Galápagos is one of the few places I've been homesick for. Which is a little weird, considering I've never been homesick for my actual home. I guess the fact that I know I won't see this fascinating group of islands again for a long time makes my heart pang.
Look at me now, getting all emotional.
However, Galápagos really was something special. There is nothing else like it on Earth. A cluster of islands straddling the equator, this territory is governed by Ecuador. If you look at the map below, you'll see that the main island, Isabela Island, is shaped like a sea horse. Isabela-- and all the islands-- are volcanic. That means, when you take hikes over the islands, you'll often see a cone shaped mountain or get to walk over intricately swirled lava fields. If I remember correctly, more than one volcano is still active. And because of the not-yet-eroded volcanic soil, not all of it is a lush rainforest. On the smaller islands you will often see skeletal silver trees that have lost their leaves during the peak of the dry season, or spindly little shrubs poking up from the ground.
The geology of Galápagos, with the sparkling white beaches, twisted lava fields and volcanoes, and pounding turquoise waves paired with the exotic wildlife made this place seem like a wild paradise. Like a hidden Garden of Eden. It is so untouched, pristine, it seemed like a dream being able to explore it. Though parts of it were forbidden to visit, in an effort to protect the delicate ecosystems, the many parts we could see made me feel like I was back in time with Charles Darwin. This place is truly amazing. And while usually I post photographs that I take, we were limited on equipment for this trips, and so most of the photographs are either taken by siblings or other relations.
On the islands, some of the most common animals include sea turtles, crabs, sea lions, seals, penguins, Blue-footed Boobies (yes, boobies), marine iguanas, the Galápagos Hawk, Frigate-birds, and of course, the famous Galápagos Tortoise. Admittedly, there are hundreds of other species of birds and fish, but I think my fingers would fall off if I tried to type them all.
And honestly, I think that's the real beauty and power of Galápagos.
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