Ten photographs that will make you want to visit the Galápagos Islands
Home to a large number of fearless endemic species and breathtaking landscapes, the Galápagos Islands are a photographer's dream.
After booking a last minute cruise in Quito and spending an active week at sea, we had literally thousands of pictures.
These are just ten of our favourites, and they may well encourage you to fly 1000 kilometres from Ecuador's coastline and have a Galápagos adventure of your own.
Galápagos sea lion
We caught this sea lion playing with leaves, stones, sticks and whatever else he could find in this small rock pool. The guide estimated he was no older than a few months, and it was likely that his mother had left him (in the capable hands of a nearby juvenile, a sibling perhaps) to search for food.
Green Sea Turtle
People who know us will tell you that we love turtles. Snorkelling with hawksbill turtles in Gili Air remains one of our fondest memories, and our cruise stops on the Western side of Isabela, we met more green sea turtles than we could shake our DSLR at!
We watched this cormorant dive into the water for some fish, before clambering back onto this rock and drying his wings. The adult cormorants have piercing turquoise eyes which are captivating, if you manage to get close enough to see them.
Santa Fe Land Iguana
Found on a small island south east of Santa Cruz, this yellow reptile feeds on prickly-pear cacti as well as insects. This male was determined to get his fill; we watched him stretch and jump for a bite of cactus for a good ten minutes.
Hiking one of Isabela's volcanoes wasn't initially on our itinerary, so we were so glad when the guide asked if we wanted to add it into our day plans. A moderate hike saw us reach the crater rim and the view (after the clouds parted) was spectacular.
Matt's eyes lit up when I told him there'd be lots of boobies to see in the Galápagos, and he wasn't disappointed. With curious faces and those adorable feet, we fell in love with them.
The mating display is something to behold; the males' high-pitched whistle, followed by the females' honking reply, then his offering of sticks and stones and his slow-motion, side-to-side walk... we were kind of taken with him ourselves!
Lava fields, Moreno Point
The tough, rocky ground of Isabela island's many lava fields gives way to turquoise lagoons which are home to numerous turtles and flamingos.
Sally Lightfoot Crabs
These brightly-coloured crabs can be seen on most islands, and they are an extremely important part of the Galápagos ecosystem. They have a varied diet (it includes ticks and sea lion placenta, yum...) which makes sure the shore is kept clean, and they are incredibly fast and nimble.
As the only ocean-based lizard species in the world, we snorkelled with tens of marine iguanas feeding on seaweed beneath the waves, holding onto the rocks with their huge claws. Once they've been for a dip, they can be found basking in the sun to warm up their bodies and blowing excess salt from their bodies through their nostrils!