Naturally Galápagos

The untouched beauty through the many islands of the Galápagos seen through the eyes of Milvian Prieto.

The Galápagos Islands are like no other. In January 2014, I was able to travel with fellow students from my university to the islands. I travel around quite frequently, but never have I been to a place where I was able to walk anywhere and be in a close vicinity to many species in their natural habitat.

Below are some of the species I was able to encounter. What I loved the most about these islands was that the culture of the Galápagos Islands revolves around mainly the species below (and of course the many others too). These species are top priority. We can't get too close because it is considered dangerous to them. It is imperative for these species to be in their untouched habitat.

I came across these crabs were everywhere on a daily basis. The name of these crabs are Grapsus grapsus, however, they are often referred to as "red rock crab" or "abuete negro" and are found mostly on the pacific coast of South America.

I was highly fascinated by the wildlife and species. However, there was more to the islands than the animals. Parts of the Galápagos Islands that I visited felt completely untouched, as if I was the first one there.  There was a feeling of serenity and tranquility when I was on some parts of these islands, finding nobody else -- just me and a buena vista.

One of my favorite parts of my trip to the Galápagos was my visit to South Plaza Island. Nobody was to be found on the island except for the group that I was traveling with. We were all able to take in the island for its untouched beauty and wild species. Below is one of my favorite shots that I took on the island.  I believe it is the egg of a swallow tailed gull. I thought it was amazing that a bird's egg was just left alone and untouched.

South Plaza Island

Before I departed to the islands, I was constantly being told that I was going to see the following species -- giant turtles, frigate birds, and sea lions. Although the frigate birds were a rare sighting, sea lions and land tortoises were seen more frequently around the islands.

Coming across the sea lions never got old to me. I've never seen an animal quite like them. On this trip I've seen them all -- big to small, baby to mother, the lazy ones who just lay out all day to the active ones that swim around everywhere.

Floreana Island

I remember my visit to Floreana Island quite vividly. The two-hour boat ride through bumpy waters wasn't pleasant and my stomach was beginning to turn. While my classmates went to snorkel, I began to walk around the island to explore what else  Floreana has to offer. There were only a few boats that were in rotation to pick up tourists and bring them back to the main island of Santa Cruz. While waiting around in the dock area, I captured the photo above. When I looked around, there were sea lions blatantly hanging around wherever they pleased. It was totally normal for them to lay out in pacts in the middle of the docks or rocks. I believe this photo represents the evolution of the Galápagos Islands as a tourist destination.

South Plaza Island

While exploring, stay on the trail and be cautious of your surroundings.

I took a minute to take in what was around me. There's nothing quite like a vista of rocks and blue waters stretching out all the way to the horizon.

Floreana Island

My favorite thing about this photo is how the clouds align with the grassy mountain. I didn't realize it while taking the photo. I'm curious to know what lies ahead. There seems to be no known path that leads up to the top of the grassy mountain and it makes me feel tempted to create my own path and head up to there alone and see the cloud's point of view.

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