Sea Kayaking the Galapagos
Credit: David Santiago Garcia / Getty Images

Sea Kayaking the Galapagos

Plenty of cruise ships patrol the waters of the Galápagos archipelago, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, depositing passengers en masse on beaches to gawk at sunbathing sea lions and giant iguanas. But few visitors ever explore the islands by sea kayak, paddling alongside bobbing penguins, into hidden sandstone caves, and to cliffs crawling with red-and-blue crabs. Even fewer ever camp on the islands. In 2006, Idaho-based outfitter ROW International started offering 10-day kayaking and camping trips that depart in spring and fall when the temperature hovers in the mid-70s and the color of the sky matches the blue feet of the boobies ($4,690). The exact itineraries vary for each trip, but expect to hike to the summit of Sierra Negra, a live volcano, kayak to snorkeling spots where seals, marine iguanas, and penguins frolic, and spend four nights sleeping under canvas on pristine beaches. Darwin would approve.