that has lost the ability to fly. The surrounding landscape is made up of dark lava fields, coming from the volcano of the island, one of the most active on the planet.