TODAY.com: Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands

 

Thank you to TODAY.com and TODAY Parenting Team for sharing my story: “Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands.”

How can you increase curiosity in your family? While it is an human innate trait, we can inspire more of it. We wonder, we ask questions and we explore our surroundings. Taking your family to the place which was designated as the first World Heritage Site by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1978 is definitely on the right path.

Galapagos Islands

Nearly 200 years ago, Charles Darwin began his five-year voyage circumnavigating the globe as ship’s naturalist on the H.M.S Beagle. He was only 22 years old when he left in 1831 and he observed and collected in every location from fossils, to birds and especially rocks.

In 1835, he reached the Galapagos Islands and noticed the “differences between the inhabitants of the different islands.” Darwin was very curious and Sir Kenneth Robinson, who speaks often about creativity and the lack of it in schools, says that:  “Curiosity is the engine of achievement.”

Blue Footed Booby on North Seymour Island, Galapagos by Lisa Niver
Blue Footed Booby on North Seymour Island, Galapagos by Lisa Niver

There is great value in exploration and seeing new sights. I have wanted to see the Blue Footed Boobies since I was a twelve year old girl. When I went off to summer camp, my mom packed Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species, in my luggage and ever since then, I have always wanted to go.

Last month, I had the opportunity to sail like Darwin in the Galapagos Islands with Origin & Theory by Ecoventura, on their newest mega-yacht, Theory. With fifteen other passengers who soon became fast friends (the yachts host a maximum of 20 passengers), each day we were delighted to discover new species (well, new to us!). We observed, we took photos, we asked questions and we were immersed in learning. 

Nazca Boobies on Punta Suarez, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver
Nazca Boobies on Punta Suarez, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

We saw not only the blue footed booby I was waiting for, but I learned that there is also a red footed booby and the Nazca booby! I saw sea lions suckling, giant tortoise mating and penguins danced around us when we were snorkeling in the deep waters.

Sea lion and her baby at Gardner bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver
Sea lion and her baby at Gardner bay, Espanola, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

It was truly one of the most magical bucket-list journeys I have been on. The two amazing naturalists answered all of our questions and shared our excitement at seeing marine iguanas swimming, yellow land iguanas eating prickly pear cactus, and red tropic birds flying over the cliff at South Plazas Island. 

Yellow land iguana on South Plaza, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver
Yellow land iguana on South Plaza, Galapagos Islands, Photo by Lisa Niver

They also have special itineraries designed for teen guests with longer hikes with a faster pace and even more kayaking and snorkeling opportunities. There are opportunities for cultural exchange with local Galapagueño students through Ecology Project International. I participated in Pack with a Purpose and brought stationary supplies that Captain Jhon brought to a local school.

I was entranced by our seven day South and Central Islands itinerary and would return again to visit the North and West Islands. I loved the kayaking, hiking and snorkeling but I hope to return and go scuba diving at Wolf and Darwin Islands someday.

Want to inspire your family to wonder about our world? Take them somewhere where the memories will last a lifetime.

Sunset at Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos, Photo by Lisa Niver
Sunset at Bartolomé Island in the Galapagos, Photo by Lisa Niver

Want to read more?
Watch all of my Galapagos videos: CLICK HERE

Part One: Traveling to my Dream Destination: The Galapagos Islands

Part Two: Traveling on Ecoventura’s Theory in the Galapagos Islands

Part Three: Sailing the Galapagos Islands on Ecoventura’s Theory

TODAY.com: Cultivating Curiosity in the Galapagos Islands

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have over 1.5 million views. After three months on TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts, she had over 500,000 (1/2 million) views. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers”

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