The voyage of the HMS Beagle is now around four years old. Charles Darwin has jumped to the official position of on board Naturalist, after Robert McCormick quit the position back in Rio de Janeiro. It is now September 7th, 1835 and, just about a month ago, Darwin writes to his sister Catherine: “I am very anxious to see the Galapagos Islands – I think both the Geology and Zoology will not fail in being very interesting.” Read More
Just today, La Cumbre volcano on Fernandina Island began releasing giant plumes of steam and ash that went high into the deep blue skies of the Galapagos, mesmerizing passengers aboard serendipitous ships that happened to be in the vicinity. Read More
The Galapagos archipelago is a big place. However, within its 133,000 km2, distributed among 20 islands and islets, only 3% is inhabited and 3% is open to tourism. But don’t fret! This doesn’t mean any less of a Galapagos experience! In fact, some of the best Galapagos adventures follow well-thought out, hand-picked itineraries. These usually include some of the archipelago’s best visitor sites and most iconic Big15 species while allowing guests to feel as if they are the first to step foot on the islands. Read More
The Galapagos Islands tend to procure images of a whole new world, replete with foreign life that counters our common understanding of organisms and their behavior in the wild. Surreal and freshly-made volcanic landscapes serve as the canvas for these species to paint over with their eccentric textures, remarkable body forms and quirky yet almost friendly behavioral patterns. Upon reading such a description, it might come as no surprise that hundreds of thousands of visitors have come to visit the islands over the past decades in hopes of believing what their imagination has conjured up. Many of these have travelled from around the world to experience it with their own set of senses, some of them as famous as the people we’ve heard about in the news, seen in movies or read about in our history and biology classes. Read More
We’ve all dreamt of being able to fly. It’s an longing that probably originated the moment we looked up and marvelled at the birds as they soared across the great blue sky, wondering what it must be like to admire the world from high above. Human imagination and science have both given us the ability to do such a thing, and these have fortunately never been taken it away from us. But what if evolution took that away from the very birds that inspired us to fly? For them, would the fall from grace be as blunt and backwards as it sounds? In the Galapagos, we can visually experience such a case in nature. It seems that only a select group of cormorants in the entire world have been picked for such a peculiar adaptation, and these are the flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi) of the Galapagos. In this blog, we briefly sift through the different theories that have been presented to try decipher the mystery behind these cormorants and their long-forgotten ability to fly. Read More
One of the greatest things about travel is that it requires planning. Sometimes, this planning involves packing, logistics, flights, decisions, and much more; in fact, that is the beauty of travel. A doses of the unknown is also welcome when travelling, as it brings a feeling of exploration and adventure. However, nothing beats the importance of planning a trip when it comes to calculating distances. Some will measure this in kilometres, others in miles, and others will measure travel in terms of weeks. No matter how you measure a trip, one thing is for sure: calculating the distance between point A and point B, and anything in between, is where the essence of travel lies. But, here comes the best part. What if I travel on water and land? Will it make any difference? Explorers back in the day figured this out, and designed a system to measure distance in open ocean, and a different one to measure distance on land. But, why two measuring units? There’s very interesting science behind this, and you’ll love it!
Summer is coming, and with it comes a plethora of destinations to visit to around the globe! To help narrow things down, however, National Geographic has just published its list of its Best Summer Trips 2017 and guess what’s included? The Galapagos as a summer destination! Writer Jodi Ettenberg categorized it as a destination worth going to if you “like a good water and wildlife combo.” Ettenberg also highlights the fact that this summer will see the blue-footed boobies performing their mating dance, sea lions birthing and humpback whales arriving to the archipelago. Aboard Yacht La Pinta you’ll get to experience these wonderful sights this summer on our varied yet complete Galapagos itineraries. Below we pick out the highlights found along the way.
While visiting Bartolome Island during the Northern Islands itinerary, guests will stop at one of the most iconic sites throughout the Galapagos. Widely photographed and serving as one of its most recognizable pieces of landscape is Pinnacle Rock. This formation is the result of magma expelled from the Bartolome volcano that later cooled and hardened when it reached the sea. This black lava formation used to be a tuff cone (also called an ash cone) comprised of soft volcanic material. These qualities made it very easy to erode, which resulted in its unusually pointy shape. Other ash cones can be seen throughout the archipelago, but none with the peculiar shape of Pinnacle Rock. The formation blends beautifully with the sandy beach located right below it. Here, guests will have the chance to swim with Galapagos sea lions, schools of colourful fishes and even the rare Galapagos penguin.
This amazing scenery can be enjoyed from a strategically located viewpoint that sits opposite the cone. Just get ready for a walk up the hill to snap some gorgeous photos from said viewpoint!
Galapagos Giant tortoises In the Wild!
Coming to the Galapagos Islands and not seeing a Galapagos giant tortoise is like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower. When you visit the archipelago, it is very likely that at some point throughout your itinerary you will get the chance to get a closer look at these beautiful, patient, and slow-moving reptiles. Additionally, you’ll get the chance to visit one of the National Park’s breeding centres and admire the great efforts that the park (along with other NGO’s) are making to restore the tortoise population.
Seeing them in the wild, however, is often a thrilling and fantastic experience that can be compared to walking through a cageless zoo. You might get excited when you see a majestic lion in its enclosure, but the feeling of wonder you experience when viewing the same animal in its natural habitat is truly fascinating. While visiting Santa Cruz Island during your Eastern Islands itinerary you well get the unique chance to get ridiculously close to the amazing Galapagos giants within their own and open territory: “running” around wild and free.
Check out the following 360-video of a Galapagos giant tortoise walking by. Note: By clicking and dragging the video screen, you can change the angle of the camera as you’re watching!
Fernandina Island is ranked among the top 3 must-see islands in the Galapagos. The reason for this is that it is one of the youngest islands in the whole archipelago and is the site of occasional volcanic activities. Not only that, Fernandina is home to one of the biggest colonies of marine iguanas and offers visitors the chance to walk across a beautifully abstract terrain that looks like something out of a surrealist painting.
Most noteworthy amongst all the creatures that live here, however, is the endemic flightless cormorant (found only on the Western Islands). Guests visiting Fernandina will get to watch in amusement as this unusual species of bird swimming and flaps around while attempting to dry its vestigial wings. Amazing Fernandina is visited as part of Yacht La Pinta’s Western Islands Itinerary.
Often times, sea turtle facts won’t mention that they’re involuntarily sneaky creatures. Sea turtles often move so slowly and gracefully that you’ll often be shocked to find them swimming right beside you. They also sometimes blend in with the rocks and sand so well that you might even mistake them for being a part of the reef. Pixar actually nailed it in Finding Nemo when they represented sea turtles as being the “surfer dudes” of the underwater community – their slow-motion flippers emanating a sense of tranquillity and chillness that’s completely in tune with the flow of the ocean around them. Read More
On board Yacht La Pinta, we visited Isabela Island in the Galapagos. Isabela is the largest island of this archipelago. It is composed of five volcanoes – Cerro Azul, Sierra Negra, Darwin, Wolf, Alcedo – all of which are actually still considered active! Today we will visit Urbina Bay.
Daniel Moreano, Expedition Leader 6th January to 9th January 2017
On board the Yacht La Pinta today we visit Española Island. It is considered one of the oldest islands of the Galapagos archipelago.
Photo by: Steven Bedard
This island is near sea level, and that is why Española Island is dry and arid. On this island it’s very common to find a high level of endemicity present. This means that much of its flora and fauna is unique to the Española Island; this means that there is flora and fauna that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Read More