Animal Spotlight: The Giant Tortoises of the Galapagos Islands

Galapagos tortoisesWhen the topic of conversation turns to The Galapagos Islands, the first image that comes to mind for many is of Galapagos giant tortoises. And for all the wonderful things about this place we call home, we have to admit that the tortoises are among the best! These gigantic reptiles are the largest species of tortoises still in existence, and no matter how many times we see them, they fill us with awe every time.

Among the longest-living vertebrates on the planet, Galapagos tortoises can live more than 100 years in the wild. Chances are good that if you spy a young tortoise, he or she will be here after you have left this earth! Currently listed as a vulnerable species, we hope that more people encountering these beautiful creatures on our Galapagos tours will result in a greater appreciation for their majesty, and commitment to protecting them. Their closest living relative is the Argentine tortoise, a significantly smaller tortoise that is just as adorable!

Galapagos tortoises perfectly capture the spirit of these islands, enjoying a largely calm and peaceful existence, soaking up the sun in the early morning hours, and devoting quite a bit of time to foraging. When your daily food needs are in the 70-80 lb. range, eating has to be a top priority! That said, these unique animals can survive 18 months with no food or water, relying on their body’s reserves.

Galapagos tortoises are a quiet animal, saving their voices for times of conflict with another tortoise, mating, or those unfortunate situations where they’ve landed on their backs and have to wriggle to right themselves. In situations such as this I imagine them as a grumpy old man or woman, shaking their cane at those kids to get off their lawn!

While Galapagos tortoise can eventually reach a size of 800 lbs. or more, they start off life oh-so-tiny and too cute for words. If you’re fortunate enough to come across a tiny tortoise, be sure to appreciate its adorableness for all it’s worth. And if you’re wondering if that tortoise is a boy or girl, if it’s less than 15 years old, there’s no way of knowing! Unlike humans, cats, dogs, and countless other animals, a tortoise’s gender cannot be determined until they are halfway through their teen years, and they do not reach their full size and sexual maturity until they are 40 and flirty!

We could honestly go on for days about this marvelous animal, and we’d love to share more insight into their amazingness during one of our Galapagos tours. In the meantime, you can learn more on the insightful Wikipedia page for Galapagos tortoises!

The Galapagos Islands: A Retreat for Your Mind, Body and Spirit

Blue-Footed BoobiesThe Galapagos Islands are among the most special places on earth for nature lovers and animal lovers. There is a calm and peacefulness about this place that even after several decades living here, I still can’t quite explain in words. I understand and appreciate the excitement of city life, with countless places to go and people to see at any moment. But I also understand and appreciate that isn’t the life for me, and that many people who live that life every day benefit greatly from breaking away from it for a bit.

Many people we’ve had the pleasure of meeting through our tours have shared that this unique destination has affected them in ways they didn’t even know to want for. They knew they wanted a vacation from the hustle and bustle of their everyday lives, but didn’t fully grasp how much they needed to retreat until they arrived. One woman in particular explained it in a way that I loved, comparing her everyday life to a loud casino or club, and Galapagos to the sound, or lack thereof, that you hear when you leave. You sometimes don’t realize how loud and overwhelming your surroundings have become until you step outside them and breathe a sigh of relief. You can hear yourself think again; you can truly take in all your surroundings. Without a million conflicting sights and sounds competing for your attention, you can bask in the harmony and see how everything is connected.

This tourist also shared how she came about choosing The Galapagos Islands as her vacation destination. She knew she wanted to go somewhere relaxing and rejuvenating, but also wanted to learn about things, animals and people beyond those she typically encounters. She told me about the popularity of spa-like retreats amongst her friends – places where you spend quite a bit of money to eat cleansing foods and do yoga. She admitted this sounded interesting, but that she wanted to do something less formal, and more authentic. She wanted to go somewhere she would encounter a greater variety of people – women, men, and children whose lives were likely to be much different from her own. She loved her life for sure, but wanted to try something completely different for a week. She overheard someone mention The Galapagos Islands while eating lunch one day, and her decision was made. And like so many others who have visited this place we’re so fortunate to call home, by the time her stay was done she felt as though she had visited one thousand spa-like retreats!

If you need a break from your everyday life as well, we hope you’ll consider booking one of our Galapagos Islands tours or a Galapagos cruise. We’d love to do our part in ensuring you have an unforgettable experience!

The Family that Adventures Together Learns and Laughs Together!

Family at GalapagosThere is no denying the many wonderful things that modern technology and modern life in general afford us. Advances in medicine are helping us live longer lives, and advances in communication help us keep in touch with those who matter most no matter the miles. However, modernity has brought some negatives along with it as well. Whereas we were once inclined to truly ‘Stop and Smell the Flowers’, today that quote is more likely to be seen on Facebook or Pinterest than actually in practice. The good news? It doesn’t have to be that way!

You can step away from the computer or smartphone and reconnect in a fun, energizing, meaningful way with yourself, your family, and this beautiful world we’re lucky enough to call home. Just be sure to book one of our Galapagos tours or Galapagos cruises before you logoff!

The Galapagos Islands are truly like no other place on Earth, and the unique land, waters, and animals that surround you will make you feel an inquisitive child again no matter your age. The stresses of your everyday life will naturally melt away as you and your family experience this breathtaking place in an intimate, personal way that books and pictures simply can’t capture. You never truly realize how giant a giant tortoise is until they’re right there before your eyes. Nor do you realize how truly awesome they are! Of course, you’ll also encounter an exciting array of other animals who call the Galapagos Islands home, including adorably charming sea lions and charismatic iguanas.

We look forward to helping you and your family create memories that will last for many, many years, showing you the wondrous sights, sounds and inhabitants of this magical place on one of our Galapagos tours or cruises.

Unique Honeymoon Destinations: The Galapagos Islands!

Unique Honeymoon Destinations

Let us start this post with a hearty ‘Congratulations!’ If you’re considering unique honeymoon destinations, then you must have been fortunate enough to find the person you’ll be enjoying the journey of life alongside. You’re already on the greatest adventure of all known simply as ‘love’, so a trip to the Galapagos Islands is but a stepping stone! But oh, what a beautiful stepping stone it is. In fact, we’re certain you’re going to love it.

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous honeymoon that includes horseback riding, hiking, scuba diving, kayaking and snorkeling, or you plan to spend most of your time enjoying beautiful beaches and luxurious accommodations, you’ll find that the Galapagos Islands is the perfect retreat. We are reminded daily of how lucky we are to live here year-round, and are excited to share our passion and knowledge with you on one of many Galapagos tours or Galapagos cruises. We honestly can’t imagine a better way to kick-off a new life together than an unforgettable trip to the Galapagos. And while your friends might be displaying honeymoon pictures in front of Cinderella Castle or The Eiffel Tower – both fantastic choices, mind you! – we think there’s something even more exciting about taking a candid photo with a giant tortoise. Just be forewarned that they can be a bit of a camera hog!

Get Up Close and Personal to Natural Wonders on Galapagos Island Tours

Galapagos MapThe natural riches of the Galapagos islands are well-known, but every day spent on the islands provides you with wonders you’ll find nowhere else on the planet. On our Galapagos island tours we take you to the famous islands and introduce you to their incredible animal inhabitants.

Each of the islands has their own distinct character, with flora and fauna to match:

Bartolome Island – This young island provides a glimpse into the volcanic formation of the Galapagos islands. Snorkel with schools of tropical fish, sea turtles, and white tipped-sharks. You can also see charismatic Galapagos penguins on the coast.

Tower (Genovesa) Island – One of the most spectacular islands, Tower hosts a bonanza o
f birds. From the nests of Great Frigate birds in the mangroves, to the swallow-tailed and lava gulls in tidal pools, you’ll see some of the most colorful avian residents of the Galapagos here.

Santiago (James) Island – The tide pools display remarkable ocean life including starfish and octopus. Marine iguanas take to the seas looking for green algae, as herons and other wading birds stalk the shoreline. You’ll also see fur sea lions that were once nearly extinct.

Galapagos TortoiseFernandina (Narborough) Island – The youngest island in the archipelago is home to hundreds of marine iguanas, sea lions, and flightless cormorants. Recent lava flows from recent volcanic eruptions stretch around the island’s coast.

Isabela (Albemarle) Island – Isabela is the largest Galapagos island, formed from the eruptions of six volcanoes. Find Galapagos penguins, seabirds, and graffiti dating back to the 1800s. You’ll also see extraordinary scenic overlooks, a salt-water lagoon, lava fields, volcanic formations, and more.

Santa Cruz Island – Explore lava tubes, pit craters, and the homes of our famous giant tortoises. Then you’ll visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where scientists from all over the world perform research. Get your picture taken with giant tortoises and learn about the successful captive breeding program there. You will also visit Puerto Ayora for all the souvenirs, postcards, and other items you need.

Hood (Espanola) Island – Colonies of sea lions, blue footed boobies, and unique marine iguanas await you. A wide variety of birds are found along the shorelines, the cliffs, and soaring above. You’ll also find Darwin’s famous finches here.

There’s more to see and do on the Galapagos islands than we can possibly state here. Contact us today to learn more about our Galapagos tours.

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