4) Galapagos: By Land, Not Sea
Sure, you could see the Galapagos Islands on a tour boat with all the other tourists, waiting fifteen minutes to photograph a blue-footed booby as if waiting to board the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
Or, you could anchor in a hotel like the Red Mangrove in Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island and see the animals on your own time. The giant tortoise sanctuary is a short walk and beaches on the island sport languid spitting marine iguanas and bright red Sally Lightfoot crabs. The Red Mangrove specializes in diving tours, but you can also take a kayak out to photograph the boobies on your own time or snorkel to see the sharks and rays and leave the crowds behind. If you want to explore other islands, the Red Mangrove also has lodges on Isabela and Floreana.
Another benefit of staying put? You’re supporting the local economy rather than foreign outfitters.