16 A WARM WELCOME TO THE GALÁPAGOS A pristine sanctuary of discovery We would like to welcome you to the magical archipelago of the Galápagos. In the seven years our guests have been discovering these islands, we have developed an intimate understanding of how to form meaningful connections between travellers and the destination. Through our years of sailing the archipelago, we have been privileged to truly understand the soul of the Galápagos Islands, whether it is the endemic wildlife, the rare plant life or the stunning landscape. That’s why we have enriched our two itineraries, adding five new destinations and an array of new highlight experiences to our sailings. These destinations have never been visited by Silversea, and will allow guests to immerse themselves in their Galápagos experience even deeper than before. From the islands’ volcanic origins to their present-day status as a marine reserve and “living museum,” you will see why this wondrous place inspired Darwin’s Theory of Evolution after his visit in 1835. You will learn about the incredible diversity of Ecuadorian food and culture, and gain exclusive access to insider knowledge about the islands’ ecosystems and how they have evolved into such delicate and magical places. At almost 600 miles (960 km) from the mainland of Ecuador, these volcanic islands are among the hardest places to reach in the world. However, if you are among the few who are so focused on immersive, transformative travel that distance is no object, prepare to be amazed. The 19-islandarchipelago was the world’s first UNESCO Heritage Site and rightly so. An astonishing 9,000 species of flora and fauna call the archipelago home, many of which are endemic. These include the Galápagos giant tortoise, the Galápagos sea lion and, of course, the charismatic Galápagos Penguin. Additionally, Red- and Blue-footed Boobies, Frigatebirds and Flightless Cormorants are popular sights, along with stealthy marine iguanas, green sea turtles and towering Scalesia trees. If you are looking for a travel experience that makes everything that you have ever seen pale in comparison, then look no further. It is impossible to be unmoved by the environment: the inquisitive animals, the inspiring feeling of wonder, the very knowledge that you are imbibing the strangest, most wonderful place on Earth.