Travel blogger Brendan van Son has just returned from a Gecko's trip to the Galapagos Islands:
Like anywhere I go, I had expectations before visiting the Galapagos Islands. I had a wishlist of all the things I wanted to see and experience. But like anywhere, the Galapagos had its own plans for me; and I'm certainly glad it did.
A visit to the islands is like nowhere else on the planet, and the beauty is that everyone's experience is different. Below I have listed my favourite experiences:
Stepping over piles of iguanas
If the fact that the iguanas live on the Galapagos isn't special enough, the fact that there are so many of them is incredible. Moreover, unlike most iguanas, both the marine and land iguanas of the Galapagos Islands aren't at all scared of people.
On one hand it is great for getting close for photos. On the other hand, you really have to watch your step to be careful not to step on one these beautiful animals.
Chasing sharks along the rocks
Snorkelling in the Galapagos really made me wish I was an underwater photographer. The amount of underwater life is incredible, and we saw just about everything imaginable.
I had really wanted to see a shark and my chance came on the last day. As I snorkelled alone among some rocks, a shark swam right past me. Filled with adrenaline I chased the 2-metre long shark through the rocks of a rocky point. Incredible.
Watching sea lion cubs play on the beach
What's cuter than a sea lion? How about a baby sea lion that can't help but roll around in the sand all day while posing for pictures. One could have easily spent hours on the beach just watching the little guys mess around if it weren't for all the other amazing things to look at on the islands.
Swimming next to giant sea turtles
I have had the experience of snorkelling among sea turtles before, but never this many and never this close. The clear water allowed for so many great opportunities to get up close and personal with these amazing animals. If I were a betting man I would say that we saw between 10 and 20 sea turtles while underwater on the trip, and each sighting was just as special as the next.
However, one of the most amazing moments was while snorkelling in some shallow water, when I had the chance to swim next to a sea turtle for about 10 minutes. You can't beat that.
Watching the boobies fish
The Blue-footed and Nazca Boobies in the Galapagos Islands are always a hit among travellers. They just appear to be so silly, simple, and tame. But watching the boobies dive for fish, or skimming the waves as they hunt is incredible. The amount of birdlife on the islands gives basically everyone the chance to be a bird photographer, or at least admirer.
Going on a giant tortoise safari
This was the one thing I was most looking forward to experiencing on the islands. Seeing these creatures from ancient times was something I've wanted to do since I first heard of the animals as a child. They did not disappoint.
Sitting next to one of these massive reptiles was not only one of the highlights of my time in the Galapagos Islands, but one of my highlights of travel anywhere. The giant tortoises of the Galapagos Islands are not only amazing for their size, but they are such gentle animals, and I'm not sure I've ever felt so close to dinosaurs in my life.
If you want to hear more about Brendan's adventure, check out his website, Brendan's Adventures. You can leave comment for him on this page, or head over to twitter and Facebook to share your stories with other Gecko's travellers.
Take a look at all our trips to the Galapagos Islands and see all these creatures and more!