Celebrate Darwin’s 200th Birthday In “The Enchanted Islands” Alongside Tortoises, Iguanas, Sea Lions and Penguins With International Expeditions
Since inspiring Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Galapagos has gone from an uninhabited island chain to a global hub of ecotourism. To kick off the year of Darwin’s 200th birthday, International Expeditions is celebrating with $500 per person — $1,000 per couple — savings on its January 2 and 16, 2009 voyages. Like all Galapagos Islands departures with the world leader in nature travel, these will bring guests face to face with some of the most interesting and accessible wildlife anywhere.
During the intimate 10-day Galapagos cruise, guests come just inches from giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, sea lions, penguins, iguanas and many other animals. International Expeditions’ renowned naturalist guides — all Galapagos National Park-certified with top “Naturalist Level 3” designations — lead talks about the islands’ highly diverse and rich ecosystems featuring desert landscapes, lush highland forests, volcanic soils and nutrient-rich waters, and discussions on conservation practices to protect this fragile environment.
International Expeditions’ 32-passenger M/V Evolution navigates the islands, and unlike larger vessels, the expedition ship is small enough to access some of the most compelling sites, like Genovesa (Tower) Island, home to red-footed booby and frigatebird colonies. The ship’s pangas (landing craft) are used several times a day and with space for all to go easily and quickly ashore, there’s no queuing up. Accommodations aboard the Evolution are spacious and comfortable, with a host of amenities including an observation deck, sun deck and canopied bar (a superb place for whale watching). Complimentary snorkeling equipment, wet suits and kayaks are available for use on a variety of excursions.
International Expeditions’ itinerary offers the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation. Highlights include magnificent views of Española’s famous blowhole, where incoming waves spout 90 feet in the air; Fernandina Island, the youngest and most volcanically active island in the Galapagos; Isabela Island, where flightless cormorants, sea lions and marina iguanas thrive; Santiago Island, for sightings of land birds such as finches, doves and Galapagos hawks; and Bartolomé Island, whose summit boasts panoramas of lava flows, beaches, sea and the jagged Pinnacle Rock — a well-known Galapagos landmark.
Each island brings remarkable sightings, including chocolate chip sea stars, flamboyant Sally Lightfoot crabs, thousands of red-footed boobies or enormous tortoises. These creatures have been protected from human hunters so they are unafraid of humans and seek attention from spectators. A visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station offers the opportunity to learn about the vital research being done to continue to preserve the precious wildlife.
While at the Equator in the Pacific Ocean, guests also have an opportunity to swim and snorkel with penguins, sea lions and sea turtles, and take panga rides in search of rays and sharks. Traveling in the winter also brings the added excitement of possibly witnessing giant tortoise eggs hatching.
Per person prices for the 10-day Galapagos Voyages departing January 2 and 16 start at $4,498, including the $500 bonus savings, accommodations, most meals, local transportation, guides and groups transfers. International and in-country airfare is extra, however all flights can be arranged by International Expeditions. Additional Galapagos departures are available in 2008 and throughout 2009.
For more information on International Expeditions visit www.ietravel.com or call 1-800-633-4734.
Founded in 1980, International Expeditions is the World Leader in Nature Travel, specializing in small group and independent journeys to the most exhilarating destinations around the globe. A pioneer of environmentally responsible travel, International Expeditions is committed to preserving natural habitats and improving the welfare of the people and communities it visits.
For more information or an International Expeditions brochure, call an International Expeditions destination specialist at 1-800-633-4734, see your travel agent, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.ietravel.com.
Source: Spring, O’Brien & Co.