Galapagos Islands

The Galápagos Islands is a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It's considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife-viewing. A province of Ecuador, it lies about 1,000km off its coast. Its isolated terrain shelters a diversity of plant and animal species, many found nowhere else. Charles Darwin visited in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos' species later inspired his theory of evolution.

The islands are known for their famously fearless wildlife and as a source of inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution. And that’s just part of the story. Born of fire: The Galápagos Archipelago is one the most volcanically active areas in the world.

Itinerary: San CristobelGenovesa – Darwin Bay – Santa Cruz – Isle Fernandina – Isabella – Bartalome Island – Santiago Isalnd – Santa Cruz Highlands – Espanola (Hood Island) – San Cristobal – Gua

THREE things we did not know about the Galapagos Islands:

  1. The name Galápagos comes from the old Spanish word for saddle, a reference to the tortoise’s shell. The giant tortoise is probably the iconic species of the Galápagos. These huge, yet gentle creatures can live up to 170 years and weigh 595 pounds – making them some of the largest types of tortoises in the world. Up until his death in 2012, the Galápagos Islands were home to Lonesome George, the sole remaining Giant Pinta tortoise in the world. While his actual age is not certain, it is estimated he reached from 90 to 100 years of age. What an honour to have met him!
  2. Due to this historical lack of people on the islands, most wild animals there have no natural fear of humans. As a result, the Galápagos has strict rules in place to help protect both the animals and their habitats. Similarly, some animals have evolved uniquely due to the lack of predators in their habitat – like the Flightless Cormorant. This bird is endemic to the Galápagos and it is the only cormorant in the world that does not have the ability to fly. Since it never needed to fly from predators, it evolved to become the largest of all cormorant species, yet its wings stayed barely one-third of the size they would have to be able to fly.
  3. The Galápagos Penguins are the only species of penguins to live north of the equator – even if it’s barely one degree north. They’re typically found on the western islands of Isabela and Fernandina, though a few colonies are found within the central islands and Floreana Island.

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