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Evolution Cruise Review

Itinerary: Galapagos - February 2007

Imagine yourself standing just inches away from a giant tortoise or watching the comical mating rituals of blue-footed boobies! Or snorkeling and swimming with sea lions, beautiful fish and perhaps even penguins. The Galapagos Islands are a favorite destination for anyone who loves wildlife and extraordinary landscapes. The contrasting island landscapes include deserts, lush highland forests, volcanic soils, beautiful beaches and rich waters that are home to the most prolific indigenous populations of land mammals, birds and marine life in the world.

The Galapagos Islands have been isolated in the Pacific since being formed by volcanic forces 5-10 million years ago. Since the Galapagos’ birds, mammals and reptiles have evolved without the natural predators found on other continents, they have no fear of man, allowing for extraordinarily close interaction — a treat for explorer and photographer alike.

We were able to get so unbelievably close to the boobies, albatrosses, sea lions, iguanas and all the others, that it seems like the animals are posing in front of you. Some sights are touching and comical at the same time, such as the elaborate courtship antics of blue-footed boobies. We saw huge colonies of marine iguanas, the only sea-going lizards in the world, which feed on seaweed. Sea lions are everywhere along the beaches, with the dominant “harbor master” males patrolling their territories noisily. Every day on these islands brings fresh surprises.

But the fascinating wildlife doesn't stop at the water’s edge. Life below the ocean’s surface is unimaginably rich, and for many Galapagos visitors it is the biggest surprise of all. Snorkeling enthusiasts can swim amid angelfish, parrotfish, Moorish idols, rays, sharks, eels and more. It’s a particular joy to swim with the curious sea lions, beautiful fish and even Galapagos penguins.

Alongside the islands’ fantastic animal life, travelers are often amazed at the unearthly beauty of the landscapes. From volcanoes, beaches and highland forests to a blowhole where waves are spout 90 feet into the air, you'll be astounded by Galapagos’ extraordinary variety of landscapes.

International Expeditions has been a pioneer in conservation and tourism aboard the 32-guest Evolution. We explored nine of the islands accompanied by world-class naturalists and an Expedition Leader. You will enjoy delicious food, lovely cabins and enjoyment from your well traveled fellow passengers.

Linda at Sunstone Tours & Cruises knows the Galapagos and the best ship and experiences. Trust her judgement.

—Anonymous