Tag Archives: Ecuador

Paradise Found at the Galapagos Islands

Let’s admit it, everyone dreams of laying at the white-sand beaches of Hawaii, Fiji, or Bora Bora. While these Islands are without a doubt charming, I have found my own paradise. The volcanic archipelago is known as the Galapagos Islands.

These beautiful islands can be found around 600 miles (1000 km) off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean and are different from a stereotypical island with sandy beaches with palm and coconuts trees.

The Enchanted Islands

These islands are called the “Enchanted Islands” for good reason. Galapagos is full of life and mystery. There are hundreds of types of exotic animals that have made the variety of volcanic rocks, sand, and beaches their home. Charles Darwin famously wrote, “The natural history of these islands is eminently curious”.

Most of the Galapagos archipelago is uninhabited. The Galapagos were the first to be declared a World Heritage Site in 1978 and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1984. The Galapagos National Park covers and protects almost 97% of the islands. As you can guess by now, this is your unspoiled paradise. 


Galapagos Animals

There are so many islands in Galapagos, all with different structures, vegetation, and wildlife. Whereas some islands are inhabited by land iguanas and waved albatrosses, others are full of penguins or seals. There is a good reason that the Galapagos islands became Darwin’s laboratory for the study of the origins of life.

The island’s landscape varies from rough volcanic rock to green overgrown areas with sandy beaches. This makes it an excellent destination to do more than just lay on the beach. You can hike, swim, snorkel, dive, mountain bike, kayak, and do so much more at this astonishing paradise.

There are white and red sand beaches that are full of seals, sea lions, and other animals that you don’t get to see usually on most touristy islands. It is not uncommon that the curious animals accompany you on these trips.

These islands, isolated from human colonization have developed unique and abundant wildlife that has no natural fear of humans. Whereas in most other places, wild animals are often scared or are shy from humans, on here they are not afraid at all.

Galapagos Travel

Unfortunately, you often must choose between visiting the west or the eastern part of the Galapagos Islands. Luckily I found a tour operator in Quito that was able to make a tour that included everything I wanted! I loved the comfort of the cruise, alternating with the challenging hikes I did.

I never thought that I would be able to visit and live in my own “real-life nature and wildlife documentary’’, let alone take amazing pictures that make the journey even more memorable.

Arriving at Galapagos Islands

The adventure starts when you arrive at the airport and make your way to the shore (and dock). You can hear the wind blowing and the loud barks of the seals and sea-lions, it’s like they all are welcoming you to this enchanted island.

The sun shines bright, but luckily since you are at the equator and it shines from straight above, it doesn’t block your view. Each following day you will be surprised. Just when you’ll think you know what to expect, there will be something unexpected coming your way that will surprise you.

Whichever islands or parts you explore, I think that Galapagos will never cease to amaze you.

Meeting new people

Whether you are a solo traveler, traveling with your special someone or friends, it’s always nice to meet new people and share your travel experiences.

I met some of the most amazing people in the Galapagos Islands, from world travelers to locals who have spent their lives on these beautiful Islands. Even they admitted that living there never gets boring or ordinary.

To my surprise most of the people spoke multiple languages, so making contact was very easy. We ate some fish at Alfonso’s house, a local we met that lives in Santa Cruz. Honestly, I was a little jealous of his seemingly relaxed and stress-free life in Galapagos.

Protecting nature

I think that nature is very important and that it’s a shame that all the beautiful places on earth go under due to human greed and the commercialization of tourism. Of all the places I’ve visited, I think the Ecuadorian government is setting an example of how to deal with preserving nature.

As noted above, almost 97% of the Galapagos Islands are part of the nature park, and this can be seen everywhere. According to Gulliver Expeditions, “It is obligated to be accompanied by a local guide and nature expert that is certified.’’ 

The guides here tell you awesome facts about the animals and wildlife while making sure that you stick to the rules. A lot of the money you pay for your Galapagos trip will be used to assure its existence in the future.

Galapagos vacation

I would recommend visiting the Galapagos Islands as this is one of the world’s most special places. Thinking about going on a honeymoon to a truly unique romantic place? I think this is it.

Any beach, animal, or nature lover will absolutely fall in love with this virgin paradise that feels like nowhere else on earth. If you want to make sure your experience will be just as unforgettable as mine was, I would advise you to check out a good tour operator and let them do what they do best, making your travel unique.

Guest blog contributed by our reader Mary Wilson.

Read Next

Top 10 Countries Not Enough Americans Visit

There are hidden treasures all around the world waiting to be discovered. We have compiled a list of ten destinations that are often overlooked by American travelers. These places are worth more than they are given credit for. Don’t believe us? Then travel there and see for yourself. 


Myanmar is still an underrated destination in the eyes of American Travelers. Most travelers opt out of a vacation to Myanmar because of the difficulty in air travel. There are no direct flights to Myanmar from America. You have to take a flight to Hong Kong or Bangkok, and from there another flight to Yangon.

Aside from the long flights, Myanmar is an exotic Asian country where you can enjoy ancient architecture and magical sunsets. The sunset along the Irrawaddy River is a breathtaking sight to witness – and is the focal attraction for tourists in addition to the Temples in Old Bagan.


Belize is not as popular as its neighbor, Mexico, but it has all the same assets. The primary tourist destinations such as Playa del Carmen and Cancun are hotspots that drag the attention away from nearby destinations. The tiny island of Caye Caulker is on par with these well-known cities.

There are enormous mountains here in addition to Belize’s Barrier Reef. On a journey to Belize, those who want to dive can dive, those who want to hike can hike, and those who want to grab a beer can grab an iced cold one.


In the 1990s, the dispute between the IRA (Irish Republic Army) and Loyalists created international disinterest in the country. But now, it is safe for tourists to travel to Northen Ireland again.

Northern Ireland is loaded with history and spectacular countryside sceneries. The best city around is Belfast, which is modern yet it retains the classic Irish rolling hills. Visit the Giant’s Causeway, an impressive staircase created from an earthquake that reaches from cliff to sea.


Switzerland takes away all the tourist glory from Austria. That is why most of Austria remains overlooked by American tourists. You know what makes this country special? The Grand Art Nouveau buildings as well as the ornate palaces, which are evidence of the Habsburg Empire.

Wine lovers will think Austria is heaven since it has some of the richest wine cultures in the world. Not just that, but the stunning architecture that inspired Genius musicians such as Mozart and Haydn, attracts art lovers as well as music lovers to this beautiful country.


Adventure enthusiasts should buckle up for the trip of their lifetime in Ecuador. The neighboring countries, Peru and the Galapagos Islands, lure all the tourists away.

Traveling in Ecuador is cheap. Plus, the Amazon basin offers you adventurous trails, tumultuous waves, and rough roads. Ecuador is inexpensive and a treasure trove of adventure.


Tunisia has had a bad reputation since its association with Yemen, Libya, Syria, and Jordan. But now it is safe for tourists to travel to this Mediterranean paradise. The balmy beaches coupled with Ottoman Culture makes Tunisia a unique destination.

The historical Old Town of Medina has a rich cultural history. Taste the delicious French-influenced food with the Ottoman touch or hang out in one of the many buzzing cafés.


Americans shun Malaysia and opt for Thailand because they think the culture here is mostly Muslim. People mistakingly believe that this means they cannot drink or they must always be covered. In reality, Malaysia is nothing like that. Malaysia is an open-minded country with a lot of exciting things to offer.

The tropical beaches on the South China Sea are lovely places to sunbathe. The UNESCO World Heritage site, Gunung Mulu National Park, is the primary tourist hotspot.


Tourism to Cuba opened for Americans in 2015. If you already watched Fate of the Fast and Furious, then you know that Cuba abounds in historic cars.

Those who love cars and racing can’t find any better place than this. You can hang out in any café, nearly all of which have live music. Or why not take a tour of a cigar factory?


According to the Lonely Planet, Cambodia has the most coveted destination – Angkor Wat. Yet, fewer tourists are visiting Cambodia than Vietnam or Thailand.  

It is inexpensive to travel to Cambodia, especially for Americans. Aside from the budget travel appeal, there are also many Buddhist and Hindu ruins other than Angkor Wat which are worth a visit. 


Any water lover will jump at the first opportunity to visit the Phillippines. American travelers will have to spend one day in the air to get here. The long journey discourages many of the tourists.

But once you are here, the accommodation and food costs are minimal. You can land a four-star hotel room at just $50/night, isn’t that surprising? So, pack your bags and head to the Phillippines. You can do anything involving water here, from snorkeling to cruising.