There's a reason the Galapagos Islands are also known as Darwin's playground, and it isn't just because of the popularity of the endangered blue footed booby and similarly fascinating species. Alongside the diverse wildlife, from an array of birds, to sea lions, to iguanas and the only penguins living north of the Equator in the wild, people visit the Galapagos Islands for once in a lifetime adventures. The snorkeling, kayaking and rafting here, among other adventurous pursuits, are unlike anywhere else on Earth.
One of the best options on your Galapagos Island expedition is hiking the terrain, and getting up close with the exciting elements for which the islands have become so well known. We offer a range of hiking outings on Galapagos Islands expeditions, with different interests and levels of physical fitness in mind. Check out just a few of the top Galapagos hiking spots:
Whaler Bay is not just ideal for hiking because of its scenic value, but for its historic value as well. As a designated Historic Site or Monument (HSM), it gives visitors the chance to see intriguing remnants of Norwegian and Chilean whaling stations. It also served as a United States Air Force Base in World War II.
Many Quark adventures start here at Whaler Bay, also recognized as one of the top landing sites in the Galapagos.
If you're interested in hiking and exploring among volcanic debris, you'll want to make sure your expedition includes a stop at Bartolome Island. This hike includes making your way, by foot, to the top of Pinnacle Rock for a close-up view of craters, lava flows, and lava tunnels, which weave and snake down from the summit. You might also get a chance to swim on the northern beach alongside the region's green sea turtle, sea lions, and penguins. Bird watching is also popular here, which provides rare opportunities to spot Galapagos penguins, herons, and Galapagos hawks, all contributing to a hike you can't experience anywhere else in the world.
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island is the most populated of the Galapagos Islands, full of popular restaurants and other tourist attractions, and yet has managed to retain its natural aesthetic. For hikers seeking a view of the island's wildlife in their natural habitats, Santa Cruz Island offers forested highlands with giant tortoises, lagoons of flamingos and pintail ducks, and the white sands of Bachas Beach, full of Sally Lightfoot crab and whimbrels.
The island is also a great destination for hikers ready for a swimming or snorkeling break, forming the perfect opportunity to swim with sea turtles or snap some of your most memorable underwater photos of your Galapagos adventures.
Both swimming and kayaking are popular activities on Floreana Island, but it's also the perfect location for hiking, especially along Punta Cormorant's olivine beaches. For history buffs, your hike can include a visit to Post Office Bay, where navigators once left their mail for passing ships to pick up and deliver to their homes in the U.S., England, and other countries. Although an important part of Floreana Island's history, you can still leave a message and use this method of mail delivery today. Visitors continue to leave letters and postcards at Post Office Bay, where other visitors heading to the addressee's area can then pick up and deliver.
Contact an experienced Polar Travel Adviser today or sign up for our newsletter to learn more about the Galapagos Islands and the adventure that awaits you there!
Photos courtesy of Ecuador's Ministry of Tourism and Tiffany Merritt.