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The iconic Darwin's Arch rock formation in the Galapagos has collapsed

May 19, 2021
3 min read
The iconic Darwin's Arch rock formation in the Galapagos has collapsed
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One of the most famous and photographed sights in the Galapagos Islands, Darwin's Arch, has collapsed and fallen into the Pacific Ocean. Officials in Ecuador, which the remote islands are a province of, say natural erosion caused the natural archway to fall on Monday.

The official Twitter handle of Ecuador's Ministry of Environment shared a photo taken shortly after the arch collapsed.

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Darwin's Arch was located less than a mile from the uninhabited Darwin Island. Both spots are named after scientist Charles Darwin, whose visit to the Galapagos in 1835 had a great influence on his theory of evolution and natural selection.

The waters around the arch were popular with divers and tour boats due to its plethora of sea life that includes turtles, dolphins and sharks.

Natural erosion is a problem many natural and long-standing landmarks face, but according to UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), the Galapagos are one of the most vulnerable places on the planet because of climate change.

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The archipelago, which is made up of dozens of islands of various sizes, is located at a crossing of three ocean currents and are vulnerable to the El Niño weather system, which can cause Pacific Ocean waters to warm up quickly. Those warming waters pose a major threat to the incredibly varied species on the islands.

The allure of the Galapagos may also threaten its future. Before the pandemic, conservationists worried the increase in visitors was putting undue stress on the islands' fragile eco-system.

Related: How to visit the Galapagos using miles and points

Travellers can actually visit the Galapagos right now, despite the CDC placing Ecuador on a Level 4 Travel Health Notice in April due to high COVID-19 activity in the country.

There are specific travel requirements for traveling to Galapagos Islands that you can read in detail here. Anyone flying in to Quito or Guayaquil International Airport, which provide flights to the Galapagos' two main airports, must present a vaccination card showing the passenger is fully vaccinated or a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 96 hours before arriving in the Galapagos. The negative test results mean travellers will not have to quarantine upon arrival.

Keep in mind there are no direct flights to the Galapagos from the United States. You must first fly in to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecuador's two biggest cities, and then hop on one of the daily flights to either Seymour Airport (GPS), on the island of Baltra, or San Cristobal (SCY), which is on San Cristobal Island. Three airlines offer flights to the Galapagos: Avianca, LATAM and Ecuador's biggest carrier, TAME.

Featured image by ullstein bild via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more