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A Photographic Tour through the Galapagos Islands

Updated 01.016.2020:  Making a travel bucket list is a very personal thing. But when it comes to choosing travel destinations, there seems to be a few reoccurring favorites that show up on most travelers’ wish lists, such as the Galapagos Islands. You’ll see what we mean after viewing this Galapagos Islands photo essay.

About 1,000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador, this off-the-beaten-path area is known for its amazing wildlife and untouched landscape. Guest contributor and travel photographer, Dennis Calhoun, is here to share his recent adventure to this unique destination.

Galapagos Islands photo essay

People walking on the street in Quito, Ecuador.

Quito is a very interesting South American city. If you can, make sure to save time to explore it.

Do you enjoy a challenge? Are you interested in seeing an amazing variety of wildlife? If so, the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador may be just right for your next exciting boomer travel adventure. Only a few of the fourteen most significant islands in the volcanic archipelago have any inhabitation.

Most people who visit these isolated islands start by joining a tour. Most of the tours are via air travel to Quito, Ecuador and then a short flight to a small airfield in Baltra in the Galapagos Islands. The airfield is there because this was once a US Military base during WWII.

Seal on a rock covered with orange crabs on the Galapagos Islands.

Of course, most people come to this part of the world for the amazing wildlife found on the islands.

After your arrival at Baltra, you will be taken to your ship in a small rubber boat, called a panga. Most days you will enjoy two excursions to the islands for photography, swimming, snorkeling or walking.

Sometimes kayaking opportunities are available. On one of the islands, iron oxide leaching into the lava sand on the beach gives the sand a distinctive red color.

rocky shoreline

The rocky shorelines are one reason that the islands have managed to stay in such pristine state.

Birdwatching in the Galapagos Islands

Nineteen species of seabirds call the Galapagos Islands home, including blue and red-footed boobies. With no threats from natural predators, Galapagos birds don’t scare easily. You’ll spend plenty of time observing and photographing them close up.

Bird on a rock in the Galapagos

Birdwatchers will love the amazing array of pelicans, hawks, and booby birds.

The blue-footed boobies prefer rocky shorelines, so it can be tricky getting a good shot from the bouncy panga.

Blue footed boobie

The boobies are quite popular for bird enthusiasts.

Pink Flamingo

This pink flamingo was hanging out in a lagoon as we passed by.

But there’s more wildlife to see in the Galapagos

The island is also known for its magnificent giant tortoises. When Darwin arrived, 15 species existed, now there are 10. In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, pirates, merchant sailors and whalers hunted them for food. Thanks to efforts by Ecuador to breed the turtles and release them, they are starting to come back in large numbers.

Giant tortoise

Thankfully, new laws are in place to protect these beautiful animals.

Galapagos Island excursions

Many of the landings are wet landings, meaning that you must walk from the small panga to the land in shallow ocean water. This may sound simple, but it can be challenging when the surf is rough and you are trying to protect camera equipment. Sometimes the footing is a bit rough, but the opportunity to see the wildlife up close is worth it.

penguin on a rock

Although it’s rare to see them, one species of penguins can be found in the Galapagos.

Marine iguana on a rock

A marine iguana gave us his best tough guy pose.

Although planning a visit to the Galapagos Islands can be a bit daunting, it’s an amazing destination. Plan accordingly and you’ll have an unforgettable experience.

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