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13 Must-Do Experiences in the Galápagos

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The spectacular biodiversity of the Galápagos Islands comes to life in these 13 essential experiences.
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North Seymour Island, Ecuador
The magnificent frigatebird soars above the waters of the Galapagos, terrifying fish everywhere it goes, stopping just long enough to puff out its chest to impress the opposite sex. The frigatebird is notable for its tremendous size, ability to...
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Isabela Island, Ecuador
The Galapagos penguin is cute. Rediculously cute. Especially when doing its very best to teach an uncoordinated adventurer how to swim in rough waters near Isabela Island. The Galapagos is the only penguin able to survive north of (in this case,...
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Fernandina Island, Ecuador
Technically, the marine iguana isn't a salt spitter, it's a salt snorter. Adapted to sea life, the marine iguana dives for seaweed and algae, then basks in the sun to increase it's body temperature. During this time, the excess salt is filtered...
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Fernandina Island, Ecuador
I had heard that the best way to explore the Galapagos Islands was via cruise ship, which made me wary of what sort of experience I should expect; would I be stuck on the upper deck of a 3,000-person cruise liner 500 feet from shore, leaning over...
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Baltra Island, Ecuador
From snapping photos of red-throated frigates and lanuguinous baby boobies, or sitting next to land and marine iguanas moving about the speed of time, or squatting down to listen to giant tortoises tortelling along grassy paths towards the next...
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Fernandina Island, Ecuador
Getting a pilot's license is tough business, especially if you plan to get instrument rated, and sometimes it's better left for the birds. The Galapagos hawk is the master of the island skies and one of the most impressive birds of prey I have...
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Isabela Island, Ecuador
There's nothing better than a lazy Sunday afternoon—so long as you're able to spend it under the shade of a big tree, on a bed of soft leaves, and with a few of your favorite Galapagos tortoise neighbors nearby. Our naturalist told us not to get...
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Group shots aren't usually my cup of tea—I'm not a selfie guy, either—but when you're in a location as spectacular as the Galapagos, everyone is game for a snap or two (except me, of course—I'm behind the camera). This was taken after our group...
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Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador
Get it? Play on words right there. Ha. This beautiful water lagoon is a playground for the awkwardly beautiful pink flamingo, a honking, goofy, loveable bird that is all legs and beak. I didn't expect to see flamingos in the Galapagos, so this was...
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Santiago Island, Ecuador
I don't know what these two have against each other, but they couldn't work it out while I was on the island. Puerto Egas on Santiago Island is one of the top wildlife viewing areas of the Galapagos, home to a stunning array of endemic species...
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Santa Cruz Island, Ecuador
The Galapagos were born of volcanoes, and activity still rumbles beneath the earth and under the ocean's waves. Nowhere is this more obvious than on Santa Cruz Island, where the beach is cast in burnt lava rock, and a Mt. Doom–esque peak lords...