Kicker Rock formed as a result of hot lava shooting out of cold water.
Sail 600 miles (965 km) from the coast of Ecuador and you will arrive on the rocky shores of the Galápagos Islands. This archipelago is made up of 13 islands and 7 islets. They formed millions of years ago out of hardened lava. When Darwin arrived in 1835, he found an environment where natural selection and isolated conditions had produced species that didn’t exist anywhere else in the world—and still don't.
Darwin focused his research on the finches, giant tortoises, and mockingbirds of the Galápagos. 11 species of land animal are found only in the Galápagos, including Galápagos penguins and flightless cormorants. Many more rare species make their home here, as well as droves of sea lions and iguanas.
There is a huge variety of marine life that only lives in the waters that surround these islands. Go snorkeling to see green turtles, sting rays, and Galápagos sharks.
Words simply don't do this archipelago justice, and even photos of the Galápagos pale in comparison to seeing them up close. Some things in this world you have to experience for yourself to understand. To inspire you to start planning your trip to the Galápagos Islands, we’ve pulled together some of our favourite photos.
A colourful iguana on the Galapagos.
Male giant frigatebirds inflate their chests when they want to attract a mate.
The path to once in a lifetime memories is found in the Galápagos archipelago.
You'll see all kinds of creatures when you visit the Galápagos Islands—whether great or small, they each play an important role in maintaining the delicate balance of the archipelago.
This ship might disagree, but in our opinion, there are worse places to run aground than the Galápagos.
Look closely at everything you see on the Galápagos Islands—there is so much beauty to see...including the subtle and unusual variety.
Look out for Galápagos penguins on your visits to Isabela and Fernandina Island.
'Grapsus grapsus,' otherwise known as the Sally Lightfoot crab.
Can you guess what bird these dapper feet belong to? A close-up of the aptly named blue-footed booby's famous feet.
If these photos of the Galápagos Islands don't inspire you, nothing will.
An iguana sunbathes on a rock.
Red crab, grey rock—the Galápagos Islands are full of natural colour contrasts.
You can see sea lions on many beaches in the Galápagos. They gather in especially large numbers on a San Cristobál beach called Sea Lion Rookery.
The wonders of the Galápagos Islands aren't just above ground—explore caves as well.
Lush, vividly green, and unspoilt. If the scenery alone isn't enough to inspire you to book a trip to the Galápagos Islands, the wildlife will.
You can see tortoises in their natural habitat on most of the Galápagos Islands.
Visit the Arnaldo Tupiza Giant Tortoise Center on Isabela Island, or the Charles Darwin Research Station in Santa Cruz, for the chance to see baby Galápagos tortoises.
The male blue-footed booby has a distinctive mating dance. He does his best to draw attention to his bright blue feet, in hopes of attracting a mate.
Marine iguanas live on a diet of seaweed. You will find them on rocky beaches all over the Galápagos.
Footprints on the beach—the only thing one should leave behind when visiting the Galápagos Islands.
The lava cactus is one of the endemic species of plants on the Galápagos Islands.
When on a beautiful island, everyone likes to spend a little time lounging—including sea lions.
Almost all of the land on the Galápagos is part of a closely monitored national park. You can find places to stay on some of the more developed islands. Check out accommodations on Santa Cruz, San Cristobál, and Isabela.