Come along with us as we explore the Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean. Picture stunning landscapes, unique wildlife encounters, geological wonders, and unforgettable memories. As avid travelers and nature enthusiasts, we embarked on a remarkable adventure to the Galápagos Islands, a place that had captured our imaginations for years. We chose to sail with Quasar Expeditions on the Evolution ship voyage, an eight-day exploration that promised to immerse us in the breathtaking beauty and rich biodiversity of this unique archipelago. Little did we know that our experience would surpass all expectations, leaving an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.
Welcome aboard the Quasar Evolution!
We finally made it to San Cristobal (Chatham) Island in the morning after two full days of traveling from Los Angeles. Quasar Expeditions arranged transportation for all their guests directly from the airport straight to the loading dock for the Evolution. Life jackets were given out to all guests before boarding zodiac boats to the ship. Upon arrival we were greeted by the Evolution staff for a quick briefing of our cabin rooms, the sailing itinerary, and a delicious lunch. Passengers had already been divided into three groups: Boobies, Dolphins and our group the Albatross. In addition, we had three naturalist guides: Monica, Alex and Bolo. Due to the rotation between activities, every group had the pleasure to be with each guide.
This is by far the best way to explore the Galápagos Islands!
That afternoon all guests had their first glimpse into the fascinating world of the Galápagos Islands by being escorted by zodiac to Cerro Brujo. This beach is composed of lava formations, and has a calm beach for swimming. This was our first encounter with a few marine iguanas relaxing on the volcanic rocks and on the white sand beaches.
In the embrace of our ship, we find the best way to experience these enchanted islands, where love and adventure intertwine, and every moment becomes an eternal memory as we explore the Galápagos Islands
Insta360 capture of our zodiac headed to Cerro Brujo!
Our first encounter with the Marine Iguana on Cerro Brujo
The incredible Marine Iguana with Quasar Evolution in the background!
Quasar Evolution at sunset
In the distance the Quasar Evolution glistened in the vibrant sunset with shades of pink and blue as we came to the realization that we had made it to the enchanted islands of the Galapagos. Dinner and drinks were served for every guest as we settled in for the evening, and prepared for our first full day aboard the Evolution.
Quasar Evolution stateroom cabin #4
Welcome to the Quasar Evolution Stateroom Cabin, a luxurious and extraordinary retreat in the heart of the captivating Galapagos Islands. This exclusive accommodation offers an array of amenities and features to ensure an unforgettable experience for all guests. Step inside and be greeted by spacious and elegantly designed interiors, adorned with contemporary furnishings and artistic touches. Each stateroom is equipped with porthole windows that grant breathtaking views of the surrounding pristine landscapes, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the Galapagos throughout your stay. Indulge in the comfort of plush queen-sized beds, complemented by premium linens, promising a restful night’s sleep after days filled with exciting excursions. Modern ensuite bathrooms with premium toiletries add to the convenience and comfort of your stay. Your comfort and enjoyment are paramount, and the Quasar Evolution Stateroom Cabin offers impeccable service to cater to all your needs. Whether you’re savoring delectable local cuisine at the elegant onboard restaurant, or mingling with fellow travelers in the inviting social areas this stateroom cabin ensures an unparalleled Galapagos adventure like no other.
Afternoon lunch with panoramic views of the Galápagos Islands
Our journey began as we set foot on the picturesque South Plazas Island. The volcanic landscapes were awe-inspiring, with rugged cliffs and ancient lava formations dotting the shoreline. With our expert guide, Bolo, we embarked on an invigorating hike, traversing the island’s trails and discovering the hidden wonders it had to offer. We encountered yellow land iguanas at first site, marine iguanas lounging on the lava rock, adorned in their remarkable black and red coloration, basking lazily under the equatorial sun. It was a surreal sight, and we couldn’t help but feel thankful to witness these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat. It’s an incredible feeling to witness an abundance of marine life which have little to no predators in their habitat.
Our Sony A7iii and Gmaster 200-600 lens combination
The majestic yellow land iguana
Did you know: There are 4 iguana species in the Galapagos
For this reason, the animals have zero fear of humans. A recommendation would be to wear comfortable hiking shoes and light clothing during the month of June due to the warm weather. Our naturalist guide was very knowledgeable about the landscape and animal behaviors allowing us to fully understand them in their natural habitat. That afternoon we were invited to snorkel the shoreline of Santa Cruz Island. Schools of colorful fish and a baby octopus were just a few of the amazing creatures we saw beneath the ocean surface exploring the Galápagos Islands.
On the second day of our cruise we visited Chinese Hat on Santiago Island which consists of two overlapping volcanoes, and is the fourth largest island. Our day started off with viewing four Galapagos penguins swimming and frolicking in the ocean before stepping foot on Santiago. Monica was our naturalist guide for this excursion, and she was excellent in explaining the details of the islands landscape. This island consisted of marine iguanas, crab, and blue footed boobies.
The Galapagos penguin is the smallest of all penguins!
Bring comfortable shoes for the amazing hike around Chinese Hat!
We recommend snapping an insta worthy capture in a lava tube (kayak) during the hike. Chinese Hat is also renowned as an excellent Galapagos snorkeling spot. The waters are protected by nearby Santiago island, providing calm waters for swimmers. In the afternoon, guests were invited to go snorkeling. This was one of the snorkeling highlights from our trip as we encountered penguins swimming and hunting for sardines. We highly recommend taking a dip in the warm waters of the Chinese Hat for a magical underwater experience!
Fun Facts about the Galápagos Islands:
- 97% of the Galapagos is a National Park
- The Galapagos has active volcanoes
- The number of islands is up for debate
- There are three varieties of boobies
- Marine Iguanas are excellent swimmers
- Any time of year is a great time to visit
Next on our itinerary was Genovesa Island, also known as Tower Island, named after the renowned naturalist who studied the Galápagos Islands extensively. Here, we were greeted by a cacophony of seabirds, including the elegant red and blue-footed boobies. Genovesa has developed a reputation as “The Bird Island” because of the numerous and varied bird species that nest there.
The majestic Blue footed Boobies
The island has an abundance of frigate birds, Nazca and red footed boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, storm petrels, red-billed tropicbirds, finches, and mockingbirds. Their vibrant plumage stood out against the stark volcanic backdrop, creating a visual feast for the eyes. We were fortunate to witness the fascinating courtship rituals of these avian species, with the male boobies proudly displaying their brightly colored feet in an elaborate dance to attract a mate.
A male frigate bird inflates his chest
Did you know:
Red-footed boobies are strong flyers and can travel up to 93 miles in search of food. They feed mainly on flying fish & squid, and they prefer hunting at dusk or dawn. They can also dive down up to 30 meters in pursuit of their prey.
We found a Red footed Boobie!
That afternoon was spent hiking Prince Phillips steps up to an amazing island of endemic species. A notable worthy mention is the Galapagos Short-eared Owl which is endemic to the archipelago. This magnificent creature displayed elegance and power in the few moments we spent alongside it.
A rare sighting of the Galapagos owl
Throughout our voyage, we encountered an array of extraordinary wildlife. The sight of baby sea turtles hatching and making their courageous journey to the sea tugged at our heartstrings, reminding us of the fragility of life and the importance of protecting these precious creatures. As we explored North Seymour Island, we were greeted by the enchanting dance of the magnificent frigate birds. With their impressive wingspans and inflated red throat pouches, the males courted their potential partners in a mesmerizing aerial display. It was a true spectacle of nature’s grandeur, leaving us in awe of the intricate rituals that govern these islands.
Sante Fe Island captivated us with its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. Here, we had the opportunity stand alongside Galapagos sea lions on the beach. It was a surreal experience to be in such close proximity to these elusive creatures, observing their natural grace and agility.
Galapagos sea lions are incredible playful and curious
Our voyage also took us to Floreana Island, a place steeped in history and mystery. We delved into the fascinating tales of pirates and settlers, and explored the infamous Post Office Bay, where a makeshift mailbox has been used by travelers for centuries. We left our own postcards, hoping they would find their way to their intended recipients through the hands of fellow adventurers. In the afternoon, we marveled at the playful sea lions, frolicking in the crystal-clear waters with a joyful abandon that was contagious.
Send a postcard from Post Office Bay!
One of the highlights of our journey was Santa Cruz Island, where we encountered the iconic giant tortoises of Darwin Island. These gentle giants, with their ancient wisdom etched into their weathered shells, roamed freely in their natural habitat. We observed them in quiet contemplation, marveling at their sheer size and resilience. It was a humbling experience, reminding us of the interconnectedness of all living creatures and the need to protect their habitats.
The giant land tortoise in all on glory
The Galapagos Tortoise feels like the closest relative to a dinosaur
Conservation is at the heart of the Galápagos Islands, and this principle resonated deeply with us throughout our voyage. These islands are a living laboratory of evolution, and it is our responsibility to ensure their preservation for generations to come. We learned about the ongoing efforts to mitigate the impact of human presence and invasive species, as well as the importance of sustainable tourism practices. It became evident that our choices as individuals can significantly contribute to the health and vitality of these fragile ecosystems.
Up close and personal with the Galapagos Flamingos
To keep the environment of the Galápagos Islands clean and healthy for all its living creatures, we must be mindful of our actions. Simple practices such as disposing of waste responsibly, using environmentally-friendly products, and respecting the guidelines and regulations set forth by the Galápagos National Park can go a long way in preserving this natural wonder. By choosing eco-conscious tour operators and supporting local conservation initiatives, we can ensure that these islands remain a sanctuary for biodiversity.
No mention of the Galápagos Islands would be complete without acknowledging the profound impact of Charles Darwin. His visit to these islands during his voyage on the HMS Beagle led to groundbreaking observations and insights that shaped the theory of evolution. Darwin’s studies in the Galápagos paved the way for a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of species and the processes that drive adaptation and survival. His legacy lives on in these remarkable islands, inspiring future generations to explore and protect the wonders of the natural world.
A quick visit to the Charles Darwin foundation
Our journey through the Galápagos Islands was an extraordinary experience that left an indelible mark on our souls. We witnessed the wonders of nature in its purest form, forging a deeper connection with the natural world and the urgent need to protect it. The Galápagos Islands are a testament to the power of conservation, reminding us that we have the power to safeguard our planet and ensure a thriving future for all its living creatures.
Our amazing guide Alex from Quasar Evolution Expeditions!
Monica and Bolo, our amazing naturalist guide from our Quasar Evolution Expedition