I am Going to… The Galapagos Islands

As I sit down and write about my future travel plans I can’t help but laugh when realizing how much things have changed since the first time I was in Quito. When I first arrived at this Andean capital I was just a couple months removed from my university studies, in South America on a working vacation, and completely committed to returning to grad school. I had dreams of travelling the world, yes. But always assumed it would be under the capacity of some other work opportunity.

When I first arrived in Quito, I’ll be honest, I had no real desire in visiting the Galapagos Islands. I saw them as a tourism spot that catered to the rich, or at least wealthier than me. Sure the Galapagos Islands sounded interesting to me, but perhaps my knowledge of them was low. Why would I spend a good chunk of coin to fly to some islands because Darwin learned about evolution by watching finches? Would I travel to the spot that Benjamin Franklin got struck by lightning, or would I try to find the tree that Newton was struck on the head with that famous apple? Not a Chance.  But the Galapagos Islands, as I’m learning in my research, are different.

Galapagos tortoise in the wildlife

Galapagos tortoise in the wildlife – By Thorston Folk

Over two years later and oh how things have changed so drastically. I have now visited basically every major destination in Latin America. I have been to Quito no less than 8 different times, and I built a growing desire to visit the Galapagos. I have also built a growing guilt for acting like a travel snob, and for knowing so little about one of the most important ecological destinations on the planet.

Today I have boarded a plane to the islands in order to board the HW Darwin as a part of a tour with my good friends Gecko’s Adventures, and I couldn’t be more excited about the trip. Not only will the photo opportunities be abundant but this is a chance to view species of animals not found anywhere else on the planet. The Galapagos Islands, it appears, are a one of a kind travel destination offering a unique experience to those who make the journey.

I feel, in many ways, that the Galapagos are my final destination in South America. I have been here for well over 800 days having previously planned on spending a year. I am confident now in saying that I have seen the vast majority of things I wanted to here. I have immersed myself completely in this continent’s culture, language, and history. I feel proud about the things I accomplished here, I feel proud of what I learned, and I feel privileged to have been given all that this continent has given to me. In the New Year I will be announcing the next stage in my adventure, one that will again offer, I’m sure, it’s challenges, rewards, and opportunities for growth and a better understanding of our world.

I will be on board the HW Darwin for 8 days and 7 nights (check out my Galapagos Itinerary here). I am not sure if I will have internet at my disposal or not so as such I have set up a couple of guest posts that will go out while I am away. I hope you enjoy them and that you wont miss me too much.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Very exciting news. I’m sure you’ll have a great time and learn a lot. Can’t wait to see all the photos from your trip.

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    • @Alouise – I’m half way though and already have enough info/photos that I could make a Galapagos specific blog… haha

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  2. I only spent a week there and am longing to go back. I went diving most days and it was the best by far, seals playing with us, hammerhead sharks, amazing. Have an fantastic time and say hi to George from me 🙂

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    • @Deborah – I had no idea the diving here in the Galapagos would be so good. It has been incredible. I’m going to see George tomorrow so I will say hi.

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  3. I’m jealous! Are you going to see Lonesome George at the Charles Darwin Research Center? He’s so adorable. He’s Pinto Tortoise, the last of his kind 🙁 And he’s more than a hundred years old!

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    • Ada – I’m off to see ol’ lonesome george tomorrow 😀

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  4. Awesome. Those are going to be some amazing pics. Can’t wait to see them.

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    • @Erik – I’ve got some good ones already… coming soon 😀

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