Not only does Ecuador offer a rich, cultural and historic diversity, but it is the gateway to the Galapagos Islands, a natural wonderland of unique species and stunning volcanic landscapes. This UNESCO world Heritage site is a pristine natural classroom and makes for a once-in-a-lifetime magical adventure.
The Galapagos were born from volcanoes erupting violently out of the sea. Plant and animal species traversed 1000km of ocean to colonize the islands, leaving species isolated and evolving independently on different islands. Observing this had a resounding impact on the formations of Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection and the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Fernandina is the youngest of the Galapagos Islands, and it is also the most active volcanically, with frequent eruptions. It is one of the least contaminated islands in terms of introduced species. You can visit Punta Espinoza, where there are marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, sea lions, penguins, and Galapagos hawks on the relatively young lava landscapes.
This is an uplifted island, which is quite flat. There is a trail to follow which takes you through Palo Santo forest, past colonies of blue-footed boobies, frigate bird colonies and beaches with marine iguanas and sea lions.
This is the most populated of the islands. Puerto Ayora is the main town, with all the amenities you would expect to service the large number of tourists passing through and the resident population. The Charles Darwin Research Centre is within walking distance of the town, and definitely worth a visit. Here you can see the giant land tortoises, or Galapagos, which once roamed the islands. In the 1800s their populations were severely reduced as whalers would capture them and keep them on board as a fresh meat supply.