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The Wildlife!

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge wildlife person.  Love it, don't get me wrong, but it's not often the sole reason for selecting my next destination.  I can now confidently say that the Galapagos has made a believer out of me!  Travelers are able to interact with the wildlife in a way that very few places in the world can offer.  This is not a spotting-from-afar-in-binoculars kind of experience, this is a in-your-face-try-not-to-trip-on-the-iguanas kind of thing.  When was the last time you went snorkeling with playful sea lions who swim circles around you and curiously bite your snorkeling fin?  Yep, THAT good.

Group photo - our guide was an excellent photographer!
Group photo - our guide was an excellent photographer! (Jenna Fedyschyn)


Highlands of Santa Cruz to see tortoises
Highlands of Santa Cruz to see tortoises (Jenna Fedyschyn)


I'm sure you've heard of the Big 5 in Africa?  Well, the Galapagos has the Big 15, and for most visitors to the islands, the goal is to see as many species as possible.  

Here are the Galapagos Big 15:
 - Galapagos Albatross
 - Blue-Footed Booby
 - Nazca Booby
 - Red-Footed Booby
 - Flightless Cormorant
 - American Flamingo
 - Frigatebirds
 - Galapagos Hawk
 - Land Iguana
 - Marine Iguana
 - Santa Fe Land Iguana
 - Galapagos Penguin
 - Galapagos Sea Lion
 - Galapagos Fur Seal
 - Galapagos Giant Tortoise

In just a 5-day cruise, I checked off 13 out of the Big 15 species!  And that's not even including the wildlife that didn't make the list - sting rays, dolphins, Darwin's finches, reef sharks, and more.

Say cheese!
Say cheese! (Jenna Fedyschyn)


What stunning color!
What stunning color! (Jenna Fedyschyn)


Blue-footed boobies, gotta check them off the list!
Blue-footed boobies, gotta check them off the list! (Jenna Fedyschyn)


Does your list include any must-see species that are endemic to a specific island?  Then let's find a cruise that includes the albatross on the island of Espanola, or the red-footed booby on Genovesa.  But if you're like me and just want to have a good time and see as much as possible, you really can't go wrong!  There's really no set of islands that is inherently better than another.  The wildlife is everywhere in this nutrient-rich paradise, and it may have just changed the way I think about traveling for wildlife.  Who knows, maybe gorilla tracking in Rwanda or polar bear spotting in the Arctic is next!

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