By Rachael Funk
So you've crossed off the last item on your "to-do" list, and you have a few minutes of extra time. Even if you are actively counting down the days to your next dream vacation, it can't come soon enough. Since instant gratification for wanderlust is so hard to find, allow us to introduce the next best thing: a daydream vacation.
Why not take a "me" moment right now? The beauty of a daydream vacation is you get to go any time, regardless of how many vacation days you have saved. Refresh your coffee, mute your inbox notifications, and pull in a few calming breaths. Ready? Great, because we're going to the Galapagos Islands!
Our journey begins at Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé Island - the most visited island in the Galapagos. The cone you see is basalt formed from the eruption of an underwater volcano. Let your eyes slip out of focus as you breathe in the salty air and abandon yourself in reverie of the stillness around you.
Galapagos penguins are the second smallest species of penguins in the world, weighing in at five and a half pounds and standing 19 inches high when fully grown. These pocket-sized pals have established a colony behind Pinnacle Rock and are very busy being adorable all over the western islands. You might be tempted to immediately pull out your phone for some pictures, but resist that urge for a few more minutes. Enjoy being present in a moment meant only for you.
Green Sea Turtles
On the north beach, adjacent to Pinnacle Rock, Green Sea Turtles can be found nesting from January to March. Swimming here could afford you the opportunity to see these turtles, penguins, and a variety of marine life unique to the area. Slip into a snorkeling mask and glide through a vibrant, awe-inspiring world so easily overlooked.
Santa Cruz Island
Part nature conservancy, part national park, Santa Cruz Island is a treasure chest of natural wonder. Here, nobody is yelling your name, nobody needs anything. It's just you, the warm sun, and the gentle lapping of waves against sand. Visit the Charles Darwin Research Station or explore this island's natural mangrove and you can catch a glimpse of the gigantic...
Well, this little buddy isn't gigantic yet, but he's doing his best. Right now, he's just focused on being small and stern.
Fun fact: a group of tortoises is called a creep. Here is a respectable creep you may happen upon during a serene stroll through the island's lush mangroves.
Indulge in a swim through the cool emerald waters of Las Grietas on Santa Cruz Island. This water is fed by an underground river on one end and the ocean on the other, which means calm water and sharing your swim with fewer marine animals. You can leap off the jagged volcanic rock or float weightless in the water for as long as you want.
Blue Footed Boobies
Laughter is a great way to unknot a tightly wound soul and these funny birds running around mean no shortage of comedy. Seen here in an awkward mating dance, Blue Footed Boobies attract partners by high-kicking their way into each other's hearts. Feel your tension melt away as you chuckle at the eager blue feet scuttling around, hoping to impress.
This happy friend can be found basking in the morning sun, then retreating to the shade when the day gets too hot. The islands are home to several kinds of land and marine iguanas who have spectacularly adapted to island life. Seize a bright morning to stretch out in the sun, too.
Galapagos Sea Lion
When was the last time you napped so hard, you woke up like this?
Heart-Shaped Prickly Pear
This prickly pear is one of several species endemic to the Galapagos Islands. Here is where we conclude our virtual jaunt, but feel free to come back as often as you want until you're ready to make your daydream vacation a reality!