It’s no secret that the Galapagos Islands play host to some of the world’s most fascinating, mesmerising and downright peculiar critters. And whether they inhabit land, air or sea, these animals serve up some of our planet’s best opportunities to get up close and personal with wildlife. In fact, the level of interaction may even rival that of – dare we suggest it – the mighty African safari.
Sure, you could argue that lions are more impressive than sea lions. That elephants are more awe-inducing than frigatebirds. That giraffes cast a longer shadow than sea turtles (this one, at least, is difficult to dispute). And if you look at the wildlife of Africa vs. the Galapagos Islands on paper, you might find yourself unpersuaded by our argument. But we’re not looking at the wildlife on paper, we’re looking at it in real life, when it’s all around us. We’re looking at how the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands effect the dynamic of a real-life, three-dimensional trip. And in that context, we believe the Galapagos Islands is simply unmatched.
You see, as incredible and life-affirming as an African safari is (and we highly recommend everyone to experience at least one in their lifetime), the sheer amount of predators means that you can’t just hop off the truck at any given moment and go for a stroll. Off-the-truck experiences in Africa are commonplace, sure, but a good chunk of the spectacle (‘spectacle’ being the operative word here) of African safari relies on looking at a scene, rather than being immersed in it.
In the Galapagos, however, the discint lack of predators means you can roam about freely and be an active participant in the wild and wonderful world unfolding around you. You’re not stuck in the back of a truck, you’re roaming the beaches, forests, lava-formations and hillsides and discovering wildlife for yourself. You’ll be ducking low-flying boobies, pelicans and frigatebirds, snorkelling with sea turtles, sea lions, blacktip reef sharks and Galapagos penguins, getting up-close with marine iguanas and Sally Lightfoot Crabs – hell, your camera won’t know what’s hit it.
So, if you think a Galapagos safari might be your kind of thing, here’s a brief run down of all the incredible creatures you can expect to find – and interact with – out on the archipelago.
Any visit to the Galapagos Islands is filled with an abundance of these guys. Whether you’re strolling along the beach or snorkelling just offshore, they’re sure to show a keen interest in whatever you’re up to. They might even make a dash towards you, so you better have your nimble legs on. And if you find yourself among a friendly bunch of these guys whilst you’re snorkelling, take your mask off and blow some bubbles. They love it.
They may look like they don’t really do much, but these incredibly clever things are in fact the only lizard that can forage and swim in the ocean. Only found in the Galapagos Islands, marine iguanas are one of the archipelagos most famous inhabitants, and one of many that perfectly illustrates Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
These guys are bright yellow vs. their waterborne cousins’ black and are probably the closest thing to a real-life dragon you’re ever likely to see (save for a Komodo dragon). They’re pretty territorial and you may even get to witness a land iguana showdown during your trip.
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