Galapagos – Student Voices

The Galapagos was my favorite part of this trip! The air was warm, the sea was clear, and the wildlife was incredible. I was particularly fascinated with the giant tortoises-they were even larger than I thought they would be, with immense ringed shells that often grew over one meter long. I was also impressed with their ability to live over a century. The marine and land iguanas were also amazing. One of my favorite parts of the trip was watching a land iguana, a large yellow lazy-looking creature, eat a cactus pod by first removing the needles with its claws. Living on the boat was also a lot of fun, even though it was sometimes cramped and nauseating. Overall, I loved exploring the islands and seeing the unique variety of wildlife, and I hope I can return there someday.


In the Galapagos we saw over a hundred giant tortoises, the ages of which varied from a year old to a hundred and fifty. We toured two breeding centers and hiked along different islands to see the diverse wildlife. We snorkeled along Santa Cruz Island and observed schools of fish, sea turtles, and sharks. For the majority of our stay in the Galápagos we resided in a boat with a welcoming crew that showed us the beauty of the sea. We witnessed iguanas eating cactus, seals playing with their cubs, and flamingos fishing in lagoons. The Galapagos made efforts to be environmentally friendly, for example straws were banned from the islands as they produce unnecessary amounts of waste, and luggage was sprayed to prevent invasive species in the form of insects hiding in carry-ons.


We arrived at the Galápagos Islands around midday, and headed over to Santa Cruz to explore. We went to a white sand beach where we learned about marine iguanas in Tortuga Bay beach. The next day, we started our stay on the Golondrina- our yacht where we would be staying for three nights. The crew was very welcoming, and they took us all around the nearby Islands such as Isabela and Rábida. Exploring these Islands helped us learn more about the beauty of animals such at tortoises, sea turtles, eagle rays, and many more. By learning about these animals, each and every one of us have been encouraged to help the effort to preserve the wildlife of the Galápagos.


Our time in the Galápagos was absolutely jam packed with adventures and learning experiences. We were constantly traveling to new islands, taking hikes and swimming in the blue-green waters. We got to see and learn about a wide variety of native animals, including iguanas, giant tortoises and blue footed boobies. We also had the opportunity to go snorkeling multiple times to observe schools of fish, sea turtles and even a few sharks! Our guide was very knowledgeable on the flora and fauna of the many islands that we visited and was always happy to answer any questions we had. Overall, this trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I am so grateful I was able to travel to one of my all time bucket list spots!


I can remember the times in my life when I would get asked the question, “Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world?” “The Galápagos Islands” always flew out of my mouth within seconds. As a lover of marine animals, the ocean, nature, the beauty and uniqueness of Galapagos’ wildlife and nature environment has always caught my attention. It would often lead me to do quite a bit of research. The opportunity to visit the islands at sixteen was an unexpected dream come true and a spectacular experience that hit me on a personal level. Traveling from one island to the next and seeing their individualities was incredible. Although they had commonalities, each island seemed like its only little world. And the activities we were able to do on each of these different islands were amazing! I’ve never been snorkeling before, and that was probably my favorite thing we did in the entire whole trip. I was able to see sea turtles and star fish, an absolutely beautiful white-tipped shark (I love sharks), and swim through various schools of fish. Sticking my head below the water and discovering a whole world of creatures was surreal. I could say so much more about the trip, but I’ll end by saying how grateful I am for the experience I got. I only arrived back in Quito less than a day ago and I’m already planning in my head how I can visit those beautiful islands again.