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Why Go To Galapagos Islands

With its untamed terrain and notoriously fearless creatures – from sea lions to seagoing lizards – the isolated isles of the Galápagos lure those looking for exhilarating encounters in the wild. After all, where else can you observe giant tortoises grazing on tall blades of grass, short-feathered penguins waddling along the equator or blue-footed boobies conducting their unique mating ritual without flinching at the flash of your camera? More than 100 years after Charles Darwin visited during his legendary voyage aboard the HMS Beagle, adventurers continue to use his footsteps as a guide for their own extraordinary journeys.

The Galápagos archipelago sits 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador and features more than 120 isolated islands, islets and rocks, warranting plenty of exploration. But with so much to see and do across this remote string of islands, you'll have to be selective about which islands you choose to discover. To get acquainted with the Galápagos' famous dome-shaped tortoises, head to El Chato Tortoise Reserve or Rancho Primicias on Santa Cruz Island. Afterward, trek east to the Charles Darwin Research Station to learn more about Darwin's work. If you would prefer a rendezvous with sea lions, continue east to San Cristóbal Island, where the cheery mammals engage in barking conversations along chalky white sands. And for a more serious adrenaline rush, head to Isabela Island to hike the active and imposing Sierra Negra Volcano. Wherever your Galápagos adventure takes you, don't forget to bring your camera.

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