The 7th destination on the #wanderlustseries are the: GALAPAGOS ISLANDS! A place I am longing to go so baldy! image via Flickr CC // gladner The Galápagos Islands are a nature lovers absolute dream come true. With over dozens and dozens of native species endemic to the area, it’s impossible to leave without feeling a sense of awe. The unique environment, consisting of 18 main islands, 3 smaller islands, and 107 rocks and islets, really does have that WOW factor everyone who’s been talks about. Here you can find giant tortoises, land and marine iguanas, too many birds to list, as well as snorkel and dive with sea lions, turtles, hammerhead sharks, and schools of rainbow colored fish. And that’s only whats on the top of my head. Being an avid animal lover myself, this little chain of volcanic islands is at the top of my bucket list. Plus, you can’t leave before viewing the famous blue-footed boobie! So where are the Galapagos Islands located? The archipelago is located 575 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the country to which it belongs. The islands are located in both the northern and southern hemispheres, just around the equator. Top Things to See and Do: Relax on Isabela Island Isabela Island, the largest island of the Galapagos, is also one of the youngest islands. It is home to the largest number of wild tortoises, and penguins, cormorants, marine iguanas, boobies, pelicans and Sally Lightfootcrabs can also be found here as well. The beaches are absolutely gorgeous, with it’s turquoise sea, and the west coast is the best place in the Galapagos for viewing whales and dolphins. And even better, it’s shaped like a sea horse! Charles Darwin Research Centre Located on Santa Cruz Island, scientists (both Ecuadorian and foreign) constantly work on research projects for the preservation of the Galapagos ecosystems. The research station was established in 1964, and visitors can nice stroll through and view tortoises, land iguanas, birds and flora. The giant tortoise breeding program is not to be missed! Hike the Sierra Negra volcano The Sierra Negra is one of the primary volcanos that helped form the famous Isabella Island, which last erupted in 2005. Hike up the caldera and around to the lava flows, which are absolutely stunning. Once you get to the top, the views are breathtaking. If you’re spending some time on Isabella Island and don’t mind getting a bit tired and muddy, this is the activity for you! Tortuga Bay Tortuga Bay is home to thousands of marine iguanas. Sail around on a luxurious catamaran See Giant Tortoises Go bird-watching Snorkel with sea lions, turtles, and penguins Because why not?! Look out for crabs Sally Lightfootcrabs are strikingly beautiful, and can be found on numerous islands throughout the Galapagos. Some additional resources: Did you enjoy this post? If so, please consider sharing on Facebook, Twitter, or via Email. Also, I’d love to keep sending you updates about my adventures around the world, so please subscribe to A Passion and A Passport via RSS or by email!