A white seabird with a teal beak dappled with pink and orange colors and a set of apple-red webbed feet hops from one branch to another with all the grace of a toddler learning to take his first steps. Not far from this charming bird, the red-footed booby, a majestic lizard the size of a plump house cat with coral-pink scales and black stripes, scuttles across the earth and ducks underneath a shrub for some much-needed shade. Feet away from the aptly-named pink iguana, a scolopendra centipede lies in wait. The long, slender insect, about the size of a large twig, has a chocolate-colored, ribbed shell for a body, its fiery orange-tipped legs piercing into the sand as it scours its surroundings for unsuspecting lava lizards and rice rats. Unaware of the impending bloodbath, a pocket-sized penguin, no more than 19 inches long, emerges from the crystal-clear waters and splashes about with its stubby flippers before waddling onto the beach.
These are only a handful of the seemingly whimsical creatures that reside in the gorgeous Galapagos Islands, a fantastic paradise of an archipelago brimming with life and unexpected heterogeneity. Come nightfall, this natural nirvana is equally, if not more disarmingly spellbinding. Unperturbed by the poisons of pollution, the charcoal-black canvas is almost completely dotted with dazzling constellations from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, a mesmerizing panorama unique only to this beautiful nest of islands.
On the surface, the Galapagos could have been plucked out of the imagination of a vastly creative author of adventure fiction, or perhaps a starry-eyed spinner of fairy tales. But of course, the astounding archipelago is indeed real, a picturesque product of Mother Nature's endless mastery, and the archipelago has become almost synonymous with British naturalist Charles Darwin, who produced several groundbreaking theories about natural selection and evolution.