Five Galapagos Myths Debunked

Located off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands feature some of the most unusual wildlife in the world. Over the years, several Galapagos myths have developed, including some regarding the costs and logistics required to explore the attractions. These facts will encourage you to visit this awesome living natural museum, and will certainly debunk any Galapagos myths that are out there regarding the islands.

Cerro Azul Isabela Island

Cerro Azul, Isabela Island. In today’s times you can explore these islands and see them as pristine as the early explorers did.


Myth 1: Darwin Had an Epiphany About Natural Selection While Visiting the Galapagos

Charles Darwin was not the official naturalist aboard the HMS Beagle. The ship’s surgeon, Robert McCormick, actually served in that capacity during the voyage. Darwin traveled as a supernumerary, or friend, of Captain Robert FitzRoy. A trained scientist, the captain wanted another qualified naturalist to help with the collection and identification of various specimens. Because he was not a member of the crew, Darwin could also act as a friend and confidant, a task too hard to take for arrogant McCormick. While his historic visit aboard the HMS Beagle influenced his writing and ideas, it was several years after the voyage before Darwin compiled his journals into a single volume of work.

One of the things captain Fitzroy admired in Charles Darwin was his power of observation he noticed things beyond the ordinary.

One of the things captain Fitzroy admired in Charles Darwin was his power of observation he noticed things beyond the ordinary.

Darwin did not initially recognize how the various species adapted to living on the different islands. In some cases, he did not even keep detailed records of sightings and events. It was after his return to England in 1836 that he opened his notebooks and used records by FitzRoy and his cabin boy, Syms Covington, to formulate theories in biogeography. These writings and observations would subsequently influence Darwin’s works “Theory of Natural Selection” in 1845 and “The Origin of Species” in 1859. While the visit to the Galapagos greatly influenced his future endeavors, Darwin did not immediately recognize the significance of his observations. The Galapagos Islands, however, remained as one of the most puzzling places he visited during the voyage, and in today’s modern expeditions we visit many of the same areas Charles Darwin himself explored back in 1835.

Charles Darwin needed a long time to figure out the mechanics and spirit of how natural selection worked

Charles Darwin needed a long time to figure out the mechanics and spirit of how natural selection worked. At London’s Natural History Museum, you can visit his statue and scientific legacy.

Myth 2: There Are Better Places to Watch Wildlife

While you can travel to various parts of the world to view wildlife in their natural habitats, the experience will pale in comparison to a Galapagos Island visit. Safaris in Africa are typically experienced from the confines of a vehicle. Some wildlife excursions include viewings from overlooks or other vantage points where the animals are observed from a distance. Nature walks on the various islands of the Galapagos archipelago, however, enable you to get an up-close view of a wide variety of unique creatures like giant tortoises, marine iguanas and nesting colonies of seabirds.

Giant tortoise reserve highlands of Santa Cruz island

Giant Tortoise Reserve, Highlands of Santa Cruz Island. How exciting to see these giant chelonians amidst a lush tropical forest.

Diving and snorkeling adventures allow you to view the amazing undersea world that rivals the island chain’s renowned land-based habitats. You can swim with sea lions and dolphins or embark on a Galapagos cruise to watch migrating whales. A nature adventure to the Galapagos, which features a pristine and virtually unchanged landscape, enables you to see a multitude of animal species that are found nowhere else on Earth. Because you will get engaged in plenty of land outings, as well as aquatic activities, the Galapagos truly offer you best of both worlds. Few places can coin such highlights in one place.

Prince Philip Steps, Genovesa Island. Nothing can impress you more than the underwater biodiversity of the islands. Fish species: Moorish Idol, Surgeon Fish, King Angel Fish.


Myth 3: I Do Not Have Time for Such an Exotic Trip

Although the unique environment of the Galapagos is due to its isolation from other landmasses, modern travel makes it easy to reach this popular bucket list destination. Numerous air carriers provide regularly scheduled flights to Ecuador. After an overnight stay, the Galapagos are a just a two-hour flight away. When you sign up with a travel company like Metropolitan Touring in advance, their experienced professionals can make all the arrangements for you. Several options will be presented to you, and that’s another great selling point of the islands: variety of programs.

Less than 24 hours after leaving home, you can explore these volcanic islands from aboard a ship the same way Darwin did in the Age of Sail. There is also a variety of tour packages available that range from just a few days to a week or more, so there is bound to be one likely to fit your schedule. While a seven-day excursion provides the opportunity for a more in-depth study of the island chain, even a four-day visit will provide memories that will last a lifetime. Quite naturally, the longer your trip the more islands you will get to explore…and that goes well connected to the wildlife experience.

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island. This remarkable western island of the archipelago can only be part of an itinerary handled by destination experts at Metropolitan Touring.

Myth 4: Travel to the Galapagos Islands Is Too Expensive

While the cost of a trip to the Galapagos will vary based on travel times, selected amenities and the length of your stay, the price will be well worth the expense. Keep in mind that Galapagos, because of its isolation and natural makeup, means that most supplies need to be shipped from Ecuador’s mainland. You can spend as much during an extended family vacation at a popular theme park location. The differences, and of course the experience itself, are monumentally huge. There are a wide range of tour packages available that are less expensive than other exotic locations like Africa and Antarctica. In addition, the ability to come face to face with some of the world’s most rare and endangered species is priceless.

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island. Walking on recent lava flows that are home to marine iguanas and sea lions. The Galapagos Islands can be enjoyed by all.

Myth 5: Is It Better to choose an expedition vessel or a smaller vessel?

Please check here various factors to contemplate when deciding which size vessel you would prefer on your Galapagos trip.

A trip to the Galapagos Islands is perfect for families as well as individuals and couples. The exotic natural beauty and astonishing wildlife have captured the imagination of adventurers for centuries. Hiking volcanic landscapes filled with an amazing array of animals and swimming with a dazzling display of marine life while witnessing their adaptability and diversity make for experiences unlike any other. Remember too, that a mere 78,000 people visit these islands annually on board live-aboard vessels. This means Galapagos remains, fortunately, as a very exclusive destination where massive tourism is not found in the local dictionary.

Marine Iguana Punta Espinoza

Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island. Landscapes or wildlife, adults or children, above water or below water…it’s all about the power of observation.



Blog Reviewed & Edited by: Francisco Dousdebés
All Images: Francisco Dousdebés,

Your Galapagos Travel Expert Since 1969