I went to the Galapagos Islands, and you should too! I'll be honest, I did not have a clear idea how this trip would go, mainly because I'm an art historian and when I travel it's generally to visit art, ruins, monuments; things that man built. The Galapagos, by necessity, is pretty man-free (only 4 islands in the archipelago are inhabited and only one has what one might term a town). Well, happily, the trip surprised me and I would be willing to go back again and again and once more forever and ever.
There is just something so freeing about being in a place so free of man's influence, populated by fearless animals who clearly view you as something not even remotely approaching a threat to them. Some of the wildlife was curious, some wary, but for the most part they just didn't care. "Eh, you've seen one awkward, two-legged ape thing, you've seen them all," you could clearly see the Marine Iguanas thinking.
But now here's what you came to see: the beasties.
All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and I'm SO grateful that I had a chance to go. We traveled with Lindblad, which has a partnership with National Geographic. Our experience was wonderful--the ship was great, the excursions were great, and the naturalists were downright wonderful. And--always good--the food was fantastic. I'll recommend this trip to anyone who'll listen, and if I had all the money in the world, I would definitely take other Lindblad cruises (like one of their Arctic ones, for example). I know some people have mixed feelings about cruises, but this was nothing like my first cruise experience, where we were essentially in a gigantic floating hotel. Lindblad ships are much, much smaller, and the whole experience feels so much friendlier and more intimate (in our case, the staff and crew outnumbered the guests).
This is a trip that I'll be carrying around inside of me for a long time to come, I think.
Note: all photos aside from the adult Nazca Booby and the Sea Turtle taken by Anne Grier (except for the one we're both in, of course).