One of the most remote destinations on the planet, and famous for being the primary inspiration for Charles Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection, the Galapagos Islands are a small archipelago of volcanic islands along the equatorial line in the Pacific Ocean, officially part of Ecuador. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the entire group of islands and surrounding waters are a national park and biological marine reserve. The high number of endemic species—that is, belonging specifically to this region of the world—is beyond definition. This is a scientist’s dream come true, and it is for that reason that the Galapagos Islands have remained so popular over the years with professional and amateur biologists and otherwise.
Access to the islands is strictly governed in order to maintain the natural habitats, and you are never allowed to wander off on your own if you decide to visit. All visits and exploratory parties must be accompanied by a national park-certified guide. Most visitors only take boat tours around the perimeter, but to truly experience what the Galapagos Islands have to offer you really need to go inland and explore the interior. One thing is for sure, however: getting here is neither cheap, nor is this for the non-adventurous. The only way in is by boat or plane, and accommodations are neither luxurious or necessarily as modern as some people require for comfort zones. Still, if you are an intrepid sort who enjoys going out beyond the boundaries of modernity and exploring the most beautiful sections of our planet, than the Galapagos Islands are most certainly a place that needs to be high on your list of priorities. There is nowhere else on the planet quite like it, and it is one of the few places in the world where development has been strictly forbidden in order to preserve the integrity of the natural habitat.
Puerto Ayora is the largest town on the Galapagos Islands and hub for most tourists since it has most of the required facilities (hotels, internet cafes, etc). Saying that, it's still pretty…