The Galapagos Islands are a group of volcanic islands forming the Galapagos archipelago, part of the Republic of Ecuador. The population on the islands is of approximately 25 000 people and the main language spoken here is Spanish. The archipelago consists of 127 islands, islets and rocks, whereof 19 islands are larger and only 4 of them are inhabited. It is one of the most incredible destinations in the world, featuring breathtaking landscapes, amazing animals and plants on land and below the water and a vast array of activities to enjoy.
There are two airports on the archipelago, on Baltra Island and San Cristobal Island, and there are daily flights to the islands from Quito and Guayaquil.
The archipelago's most famous visitor is Charles Darwin, who visited the islands in 1853 and studied the local flora and fauna. This trip was the basis for his renowned book, ""On the Origin of Species"", where he proposed the theory of evolution and where he presented Galapagos to the world.
The Galapagos Islands form one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. They are a famous national park and in 1978 the islands became a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are thousands of amazing species of flora and fauna, most of which are endemic and cannot be found elsewhere on the planet. Some of this fascinating animals are the giant tortoises, with the longest life span on Earth for up to 150 years, the endemic marine iguanas, which swim in the ocean and feed on seaweed, the unique flightless cormorant, the Galapagos penguins and the fur seals, to name just a few.
There a lot of thrilling activities you can do on the islands, from hiking, wildlife watching, to surfing, snorkeling, diving and kayaking. Most visitor sites have marked trails and you'll have the chance to pass through different and stunning landscapes, like lava fields, cactus forests, and encounter a variety of wildlife. Some sites have dry landings, where you step directly on land, and some have wet landings, you have to get in the water to get to the visitor site. Galapagos is famous for being a first-class destination for scuba diving. The plethora of marine life, like tropical fish, sharks, turtles, rays and sea lions will turn each dive into a memorable experience.
When travelling to Galapagos Islands, the first thing you should do is decide if you want to stay in a hotel in one of the populated islands and explore the other islands by taking day-trip boat rides, or if you want to hop from island to island from a liveaboard boat that also offers accommodation. You should consider the cost, the time you spend to and from the visitor sites and what you want to visit, in order to make the best decision for an unforgettable Galapagos trip. The archipelago is a great destination all-year round, you'll definitely have an amazing and unique experience, no matter the time of year. The dry season is from June to December and it brings with it cooler weather and colder waters. However, the cold currents come with higher quantities of nutrients and plankton, which attracts a more diverse marine life. From January to May the climate is warmer, with clear blue skies, perfect for trekking and for photography tours.
Galapagos Islands Fast Facts:
- The Galapagos Islands are an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- The Galapagos Islands is formed of 127 islands, islets and rocks.
- Many species of animals and plants are endemic to the Galapagos Islands.