Is the Galapagos on your bucket list?

For this month's interview, I wanted to showcase a destination you may not have thought of before--the Galapagos! Part of my childhood memories include visiting River Country at Disney, and they had Galapagos tortoises onsite. I remembered them telling us of the importance to conserve them. And that's about all I knew of the Galapagos until recently.

I sent some questions to one of my partners at Celebrity Cruise Lines, Ana Bonetti. Celebrity has an amazing program in the Galapagos and here's what you need to know about all of it's wonders!

Why should groups consider the Galapagos as a destination?

Groups can travel to the Galapagos Islands on Celebrity Cruises knowing they can participate in activities and contribute to the conservation of this unique archipelago. Celebrity Cruises is passionately focused on preserving the Galapagos Islands and we have partnered with the Galapagos National Park and local organizations to create programs designed to improve the quality of life for the residents of the Galapagos Islands.

In fact, since 2004 our guests have planted over 38,000 trees in support of the Scalesia Reforestation effort. Since 2006 our guests have contributed over $1.5 million to the Galapagos Fund which gives our guests the opportunity to have a direct and lasting impact on the preservation of the region’s rare wildlife and plant ecosystem.

What kinds of groups are the Galapagos best suited for?

We have lots of different groups traveling with us to the Galapagos Islands from corporate incentive groups to family reunions. The Galapagos Islands create long lasting memories and experiences.

What is the onboard experience like?

This is what a day in Galapagos onboard a Celebrity Cruise is like: Start the day with a leisurely breakfast. Then, climb into your wet suit for the day's adventures. Get seated comfortably in your tender for the morning commute to your first island, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by hundreds of marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, and so much more. Relax at the beach, do some snorkeling, or join a guided hike and get to know the incredible inhabitants of the islands up close.

Exploring works up an appetite. Return to the ship for a freshly prepared lunch as you recall the morning’s adventure. As you dine, your ship moves on to your next destination. After lunch, suit up, hop in your tender, and get ready for another afternoon of excursions. From white sand beaches to black lava flows, each island presents unique discoveries.

As the evening sun begins to lower, meet at the bar to unwind and share your experiences with fellow explorers. Take in an evening briefing about what the next day holds before settling down for a gourmet dinner, full of fresh seafood and local flavors. Relax and get ready for tomorrow’s adventures.

What are the top 3 must do/see experiences?

There are so many experiences that you will do/see on a Celebrity Cruises Galapagos cruise. I'll start with the wildlife- you must see the blue footed boobies diving to feed, the waved albatross gliding off the cliffs of Espanola Island, the century old Galapagos giant tortoises and flightless cormorants. You must also experience snorkeling with Galapagos penguins, playful sea lions and marine iguanas. Snorkeling in Galapagos is like jumping into an aquarium there is just so much to see and experience. And lastly, you must walk on the massive volcanic lava fields.

What is something not commonly known about the Galapagos?

The Galapagos Islands are home to species of plants and animals that cannot be found anywhere else on this planet. This remote chain of islands have developed in isolation, creating a community of creatures who have had to evolve and adapt in order to survive and are surprisingly unafraid of humans. In Galapagos, there is no need for a long range zoom lens as sometimes you need to step aside to allow a giant tortoise pass by.

Within the archipelago, each of the Islands is uniquely diverse. Some have shorelines draped with mangroves, others are rugged volcanic outcrops. Each Island has its own history, its unique composition of wildlife and geology. The Galapagos Islands are truly a living laboratory that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The ability to experience and see first-hand how these animals had to evolve and change in order to survive makes this an unforgettable and unique travel destination.

So what do you think--are the Galapagos something you would add to your bucket list? Can you imagine walking on the beach and seeing a sea lion relaxing on the shore within feet? Or what about gorging on the delicious meals freshly prepared for you by the onboard chef? It all sounds like a delectable treat aboard your luxury small ship.

Next week, I'll be featuring a photo journal of the different sights you can take in on a cruise through the Galapagos.

Happy Travels!


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