Galapagos Classic – Venture into Nature
From the minute I stepped onto the dock to board the pangas that would take us to the Grace, I knew I was in for a special week as sea lions dozed all over the dock in the equatorial sun. In Galapagos, I imagine sea lions are to the locals what deer must be to someone from the Midwest, or seagulls to someone from the coast—they are everywhere and often in the way—but they are too cute!
From Baltra Island, we set off on a whirlwind track that would take us to nine different islands in eight days. The first landing on Santa Fe to see the giant cacti forest was full of beautiful desert landscapes and dozens of land iguanas snoozing and munching on cacti in the sunshine, along with sea lions, lava lizards, Darwin finches, and more—all in the first two hours of our first landing!
Throughout the trip, opportunities to snorkel were frequent and the abundance of wildlife was truly spectacular—I will never forget swimming with dozens of sea turtles, trying my hardest to avoid touching them because there were so many every way I looked and they were completely unafraid. We had the extra bonus of getting to see hammerhead sharks, white-tipped reef sharks, marine iguanas in the water, flightless cormorants swimming, and schools of manta rays—things not every traveler is lucky enough to catch!
The highlight of my trip was heading out on the pangas to go snorkeling, and then catching sight of three orcas and following them for over a mile. The guides and crew are so flexible and accommodating, and they want to see the wildlife as much as you do—as soon as we caught sight of the orcas, we were off! Flocks of frigate birds, boobies, and other sea birds followed to scoop up any leftover bits from the orca’s feeding that floated to the surface, and we followed the sea birds to help track the course of the orcas while they were underwater. Each time they surfaced was truly magical, as if they were almost close enough to touch. I will never forget it.
Every moment in the Galapagos was truly remarkable—there is no place like it on earth. The lack of a fear response in the wildlife means you can observe and interact with nature in a completely unique and beautiful way, seeing wildlife and pristine landscapes up close. It’s a feeling that is impossible to describe and must be experienced. My week aboard the Grace is one I will never forget!
View Sarah's Trip