The Galapagos giant tortoise is so big that it’s started to overshadow all that’s great about its home islands. Not that the rep is undeserved — this chain of volcanic islands about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador in the Pacific Ocean is the only place you’ll see these big guys in the wild. And they’re definitely worth seeing, if for no other reason than to appreciate the effort it took to bring them back.
But there’s a lot more to a place so abundant in biodiversity Charles Darwin anchored much of his theories to what he found here. We took a trip down to the Galapagos Islands with Intrepid Travel, which runs a number of different in-depth, highly localized adventures to the islands, and found that from swimming with penguins to hiking volcanoes to drinking craft beer on the beach, the Galapagos makes for one of the most unusual and naturally impressive vacations in the world.