Much like the revolutionary scientific idea with which they’ve become synonymous, the Galapagos Islands may inspire you to think differently about the world. Nowhere else can you engage in a staring contest with wild animals and lose. You can’t help thinking you’ve stumbled upon an alternate universe, some strange utopian colony organised by sea lions - the golden retrievers of the Galapagos - and arranged on principles of mutual cooperation.

Don’t come expecting to see bizarre wildlife, there are no half-penguins, no large mammals with shark fins. What’s truly special is this: the creatures that call the islands home act as if humans are nothing more than slightly annoying paparazzi. The islands have taken on a mythological status, and their relationship with Charles Darwin, the most famous visitor, who undoubtedly violated several park rules in riding the Galapagos turtles, has become distorted and romanticised. Yet you don’t have to be an evolutionary biologist or an ornithologist to appreciate one of the few places left on planet where the footprint of the human presence is kept to a minimum.

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