There can be few greater pleasures in life than to take a step back in time on a Galapagos vacation. The Galapagos Islands, which are known locally as the Archipelago de Colon, comprise thirteen major volcanic islands and upwards of 40 smaller islands. Today, four of these islands offer accommodation to cater for all types, from luxury hotels to budget lodging. Aside from the hostels and hotels available on these islands (Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal, and Santa Maria), most who undertake a Galapagos Island trip will include a luxury Galapagos Island tour onboard one of the island fantastic cruise ships.
Aside from the luxury cruise ships and yachts that charter their wares on the waters around the Galapagos Island, Galapagos Islands tours can be arranged through travel to the Galapagos Islands from either North America; or Quito or Guayaquil on mainland Ecuador. The islands' ecosystem is one of the most unusual in the world, with more endemic species than any other destination, and many visitors come thousands of miles simply to see the Galapagos tortoises, dolphins, sea lions, and birds, such as the bright frigatebird and the blue-footed booby. Outdoor activities are a big draw here as well, with snorkeling and scuba diving among the most popular, though simply hiking around the islands or learning to kayak are popular things to do, even if they don't have the same wildlife presence.
Fortunately, it doesn't really matter whether you love bird-watching, scuba diving, snorkeling, or hiking, you are sure to find something that is going to please you whilst you take your Galapagos vacation. Included in this Galapagos Island trip, however, should be a journey to the Charles Darwin Research Center, on Santa Cruz Island (where you can stay at one of the magnificent hotels), where you'll find a wealth of information about the Galapagos Islands waiting. If you're lucky, you'll also have the chance to see the tortoise-rearing pens that are trying so valiantly to boost the reduced population of tortoise on the islands.
Aside from all these fantastic natural activities that the Galapagos Islands offer visitors, a Galapagos Island trip can also accommodate the luxury of just sitting on the beach reading your book as the world passes you by. There are flights to the islands from Quito and Guayaquil that can take you to the islands for a luxury cruise, or if you'd prefer a longer ride, you can try to find a ship leaving from mainland Ecuador. Many Galapagos cruises depart from Puerto Ayora or other major island ports, but there are some itineraries available from elsewhere in Ecuador.
In any event, whatever you decide to do while on one of your Galapagos Islands tours, or just on you Galapagos vacation, please remember that this is a World Heritage Site and that most of the animals, birds, vegetation and fauna here are on the endangered list. So, help someone else experience the feeling of taking a step back in time during their Galapagos vacation by helping to keep the islands clean and safe during your Galapagos Island tour!