There are so many incredible things to see in Galapagos Islands that one must make sure to visit the islands at least once in a lifetime. One of the amazing things that you have the opportunity to see when cruising in the Galapagos Islands, is the fascinating Galapagos tortoise.
The Galapagos tortoises are native to seven of the Galapagos Islands west of the Ecuadorian mainland. The shell shapes and sizes of the tortoises differ between populations depending on the islands that they live on. On the islands with humid highlands the tortoises have a dome shaped shell, they have shorter necks and they are larger. On the other hand, on islands with dry lowlands the tortoises have “saddleback” shells, long necks and they are smaller.
The earliest ancestor of the tortoises was probably of normal size and evolved into the present-day giants after its arrival in Galapagos. This is due to a phenomenon seen in many island ecosystems where gigantism evolves because there is no longer any need to hide from predators and also because there are no other similar animals to compete with for food. Once the tortoises spread around the archipelago, they evolved on their isolated islands into the different races we see today.
The Galapagos Giant Tortoise is probably the most well-known animal of the Galapagos Isles. What’s really fascinating about the Galapagos Giant Tortoises is that they keep growing until they are about 40 – 50 years old and can reach a weight of 500 pounds. The Galapagos Giant Tortoise can grow to be 5 feet tall and this actually makes them the largest tortoises in the world.
Also, the Galapagos Giant Tortoise can actually live for more than 100 years, the oldest recorded tortoise being 152 years old.
The Giant Tortoises are known to belong to just one species, Geochelone elephantopus, with 14 different races or sub-species, four of which are believed to be extinct.
It is possible that all the present races of Giant Tortoise evolved in Galapagos from a common ancestor that arrived from the mainland, floating on the ocean currents.
The environment and climate of the Galapagos Islands differ from island to island. Saddle-backed tortoises generally tend to inhabit the hotter, drier islands with sparse vegetation, while Domed tortoises inhabit the cooler, wetter islands with lush ground vegetation.
Galapagos tortoises are herbivores which means they do not eat meat, only vegetables. Their diet consists mostly of cactus, fruits, vines, grasses and other vegetation. Tortoises can store food and water very efficiently and for a very long time, which means that they are able to go without eating or drinking for up to one year.
Giant Tortoises can also survive for long periods of time in case they are deprived of all liquids, by breaking down their body fat in order to produce water.
Galapagos tortoises are cold-blooded animals, just like other reptiles. They spend much of their day soaking up the sun to warm themselves. But, when the sun goes down and the temperature cools, tortoises sleep partly submerged in mud, water or brush to keep warm. It should also be noted that tortoises are very peaceful creatures.
Mating occurs at any time of the year, however it does have seasonal peaks, generally between January and August. When two mature males meet in the mating season, they will rise up on their legs and stretch up their necks to assess dominance. The shorter tortoise will retreat leaving the taller, larger tortoise to mate with the female. In groups of tortoises from mixed island populations, saddleback males have an advantage over domebacks.
Between June and December, after mating, the females journey several kilometers to reach nesting areas of dry, sandy ground – generally near the coast. Nest digging is an elaborate task and takes several hours, and sometimes spread out even over several days.
Generally between December and April, the young tortoises emerge from the nest 120 to 140 days later and may weigh only 80 grams as well as measure 6 centimeters. What’s really interesting though, is that temperature actually plays a role in the sex of the hatchling: in case the nest temperature is low, more males will hatch; but if the temperature is high, more females will hatch. When the young tortoises emerge from their shells, they must dig their way to the surface, and that can take up to even one month.
Have you ever had the chance to see a Galapagos tortoise? What was your experience in the Galapagos Islands? Please share with us in the comments section below.
And if you have never visited the beautiful, breathtaking Galapagos Islands, make sure you find the best cruise deal for you at One World Trips – Last Minute Galapagos Cruises Deals – and enjoy the best trip of your life. You will not regret it – it’s ‘Paradise’ on Earth!
Your loving parents have always been there for you, loving you, nurturing you, protecting you, providing for you…and the list could continue. Once you grow up, some of you may feel the need to show your appreciation and love towards your parents with a little more than the casual visits, gifts, ‘I love you’ cards, etc. All these are great, but “Now I feel like doing something great for my parents” – you might say. I’ve been there, I know the feeling. It’s actually a wonderful feeling of gratefulness and love that you suddenly feel like materializing. But how? And what’s that ‘perfect gift’ that would show the gratitude you are feeling?
Well, I found the answer to that when I bought my wonderful parents the cruise of their dreams to Galapagos Islands. Yes, it might have been a lot more expensive than taking them to a fancy restaurant, but it was all worth it. I mean, once you are a grown-up son or daughter, you may earn enough to simply save some money and make the people who love you the most happy and appreciated.
Why Galapagos Islands? Well, what’s a perfect place for them to relax and see fascinating things than Galapagos?
I mean, Galapagos Islands have one of the most captivating sights that nature has to offer; you can take a boat ride admire the magnificent volcanic islands. You can go snorkeling and explore firsthand marine life; there are hundreds of different types of fish to discover. Additionally, you can look at coral formations, sea lions, penguins, marine iguanas, and for those who desire a bit more adventure, white-tipped sharks.
Here’s why a Galapagos Islands cruise is the best gift for your parents:
Your parents deserve to relax and enjoy life together with the one they most love. Show them your love and appreciation by treating them on a cruise vacation where they can just sit and sip wine and enjoy the sunset over the ocean.
A trip to the Galapagos is not just a chance to relax and enjoy the sights; it’s also a unique opportunity to observe exotic animals in their natural habitat as its significant flora and fauna. Such as the: Galapagos Giant Tortoises, Galapagos Penguins, Galapagos Cormorant, Magnificent Frigatebird, Waved Albatross, Land Iguanas, Marine Iguanas, Darwin’s Finches, Sea Lions, Fur Seals, and Turtles.
Amenities that your parents can enjoy
If they are the kind of people who just love to enjoy the moment being together, they can cuddle up warm on a blanket while enjoying the Enchanted Islands while navigating.
A great variety of delicious Ecuadorian cuisine
It’s finally your parents’ turn to be waited upon while indulging all the flavor that the chef prepared for them.
Traveling is good for their health
According to research traveling reduces stress, keeps the body healthy inside and out, and boosts brain health. Increasing the chance of living longer and to having more fun doing it. It’s also a scientific fact that traveling increases happiness and decreases depression. All these fact will benefit your parents greatly.
There are many other things as well that your parents can enjoy on a cruise to Galapagos Islands. So, cruising is definitely the perfect gift for your parents regardless of whether you choose to surprise them on their wedding anniversary, birthday, or just offering the wonderful cruise to Galapagos as a thank you gift for all that they have done for you.
So, if you are planning to surprise your parents with the best gift ever, making their dreams come true, take advantage of the great last minute deals from Last Minute Galapagos Deals. Your parents will enjoy visiting the Galapagos Islands – which is truly ‘Paradise on Earth’!
Those who have visited Galapagos Islands know what an amazing place it is. Some even call it “heaven on earth”. If you haven’t visited the breathtaking Galapagos yet, then you should know that a trip to Galapagos Islands will be the journey of your lifetime.
The main reason for tourists and nature lovers to visit the Galapagos Islands is the multitude of animals freely enjoying themselves, as well as the Island’s interesting volcanic geology, and its rich flora and fauna. Visiting the Galapagos Islands will surely affect you deeply and impress you like no other place you have seen.
Here are some of the most amazing facts you should know about Galapagos Islands:
- The Galapagos archipelago is probably one of the most bio-diverse places on earth.
- Galapagos is Spanish for turtle.
- The main language spoken in the Galapagos Islands is Spanish.
- Set 1000 kilometres off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are made up of 13 major islands, 6 minor islands and 40 islets in the Pacific Ocean that are the result of numerous volcanic eruptions.
- The Galapagos Islands are home to 25,000 human inhabitants, who live in small communities that can be spotted across the islands.
- The Galapagos Islands were home to the sole remaining Giant Pinta tortoise in the world (up until 2012) that was known affectionately as Lonesome George until his passing. While his actual age was never certain, he was estimated to be between 90-100 years old.
- Charles Darwin has actually used the Galapagos as his main source to construct his evolution theory. So, the Galapagos Islands became the major source of research and inspiration for his paper The Origin of the Species and the theory of evolution.
- The Galapagos Islands are home to anomalies – like the Galapagos Penguin, the only of its kind to be found in the Northern Hemisphere; the Galapagos Marine Iguana, the only lizard in the world with the ability to swim; and the only non-flying cormorants in the world. Additionally, the Galapagos are home to world’s only colony of red-footed booby and the carnivorous 30cm long centipede.
- The name “booby” comes from the Spanish word bobo, which means “clown” or “fool”.
- An island in the Galapagos is called Nameless Island and it is used mostly for scuba diving.
- The oldest island in the Galapagos – Espanola – is estimated to be 3.5 million years old, and the youngest – Fernandina – is 1 million years old and still in the process of forming.
- The Galapagos had its first post office in Floreana Island – a barrel where those who passed through the bay could leave mail or take any they could deliver.
- Isabela was formed by six volcanoes. Five are still active. In 1998 volcanic activity on Isabela caused rescuers to move several rare and giant sea turtles out of the flow of lava.
- Thanks to its location on the Equator, the beautiful Galapagos Islands have an equal 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of night throughout the year – something that’s really fascinating for tourists.
- `San Cristobal (Puerto Baquerizo) is the capital city.
- The temperature highs are mostly in the 80s with lows in the 70s.
- Ecuador has made the islands a state park.
- The Galapagos Islands are visited by more than 50,000 people every year.
- Other names for the islands include ‘Islas de Colon’ and ‘Islas Galapagos’.
- Galapagos penguins are the smallest of their kind in the world.
To visit and explore the beauty of the amazing Galapagos Islands, take advantage of the best last minute deals and enjoy the Galapagos Islands Cruises with Last Minute Galapagos Deals. Seeing Galapagos Islands will surely leave you speechless and will definitely turn your cruise into the best trip you’ve ever had. So, make your dream come true and visit one of the most breathtaking places on earth! Contact us today and let your wish come true!
If you have already visited Galapagos Islands, please share your experience with us in the comments section below.