The Galapagos Islands


Galapagos Islands

Chloe Staudenmaier, Exchange (Ecuador) Student Reporter

The Galapagos Islands. Many associate this beautiful area with Charles Darwin and his discoveries. Few have been fortunate enough to visit. In March, I along with twenty other exchange students visited two of the Galapagos Islands. We spent the first two days on San Cristobal and the last three days on Santa Cruz. The beauty of these islands is breathtaking. Everything is a vibrant green, and the beaches always have animals covering the shores. The natural beauty on land is spectacular; however, underwater is a completely different world. The waters are transparent, which allows one to see all of the vibrant wildlife below the surface. For five days, I was snorkeling around the islands with my friends. I can not properly describe the sights that I have seen, and the memories I have made, but I will attempt. To the animals, it seemed as if we did not exist. I swam with hundreds of sharks and sea turtles. One of the most shocking events was being within an arm’s reach of a sea lion while swimming. I watched three baby sea lions play in a lagoon, which is an extremely rare sight since a mother typically only has one baby per season. I also biked the island of San Cristobal at night and helped to clean up one of the beaches with local teenagers that I can now call my friends. I jumped off a yacht into crystal blue waters with friends from Switzerland, France, and Germany. I have seen tortoises hundreds of years old walking in a national park. Since we went during the mating season, I experienced the blue-footed boobies searching for their mates. I have done all of these things and so much more in a matter of five days. In my opinion, the Galapagos Islands are truly a sight to be seen by all.