Galapagos Tortoise

Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles from the mainland. A volcanic archipelago consisting of 15 main

I was there in October on an expedition ship for 7 nights. We flew to Guayaquil, Ecuador. After spending one night in a hotel we took a two hour flight to the island of Baltra. Baltra is home to one of two airports in the Galapagos.

The islands were discovered in 1525 accidentally by the Bishop of Panama when his ship was carried by current far from the shores of Ecuador. Thomas de Berlanga wrote about the strangeness of the big tortoises that could carry a man on top of itself and many iguana like serpents were sights he had never seen or knew anything about.

There are two distinct seasons in the Galapagos. The warm season runs from January to May with heavy rain showers during this season. Temperatures rise from the mid to upper 70’s to a high of 85 degrees. The cool season runs from June to December with temperatures from the upper 60’s to the low 70’s. That is perfect weather for us who live in the Pacific Northwest. The only downside means the water temperature is colder for snorkeling, shockingly cold I would say every time I jumped in the water.

Charles Darwin came up with his theory of evolution after visiting the islands for only five weeks in 1825. During his visit, Darwin noted that the unique creatures were similar from island to island, but perfectly adapted to their environments which led him to ponder the origin of the islands’ inhabitants. Years later in 1859, Darwin published his famous book “On The Origin of Species”. Darwin’s “Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection” is still controversial after all these years.

There are nine animals you won’t find anywhere in the world but the Galapagos. Marine iguanas, Galapagos land iguanas, the flightless cormorant, Galapagos finches, frigate birds, blue footed boobies, waved albatross’s, sally lightfoot crabs and of course the Galapagos giant tortoise. The giant tortoise lives to be over 100 years of age. The Galapagos Islands were named after them. Galápago means tortoise in Spanish.

I’m happy to guide you on choosing the best option to visit the Galapagos.

Photo compliments of my friend and travel companion from Lake Oswego, Debi Bradway.

Next Month: Egypt