The Galapagos and Ecuador by Solar Tours | TravelResearchOnline

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The Galapagos and Ecuador by Solar Tours

Approximately 600 miles off the coast of Guayaquil, Ecuador is the Columbus Archipelago, often referred to simply as The Galapagos Islands. The Galapagos is one of the most popular sites in Ecuador; home to a number of endangered species (including some very famous tortoises), the chain of islands was declared Ecuador’s first national park in 1959 and a UNESCO World Heritage site twenty years later. Gorgeous white-sand beaches, thick jungles and lava tunnels make these 19 “Enchanted Isles” well worth a visit–once you arrive, you may never want to leave.

Don’t make the mistake of limiting your journey to the islands, however. If you’re looking to vacation in a place whose history is just as rich as its natural beauty, look no further than the Ecuadorian mainland. This country’s geography is worth boasting about: magnificent beaches line its Pacific coast, part of the Andes mountain range stretches to the sky down its center and the Amazon rainforest grows wild in the east, claiming nearly half the country’s physical area. However, Ecuador’s impressive flora isn’t its only draw. UNESCO named Quito, its capital city, a World Heritage site for being the “best-preserved, least altered historic centre in Latin America” (UNESCO), and a number of indigenous groups still thrive in various areas of the country.

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60-Second Geography

The Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are famous for a variety of unusual creatures, from marine iguanas to blue-footed boobies. You will get closer to the wildlife than you would anywhere else in the world. The archipelago lies 600 miles off the coast of South America and is reached via a short flight from Quito, Ecuador. The isolation and late discovery by humans, along with a historical lack of predators has set the stage for a unique environmental experiment and developed into perhaps the greatest showcase for evolution to be witnessed anywhere. Follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin and step ashore and discover it for yourself!
  • Santa Fe (Barrington) Island. This island stretches over an area of 9.3 sq. mi. where you will find a forest of the archipelago’s largest cacti. Among the island’s land species are the land iguana and lava lizard. In addition to admiring nests in seaside cliffs, visitors can snorkel alongside seals in the turquoise waters of the picturesque lagoon.
  • Floreana (Charles) Island. With a surface area of 67 sq. mi., this island was named after Juan José Flores, the first president of Ecuador, whose administration took possession of the archipelago in 1832. Between December and May, pink flamingos and green sea turtles nest here. At the “Devil’s Crown” underwater volcanic cone, visitors can observe unique coral formations.
  • Genovesa (Tower) Island. Stretching over 5.4 sq. mi., Genovesa Island is the remainder of a large submerged crater. It is also known as “Bird Island” due to the population of swallow-tailed gulls, which are the only nocturnal hunters of the species. Visitors will also see blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, swallows and other tropical birds.
  • Baltra (South Seymour) Island. Baltra Island covers an area of 10.4 sq. mi. and is the site of the archipelago’s main airport, built during World War II by the United States military. The military barracks can still be seen there today. The arid island is populated with wild desert flora, mostly cactus, and offers excellent spots for surfing, snorkeling and diving.
  • Santa Cruz (Indefatigable) Island. Spread over an area of 381 sq. mi., Santa Cruz is home to the archipelago’s largest settlement, the town of Puerto Ayora. Its highlands are famous for their lava tunnels while Black Turtle Cove is one of the area’s best beaches. The crystal-clear waters are ideal for snorkeling and surfing.
  • Bartolomé (Bartholomew) Island. This island is a mere 0.4 sq. mi. across. Here, visitors will find Pinnacle Rock, a stone tower in the shape of an obelisk reminiscent of the archipelago itself. At Bartolomé Island, visitors can see the Galapagos penguin, seals, lava formations and recently-formed volcanic cones.
  • Isabela (Albemarle) Island. This island is home to Galapagos penguins, marine and land iguanas, boobies, pelicans, Sally Lightfoot crab, Galapagos hawks and Galapagos doves, in addition to lush and interesting vegetation. On the southern tip of the island, Puerto Villamil is the archipelago’s third largest human settlement.
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Special Offers to Ecuador and the Galapagos from Solar Tours

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Galapagos Cruise and Basic Ecuador-With three nights in a first-class hotel in Quito and three on a deluxe cruise around the Galapagos Islands, this package offers a quick overview of Ecuador’s most famous beauties. 

Galapagos Cruise: Otavalo-Chaski Route-In addition to four nights in Quito and a three-night deluxe Galapagos Island cruise, this package offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit and spend a night in the company of Ecuadorian indigenous peoples.

Galapagos+Machu Piccu+Lake TiticacaExplore Ecuador, the Galapagos and Peru with three nights in Quito, two in Lima, two in Cuzco, one in the Sacred Valley of the Incas and two in Puno Town or on the shore of Lake Titicaca.

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