Every day 'brings something special' on the Galapagos Islands
Every day on the Galapagos Islands brings "something special" for those travelling around South America, according to the chief executive at the Galapagos Conservation Trust.
Toni Darton said there are numerous highlights, from watching blue-footed boobies performing a mating dance to snorkelling with turtles and discovering penguins on the equator.
Catching a glimpse of Lonesome George, the last surviving member of his subspecies of Galapagos tortoise, is also an extraordinary treat for anyone spending time in the archipelago.
Labelled the rarest creature in the world, the 100-year-old giant has become a symbol for conservation efforts around the globe.
"Perhaps the greatest thing is that everyone can feel like Sir David Attenborough and come back with photographs to rival the professionals," said Ms Darton.
The Galapagos Islands, which lie off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean, are renowned for their wildlife and have been declared a National Park and a Biological Marine Reserve.
A vast number of endemic species live on the islands and were studied by Charles Darwin as part of his research into evolution and natural selection.
Ms Darton explained that every island within the archipelago has its own unique ecosystem, and for this reason travellers must take extra care when visiting.
She said it is important to "leave only footprints and take only photographs" in the Galapagos Islands, as litter and foodstuffs can upset the natural balance and harm birds and mammals.
"It is very easy to bring in seeds and insects accidentally," she added. "Please clean bags, shoes and equipment thoroughly before leaving home."
Ms Darton also urged travellers to think about what they can give back to the Galapagos Islands on returning from their South America adventure tours.
"Galapagos is a double World Heritage Site and with everyone's help and support can be conserved," she remarked. "It is considered a microcosm for the challenges facing the world. Get it right in Galapagos and it can become a model for the world."