What are the best Galapagos Islands to visit?
White sand beaches, breathtaking volcanoes, exotic species… The ecuadorian Archipelago is one of the favourite destinations of the world, a land of natural wonders, a perfect scenario for relaxing and disconnecting. However, only some of the islands can be visited. Know what are the best Galapagos islands to visit.
97% per cent of Galapagos Islands are declared national parks, and they have restricted rules to be visited. You can stay in a hotel in some of these islands, and do what is called island hopping: travelling from one to another. Furthermore, visitors can go on board of a yacht and see many of them in the same journey.
Isabel island is the largest of the Archipelago, with spectacular landscapes, flora and fauna. The biggest community of the Galapagos penguins can be found there, as well as many flightless cormorants. Cerro Azul is a basaltic volcano worth to be seen there too, as it is one of the most active of the Galapagos hot spot.
This island first was called Charles Island, and then Santa Maria Island, until the ecuadorian government of Juan José Flores, who gave this name to the island: Floreana. This exotic and natural part of the Archipelago is perfect to practice snorkel and diving, and to see the beautiful flamingos that live there.
You can dive in an underwater volcanic cone called Devil’s Crown and you can swim around sea turtles, sharks corals, sea lions and other marine wildlife. Other points of interest are Post Office Bay and Punta Cormorant.
Composed by 4 volcanoes, all of them extinct, this is the geologically oldest island of all the Archipelago, well known by the famous Kicker Rock that can be seen in so many postals of the Galapagos Islands.
Punta Carola is a marvelous beach in San Cristobal, famous around the world, specially for surfing. It has also the largest lake of the islands, Laguna El Junco, surrounded by beautiful and exotic birds. La Galapaguera, near the freshwater lake, is a sanctuary of giant turtles. Another breathtaking spot is Puerto Chino, with incredible wildlife to enjoy the sight while relaxing and swimming.
Located at the south side of the archipelago, Española Island is considered the jewel of Galapagos. It has a high number of endemism, due to the isolation of this island from the rest. Come and see the waved albatrosses, the marine lizards or the funny blue-footed boobies that live there, among many other species that make this place unique in the world.
Two spots are especially popular for travelers: Punta Suárez and Bahía Gardner. Bahía Gardner was chosen in 2013 by the CNN as one of the 25 best beaches in the world for its incredible flora and fauna.
Bartolomé Island, one of the youngest geologically speaking, has a volcanic cone that provides great views of the other islands. The North beach has a quiet water to swim and dive, perfect for enjoying the sight of colorful fishes, turtles and penguins.
The other beach, at the South side, has an emblematic rock called Pinnacle Rock, formed by lava many years ago, and a symbol of the Enchanted Islands.
In Santa Cruz, visitors can see the twin craters, and also watch some beautiful endemic birds, like small Darwin’s finches, as well as warblers and flycatchers. This island is worth seeing due to the contrasts between vegetation and the arid coasts. As the photographer Frans Lanting sais: “The Galapagos islands provide a window on time. In a geologic sense, the islands are young, yet they appear ancient”.
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