The Galápagos Islands are an isolated archipelago off the coast of Ecuador, with a front-row seat to wildlife encounters and otherworldly landscapes.
Renowned for inspiring Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, these volcanic isles offer an unparalleled opportunity to witness rare wildlife like giant tortoises and blue-footed boobies in a pristine and protected natural environment. Visitors can get up close to dozens of species that are endemic to the Galapagos in the air, on land and underwater.
One of the only ways to explore (unless basing yourself on a single island) is on a small cruise ship, where you'll sail between islands like Espanola Island, track tortoises on Santa Cruz and get to mail a postcard from Post Office Bay. Read these posts about Ecuador if you're extending your stay on the mainland, and don't forget this Galapagos packing list.