One of the most biodiverse places on the planet, the Galapagos is a bucket list vacation destination for nature lovers. What better way to ring in the New Year than on an exotic family vacation where you can channel your inner naturalist on immersive hikes, kayak expeditions, and snorkeling tours throughout the archipelago? As part of our 2023 Once-in-a-Lifetime Journeys, Exclusive Resorts Members have the chance to welcome the new year with an epic cruise through the Galapagos.
Lindblad Expeditions’ team of experts won’t just help you spot a Blue-footed Booby or giant tortoise, they’ll educate you about the creatures’ habitats and habits. Bernie Jacome’s grandfather was one of the original naturalist guides in the archipelago in the 1970s. Jacome is now carrying on the family tradition and educating visitors about the Galapagos’ fragile ecosystem and endemic animals. Here, Jacome shares highlights of the 19 islands and animal encounters you can only have in the Galapagos.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO SPOT WILDLIFE?
We take zodiacs off the ship to get to remote areas that you can’t reach without a very small boat and then you can hike to see the giant tortoise and sea lions sunning on the rocks. Reef snorkeling and hiking provide amazing encounters. In the water, you’re likely to see reef sharks, sea turtles, and parrot fish. Sometimes we even get dolphins or the occasional whale swimming alongside the ship.
WHAT ISLAND HAS THE BEST BEACHES?
San Cristobal Island has beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise water. It also has the best waves for surfing. The island has a little town but maintains an island vibe. Kicker Rock is a spot we take guests to see hammerhead sharks.
WHERE WILL YOU HAVE THE BEST CHANCE OF SPOTTING AN IGUANA?
Around 70 percent of marine iguanas can be found on Fernandina, the youngest island. This island is also home to an active volcano — the archipelago has six in total — and the iguanas like to lounge on the massive black lava fields.
IF YOU'RE AN AVID BIRDWATCHER, WHAT SHOULD YOU KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR?
The Galapagos hawk is a giant raptor that feeds on snakes, iguanas, and small birds. And the small vermillion flycatcher is very rare to see as there are less than 200 in the world.
HOW DOES LINDBLAD HELP WITH EDUCATING GUESTS ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES THE ISLANDS ARE FACING?
I try to set the mindset for guests to have more environmental concerns. It’s my job to speak to the need of cohabiting in harmony with other species on our planet. Lindblad Foundation contributes money to the Charles Darwin Research Station so that scientists can continue their important work of protecting the unique flora and fauna here.
Learn trip dates, in-depth itinerary details, and costs with the official OIAL Journeys announcement on March 16, 2022. Reservation requests will be accepted from March 16 – 29, 2022.
Learn more about our 2023 Once-in-a-Lifetime Journeys and their not-to-be-missed moments here.