courtesy of Tanya Christian
Who Should Go? The sprawling region is great for children, seniors, and everyone in between. A couple’s trip, friend adventure, or family vacation can all be easily accommodated in this wildlife destination.
What Will You See When You Visit? The exclusive locale has endemic species, beautiful views and a relationship with nature you’ve never seen before.
When Should You Go? The Galápagos essentially has two seasons. The warm and rainy season lasts from January to June and transitions into the dry season from July December. The former is an ideal time to visit, given the warmer ocean temps for snorkeling, kayaking and other aquatic excursions.
Where is it? The Galápagos Islands are located 600 miles off of the coast of mainland Ecuador. Known for its rare animals and distinctive terrain, this archipelago comprised of 12 tiny islets is the gem of the South American region.
How to get there: Options for travel to the Galápagos include flights out of Guayaquil into San Cristobal or Baltra. From there, it’s best to start your adventure aboard one of the National Park Service-approved ships that sail through the islands. If you’re looking for a topnotch experience, Lindblad Expeditions’ National Geographic Endeavour II is the tour for you. The 50-year-old company offers amazing accommodations, great customer service and a jam-packed itinerary you won’t soon forget.
1 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
Some vacations are simply for relaxing and others are for taking on new adventures. Without a doubt, the Galapagos falls into the latter. Even if you’re not an animal lover, you’ll still find yourself enamored by the exotic atmosphere and excited about the daily expeditions. There are beautiful mountains, charming coves, and a unique feeling of bliss you honestly can’t find anywhere else. If you book your trip with Lindblad you’ll get plenty of opportunities to see all of it — whether it’s by foot, zodiac, or a glass-bottom boat.
2 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
Daily nature hikes are the norm when visiting this enchanted area. If you’re not one to typically embrace the outdoors, trust that this is one place you’ll be happy to step outside of your comfort zone. Early mornings bring amazing views of the sunrise and a chance to witness some of wildlife’s greatest moments. We’re talking nesting sea turtles, flamingos in the wild, and a geyser that lends itself to amazing, insta-worthy photos. When the sun comes out its prime time to go bird watching. Unlike the infamous pigeons that populate NYC, these chickies are worthy of the space on your camera roll. Just think of being at the most amazing zoo, minus the fences. In the Galapagos, getting too close for comfort is what it’s all about. The nature you’ll encounter in the archipelago is one of the greatest gifts the destination has to offer.
3 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
Have you ever danced with sea lions or swam fearlessly with sharks? Have you paddle boarded among sea turtles or seen an iguana take a dive? If the answer is no, heading to the Galapagos aboard National Geographic’s Endeavour II will give you quite a bit to look forward to. The sea species found in this area cannot be found anywhere else, making the islands a huge draw for animal lovers and science buffs. With a Lindblad trip, professional naturists accompany you on daily dives, making sure to point out the scenic world that exists below the ocean’s surface. If you’d rather not get wet – no worries. A tour of the seas and its famed aquatic animals can also be done via a glass-bottom boat. The option makes it possible for young children and older adults to take advantage of the must-see views.
4 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
Before you ask — YES, penguins can be found in warm weather climates. And once you see these little treasures up close, you’ll understand why they make the list all on their own. Unlike any other penguin species, the Galapagos penguins live north of the equator and stand at less than half the size of the average penguin species. There’s no debating that they’re some of the cutest things you’ll see on your trip.
5 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
If you’re looking to deepen your melanin on picturesque sands, you won’t be disappointed with what the archipelago has to offer. Although beaches aren’t necessarily a main attraction on your fun-filled itinerary, they are definitely a bonus. From the black sand shores of Floreana Island to the white sand shores of Santa Cruz, you can easily get your fix of sunshine and scenery. Since the volcanic islands are located on the Equator, the beaches certainly bring the heat.
6 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
The memories from your trip to The Galapagos won’t be like any other. It’s charming, eye-opening and if it had to be summed up in one word — breathtaking. Go anywhere in the world and you won’t find a place quite like it. Which is why it should go on your travel bucket list TODAY.
7 of 7 courtesy of Tanya Christian
For a week I made my home aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II and took in the beauty of the Galapagos Islands. I snorkeled with penguins, swam with sharks, danced with sea lions, paddle boarded among a trove of sea turtles. I even woke up for 6AM nature walks. And the truth is, the whole time I was there, I thought to myself: “Tanya, what exactly are you doing?” Fast-forward to today, I still can’t answer that question, BUT — what I know now, as I did then, is that it felt good, and it felt right and it was exciting and liberating. My anxiety was replaced with adventure, my fears with immeasurable fun, and my stress quickly turned to joy. Since my trip I’ve chosen to live my life in the same manner I did on my week-long solo journey: seeking new adventures, taking risks, finding joy, and spending quality time with God whenever and however possible.
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