Traveling to Galapagos Islands has been on my bucket list for a very long time, and I was finally able to cross it off last month. The Islands are undoubtedly the most unique place I have ever been to, and here's why it needs to be on your bucket list, too.
1. The Galapagos Islands are one of the most protected places on earth.
There are very few spots left in the world that are untouched by human development and preserved in their natural form. Located 600 miles from mainland Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, the archipelago is made up of 61 islands and islets with 13 main islands, all surrounding the equator. In 1978, UNESCO designated the Galapagos Islands as the first World Heritage site. It is also one of the few locations in the world that does not have an indigenous population. The first recorded visit to the islands was in the year 1535, and currently 25, 000 residents inhabit only five of them.
Most of the islands in Galapagos are remote, with no human life. The number of visitors allowed into the Galapagos National Park per year is restricted, and you must travel to protected areas with a licensed guide. Even when you are out on your cruise ship, you will see that there are no loading docks or landing ports at most of the islands. It simply means that visitors must disembark from the yacht into a panga (a modest-sized raft), and make a wet landing onto the beach, leaving the local ecology undisturbed.