Random Things I Learned in the Galapagos

I was talking with a couple of coworkers the other day and fantasying about going back to the Galapagos.  While telling them about my adventures, I recalled several things I learned while I was there.  Learning is one of my favorite takeaways from travel.  So, I thought I would share a few things I learned while I was there.

The Difference Between Tortoises and Turtles

Until visiting the Galapagos I wasn’t even aware that I didn’t know the difference.  I neverGiant Sea Turtle thought about it, but once there it became crystal clear.  So, what is the difference…

Bird and a TortoiseSimply put Tortoises live on land and turtles live in the water.  Of course, there are plenty of other differences, like turtles have flippers and tortoises have feet.

The Galapagos has an abundance of giant tortoises and giant sea turtles.  It was amazing.

The Difference Between Sea Lions and Seals

The biggest difference between seals and sea lions is their ease (or difficulty) of walkingBull Sea Lion on land.  Sea lions have back flippers that can rotate underneath them making it easier for them to get around on land.  Seals can be seen on land, but not nearly as much as sea lions and certainly they would stay closer to the water’s edge.

In the Galapagos sea lions are EVERY WHERE…and, that is no exaggeration.  I’d equate them to dogs in Mexico.  When backing away from one you are likely to trip on another behind you.  Park benches, docks, and sidewalks are ideal napping locations for them.

The Difference Between Volcanic Craters and Volcanic Calderas

I didn’t know anything about calderas before my trip.  I knew about volcanic craters because I live in Western Washington in which Mount St Helens is a visible reminder.

Sierra Negra CalderaVolcanic craters happen when a volcano erupts and causes a “hole” as it blows part of the mountain away.  Volcanic calderas happen after an eruption when the cone of the volcano becomes unstable and collapses in on itself leaving a “hole” behind.

While in the Galapagos we hiked to the rim of Sierra Negra volcanic caldera and then into another caldera right next to it.  It was the hottest day of our trip, but I’d  guess that was mostly due to the sun reflecting off the black volcanic rocks.

Our Guide

Learning while traveling happens for me when I’m able to hire a very educated guide (orZambo at Darwin Center careful awareness of placards at tourist sites).  Lucky for me, Intrepid Travel provided a great guide…Zambo…for our trip.  Having someone who not only shares their knowledge, but was open to questions made a huge difference.

Other Travel Lessons

What random things have you learned during your travels?

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