Isabela Island, Galapagos
As one of the youngest land formations in the world, the Galapagos Islands rose from the seas, pushed out by volcanoes deep in the ocean floor. They were discovered by accident in 1535, when a Spanish bishop named Fray Tomas de Berlanga and his crew were swept westward by the tides as they travelled from Panama to Peru.
When the disoriented sailors disembarked to stock up on water and food, they were faced with a land the likes of which they had never seen before. A strange, dense vegetation grew close to the shores, populated by giant tortoises whose shells, shaped like saddles, gave the archipelago it’s name.
Mostly unexplored, the Galapagos were a haven for pirates and whalers over the following centuries, until the archipelago was annexed by Ecuador in 1832 and finally turned into a wildlife preserve one hundred years later.
Captivating many travellers with their unique nature, the islands have always been a muse for all who witness them. And when you consider how Herman Melville found them the perfect scenery to write “The Encantadas” in, or, how a young, curious Charles Darwin was treated to the display of life that led to developing his theories of evolution; you know, like the sailors who first set foot on their shores over 400 years ago, that the Galapagos Islands are definitely like no other place on earth. Magical, inspiring, and pure.