If you’ve ever spent time wondering how Machu Picchu came to be, or how the first explorers felt when they reached the top of Mount Fitz Roy, you know there’s something irresistibly alluring about the idea of a unique experience. Luckily for us, getting to those sweet island vacations in South America’s most unique places is as easy as booking a flight or boat ride with one of our travel specialists. Whether its speaking to descendants of stone-age settlers or seeing the world’s rarest animals, we’re sure that the Galapagos Islands and Easter Island combine beauty, precious ecosystems, and cultural significance into truly unique experiences waiting for you.
♦ Easter Island, Chile
An Easter Island vacation isn’t just one of the most unique trips to South America, it’s one of the most unique and remote trips in the world. The volcanic island, once called ‘Tepito Ote Henua’ meaning ‘center of the world,’ rests 2,300 miles off of Chile’s Pacific Coast. The chance to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site’s extreme remoteness, rich Polynesian culture, and massive moai statutes, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The beautiful Easter Island, or Isla de Pascua, was settled by two canoes full of Polynesians over 1,000 years ago. Legend has it that as the islanders began to seep across the tiny island’s coastlines (from the 10th to 16th centuries), its iconic moai statues started to slowly appear. The some 900 moai statues that symbolize the islands history range from 6 to a whopping 65 feet. Standing below them as they peer over the ocean connects travelers to the magic and stillness of the well-preserved history. Don’t be fooled though – the mystery surrounding these impressive monolithic statues isn’t the only thing that makes Easter Island one of our top places to visit in 2016. The unbelievably untouched beaches, balmy climate, and quaint Easter Island hotels, make it one of our favorite places to soak in history and relaxation.
Easter Island’s subtropical climate is shaped by pacific winds and ocean currents, so we suggest visiting this Pacific treasure during the warmer months (January and February) for surfing, biking, and all things beach related. For Easter Island tours that hike through island’s lush green expanse, try the cooler months of July and August.
♦ Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The unique Galapagos Islands also happen to be volcanic, nestled into the Pacific Ocean, and a renowned World Heritage Site. Instead of Chile though, this fascinating archipelago lies just about 620 miles from the coast of Ecuador. Charles Darwin brought this extraordinary chain of islands to fame after using Galapagos Islands facts in his world-famous evolution theory – but it’s a myth that scientists and researchers are the only people who can enjoy their wonder and majesty. With Class Adventure Travel, a vacation to the Galapagos Islands is as easy as booking any other trip to South America!
The Galapagos’ extremely isolated location fosters the world’s most unique endemic species, dynamic ecosystems, and breathtaking cruises. Dancing penguins, kissing fur seals, ocean-going iguanas, and blue-footed boobies are only four of the many species you’ll encounter which only thrive on the archipelago’s 20 islands. Even lodging during your stay in the Galapagos is a unique experience in itself as travelers board luxurious boats where educated guides lead a tranquil cruise through the heart of these diverse islands.
Because they’re so close to the equator the Galapagos Islands only have dry and wet seasons, which to many people’s surprise, are both wonderful times to visit the islands. The dry season, from June to December, is the best time to jump into a Galapagos tour for snorkeling, catching the colorful display of sea life, and bird watching. Whales, penguins, and jumping dolphins dot the blue skies and waters during this exciting time of year as the Humboldt current brings nutrients to the islands. The wet season, from January to May, is filled with short showers that renew verdant landscapes and signal a different version of new life. As eggs hatch, watch newborn wildlife stretch their legs and explore the islands for the first time – right alongside you!
If all of this adventure has you ready for more, think about following South America’s most unique islands with one of it’s greatest landmarks. Customize your Galapagos islands vacation with a trip to the unforgettable site of Machu Picchu or another unique destination on the mainland of South America so you can go home with an undeniably unique set of lifelong memories.