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 and living natural museum, and will certainly debunk any Galapagos myths that are out there regarding the islands.
Galapagos 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 had that responsiblity during the voyage. Darwin instead merely traveled as a friend and supernumerary of Captain Robert FitzRoy, functioning much of the time as a qualified naturalist that would help with the collection and identification of various specimens. Because Darwin was not an official member of the crew, Darwin could also act as a friend and confidant to Captain FitzRoy (a task too hard to take for arrogant McCormick). While his historic visit aboard the HMS Beagle influenced his writing and ideas, it wasn’t until several years after the voyage that Darwin finally compiled and channeled all of his journals into a single volume of work.
Initially, Darwin did not recognize how the various species adapted to the conditions on the different islands. In some cases, he did not even keep detailed records of the things he saw and the events he witnessed. It wasn’t until after his return to England in 1836 that he finally opened his notebooks (as well as records kept by FitzRoy and his cabin boy, Syms Covington) and used these to formulate his theories on biogeography. These writings and observations would subsequently influence Darwin’s magnum opus “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 throughout the voyage. Even on today’s modern expeditions, our vessels manage to visit many of the same regions and places that Charles Darwin himself explored back in 1835.
Galapagos 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 Islands visit. Why? Keep in mind that safaris in Africa are typically experienced from the confines of a vehicle. Some wildlife excursions in other places include viewings from viewpoints, where animals are safely observed from a distance. Nature walks in Galapagos, however, involve the various islands of the Galapagos archipelago and allow you to get an up-close and personal view of a wide variety of unique creatures, such as giant tortoises, marine iguanas and nesting colonies of seabirds.
Diving and snorkeling adventures allow you to view the amazing underwater world, which sometimes even rivals the archieplago’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 be involved in plenty of land outings, as well as aquatic activities, the Galapagos truly offers guests the best of both worlds. Few places can coin such highlights in a single place!
Prince Philip’s Steps, Genovesa Island. Nothing can impress you more than the underwater biodiversity of the islands. Fish species: Moorish Idol, Surgeon Fish, King Angel Fish.
Galapagos Myth 3: I Do Not Have Time for Such an Exotic Trip
Although the unique environment of the Galapagos is the result of its isolation from other landmasses, modern travel makes it easy to reach this popular destination that sits in the bucket list of many. Numerous international airlines provide regularly-scheduled flights to Ecuador. After an overnight stay in Ecuador proper, the Galapagos archipelago is just a two-hour flight away from the mainland. When you sign up with a travel company like Metropolitan Touring in advance, our experienced professionals can make all the necessary arrangements for you. Several options will be presented to you, and that’s another great selling point of the islands: the variety of programs that we offer.
Less than 24 -hours after leaving home, you can explore these volcanic islands from aboard a ship the same way Darwin did during the Age of Sail. Short on time? Don’t worry! The wide variety of tour packages we offer (on land and at sea) range from just a few days all the way to a week or more, so there is bound to be one that will fit your schedule! While a seven-day cruise-based excursion offers a more in-depth study of the archipelago, a five-day itinerary meets the minimum recommended number of days for properly experiencing Galapagos. Naturally, the longer your trip, the more islands you will get to explore and the greater the amount of wildlife you’ll get to witness, all of which equals a higher number of memories that you’ll collect to last you a lifetime!
Galapagos Myth #4: Travel to the Galapagos Islands Is Too Expensive
While the cost of a trip to the Galapagos will vary depending on your travel dates, selected amenities and the length of your stay, the price will always be well-worth the outcome. Keep in mind that the isolated location of the Galapagos means that most supplies need to be shipped from Ecuador’s mainland. And sure enough: you might consider opting for a popular theme park location. But know that 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. But never forget that the Galapagos are an Expedition Destination that gives visitors the ability to come face-to-face with some of the world’s rarest and endangered species, making for a wholly priceless experience.
Galapagos Myth 5: Is it Better to choose an expedition vessel or a smaller vessel?
Please check here to see the various factors that one needs to consider when deciding on which size vessel you would prefer for 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 aboard Expedition vessels. This means that the Galapagos Islands remain, fortunately, a very exclusive destination where such concepts as “mass tourism” simply don’t exist.
Blog Reviewed & Edited by: Francisco Dousdebés
All Images: Francisco Dousdebés, AboutDarwin.com
Your Galapagos Travel Expert Since 1969