The Galapagos is a group of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. Some volcanoes in the islands are still active. They constitute a province of Ecuador and are protected as a wildlife sanctuary, since 1935, where birds coexist with iguanas, sea lions and several other animals. The principal islands are Isabela, San Cristóbal, San Salvador, Santa María and Santa Cruz. The islands population is about 15,000. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristóbal, is the administrative center. In 1978, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Isolation of the Galapagos in the Pacific Ocean allowed the development of a peculiar ecosystem. Many varieties of wildlife are not found anywhere else, including six species of giant tortoises that give the islands their Spanish name. The observation of the wildlife in Galapagos produced important inferences to the development of the Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. The English naturalist arrived at the archipelago in the expedition of the Beagle, between 1831 and 1836.
The Galapagos Islands was discovered in 1535, by the bishop of Panama Tomás de Berlanga, when its ship drifted in a trip to Peru. He named the islands of "Las Encantadas". In his writings, the bishop emphasized the great number of giant tortoises (galapagos in Spanish) there were in the islands.
Galapagos attracts more than 60 thousand tourists annually and is considered the second biggest wildlife marine reserve of the world, only behind the Great Barrier Reef, in Australia.
The Bartolome Island, Galapagos.
Cormorants in Galapagos.
Copyright © Geographic Guide - Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Blue-footed booby in Galapagos.