The Galapagos Islands offer close encounters with marine mammals and birds. These remote islands (500 miles off the coast of Equador) are now heavily visited. Most touring is done by boat with landings on the islands. One walks among the creatures and can photograph them in their natural habitat. The Galapagos are situated over a natural geothermal hot spot in the Pacific Ocean; as a result, volcanic activity is relatively frequent and becomes an interesting aspect to observe as it shapes the environment.