If you're a gap year traveller planning where to go on a round-the-world trip, you really should consider the many and varied attractions of Galapagos Island tour packages.
It's possible this part of the world has escaped your notice in the face of other more tried-and-tested backpacking destinations such as Australia and Thailand, but it could be a mistake not to consider booking a Galapagos cruise as part of your adventures around the world.
If you're interested in exploring the natural environment while away, then this part of the world certainly is the right one for you. You can familiarise yourself with the islands by snorkelling your way around, clambering into a kayak, riding a bike or simply by strapping on a pair of sturdy boots and walking around.
Those of you who paid attention during biology and geography classes will remember that Charles Darwin once trod along the Galapagos Islands' paths and formulated his theory of evolution here, thanks to the weird and wonderful species of animals he found in the destination.
These can still be found in the region, so if you do decide to book Ecuador tours of the Galapagos, you should really have your camera at the ready as you never know what you'll come across.
Keep your eyes peeled for marine iguanas, giant tortoises, sea lions, lava lizards and numerous bird species, such as the frigate bird, boobies, penguins and the waved albatross.
Wildlife aside, there are lots of adventurous activities to undertake while on the islands and if you're seeking a few thrills, you certainly won't be disappointed.
If you make your way to Kicker Rock or Leon Dormido, you will be able to get some amazing kayaking in next to cliffs where some wonderful birdlife can be seen.
Kicker Rock is also one of the best places to go for a spot of snorkelling, with the rock channel home to lots of tropical fish and many harmless sharks.
If you want to see more marine life, catch a boat to the small Tintoreras Islands, a much smaller version of the Galapagos. Any number of pelicans and sea lions can be found here, as well as a colony of tiny Galapagos penguins.
Take a dip in the ocean from one of the mangrove-lined beaches and you're also likely to come across turtles, rays and white-tipped reef sharks.
Other sights you should really try and fit in during your stay on the Galapagos Islands include the Charles Darwin Research Station, where you can learn all about its conservation, breeding and education programmes.
More than 100 educators, scientists and research assistants work to protect the islands' natural resources and conserve what is regarded as a living laboratory.
If you want to see some flamingos before you head off on your travels once more, take a walk across Floreana Island, where these birds as well as sea turtles can be found. For snorkelling, make your way to the Devil's Crown and then to Post Office Bay to learn more about the human history of the islands.
And, before you leave, make sure you get some great views of the northern side of Isabela Island. All you have to do is get to Tagus Cove and walk up to a volcanic caldera. Remember to take your camera so you can impress your friends and family with all you've seen and done when you finally return home once more.