Summer is coming, and with it comes a plethora of destinations to visit 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 at 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 the 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 colorful 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!
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 centers 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 will 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 birds 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.