Galapagos Tours from Quito
6. Re: Is a 3 day trip to Galapagos possible?
the Galapagos are world reknown for the unique assemblages of species (plant and animal) found no where else on earth, and for landscapes that have barely been disturbed by humans. They are reknown for the apparent "tameness" of animal species, from small birds to large reptiles. They are known as one of the only places on earth where landscapes are dominated by reptiles (giant tortoises, marine iguanas, land iguanas, lava lizards, among others. They are renkown, above all, as a place where biological evolution is graphically manifested as one compares species from one island to the next (e.g. dome vs saddle backed tortoises, mockingirds, lava lizards, cacti, and of course the finches.). A good naturalist guide will help a visitor get a real understanding of these processes and instill in the visitor a real sense of awe. It's hard to get a sense of the subtle diversity of life there unless one takes the time to experience the different islands and ecosystems.
Galapagos is also considered to be at "the ends of the earth" by many - e.g. one of those places that are out of the way and hard to get to, contributing to a certain extent to their appeal. Also, their volcanic landscapes conjure images of pre-historic times, more so with the relatively prolific reptiles about. It's hard to get a real sense of the "remoteness" of the islands if one stays in Puerto Ayora, with traffic, loud bars, endless lines of taxis driving by, internet cafes and t-shirt shops.
Increasingly, the Galapagos are being recognized for their diverse undersea life. UNESCO recognized the Galapagos marine reserve in 2001 as "World Heritage" in this regard. Swimming with sea lions remains one of the highlights of a visit to Galapagos, not to mention swimming with penguins, sea turtles, and close observations of sharks, rays and many tropical fish (what am I leaving out?). A cruise will take you to different parts of the archipelago where you are more likely to witness the diversity of undersea life.
Some people have dreamed of going to Galapagos for many years, precisely for the reasons noted above.
A good island hopping tour can come close to giving you a good impression of Galapagos, but I firmly believe that nothing is better than a cruise to really "max out" on what the islands are all about. It's not only about the pursuit of "fun / pleasure", but can also be a fantastic "mind trip" if the conditions are right.