The idea of “time travel” has often been present in literature associated with the Galapagos Islands. The sci-fi book Galapagos actually envisions the future, and Darwin, when he wrote about the islands, was able to envision the past. A common description when tourists summarize their experience during a Galapagos holiday cruise, is that they felt like they had traveled in time… you might wonder what makes Galapagos travel so akin to time travel?
If you have already enjoyed a trip to the Galapagos Islands, especially as a part of a holiday cruise, you may have experienced the amazing feeling of actually moving back or forward in time as the days go by. This is not only a feeling of traveling distances… it is as if everywhere you go, you are exploring different “eras”; a trip into fantasy more than a holiday cruise.
Now, of course you may say: “but wait: the dinosaurs are missing! It can’t be that fantastic a time-travel experience”. Well, I must say, there is something “Jurassic-Park-like” to the Galapagos adventure.
The last time I was at Isabela Island (Urbina Bay) during a Galapagos cruise tour I had a great little experience that truly did the “time-travel” trick… As we arrived, we sat our things down on the island’s beach and observed our surroundings.
At first you see the usual low trees, a volcano in the distance… water all around… nothing strikes you until you look at the floor around you. It is a strange color in general… A deep sooty black bed covered by coral remnants… as the tour guide speaks you sift through this unique texture and there is a haunting effect to it. That day we walked up towards the tour path and right at the entrance, the skulls of two dead sea lions lay in the sand. Now you start feeling like you’re in a movie… the premonition… perhaps I’ve landed somewhere else… another time. Remember, you’re at the Earth’s edge! This is “Lost” territory! As we turned around the bend, really just a couple of meters into the trail, two gigantic tortoises were grazing. Yes… you think “dinosaur”. Even if it is just a split second, the excitement of seeing a Giant Tortoise in the wild is the same feeling of seeing something that doesn’t exist in our present world.
Now, I take that Galapagos holiday cruise tours make you feel like you are traveling in time because 1) every island looks so different, some are completely barren, the next is a little less barren, some, on the other hand, are tropical and lush… every island in a different evolutionary stage, 2) they are all inhabited, even the barren ones, by creatures that don’t hide (and don’t care you are even there!), and 3) they are creatures that are not the type you would expect to ever see so close (and could also be considered to be in different evolutionary stages from island to island). This combination makes for the most exhilarating natural experience you could ask for, as you walk around like Scrooge did in and out of his life’s moments without anyone noticing. Galapagos cruise tours are that kind of a fantasy!