The Galapagos Islands

A World Heritage Site
Gorp.com
A Galapagos Islands Beach
A sunny Galapagos Islands beach

The Galapagos Archipelago is a unique world heritage. Situated on the equator some 600 miles off the coast of South America, this remote volcanic archipelago remains much as it was millions of years ago. Over the course of centuries, animal and plant life from the Americas reached the islands and gradually evolved into new forms. Many of its species are found nowhere else on earth.

Each of the archipelago's islands has its own character and unique qualities. For example, Santa Cruz Island supports one of the largest human populations of the five islands. Some 4,000 residents are distributed among the cattle communities in the lush highlands and the coastal town of Puerto Ayora. Here you can visit the Charles Darwin Research Station to see the land tortoises, or galapagos, which once greeted Darwin so peacefully.

Espanola (Hood) Island is one of the oldest of the islands. It small and flat, with no volcanic crater or vent. Gardner Bay on the eastern shore offers the islands most magnificent beach. It is used by a transient colony of sea lions, and is a major nesting site for marine turtles.

Since Darwin's famous voyage, the archipelago's marine and terrestrial ecosystems have provided a wealth of information and a source of inspiration for people throughout the world. The "Enchanted Islands" continue to play an important role in our understanding of life on earth. The Galapagos experience offers world travelers a way to step back in time, to visit an isolated, relatively untouched place on earth.

Special thanks to IGTOA for providing this information


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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