The Enchanted Islands

The Galápagos Islands are located in the Pacific Ocean, about six hundred miles west of the coast of Ecuador. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity, several ocean currents, and extreme isolation came together to create this one-of-a-kind place. Consisting of volcanic peaks that have risen to the surface throughout an area that stretches for 3,093 square miles, the islands — and their surrounding waters, which are now a marine reserve with World Heritage status are home to unique species.

Birds that cannot fly, an Equatorial penguin, lizards that feed in the ocean, tortoises that weigh more than five hundred pounds, and a "garúa" season are just a few of the unusual, natural phenomena here that intrigue the mind, engage the senses, and entice the soul. More than 80 percent of the land-based animals that inhabit the islands are endemic and about 30 percent of the plant species are found only here and nowhere else on Earth.

After Charles Darwin's visit to the Galápagos Islands in 1835, he came to call them a "living laboratory of evolution." After yours, we're sure you'll come to refer to them as "my favorite spot on Earth."