Head to these volcanic Pacific Ocean islands for close encounters with the awe-inspiring creatures that inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The best plan is to book an 8- to 11-day yacht trip that will sweep you through the islands.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Language: Spanish (Many guides speak English)
Flight time: 7.5 hours from NYC, 9 hours from LA to Quito, Ecuador; 1.5 hours from Quito to Galapagos
Getting around: Bicycle, boat, bus, taxi
When To Go: The Galapagos Islands at their best
Best weather: Temperatures average from 62 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. It is hottest in March (74 to 88 degrees) and coolest in August (64 to 74 degrees).
Best prices: Prices are consistent year-round.
You can’t see this at home: These magnificent islands are an ecological reserve, scattered across the Equator about 600 miles off of Ecuador. Considered one of the world’s great treasures, many of the species here are endemic (you won’t find them anywhere else in the world). You can scuba, snorkel and kayak with the wildlife — and your $100 park fee will go toward keeping them around.