A voyage through this archipelago is a glimpse into an ancient magical world
Almost 200 years ago, a curious 22-year-old English scientist set foot upon San Cristobal Island, several hundred miles off the shores of Ecuador. Over the next five weeks, he spent his days in awe, studying hordes of black dragons, giant ambling tortoises and tiny finches feasting on prickly pear cactus.
His name was Charles Darwin, and he bounced from island to island aboard the HMS Beagle, filling his notebook with sketches and notes that would eventually become the foundation of his claim to fame, the theory of evolution, The Origin of the Species. He had no idea of his impact on what is now the Galapagos Islands. Almost two centuries later, the locals haven’t forgotten the importance of their tiny town—shops are named after the Beagle, a metal bust of Darwin sits atop a plaque by the ocean, and more than 220,000 tourists make their way to the islands every year. I was one of them, my head filled with romantic ideas of the Enchanted Isles, eager to see the giant land tortoises, blue-footed boobies and Darwin finches renowned the world over. Over the next week, my husband and I joined an international group of 14 travelers to explore the largely uninhabited islands.
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