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Galapagos Islands

Luxury Yacht Charter Destination

This isolated group of volcanic islands and its fragile ecosystem is one of the planet’s most incredible showcases of biodiversity. But you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist or an ornithologist to appreciate the Galápagos. One of the few places remaining where human footprints are hard to find, this untouched wonder is best seen by superyacht.

 

The Galápagos Islands, located roughly 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, remained a secret for millions of years. The archipelago was allowed to evolve into a home for an all-star cast of plants and animals, unaffected by human life or our environmental impact.

 

In the 1800s, swashbuckling pirates and intrepid explorers began to arrive - the most famous early visitor being Charles Darwin - a young naturalist who spent 19 days studying the islands' flora and fauna in 1835. Then, in 1859, Darwin published his Origin of Species, which introduced his theory of evolution - and the Galápagos Islands - to the world. 

 

Since then, word of these islands and their magnificent beauty has steadily spread. In 1959, the Galápagos became Ecuador’s first national park and in 1978, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands and cruising here is a truly humbling experience. 

 

Today, more than 275,000 people visit the Galápagos every year to see the incredible animals and landscapes for themselves. The Charles Darwin Research Station, to the north of Puerto Ayora, is a common feature on any travel itinerary. As amazing as you think the Galápagos Islands will be, they routinely exceed expectations: It’s a place where lizards swim, birds walk, and humans - for once - don’t take centre stage.

 

Human activity in the region is growing and tourism infrastructure along with it but, thankfully, with rugged nature being the star attraction, the focus remains on low-impact and educatory endeavours.  For the most part, however, you’ll find yourself needing to be self-sufficient – dining aboard and relying on your supply of provisions.  The government might ask you to take a specific route for your visit to the Galápagos, but don’t be disheartened - they do so with the region’s best interests at heart.

 

Key attractions include the Alcedo volcano with its 7km-wide caldera, steaming fumaroles and giant tortoise population, Tortuga Bay - which can rival the white-sand beauty of any South American or Caribbean beach - and the sea lion-inhabited Santa Fé island.

 

Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galápagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species.  Scuba divers seeking underwater adventures are encouraged to dive off the little-visited northernmost islands of the archipelago, where deep and cold waters yield encounters with manta rays, whale sharks, sunfish, and hammerhead sharks.

 

Temperatures in the Galápagos are warmest from December to June, but the slightly cooler dry season (June to November) is generally regarded as the better time of year to see the wildlife.

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