Photo credit: It’s Nature (

As if the various Galapagos wildlife species weren’t amazing enough on their own, look at this interaction: a Galapagos hawk is about to land on the shell of a giant Galapagos tortoise, while the hefty guy seems completely oblivious.

Surprises like this await the visitor at every turn in the aptly named Enchanted Isles (the moniker is compliments of Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick, who was bewitched by the islands’ delights in the 1850s).

Modern-day explorers are just as likely as Melville or Darwin to match the quizzical stare of a blase iguana or to find glee in swimming with playful young sea lions off deserted beaches, while sea turtles flap beneath the waves and dolphins cavort in the distance.

Now’s a great to start planning your tropical Galapagos getaway… It may still be sizzling and steaming in much of the U.S. as a long, hot summer draws gradually to a close, but winter will be here again before you know it — what better escape than an adventure vacation to the most unique archipelago on earth?