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History of the Galapagos

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The first visitors to the Galápagos Islands were Native Americans from mainland South America. The islands bear no archaeological remains of dwellings or other structures, so it is quite unlikely that any native colonies were ever established there. Pirates and renegades first inhabited the islands during the early 1500s. They would hide and camp out on the islands after raiding Spanish colonial ports. Due to their inhospitable nature and lack of water, the Spanish paid the islands little attention, giving them the name ‘Las Encantadas’ or bewitched islands.

A new period began in 1832 when Ecuador proclaimed its sovereignty over the islands. There were only a handful of permanent settlers at that time but their number had increased to around 300 by 1835 when the HMS Beagle arrived with Charles Darwin on board. Darwin spent five weeks in the Galapagos collecting and preserving specimens from four separate islands. His field observations led him finally to conclusions published in On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection in 1859. The first Galápagos colony was established on the island of Floreana. The archipelago experienced many attempted settlements from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century by individuals from Norway, the US, and the UK. During World War II, a United States Army Air Force base was established on Baltra Island. From Baltra, crews patrolled the eastern Pacific for enemy submarines and provided protection for the Panama Canal.

Paddle the shores while kayaking where Darwin first set foot on our Galapagos Multisport Adventure or board a Galapagos Cruise to navigate the archipelago.

Ecuador Mainland & Galapagos Combined

Andean Discovery's Quito and Galapagos Cruises allow you to explore Quito, a jewel in the Andes and World Heritage site, before boarding one of our favorite vessels for the wildlife experience of
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Galapagos Land Tours

Galapagos Land Tours are a great alternative to cruises, allowing you more flexibility to enjoy a variety of activities, such as ocean kayaking, snorkeling, and relaxing on the beach.
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Galapagos Cruises

Galapagos cruises are an excellent way to experience all the Galapagos have to offer, including brilliant white-sand beaches, snorkeling, hiking trails and wildlife viewing.
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Galapagos Diving Tours

Discover the magnificent world of the Galapagos Marine Reserve. Whether you choose a day trip or a live-a-board diving boat, many of the species you'll see are found nowhere else.
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Tours to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands

Combine two of South America's most amazing highlights in this trip. Explore the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu hop over to the Galapagos Islands to observe wildlife up close.
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Our trip was fantastic and Micaela with Andean Discovery was great! Every detail was taken care of ahead of time. We just showed up and enjoyed the beauty of South America. I would use them again in a heartbeat.
marc abrams
marc abrams
23:33 23 Nov 18
Damon put together the perfect itinerary for our group of 7 - including grandparents. His knowledge of the region is superb, which is why he is able to create the ultimate trip for your family. From whitewater rafting in Peru to zip-lining in Ecuador, we truly had the trip of a lifetime! I wouldn't go with anyone else!
Carolyn Malloy
Carolyn Malloy
12:40 31 Jan 19
Thanks to Andean our vacation was a wonderful experience for our entire family of 15 (8 adults and 7 grand kids aged 16 to 9).. The planning for the trip to the Galapagos was well researched; the hotels, guides and itinerary were spot on. They answered our many questions before we departed and there NO disappointments during the vacation. It was the most memorable trip our family has taken.
Mary Ann Fuller
Mary Ann Fuller
18:00 22 Jan 19
Traveling to the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu was a dream vacation for my wife. After much research we booked our trip through Andean Discovery. We are so glad we did. Everything went smoothly and our personal guides in Ecuador and Peru were wonderful. I would highly recommend Andean Discovery to anyone thinking of taking a similar trip.
Arnold Miniman
Arnold Miniman
15:29 14 Dec 18
We traveled with our family of 3 people. Andean did a wonderful job helping us select an itinerary that was able to accommodate our various ages. We had no glitches in a fairly complicated itinerary and everything came off as planned. Our local guide in Quito Johanna was terrific. I can't recommend Sacha Lodge more highly. Our experience in Galapagos on the Coral 1 was magical. While the crew of the Coral 1 could have been more charming and smiled on occasion they were helpful, the food was very good and the rooms were kept clean. I have no reservations in recommending Andean Discovery for your South American Holiday
Victor Elinoff
Victor Elinoff
23:26 07 Jan 19
My family toured the Galapagos Islands and Machu Picchu in Peru with Andean Discovery guides and reservations. We had a fabulous adventure! I recommend highly that "superior lodging" be chosen as an option for the best possible room accommodations. The marvelous comfort of the fine hotels Andean booked for us made all the difference.
Kathryn Fulhorst
Kathryn Fulhorst
21:36 08 Jan 19