South America

Darwin’s secret

Discovered by chance in 1535, the Galapagos inspired the British naturalist Charles Darwin for his theory of evolution. Yet it seems that a time has stopped on this isolated archipelago. Off the shore of Ecuador, about forty volcanic islands float on the Pacific Ocean. Almost deserted, the Galapagos boast a national park and a marine reserve, unique in the word and listed on the UNESCO Word Heritage List. Former pirate and buccaneers haunt, the islands have kept from the past, a mysterious atmosphere, reinforced by the presence of a spectacular ecosystem where more than 400 endemic species can be found.

agence-de-voyage-de-luxe-aventure-Equateur-et-Galapagos-morseProtected by strict ecological rules, established by the naturalist biologist of the Charles Darwin foundation, the discovery of the Galapagos Island has to be earned. Each visit is conditioned by specific authorisation in order to limit the flow of people. The Galapagos are a joy from island to island. But to discover them, one must forget about the luxury of big hotels and prefer the rustic charm of lodges. Nature in all its glory – it is the place where gigantic turtles, endemic marine iguanas, sea lions, albatross, blue-footed boobies, humpback whales, dolphins etc gather peacefully. This is what makes up an extraordinary luxurious experience. The island of Santa Cruz reveals an important variety of natural sites. On one side, the white sand of Tortuga Bay, and on the other side, the lava tunnels as high as 2 or 3 metres. The island of San Crystobal is invaded by sea lions whose path we easily cross on the harbour. In the 18th century, at Floreana, in a small post office, the whalers used to drop their letters. Up until today, when we drop our letter, we take a stranger’s one with us to send once we reach the main land… The same way one would throw a bottle to the sea. Isabela, the main island is the most beautiful. Five active volcanoes rule over its biodiversity and 60% of the Galapagos fauna can be found here. To this compendium of island, we can add the five tiny unoccupied strips of land, which require a special authorisation to be visited : Santa Fe, Plazas, North Seymour and Bartolome… some wild and untouched spaces where giant cactus, steep cliffs, surprising geology and hundreds of birds with scientific names can be found !