We throw around the expression unique, but the Galápagos is completely unique.
It’s got the highest level of endemism [totally unique species you don’t get anywhere else] of pretty much anywhere else in the world. It’s 600 miles off shore, and it’s a set of volcanic islands, so you genuinely see things there you don’t see anywhere else.
The other thing is the way the wildlife behaves. Darwin commented on this in 1835 when he visited. When he arrived, he was drinking from a cup and a mockingbird landed on the lip of the cup. The animals were just completely apathetic to the presence of people. They didn’t show fear or aggression. We were just another species that had appeared on the scene. That’s magical.
People find it amazing. They feel part of the bigger picture there, part of a wider ecosystem and it’s life altering. People find it utterly bewitching and utopian. In terms of the larger picture, it’s also the home of evolutionary science.
It’s a a place we’ve all seen a million times on our TV screens, because there’s so many TV shows about it, and I think that combines to make it a real bucket list destination. But with that comes a bunch of problems, as well.